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. . . And when everything has passed by–; when everything has run its full course: the herd mentality, the bliss of mass rallies at which slogans are shouted and flags are waived; when this illness of our times, which transforms through its lies the baser qualities of the people into noble ones, has passed on; when the people are perhaps not smarter, but are tired; when all the engagements over fascism have been fought to their conclusion and the last liberal emigrants have left our shores–:
Then, one day it will suddenly become fashionable to be a liberal.
And then someone will arise who will make a thundering discovery: he will discover the Individual. He will say: There is an organism, called the human being, and our life revolves around him. Whether he is happy, that is the question. That he is free—that is the object. Groups are something secondary. The State is something secondary. We should not be focused on the success of the State, but rather of the Individual.
The man who speaks in this manner will produce a great effect on his audience. The people will cheer these themes and will say: “That’s something new! What courage! We’ve never heard anything quite like that before! A new era of humanity is coming! What a genius we have among us! A new way of thinking is born–!”
His books will be bestsellers, or more precisely the books of his imitators, since the first is of course always a bit of a dim bulb.
And this new theory will have its way: a hundred thousand black, brown and red shirts will be driven to the margins and onto the dust heap. And the people will once more have the courage to be themselves, without majority decrees and without fear of the State, before which they had knuckled under like whipped dogs. And that will continue, until one day. . .
–Kurt Tucholsky, Blick in ferne Zukunft (1931) in: Gesammelte Werke, vol. 5, p. 212-13 (1972)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”