Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bullshit or Not: Hitler Edition

There's an old sketch film called Amazon Women on the Moon and one of the bits is a parody of the old Leonard Nimoy show, "In Search Of..." called, "Bullshit or Not?" with the tagline "Bullshit or not? You decide." It's a line I like so much that I've stolen it for an irregular series of posts.

Last weekend was Adolph Hitler's birthday, so let's take a passage from Mein Kampf,

"To take abstract and general principles, derived from a philosophy which is based on a solid foundation of truth, and transform them into a militant community whose members have the same political faith – a community which is precisely defined, rigidly organized, of one mind and one will – such a transformation is the most important task of all; for the possibility of successfully carrying out the idea is dependent on the successful fulfilment of that task. Out of the army of millions who feel the truth of these ideas, and even may understand them to some extent, one man must arise. This man must have the gift of being able to expound general ideas in a clear and definite form, and, from the world of vague ideas shimmering before the minds of the masses, he must formulate principles that will be as clear-cut and firm as granite. He must fight for these principles as the only true ones, until a solid rock of common faith and common will emerges above the troubled waves of vagrant ideas."
If we want to turn ideals and ideologies of any stripe into material reality, does this require the arising of a statesman as the face of the movement? Is the great individual a necessary condition for social change of any kind?

Bullshit or not? You decide. As usual, feel free to leave anything from a single word to a dissertation.