The Pro-Life Witness of ‘The Man in the High Castle’

The bleak reality of The Man in the High Castle is not a world afar, but a world within.

(photo: Register Files)

“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants,” Mother Teresa said, because she could see the destructive force that lingers behind abortion.

The same inherent violence is exposed in an unlikely place: The Man in the High Castle, a series produced by Amazon Prime based on the book with the same title written by Philip K. Dick. It takes place in an alternative 1962 where the Axis Powers, not the Allies, won the war. The United States is divided. The Reich rules in the East and the Japanese Empire in the West, while a neutral zone in the middle is left undeclared.

The plot is an interesting exercise in “what could have been,” if a regime that is focused on the improvement of the human species where a single human person doesn’t have any value. I enjoyed the first two seasons where the main focus is the search for The Man in the High Castle who possessed film reels from alternate realities where the Allies have won. The third season, even though furthered the plot, led to many eye rolls because of its unnecessary push for the mainstreaming of same-sex relationships.

If one can put aside Hollywood’s ubiquitous attempt at re-education, this series becomes very interesting for the pro-lifer who is against the killing of the weakest. In addition to the systematic slaughter of the Jews and known SSA people, the Nazis were notorious for cleansing the society of noncontributing members.

One of the most striking scenes appears in the first season where one of the main characters is talking to a police officer on the side of the road. The man in uniform is eating a sandwich as it starts snowing. But it is not snow. Ashes are falling like snowflakes on both men as they converse:

Joe Blake: What is that?

Police Officer: Oh, that's the hospital.

Joe Blake: The hospital?

Police Officer: Yeah, Tuesdays, they burn cripples... the terminally ill. Drag on the state.

One man continues to eat without interruption, while the other is horrified.

This scene paints a vivid image of what normalization of an atrocity looks like. More often, however, there are no ashes. The killing continues without interruption behind closed doors in the name of choice and freedom. Terms like health care are thrown around to make sure that most of the society continues to eat sandwiches while thousands die daily.

During the March for Life, when I see a sign warning the people about the graphic images ahead, I turn my head. I don’t want to see the mutilated bodies of tiny babies. On the one hand, I have hard time stomaching such images. On the other hand, I do not want to be slapped in the face with the horror of abortion. One part of me is horrified, but still a small part wants to keep eating my sandwich while ashes fall.

Another striking plot line within the larger story revolves around one of the high-ranking officials of the American Reich, Obergruppenführer John Smith. Smith’s son, Thomas, is diagnosed with a congenital disorder that renders him unsuitable for the future of the Aryan race. Smith and his wife are devastated when they hear Thomas’ diagnosis, because as loyal Nazis, they are supposed to turn their own son in to be euthanized in order to preserve racial purity. Smith does all he can to save his son, but at the end of the second season (spoiler alert!) Thomas finds out about his disorder. As a Nazi youth who has been indoctrinated about the ultimate goal of racial purity, he turns himself in to be killed. In the third season, we see that his death unravels his parents, both of whom start questioning the Reich’s eugenicist policies.

Thomas was told from an early age that those with less-than-desirable genetic makeup should be sacrificed for the greater good of the Reich. Over and over for decades, this is what young men and women grew up on. Unlike what naive (or maybe ignorant) parents think, children will not be formed into perfect individuals by simply leaving them alone. What we teach to young minds matter. If we refuse to take up our roles as teachers, someone else will.

Normalization and indoctrination are two indispensable components of Nazi rebuilding efforts. The viewer is supposed to be appalled at the cruelty of this alternate world and be thankful that Roosevelt was never assassinated. But the truth screams in the face of the pro-lifer who stands on the side of the road shocked and terrified, because it is obvious that even though the Reich was obliterated, its eugenics policies are alive and well in our progressive enlightened society.

Today, normalization of abortion and euthanasia is so well-established that the opposition is labeled cruel, anti-woman or uncivilized. We say, “I’m personally against abortion, but I don’t impose my views on others,” while eating our sandwich as the ashes of the unborn rain on us. We say, “It’s not merciful to let the elderly or terminally ill to suffer” as we inject them with lethal drugs behind closed doors. “It is better to die than to let people suffer,” we say, as everyone nods in agreement. It has become normal for some to die for the convenience of many.

Indoctrination is also alive and well in the modern society where individual freedom is celebrated above anything else. One person’s choice means another’s death. Over and over we hear that it is not polite to talk about religion and politics or it is not right to impose our views on others. Hearing the same mantra over and over again for years numbs us to the cruelty of abortion and euthanasia. No wonder children of this new world are too timid and afraid to stand up against injustice. All they heard for years is lukewarmness in the name of niceness. We may not be striving for racial purity anymore, but millions are sacrificed for the god of convenience and liberty. If we examine our times with a critical eye, we realize that the bleak reality of The Man in the High Castle is not a world afar, but a world within.

This Friday, as I walk pass the “disturbing images,” I am planning to look at those tiny dismembered bodies. Because, I do not want abortion to be normalized. As my children reach the age of reason and desire a better understanding of the world around them, I will tell them about the daily atrocities committed in the name of progress.

In the series, there is a small minority who dare to imagine a world where Nazis did not rule with an iron fist. The film reels that depict a world where the statues of the German Reich get destroyed as thousands celebrate the victory of the Allies give this precious few hope; hope that a better world is possible and hope that majority doesn’t always win.

The hundreds of thousands who march every January are part of that growing minority who are appalled at the sight of the ashes of millions of unborn. Once the blindfold of normalization and indoctrination gets pulled down, many more will stop eating their sandwiches and raise their voices. The fight is not against the Nazis in our times, but against the elusive empire of relativism where everything gets blurred. However, we must not lose sight of the great victory while in the thick of the battle of our times, as Pope Leo XIII said:

Christians are born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God willing, the triumph: ‘Have confidence; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33)

Archbishop Hubertus van Megen celebrates the episcopal consecration of Father John Kiplimo Lelei as auxiliary bishop of Kenya’s Diocese of Eldoret on May 25, 2024.

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