20 January 2011

Anti-Mein Kampf

In the wake of violence; in the wake of violent rhetoric; in the wake of endless senseless inanities debating the "tenor" of that very debate; in the wake of damaging political posturing; in the wake of calls for sectarianism and special dispensations for true believers...we cast our minds to history to find we've been diagnosed and given direction long ago.

"...it is the corruptors of religion who are a major menace to the world today, in giving the profound patterns of religious thought a crude and sinister distortion.
Our job, then, our anti-Hitler Battle, is to find all available ways of making the Hitlerite distortions of religion apparent, in order that politicians of his kind in America be unable to perform a similar swindle. The desire for unity is genuine and admirable. The desire for national unity, in the present state of the world, is genuine and admirable. But this unity, if attained on a deceptive basis, by emotional trickeries that shift our criticism from their accurate locus of our trouble, is no unity at all."

Kenneth Burke, "The Rhetoric of Hitler's Battle" (published a few months before the German invasion of Poland 09/01/39)

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