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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 27, 2012/ 13 Kislev, 5773

Men Blinded by Their Brains

By Paul Johnson





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The recent death, at age 95, of Eric Hobsbawm removed the last of the Stalinists. During his long life Hobsbawm remained true to his faith, not resigning from the Communist Party until 1991, by which time Stalin’s Soviet Union had ceased to exist.

Hobsbawm’s devotion prompts the question: What leads intellectuals, otherwise skeptical of most phenomena, to adore such monsters? Hobsbawm was by trade a historian. According to his left-wing admirers he was “brilliant;” in the opinion of the rest he was “unreadable.” He was also spectacularly ugly. The theory among cynics is that Hobsbawm was so angry with G0D for making him hideous that he was determined to back whoever was G0D’s most resolute opponent. And in Hobsbawm’s youth, that was Stalin.

A more serious suggestion is that intellectuals love power and the satanic figures who embody and exercise it. It’s amazing, looking back, to realize how many intellectuals supported Hitler long after he’d begun to display his evil nature. They included such pro-Fascist ideologues as Louis Ferdinand Celine, Oswald Spengler, Martin Heidegger, Ezra Pound and Charles Maurras, as well as a range of uncommitted figures who commented in his favor, such as W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Jean Cocteau, Benedetto Croce, James Burnham, Luigi Pirandello and Giovanni Gentile, along with such celebrities as Lloyd George, the Duke of Windsor and Lord Rothermere.

Stalin’s admirers were no less numerous. Of Stalin’s murders?he is now thought to be responsible for the deaths of 20 million people George Bernard Shaw wrote: “We cannot afford to give ourselves moral airs when our most enterprising neighbour … humanely and judiciously liquidates a handful of exploiters and speculators to make the world safe for honest men.” The American ambassador in Stalin’s heyday reported: “His brown eye is exceedingly wise and gentle. A child would like to sit on his lap and a dog would sidle up to him.”

Stalin worshippers were well rewarded for their idolatry, especially in academia. Hobsbawm was elected to the British Academy; made an honorary fellow of King’s College at Cambridge, a professor-at-large by Cornell University and a Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; and was also given an honorary doctorate by Columbia and a dozen other universities. Shortly after he again had refused to disavow his approval of Stalin’s empire, Britain’s Labour government made him a Companion of Honour.

Stalin and Hitler weren’t the only mass-murderers to receive ecstatic praise. Mao Zedong was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 70 million of his countrymen, yet Westerners were among his warmest admirers. One of them wrote: “[China is] a kind of benign monarchy ruled by an emperor-priest who had won the complete devotion of his subjects.” David Rockefeller praised the “national harmony” of Mao’s China, which produced not only “more efficient and dedicated administration” but fostered “high morale and community of purpose.” Another American visitor said “law and order … are maintained more by the prevailing high moral code than by any threat of police action.”

Similar praise was heaped on minor killers and dictators, such as Fidel Castro. Saul Landau found him “steeped in democracy”; to Leo Huberman and Paul Sweezy, Castro was “a passionate humanitarian”; others praised his “encyclopedic knowledge.” He was “soft-spoken, shy, sensitive” but also “vigorous, handsome, informal, undogmatic, open, humane, superbly accessible and warm.”

Of course, intellectuals, whom I de fine as those who think ideas are more important than people, are notoriously bad at seeing the ordinary world and coming to moral decisions about it. I knew the two greatest intellectuals of their age, Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre, and whatever one might think about their writings, they were the last people one could appeal to for advice on anything practical, especially if it involved moral issues. I suppose Eric Hobsbawm fit into this category. Like them, he was a man so blinded by his own intellect that he was unable to see the evil and wickedness staring him in the face.

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Previously:


10/24/12: The World's Most Unlovable Man
07/17/12: Make the Euro A Joking Matter
04/17/12: Silent witness
03/13/12: To pick an American President
12/13/11: American Culture Rides High
10/20/11: Who Can Lead Us To Safety?
08/23/11: Wanted: Global Role Models

07/05/11: Debt: A Moral Issue

06/08/11: The Moral Logic of Intervention
03/10/11: China's Secret Weakness: Is history repeating itself?
02/10/11: Assessing America's Foes
11/29/10: Wanted: Someone to Trust
10/19/10: Are Universities Worth It?
06/01/10: The English Language and Freedom
04/20/10: Listening and Telling the Truth
02/28/10: There Is No Keynesian Miracle
10/20/09: A Job Waiting for a Woman?
07/21/09: Obama Has to Be World Sheriff
03/24/09: Short works of genius that cheer up the writing profession
02/11/09: What would Darwin do?
01/27/09: Are you sophisticated? Here's how to find out
01/06/09: What did they talk about in the Ice Age? The weather, of course
09/09/08: Time, and our appalling ignorance of it
08/19/08: Eye-stopping glimpses of an exotic and forbidden world
06/30/08: How to fill a lecture hall, and how to empty it
06/23/08: Americans should count their blessings
05/20/08: Pajamas for Presidents
05/13/08: Literary woodlice boring needless holes in biographical bedposts
04/01/08: When markets come crashing down, send for the man with the big red nose
04/01/08: Quality for dinner. Pass the Fairy Liquid, Old Boy
03/25/08: In search of an American President with brains and guts
03/18/08: Technological warfare against mice won't work. Try cats
03/11/08: What is a genius? We use the word frequently but surely, to guard its meaning, we should bestow it seldom
03/03/08: Fiction as a crutch to get one through life
02/26/08: Impatience + Greed = Trouble
02/13/08: Shakespeare, Neo-Platonism and Princess Diana
02/07/08: Where Industry Has Failed Us
12/19/07: People who put their trust in human power delude themselves
12/12/07: What is aggression?
12/04/07: Pursuing success is not enough
11/07/07: Are famous writers accident-prone?
10/31/07: Courage needed to disarm Iran
09/20/07: Who Will Say ‘I Promise to Lay Off’?
07/24/07: Greed is safer than power-seeking
04/02/07: Benefactors must be hardheaded
03/07/07: American idealism and realpolitik
11/28/06: Space: Our ticket to survival
10/24/06: Envy is bad economics
10/11/06: Better to Borrow or Lend? Rethinking conventional wisdom
08/22/06: Don't practice legal terrorism
08/08/06: A summer rhapsody for a pedal-bike
08/03/06: Why is there no workable philosophy of music?
07/11/06: Historically speaking, energy crisis is America's opportunity
07/06/06: The misleading dimensions of persons and lives
06/06/06: First editions are not gold
05/23/06: A downright ugly man need never despair of attracting women, even pretty ones
04/25/06: Was Washington right about political parties?
04/12/06: Let's Have More Babies!
04/05/06: For the love of trains
03/29/06: Lincoln and the Compensation Culture
03/22/06: Bottle-beauties and the globalised blond beast
03/15/06: Europe's utopian hangover
03/08/06: Kindly write on only one side of the paper
02/28/06: Creators versus critics
02/21/06: The Rhino Principle

© 2009, Paul Johnson

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