Skip to main content

Holocaust Denying Asshats II

Image result for harry elmer barnes genesis of the world war

Both Sean Spicer and Marine Le Pen have in recent days uttered claims that might well fit under the capacious tent of "Holocaust revisionism." Spicer has walked it back, and one can generously attribute his comments to gross maladroitness in the performance of ... well ... his job.

Still: such events do give us the opportunity to observe that much of the crap that passes itself off these days as "Holocaust revisionism" traces itself back to Harry Elmer Barnes, a paid apologist and propagandist for Nazi Germany in real time.

Barnes may have been atoning for his own war guilt. During the "Great War," 1914-18, Barnes was an enthusiast for the crusade against the Huns.

When peace came, Barnes (like many at the time) wondered what it all had been about. He concluded not just that he had been overly enthusiastic, not just that he had been wrong in seeing the war as a matter of white hats versus black hats, but that in fact he had had the 'hats' the wrong way around -- that the Central Powers were forced into a war they didn't want, and then were forced into a draconian peace by the actual warmongers.

In his 1927 book, THE GENESIS OF THE WORLD WAR, he treated both Germany and Austria-Hungary as victims of an evil Franco-Russian plot. By this time he was in the pay of the German Foreign Ministry.

He seems to have been led into anti-semitic conspiracy theories by degrees. He spoke to the former Kaiser while working on his book, and the Kaiser told him that he was wrong to blame France and Russia for the calamity of  1914. He should rather blame the freemasons and international Jewry which had worked their will through those nations.

In the late 1930s Barnes was syndicating a weekly newspaper column arguing that the powers to Germany's east and west were once again ganging up on it.

In 1940 the New York World-Telegram dropped his column. Barnes of course knew who the culprits must be: the city's Jewish department store owners.

Barnes wisely kept silent on such matters during the period from Pearl Harbor until the defeat of the Axis powers. Once this war was over he got to work writing -- this time without foreign subsidization, for Adenauer would clearly have been uninterested -- that this time too the Germans had been the victims. Hitler, Barnes wrote in 1947, had been the only reasonable world leader around in 1939, and it was Britain that was responsible for the outbreak of war.

His pamphlets through the '50s and '60s laid the groundwork for the stupid holocaust-denialist arguments of our own time.

I am almost inspired to song. How about a few alternative lyrics to the tune of "Signs"?

Barnes Barnes, too much left of Barnes,
Breaking up the scenery, raising alarms.
Jew this, Jews did that
"Can't you see?" asks Baaaarnes....


Popular posts from this blog

England as a Raft?

In a lecture delivered in 1880, William James asked rhetorically, "Would England ... be the drifting raft she is now in European affairs if a Frederic the Great had inherited her throne instead of a Victoria, and if Messrs Bentham, Mill, Cobden, and Bright had all been born in Prussia?"

Beneath that, in a collection of such lectures later published under James' direction, was placed the footnote, "The reader will remember when this was written."

The suggestion of the bit about Bentham, Mill, etc. is that the utilitarians as a school helped render England ineffective as a European power, a drifting raft.

The footnote was added in 1897. So either James is suggesting that the baleful influence of Bentham, Mill etc wore off in the meantime or that he had over-estimated it.

Let's unpack this a bit.  What was happening in the period before 1880 that made England seem a drifting raft in European affairs, to a friendly though foreign observer (to the older brother…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

Francesco Orsi

I thought briefly that I had found a contemporary philosopher whose views on ethics and meta-ethics checked all four key boxes. An ally all down the line.

The four, as regular readers of this blog may remember, are: cognitivism, intuitionism, consequentialism, pluralism. These represent the views that, respectively: some ethical judgments constitute knowledge; one important source for this knowledge consists of quasi-sensory non-inferential primary recognitions ("intuitions"); the right is logically dependent upon the good; and there exists an irreducible plurality of good.

Francesco Orsi seemed to believe all of these propositions. Here's his website and a link to one relevant paper:

What was better: Orsi is a young man. Born in 1980. A damned child! Has no memories of the age of disco!

So I emailed him asking if I was right that he believed all of those things. His answer: three out of …