Friday, November 16, 2007

We can trust their judgment ..., though: Blind optimism.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:52 AM

    What is quite depressing here is that the same simplistic blindness about that period has returned and now seems embedded in the zeitgeist. I am old enough to remember the tail ends of the great and difficult debates of the post-war period. "How could this have happened in Europe's most enlightened and intellectually modern nation?" "Why did we not listen when it all had been laid out so clearly?", etc. Today when you debate the Nazis, you are likely to encounter the same rote banalities--"It was just an expression of capitalism, medieval Christianity, an aristocratic revolt, etc". None of those survive five minutes of historical scrutiny, but that doesn't matter because no one is scrutinizing anymore.

    My personal favourite is the argument that it was a reversion to Dark Age paganism, which suggests the university and intellectual classes that supported Hitler overwhelmingly had overdosed on Rousseau and Darwin and inexplicably developed an uncontrollable urge to connect with Thor by traipsing through the forests and baying at the moon.

    The lesson is that modernism absolutely refuses to admit or recognize its own warts. It just says either they aren't warts or aren't modern.