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Nazis Before Breakfast: Mimicking '1984' Indicates Orwell Will Soon be 'Memory-Holed'
Last week, Jürgen Habermas called for peace and was denounced in Die Zeit; on the weekend, Prof. Eva Illouz mimics Goebbels--what's next?
This is a hard piece to write. As readers of these pages know, I’ve been documenting (German-speaking) Europe’s descent into madness for quite some time.
In autumn 2021, Buchenwald Concentration Camp banned ‘the unvaccinated’ from their permanent exhibition on ‘Exclusion and Violence’, no less; the same ‘2G Rule’ also applied at the Dora-Mittelbau Concentration Camp. Reference.
Then came the renaming of the German-Russian Museum in Berlin, Germany, which found itself ‘forced’ to do so. Reference.
Yet, in February 2023, the creeping normalisation of Neonazism is spawning ever more open celebrations of their particularly objectionable thinking. (Both links here will bring you to essays I’ve written for Propaganda in Focus).
Jürgen Habermas Calls for a Negotiated Peace—and is (All But) Cancelled
Those of you, dear readers, who don’t know who Habermas is—he’s a member of the Frankfurt School and one of post-WW2 Germany’s most prominent leftish public intellectuals.
Five days ago, on 15 Feb. 2023, he wrote an essay that was published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, in which he called for a negotiated settlement with Russia. This link will take you to an archived version of the essay, because if you’d use the same URL today, this is what you get:
If you read German (or use machine translation), I recommend to take the time to the Tagesspiegel’s website and check out what Habermas actually said:
At the centre of his stringently comprehensible essay, Habermas is concerned with two questions: at what point does the West become a party to the war, and whether, nolens volens, it is not already. Also, that the US government ‘cannot maintain the formal role of an uninvolved party’.
The other issue is a discrepancy that is also conceptual in nature: on the one hand, Ukraine should not ‘lose’, which is why it should be supported as long as possible. On the other hand, it is now often said that Russia, that Putin must be ‘defeated’. From which it follows for him that even within the political factions antagonisms between pacifists and non-pacifists are rather diffuse and that ‘even in the broad camp of party-supporting supporters of Ukraine, opinions differ as to the right time for peace negotiations’.
Yet, the Tagesspiegel is also taking sides—and does so in the most transparent way. While they shall be commended for actually having that kind of debate, they also pick one of their ‘community comments’, elevate it, and, well, you be the judge, I guess:
In his essay, Habermas makes no suggestions as to what the negotiations should look like; a status quo ante 23 February seems to him to be a starting point. His appeal, however, is an impressive one, his reference to the inevitably increased co-responsibility of the West in this war.
‘Habermas ultimately contradicts his life’s work, his philosophical work, and thus plays right into the cards of what Critical Theory has always argued against: the resurgence of an anti-liberal, totalitarian social order.’
Thus writes [Tagesspiegel] Community Member iuklin
Historian Jan Behrends Weighs in on this in Die Zeit
Next, formerly leftish newspaper Die Zeit published a rebuke to Habermas’ measured call for in-time negotiations with Russia (read it here) and the creeping weaponisation of language in all matters related to Russia.
This lead historian Jan Behrends, professor for the ‘History of Germany and Eastern Europe after 1914’ at the Viadrina University in Frankfurt (Oder), to comment himself with an op-ed entitled, ‘Mostly Blind Spots’, which appeared in Die Zeit on 18 Feb. 2023. This is how Behrends commented on it on LinkedIn:
Yes, Behrends contributed to the discussion quipping ‘mimimi moralia’, which is a rather explicit reference to Theodor Adorno’s 1951 volume Minima Moralia. That book is one of the seminal, if not foundational, texts of Critical Theory.
Covid + Ukraine War = The End of Critical Theory
Make no mistake, whatever you’d like to think about the Frankfurt School and Critical Theory (of which Habermas, Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, and many others are leading protagonists), what Behrends’ piece shows is: Covid and the Ukraine War ushered in a new age of ultra-conformity among ‘intellectuals’, hence, we can expect the return of virtually all those unpalatable things that were deemed unacceptable after WW2.
Eva Illouz Mimics Goebbels—Again, in Die Zeit
So, when I saw the yet another one of these pieces earlier today, I wanted to puke.
‘I wish for a total victory.’
Perhaps only a crushing defeat can help Russia emerge from its dictatorial history.
Leaving aside the absurdity of a Jewish voice mimicking Joseph Goebbels’ infamous 1943 Sportpalast Speech, I’d contend that it’s no coincidence that such an incendiary piece was published on the anniversary (18 Feb.) of this speech.
Never again. Until and unless it’s about ‘total victory’ over Russia.
I hardly ever take offence, but in this regard I do, even though I’m unsure to be offended for the utter madness of deploring anyone who isn’t firmly pro Zelenskyy’s régime—or by the utter disregard, if not historical amnesia, of virtually all of Germany’s (and Austria’s) academics, public intellectuals (Habermas excluded), and politicians with respect to our shared history, however deplorable I personally may find it.
I do wonder, though, why (/irony) this ‘coincidence’ has escaped the participants of the editorial meeting. I mean: they’re presumable all very well educated, incl. specifically Germany’s reckoning with the past and its curricular implications. Apparently, no-one appears to be troubled by this.
There is no shortage of hypocrites, sell-outs, and, yes, pro-Nazi supporters in the German-speaking lands. Apparently, the same can be said about some Israeli ‘intellectuals’. Stranger than fiction, I’m (almost) tempted to say.
I may only explain this by pointing to what Angela Merkel said in late December about Western intentions behind the Minsk I and II agreements: Russia had ‘never been pacified’, and now everything about this conflict makes a bit more sense.