Making a TV sitcom trivializing Hitler ("The Fuehrer in Britain" by Jeff Kaye, Oct. 23) reflects a dangerous lapse of historical understanding.
The rise of Nazism was a natural outgrowth of the Western tradition of absolute dedication to one's cause, be it Christianity, communism, getting rich, destroying the infidel or what have you. The true believer is convinced that the true belief itself guarantees him salvation, regardless of the nature or consequences of his actions. (In Christianity, this is known as the antinomian heresy.)
Today, there are two great crusades confronting each other: the worldwide struggle for a higher standard of living versus the struggle to protect the planet. These positions can be reconciled, but only if the absolutist spirit is modulated on both sides. The spirit of absolute dedication is as dangerous now as it was when it was harnessed by Hitler. It wasn't a joke then and it's not a joke now.
IRVING LAWRENCE SELK