Category Archives: Nazism

Sincere, modest Stalin versus the Nazi sodomites

Dalrymple leafs through Eyes Left! (1943) by Reg Ellery, the Australian psychiatrist and fellow traveller, and is amused by this sort of stuff:

The Soviet Union must be the pattern for our reconstructional efforts. We should remember that it succeeded in spite of overwhelming obstacles because the socialist ideology appealed to men and women with courage and enthusiasm, willing to risk personal pleasure and private satisfaction for the splendid purpose in the task that lay ahead of them. We, likewise, can succeed if we can enlist the pliant sympathies of youth to a doctrine which aims at the abolition of the exploitation of man by man.

As for Stalin, Ellery found him to be

a man whose modesty is as disarming as his determination is inflexible—a man of great vision, a sincere student, a warm friend.

Dalrymple explains also that Ellery felt that he had discovered the secret source of German fascism, which he identified as homosexuality. He appeared to blame the whole of Nazism on homosexuality, latent or otherwise. Ellery wrote:

Nazism is a homosexual culture. The Nazi ideal is masculinity. The typical Nazi has the homosexual’s fear of the female. Hitler and his satellites, under the strong pressure of their own latent homosexuality, have foisted this masculinity on the German nation once again, knowing, perhaps, that militarism flourishes best in the atmosphere of repressed homosexuality.

Eure Schuld!

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-02-29Germany’s, ah, particular historical situation

There is, Dalrymple points out (from 1:09),

a particular historical situation in Germany which the Germans have been trying to overcome, unsuccessfully, for the last 70 years.

Taking in a million economic migrants

was an opportunity for the Germans to be better than everyone else.

The Scandinavians, he says, are the same.

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-07-04Dalrymple does not think that Merkel

will take in another million migrants in a hurry.

He examines the argument that Merkel took this catastrophic step

because Germany’s population is declining, so they need workers, they need immigrants. But in that case, why not take in the unemployed of Spain or of Greece? Why not recruit there?

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-08-46No, says Dalrymple, this is not the real reason. The real reason the Germans took in so many economic migrants is that

they still feel tremendous guilt, and are trying to demonstrate that they are not as they were before.

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-10-13

What British fascism looks like

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 07.55.55Timeservers led by scoundrels

Dalrymple grew up believing

that it couldn’t happen here; that the intrinsic decency, good sense and ironical detachment of the British would have precluded Nazism or anything like it from taking root. Now I am not so sure.

Utter vileness

does not need a numerical majority to become predominant in a society. The Nazis never had an electoral majority in Germany, yet Germany offered very little resistance to their barbarism. Evil, unlike good, is multiform. We can invent our own totalitarian evil. We have prepared the ground very well.

Hedonistic egotism, fear and resentment

form the character of a large proportion of our population, and it is a character that is ripe for exploitation. They have made themselves natural slaves.

Dalrymple recently received a circular headed New ethnic categories that began with the words,

As you may know, we are required to monitor the ethnic origins of our staff.

Who, he asks,

was this ‘we’ of whom the circular spoke: no names, only ‘the human resources unit’ (Orwell could have done no better). No decent reason for this fascistic practice was given; the ‘we are required’ being the final and irrefutable argument. It is a fair bet that not a peep of protest was uttered in the office of the ‘human resources unit’ when this circular was sent round. Would anyone have mentioned the fact that the Dutch bureaucracy’s refusal to destroy census data on the religious affiliations of the Dutch population on the eve of the German occupation greatly aided the subsequent elimination of Dutch Jewry?

Septic isle

Every public service

has been weakened by the ethos of obeying centralised orders. Doctors, teachers, the police, social workers, prison officers, crown prosecutors, university dons have all been emasculated by the ‘need’ to obey orders that they know are fatuous at best, and positively destructive or wicked at worst.

The organised lying

not only blunts critical faculties and makes it impossible to distinguish true information from false, but morally compromises those who participate in the process. The more state employees conform to the rules laid down, the more helpless and degraded they become, which is the ultimate purpose of these rules.

The public,

gorged with bread and benumbed by circuses, is indifferent. I can’t help thinking of the murder of psychiatric patients and the mentally disabled in Nazi Germany. Neither the public nor the medical profession protested to any great extent (though, instructively, those few doctors who did protest were not punished for it). This terrible crime was made possible, though not inevitable, by an entire cultural context. We, too, are creating a cultural context in which great state crimes are possible.

It could happen here

When Dalrymple sees

the routine inhumanity with which my patients are treated by the state and its various bureaucracies, often in the name of obedience to rules, I think that anything is possible in this country.

