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Why did the Nazis quickly proceed to clamp down all freedom of speech and to shoot or shut up in concentration prisons all the intelligentsia? It is simply because truth can afford to encourage criticism, whereas falsehood fears it. Nazi Germany proved the irony of human suggestibility, that there, where truth was most absent, the people were led to believe it was most present. The Nazis invented pretexts for invasion as they invented history for propaganda. They did this because it was useful to them. Their followers, however, honestly believed both pretexts and history because the hypnotic power of suggestion had influenced them. If we remember the mentally dark and morally savage state of Europe during the long stretch of centuries between the time of Justinian and the twelfth century, that period which has been well named the Dark Ages, we can picture something of the New Order which Hitler wanted to inaugurate. Had he triumphed there would have been no further philosophy for a generation. From national falsehoods to international deceptions, his work of instilling darkness into men's minds went on unimpeded. The ideal of a government with clean hands and clear conscience was not only utterly alien to him, but also utterly despised by him. He raised brigandage to the status of statesmanship! His faithful satellites and partners in treachery busied themselves feverishly to explain away the deceptions and duplicities which lurked behind Hitler's words. First the German nation believed his fabrications, then large numbers in other nations believed them. It illustrated how those who begin by disdaining reason, end by accepting absurdity. Most people have only dimmed spiritual lights but here we have the awful case of men with wholly extinguished lights, without retaining the slightest trace of reverence for spiritual values.


-- Notebooks Category 11: The Negatives > Chapter 3: Their Presence in The World > # 211






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