Everyone could benefit from a legal mentor: a trusted generalist with some knowledge of the law.
Good judgment is not innate to the human species. Probably more than any creature, we humans make the same mistakes over and over and receive the due penalty for our failure to learn from our own foibles. The most monstrous errors in human judgment occur at those turning points in history when men lack courage at precisely the moment when courage would make the difference between the life and death of millions.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi dissident. He’s famous for calling the German Church to action against Hitler. It is said that he confronted Hitler in a public forum while surrounded by other pastors from around Germany. As he spoke, the pastors surrounding him physically distanced themselves from him, leaving him to face Hitler alone.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's call to action against Hitler included the following famous quote, "If I see a madman driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can't as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver."
Disappointed with the complacency of the German Evangelical Church in the face of Hitler's rise to power, Bonhoeffer became a founder of the Confessing Church, which opposed the country's growing hostility toward Jews. Inspired by Gandhi's advocacy of non-violence, the pacifist Bonhoeffer struggled for the right response to Hitler. Nazi opposition to his Confessing Church increased until the pastor was forbidden to speak publicly or to publish his writing.
The attempted assassination of Hitler on July 20, 1944 was connected to Bonhoeffer and others. He was arrested by the Nazis and hanged April 9, 1945 at the Flossenburg camp only days before the Allies liberated Germany.
He said, “It is the characteristic excellence of the strong man that he can bring momentous issues to the fore and make a decision about them. The weak are always forced to decide between alternatives they have not chosen themselves.”
Jeff Barganier spent 2.5 years in a bank trust department, 2 years as associate general counsel to a real estate securities firm and 17 years as a financial adviser. Today, he makes his living as an attorney, writer and entrepreneur. Click here to read his full biography.
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The opinions expressed in this blog post are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Red Oak Legal, PC.