Then and Now

Then (1942): “Hitler requires, not condemnation, but understanding.” ~~pacifist poet, D.S. Savage.

In January 1942, with German armies at the gates of Moscow, George Orwell wrote in “Partisan Review” that “the greater part of the very young intelligentsia are anti-war … don’t believe in any ‘defense of democracy,’ are inclined to prefer Germany to Britain, and don’t feel the horror of Fascism that we who are somewhat older feel.” From Mat Boot in LATimes.com, 13 July 2005, comes the following.

As if to illustrate Orwell’s point, a pacifist poet named D.S. Savage wrote a reply in which he explained why he “would never fight and kill for such a phantasm” as “Britain’s ‘democracy.'” Savage saw no difference between Britain and its enemies because under the demands of war both were imposing totalitarianism: “Germans call it National Socialism. We call it democracy. The result is the same.”

Savage naively wondered, “Who is to say that a British victory will be less disastrous than a German one?” Savage thought the real problem was that Britain had lost “her meaning, her soul,” but “the unloading of a billion tons of bombs on Germany won’t help this forward an inch.” “Personally,” he added, with hilarious understatement, “I do not care for Hitler.” But he thought the way to resist Hitler was by not resisting him: “Whereas the rest of the nation is content with calling down obloquy on Hitler’s head, we regard this as superficial. Hitler requires, not condemnation, but understanding.”

Now, 2005, the message from the intelligencia is the same. Time has moved forward and proved them wrong, but they have never noticed. That must be why they are called “intelligencia”.

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