When he sees

the mobs of drunken young people who pullulate in our city centres every weekend, awaiting their evil genius to organise them into some kind of pseudo-community, and think of our offices full of potential Eichmanns, I shudder.

British fascism

will no doubt be touchy-feely rather than a boot in the face – more Kafka than Hitler – but it will be ruthless nonetheless.

Flüchtlinge willkommen

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 08.48.04So, even now, say a few Germans. In Sweden they cried (until they brought in border checks),

Flyktingar välkomna.

Dalrymple turns to Max Frisch’s Biedermann und die Brandstifter (1953), written

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 08.48.47in the aftermath of the Second World War as an attempt to explain (and to warn) how a patent evil like Nazism can triumph in a civilised society.

The play’s protagonist, Dalrymple explains,

is a comfortable bourgeois living in a town that is beset by several mysterious acts of arson. He is visited at home by Schmitz, a hawker, who half-persuades, half-intimidates his way into an invitation to lodge in Biedermann’s attic, and who soon brings a second hawker, Eisenring, to stay in the house.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 08.34.08Gradually it becomes clear that Schmitz and Eisenring

are the ones setting the fires in the town, but Biedermann refuses to acknowledge it. His blindness arises from moral and physical cowardice, and from wishful thinking—the hope that what he sees does not really mean what it obviously means.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 08.49.23Schmitz and Eisenring bring barrels of gasoline into the house and Biedermann,

pusillanimous to the last, helps them make the fuses and gives them the matches with which they burn his house down.

A stroll in Molenbeek

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 09.14.16Munich 1932: Europe’s Nazism central? It’s not that simple

In the course of a visit to Brussels, Dalrymple perambulates in the North African ghetto of Molenbeek. The terrorist hub is, he points out,

de facto extraterritorial to Belgium.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 07.59.24Taxes

are not collected from businesses there, and the only functioning activity of the state is the payment of social security.

A walled city without the walls

Everyone in the streets is

of North African origin. The women in particular are not sartorially assimilated and, I suspect, would not dare to try to assimilate even if they wanted to.

Dalrymple writes that Molenbeek’s

connection with Islamic terrorism is now indisputably strong: but how many terrorists does an area have to harbour or produce for that connection to be recognised? How many terrorists and supporters of terrorists would be necessary to make Molenbeek a true centre or hub of terrorism? Just because most of the people go about their normal business most of the time is not sufficient to prove that it isn’t.

Grauniad delicacy

Dalrymple comes across an article in the London newspaper the Guardian atop which the heading reads:

Is Molenbeek Europe’s jihadi central? It’s not that simple

Dalrymple comments:

There are those who would have written an article about Munich in 1932 with the headline

Is Munich Germany’s Nazism central? It’s not as simple as that

After all, the cafés were still open, people still had lunch, etc., and not everyone was a Nazi.

The Guardian article states:

Molenbeek, while it has its problems with unemployment, crime and drugs, is also a place where anyone can easily hide.

Dalrymple comments:

Surely it’s because it’s a place where people can easily hide that it has its problems with crime and drugs — and terrorism.

 

Soviet communism’s abyssal evil

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 09.02.27In the scale, writes Dalrymple,

even Nazism could not compete.

Everyone involved in the Great Terror

knew that the arrest, trial and sentence were based upon lies from beginning to end.

No revolution

was more avid for the flesh of its originators than the Russian.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 09.02.42

 

Triumph of the antinomians

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 12.05.15Dalrymple writes in the preface to Our Culture, What’s Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses that in much of the world, the miseries of poverty

are no longer those of raw physical deprivation but those induced by comparison with the vast numbers of prosperous people by whom the relatively poor are surrounded and whose comparative wealth the poor feel as a wound, a reproach, and an injustice.

Ronnie Kaufman's photo on a jacket by Jen Huppert Design

Photo by Ronnie Kaufman on a jacket by Jen Huppert Design for the Ivan R. Dee (Chicago) 2005 edition

In the 20th century,

the hope of progress has not proved altogether illusory,

but

neither has the fear of retrogression proved unjustified.

The First World War

destroyed facile optimism that progress towards heaven on earth was inevitable or even possible.

Then came communism and Nazism, which between them

destroyed scores of millions of lives in a fashion that only a few short decades before would have appeared inconceivable.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 12.47.50Many of the disasters of the 20th century

could be characterised as revolts against civilisation itself: the Cultural Revolution, or the Khmers Rouges.

Only recently, in Rwanda,

ordinary people were transformed into pitiless murderers by demagogic appeals over the radio. They achieved a rate of slaughter with their machetes never equalled even by the Nazis.

In the circumstances,

one might have supposed that a principal preoccupation of intellectuals would be the maintenance of the boundaries that separate civilisation from barbarism.

