Sunday, 29 April 2012

The new despotism

David Hume said 'nothing is more surprising than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few'. 

I have just read a wonderful book which deserves to become a classic  by Stefan Hafner called Defying Hitler, an eyewitness account of how the Nazis took over German society very easily and quickly, their ideas, especially anti-Semitism, becoming widely accepted by people who would have been horrified by them in the 1920s. I was reminded inter alia of how the ideas of political correctness have become accepted. People shop colleagues for making sexist or racist remarks, people lose their jobs for trifling jokes or get sent to prison  for saying 'Your horse is gay' or sending tweets using the word 'nigger'. A possibly disturbed  woman with a history of depression who rudely and with many four letter words complained on a train about there being too many blacks in her country had her strange rant recorded on passengers' telephones which went viral on the net. She spent Christmas in gaol, her  daughter was taken into in care and her life devastated, much to the satisfaction of most of my Facebook friends from the British literary and journalistic worlds. And so it goes. 

Paradoxically, it is because of horror at what the Nazis did that we have this new Nazism. As Churchill said, “The fascists of the future will be called anti-fascists”.

People always draw the wrong lessons from history.


  1. A little bit sweeping, Paul. Ruth Dudley Edwards

  2. This woman is still awaiting trial a year and a half later.