Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Postmodern Weimar Republic

The publishers of a Dutch satirical Internet site have been summoned to appear at a local police station for questioning. While Nekschot had his privacy invaded by a entire squad and was unceremoniously thrown in jail, the blokes of 'Geen Stijl' are the recipients of a 'summons' as the proverbial 'knock on the door.'

In the course of 2006 the site (of which these pages emphatically are not admirers) received some 11 million comments. Of that host the editors omitted to detect and delete 16 individual invectives which generally may be indiced as 'hate.'

Four persons - one of which an Amsterdam alderman - have pressed charges. No one outside the official field is at this stage aware of the legal status of 'the summons' as a relatively new instrument to censor and control.

Columnist and Iranian refugee Afshin Ellian writes: I can hardly imagine the existence in the free West of persons who'd choose to become sensors. I detest this profession, because I was born in a country where censorship has been the rule for centuries. During the eighties thousands of Iranian war veterans were drafted to read the letters written by the regime's dissidents. This was not to uncover criminal acts but opinions and contacts.

Pending a 'summons' let's take note that the youngest generations have grown up after the collapse of the major Western totalitarianisms. They know little of thought police, censors and dissidents.

As for the older ones, they've never dreamt in their vilest nightmares that a neo-fascist dictatorship could develop from the laid-back, postmodern version of the decadent Weimar Republic.

However displicable, antisemitism was not the essence of National Socialism, and certainly not of Fascism. Its breeding ground is Pragmatism meeting dogmatic mysticism and a culture of individual duty towards the collective. On the philosophical level the ingredients are just about in place waiting for the right circumstances to ignite fresh blazes.

- Filed on Articles in "Censoring" -


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