Friday, January 28, 2005

Everything Old Is New Again 

Good Jon Carroll column today, but we will content ourserves with bringing you the quote that kicks it off:
"In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. ... Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness."

--Hannah Arendt,
The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)

Do you suppose Ms. Arendt (or perhaps Mr. Richard Hofstadter) might be interested in starting a blog?

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