The National, England
The National, England
Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.
Nazism and Marxism shared a desire to reshape humanity. “The alteration of men on a mass scale is necessary,” wrote Marx; “the will to create mankind anew” is the core of National Socialism, wrote Hitler. They also shared a revolutionary idealism and a tyrannical certainty in pursuit of this dream, with no patience for incremental reform or adjustments guided by the human consequences of their policies. This alone was a recipe for disaster. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in The Gulag Archipelago, “Macbeth’s self-justifications were feeble and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb too. The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology’.
The ideological connection between Marxist socialism and National Socialism is not fanciful. Hitler read Marx carefully while living in Munich in 1913, and may have picked up from him a fateful postulate that the two ideologies would share. It is the belief that history is a preordained succession of conflicts between groups of people and that improvement in the human condition can come only from the victory of one group over the others. For the Nazis the groups were races; for the Marxists they were classes. For the Nazis the conflict was Social Darwinism; for the Marxists, it was class struggle. For the Nazis the destined victors were the Aryans; for the Marxists, they were the proletariat. The ideologies, once implemented,led to atrocities in a few steps: struggle (often a euphemism for violence) is inevitable and beneficial; certain groups of people (the non-Aryan races or the bourgeoisie) are morally inferior; improvements in human welfare depend on their subjugation or elimination. Aside from supplying a direct justification for violent conflict, the ideology of intergroup struggle ignites a nasty feature of human social psychology: the tendency to divide people into in-groups and out-groups and to treat the out-groups as less than human. It doesn’t matter whether the groups are thought to be defined by their biology or by their history.
“Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.”
The long-distance run of an early morning makes me think that every run like this is a life- a little life, I know- but a life as full of misery and happiness and things happening as you can ever get really around yourself…
The discrepancy between the panic generated by terrorism and the deaths generated by terrorism is no accident. Panic is the whole point of terrorism, as the root of the word makes clear: “Terror” refers to a psychological state, not an enemy or an event. The effects of terrorism depend completely on the psychology of the audience. Terrorists are communicators, seeking publicity and attention, which they manufacture through fear.
Terrorist movements, moreover, almost never achieve any of their strategic goals. Think about it. Israel continues to exist, Northern Ireland is still a part of Britain, and Kashmir is a part of India. There are no sovereign states in Kurdistan, Palestine, Quebec, Puerto Rico, Chechnya, Corsica, Tamil Eelam, or the Basque Country. The Philippines, Algeria, and Egypt are not Islamist theocracies; nor have Japan, the United States, Europe, and Latin America become religious, Marxist, anarchist, or new-age utopias.
Even when they are not rooted out by states, terrorist groups carry the seeds of their own destruction. As they become frustrated by their lack of progress and as their audiences start to get bored, they escalate their tactics. They start to target victims who are more famous, more sympathetic, or simply more numerous. That certainly gets people’s attention, but not in the way the terrorists intend. Supporters are repulsed by the “senseless violence” and withdraw their money, their safe havens, their reluctance to cooperate with the police, and their resistance to an all-out crackdown.
Stone Roses, Waterfall
Never marry someone who doesn’t love the movies you love. Sooner or later, that person will not love you. I could go even further, and quote the great French cineastePierre Rissient, who instructs us: It is not enough for you to love a movie. You must love it for the right reasons.
Roger Ebert (1942 - 2013)
David Bowie, I’d Rather Be High
Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.
Blur, Sweet Song