Monday, 20 April 2015

ADOLF HITLER AS THE EMMANUEL GOLDSTEIN OF THE LIBERAL WEST



Today is the anniversary of the birth of Adolf Hitler. In his lifetime he was a remarkable and misunderstood man – Machiavellian in his seizure of power, yet surprisingly un-Machiavellian in his use of it. But it was only in death that he became something altogether more unique than just another scrambler and fumbler after the orb of power.

Posthumously he underwent the opposite of an apotheosis, and became a symbol of ultimate evil, a necessary hate figure and fetish of taboo for the post-war Liberal West. You realize this when you travel or live beyond the flubbery boundary of the Western Liberal bubble. Partly in reaction to his exaggerated status as the icon of evil in the hegemonic West, but also because of a more objective view of the man, Hitler is viewed in a much more ambivalent and tolerant way by the rest of the World.

Africans, by necessity not among the most squeamish people on the planet, tend to see him as a totemic figure; Hindus as a manifestation of the kind of universal forces that exist beyond good and evil, and as the decider of their liberty from the colonial British; for Muslims he is the eternal foe of the global Jew and his post-colonial Palestinian colony. In the East, too, he is viewed as a potent yet tragic figure, rather like someone out of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

That is already about 90% of the world’s population who don't automatically get palpitations at the mere mention of his name. We can assume that in Orwell's fictional reality the inhabitants of Eurasia and Eastasia were similarly immune to the figure of Emmanuel Goldstein.

It is only in the West – and those states that crib shamelessly from it, like Putinist Russia – that Hitler is the unique, supernatural manifestation of the "all-evil," the great Satan, the hole that keeps the rest of the donut in one piece. In short, Hitler is to the soft totalitarianism of the Liberal West what Emmanuel Goldstein is to the hard totalitarianism of Oceania in George Orwell's 1984. Read and compare:
"Winston's diaphragm was constricted. He could never see the face of Goldstein without a painful mixture of emotions. It was a lean Jewish face, with a great fuzzy aureole of white hair and a small goatee beard – a clever face, and yet somehow inherently despicable, with a kind of senile silliness in the long thin nose, near the end of which a pair of spectacles was perched. It resembled the face of a sheep, and the voice, too, had a sheep-like quality. Goldstein was delivering his usual venemous attack upon the doctrines of the Party – an attack so exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less level-headed than oneself, might be taken in by it. He was abusing BIG BROTHER, he was denouncing the dictatorship of the Party, he was demanding the immediate conclusion of peace with Eurasia, he was advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, he was crying hysterically that the Revolution has been betrayed...."
Who can read this and not notice the general similarities with the image of Hitler prevalent in the West? Like Goldstein, he too is presented as someone demented, evil, odd-looking, yet plausible to those we are encouraged to look down on. He too is demanding things that we are supposed to no longer want simply because he demands them – such as racial solidarity and a sense of our own superiority.

Orwell’s bogeyman is twinned with conventional, common sense freedoms – "he was advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought" – to bring them into disrepute with the intelligentsia of Oceania. Our Hitler, by contrast, is kept constantly alive and paired with the racial and ethnic interests of Whites and the fact of White supremacy in order to make these loathsome to us.

Just like Winston, our diaphragms are supposed to heave and constrict, and beads of sweat form on our fevered brows. The degree to which they do will be one marker of the strength or otherwise of the Liberal West and its soft totalitarianism.




No comments:

Post a Comment