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August 3, 2005

Follow Your Dreams

At the moment, I'm reading "The Origins of Totalitarianism" by Hannah Arendt. Good book, because Arendt isn't moralizing, she's just very curious what made Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia tick, and she's trying to find out the way a detective might investigate a murder: she's looking for clues in the past of the suspects, mainly in the 19th century. Maybe that's why it reads like a crime novel at some points. It seems to me to be a very timely book, too, good for a better understanding of certain characteristics the Bush administration. I'm not saying that the USA is a totalitarian state yet, but some strategies are very similar, e. g. the tendency first to tell a lie and then change reality in order to make it fit. Sixty years ago, it went like: "Russians have no culture. They do have a culture, you say? Well, no problem, we put some of them in this cage here and give them nothing to eat for weeks. Look, now they start eating each other. See what I mean? Russians have no culture, they're savages. So there." Today, it's more like: "Arabs are evil and want to kill us. They don't want to kill us, you say? Well, no problem, we just bomb a few thousands of them into smithereens, torture some more for no reason whatsoever and occupy one of their countries on the flimsiest of pretexts. Look, now they call us Satan and blow themselves up near where we're standing. See what I mean? Arabs are evil and want to kill us, no respect for life. They're savages. So there." Seems to work like a charm at the moment.


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