Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sounds like George Santayana, to me.

This is from a text on Weimar Germany, the republic that lasted from the end of World War I to the rise of the Third Reich. It is titled, appropriately, Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy (Eric Weitz [Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2007]).
At a stormy Reichstag session following the murder, Chancellor Joseph Wirth gave one of the most forceful and moving political speeches of the Weimar era. He knew that the assassins had not acted alone, knew that they operated in an environment that had made such terror acts salonfähig, that is, acceptable in polite society. Wirth vociferously attacked the men on the right...[charging] them with creating a 'murderous atmosphere' in the country. ...And he concluded: "There stands the enemy (to the right), who drips his poison in the wounds of the people-There stands the enemy-and about that there is no doubt: the enemy stands on the right!"
It's not my style to do the flamboyant things sometimes asked, but sometimes the shocking events of the world truly do necessitate positive action. (Although far be it from me to say that there is any perfect response: cf. far-echoing and angry reactions even from players on the same side).

All I'm wondering is, in light of current events - current events, I realize, that are so often cited and commented on as to have lost all rhetoric flair -- have we not established a situation analogous to Weimar Germany? Are there not some certain elements of contemporary society that "stand to the right"?

No comments: