Saturday, February 25, 2006

Thoughts on David Irving

I note that The Wall St. Journal has editorialized in defence of imprisoned historian David Irving. Excerpt: "And just when the Danish government is under unprecedented attack for its refusal to intervene in the editorial decision-making of a private newspaper, it seems perverse to offer Muslim provocateurs an example of a European country catering to one set of sensitivities but not another".

The WSJ accompanies this defence, however, with vast aspersions on the character and competence of Irving. But any claim that Irving is incompetent is absurd. I have been studying the Hitler era for over 40 years and it is clear to me that NOBODY knows the period better or in more detail than Irving does. He was after all the only one of the many eminent historians consulted who immediately picked the Kujau "Hitler Diaries" as a fake.

So what of the aspersions on Irving's character? I think those aspersions show a lack of understanding too. I would like to venture a more nuanced view. For a start, Irving's earlier position (which he now appears to have recanted) that there was no holocaust at all is clearly absurd. He is undoubtedly right in pointing to the 6 million figure as the roughest of guesses but I am totally unmoved by that. Whether 6 million died or 1 million died, the loss that Hitler inflicted on the human gene pool by his attacks on Jewry is incalculable (I am avoiding moral language here. Outrage is the Leftist's usual substitute for thinking and I hope to do better than that).

So what motivates Irving's gnawing away at the details of the holocaust? I think the WSJ is right in saying that Irving wishes to rehabilitate Hitler as far as he can. But why would he do that? I think I know. I think that Irving has immersed himself so deeply in the Hitler period that it is alive to him. I think in fact that he has fallen under the spell of Hitler. Mainly because of their need to deny that Hitler was a socialist, almost nobody in the modern world understands why Hitler had such vast appeal to Germans or why Germany followed him fanatically to the bitter end. Both Roberts (1938) and Heiden (1939) -- prewar anti-Nazi writers -- portray Hitler as widely revered and popular among the Germans of their day. As Heiden (1939, p. 98) put it: "The great masses of the people did not merely put up with National Socialism. They welcomed it".

So why did they welcome it? It is simple. Socialism and nationalism have long been and long will be the two political ideas which have most emotional appeal to people. And Hitler offered both in one package. That package would be powerfully appealing to this day except for the way Hitler's follies discredited it.

But in his constant reading of material from the period, Irving lives in a world where Hitler's ideas have not yet been discredited and he has fallen victim to their appeal. Very few people these days seem to have read Mein Kampf but it is in fact (as it was meant to be) a very persuasive book if you read it without thought of what it led to. Hitler comes across as an enquiring, passionate and yet reasonable mind who offers persuasive explanations of what has gone wrong with the world. And I think he has persuaded Irving. It is a strange thing but, as we know from the example of Leftist intellectuals today, simplistic explanations often do attract intelligent people.

Heiden, K. (1939) One man against Europe Harmondsworth, Mddx.: Penguin
Roberts, S.H. (1938) The house that Hitler built N.Y.: Harper.



Eclectecon is an economist who does not know the difference between "forgo" and "forego" but has a good selection of cartoons about cartoonists and Muslims up at the moment.

The AFL-CIO sweatshop: "They work outside in the middle of February at poverty-level wages. They don't have health benefits or regular hours. Their pay is docked for taking bathroom breaks. And they have no one to speak up for their needs. Ask a labor leader if these workers are in desperate need of a union. Then see if he'd like to revise his thought when he learns they're employees of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. With a ringing endorsement from AFL-CIO chief John Sweeney, the Carpenters have taken to hiring the homeless to picket construction sites. Needless to say, there's no health care or pension plan contributions for these folks. In Las Vegas, the temp workers hired by the United Food and Commercial Workers union to protest outside Wal-Mart were paid a grand total of $6 an hour. The union was generous enough to cover bathroom breaks, but in the middle of a scorching desert summer with picketers dropping out from the heat, perhaps these part-time employees would have preferred health care."

English to run England again? "William Hague disclosed Tory ambitions to cut back the influence of Scottish MPs on laws affecting England during an attack on Gordon Brown and his powerbase yesterday. Mr Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, barely touched on international issues as he delivered a 20-minute tirade against the Chancellor for being bossy and "stuck in the past".... He opened a new line of attack on the Chancellor, the man most likely to lead Labour against the Tories at the next election, for his defence of Scottish MPs' power at Westminster. In a revival of his own policy as leader of the Conservative Party in the four years to 2001, Mr Hague added: "As Leader of the Opposition during the debates we had on devolution I feel no pleasure in pointing out that Scottish Labour MPs forcing through changes to England's laws does not make for a more harmonious United Kingdom. "Anyone who thinks that we can carry on legislating for England in exactly the same way as we did before devolution is clearly living in the past.""

Google still not Leftist enough. They defy the Bush administration and co-operate with the Chinese Communists but now the Chinese want more: "A state-run newspaper reported Tuesday that Google Inc. is under investigation for operating without a proper license in China and quoted an unnamed government official as saying the Internet giant needs to cooperate further with the authorities in blocking "harmful information" from its search results.... Dubbed the "eunuch edition" by some Chinese Internet users, the new search engine withholds results from Web sites the governing Communist Party finds objectionable, and returns limited results when users enter politically sensitive keywords. Google has defended its decision to launch the censored site, arguing that people in China can continue to use the Chinese version of its regular search engine, It has also pointed out that the new search engine is the first in China to inform users when results have been removed because of the government's "laws, regulations and policies." But it appears Chinese authorities are now pressuring Google to cut off access in China to its regular search engine, and to stop telling users of the new site every time a search is censored.

"Yahoo" also does its share of political pandering. There is a story here noting that the words "allah" "binladen" "osama" and "raghead" (among others) were not allowed as part of Yahoo usernames -- until that got adverse publicity.

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. On Social Security see Dick McDonald and for purely Australian news see Australian Politics (mirrored here).


Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country's labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and "helping" them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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