One would be wrong.

Some have embraced barbarism; others have remained unaware that boundaries do not maintain themselves and are in need of maintenance and sometimes vigorous defence.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 12.54.10The prestige intellectuals confer upon antinomianism

soon communicates itself to nonintellectuals. What is good for the bohemian sooner or later becomes good for the unskilled worker, the unemployed, the welfare recipient — the very people most in need of boundaries to make their lives tolerable or allow them hope of improvement. The result is moral, spiritual, and emotional squalor, engendering fleeting pleasures and prolonged suffering.

Civilisation

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 12.55.17needs conservation as much as it needs change, and immoderate criticism, or criticism from the standpoint of utopian first principles, is capable of doing much — indeed devastating — harm. No man is so brilliant that he can work everything out for himself, so that the wisdom of the ages has nothing useful to tell him. To imagine otherwise is to indulge in the most egotistical of hubris.

The disastrous notions of the underclass about how to live

derive from the unrealistic, self-indulgent, and often fatuous ideas of social critics.

 

Zweig’s descent from bliss to torment

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 22.25.31The main themes of the writings of Stefan Zweig are, Dalrymple explains,

  • the part that passion plays in human life. The need for control and the need for expression are in constant tension; any attempt to resolve the contradictions of our existence by dogmatic reference to a simple doctrine (and, compared with life, all doctrines are simple) will end in monomania and barbarism.
  • the destruction of civilisation by political dogma, exemplified by the wars that destroyed Zweig’s world and led him to suicide.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 22.27.32Having grown up in a world

where it was possible to live happily as so free an agent, Zweig found himself plunged into a world where it became impossible, where men had to organize to resist evil so that any freedom at all might be enjoyed.

In such a world,

Zweig’s refusal to commit to any collective institution or endeavour appeared feeble and parasitic.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 22.28.44Early in life,

by cultivating the acquaintance of prostitutes, pimps, and others on the margins of society, he learned about the lower depths, from whose ugly reality his status as a child of the haute bourgeoisie had sheltered him.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 22.31.29War

smashed the old world that Zweig so esteemed.

He saw the storm clouds gathering over his native Austria earlier than many. But other German exiles criticized him for being insufficiently vociferous in denouncing the Nazis.

Hitler in Vienna

The messenger of misery comes to Vienna

It is true that he joined no anti-Nazi groups and hardly raised his voice against the Nazi horror. As a free man, he did not want the Nazis to be able to dictate his mode of expression—even if it were in opposition to them. The insufficiency of this fastidiousness at such a conjuncture needs little emphasis.

But Zweig felt

that strident denunciation would grant the Nazis a victory of sorts. And—like many intellectuals who overestimate the importance that the intellect plays in history and in life—Zweig viewed the Nazis as beneath contempt. Their doctrine and world outlook being so obviously ridiculous and morally odious, why waste time refuting them?

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 22.39.37The nearest he came to denouncing the Nazis

was in one of his brilliant historical studies, published in 1936: The Right to Heresy: Castellio against Calvin.

Of course, it was not so easy to dismiss the Nazis.

The contempt of a fastidious aesthete would not defeat them: far sterner measures were necessary. But Zweig, born in the pre-ideological age, did not want to live in a world where the only alternative to one ideology was what he thought would be a counter-ideology.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 22.54.57Dalrymple doubts that the modern world would have pleased Zweig.

The shrillness of our ideological debates, the emotional shallowness, the vulgarity of our culture, would have appalled him.

To read Zweig

is to learn what, through stupidity and evil, we progressively lost in the twentieth century.

Golden Dawn waits in the wings

Dalrymple points out that Greece's Golden Dawn is, 'alone of the so-called far-right political parties in Europe, authentically Nazi, down to the street thuggery'

Dalrymple points out that Greece’s Golden Dawn is, ‘alone of the so-called far-right political parties in Europe, authentically Nazi, down to the street thuggery’

Gas chambers in Gaza

José Saramago: grotesque obtuseness

José Saramago: grotesque obtuseness and moral cretinism

The Portuguese Hobsbawm

Dalrymple reports that when José Saramago drew a parallel between the plight of the Palestinians and Auschwitz, a journalist asked whether there were gas chambers in Gaza. Saramago replied:

I hope this is not the case. There are so many things being done that have nothing to do with Nazism, but what is happening is more or less the same.

Dalrymple’s comment:

Quite apart from its startling lack of intellectual clarity, Saramago’s reply implies that there might be gas chambers in Gaza, and also that their absence would be a minor detail: Auschwitz and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians are essentially comparable. The comparison is odious, shameful, wicked, and stupid in equal measure.