Control Group

Instead of “the unvaccinated,” say “the control group.” We are the control group in a planet-wide medical experiment.

Burleigh on Totalitarianism

Burleigh mentions – and this is something I didn’t know – that for 30 years American academia tried to banish the word “totalitarianism.” The reason was that this term was a shortcut to saying that Nazi Germany and the USSR had a similar system of government. This idea was intolerable to many academics because they were apologists for the Soviets. After 1991 there was no longer a need to defend the USSR, and the word “totalitarianism” came back into use.

Still, however, putting up leaflets with a hammer and sickle on a US campus is considered completely normal, while drawing a swastika would get a student expelled. “I grew up in a totalitarian regime” is a phrase that evokes complete incomprehension from US academics when I say it. “But there were good things about it, right?” they sometimes ask, looking at me with pleading, desperate expressions.

The difference between totalitarianism and absolutist, authoritarian or dictatorial regimes, says Burleigh, is that a totalitarian regime wants to control not only all of the functions of the state state but also the family, personal morality, art, and science.

PS. I’m reading Burleigh in Spanish, so if you see some slight imprecision in the quotes, that’s the reason.

Redemption Through Politics

In Third Reich, Michael Burleigh echoes the great anti-Nazi philosopher Eric Voegelin who said that the redemptionist political projects on the right and the left imitate religion in their superficial manifestations but they lack the depth of religion and they also lack transcendence. They are very much “of this world.”

The lack of the transcendent aspect is what makes these religion-like political movements so virulent. They don’t address their hopes for redemption to God. For them, there is no God. The only hope of redemption can come from people. If redemption isn’t coming, if the kingdom of heaven isn’t happening on Earth fast enough, this can only mean that people are very imperfect. But once again, there is no God to punish the sinners. So the righteous human beings are completely justified in eliminating the unrighteous human beings. The result is the opposite of “love thy neighbor” and “forgive their trespasses.” The neighbor is eternally suspect because if the kingdom of heaven on Earth isn’t happening, it can only be that bastard’s fault.

Children’s Politics for Grownups

A dreadful mass sentimentality, compounded of anger, fear, resentment and self-pity, replaced the customary politics of decency, property and reason. Belief, faith, feeling and obedience to instinct routed debate, scepticism and compromise. People voluntarily surrended to group or herd emotions, some of a notoriously nasty kind. Among committed believers, a mythic world of eternal spring, heroes, demons, fire and sword – in a word, the fantasy world of the nursery – displaced reality. This was children’s politics for grownups, bored and frustrated with the prosaic tenor of liberal democracy, and hence receptive to heroic gestures and politics as a form of theatrical stunt, even at the expense of their personal freedom.

— Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich.