Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dark Night of Fascism

Eugene Volokh takes us back to another time when baseless, hysterical accusations of American fascism were flying:

The next thing I knew, the discussion was onto the subject of fascism in America. Everybody was talking about police repression and the anxiety and paranoia as good folks waited for the knock on the door and the descent of the knout on the nape of the neck. I couldn't make any sense out of it. . . . This was the mid-1960's. . . . [T]he folks were running wilder and freer than any people in history. ...

At a panel discussion at Princeton in 1965, Günter Grass, a survivor of Hitler's Germany, remarks:

"For the past hour, I have my eyes fixed on the doors here," he said. "You talk about fascism and police repression. In Germany when I was a student, they come through those doors long ago. Here they must be very slow."

Grass was enjoying himself for the first time all evening. He was not simply saying, "You really don't have so much to worry about." He was indulging his sense of the absurd. He was saying: "You American intellectuals — you want so desperately to feel besieged and persecuted!"

Hat-Tip: Instapundit

Today's example: The fourth reich.

Update, 5/4: ShrinkWrapped gives more perspective.


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