A huge Nazi book burning was held in Berlin 81 years ago on May 10, 1933, the opening act of nation wide book burnings in some 34 university cities and towns organized in Germany by the German Students Association and the Nazi Party. Thousands of university students eagerly chucked into the bonfire some 25,000 volumes written by authors considered subversive by the new Nazi regime, which covered most of Western thought before the new era that the Nazis thought they were making for mankind. The young in Germany, by and large, tended to be the most enthusiastic followers of the Nazis, particularly students in institutions of higher learning. Many of them seemed to enjoy having a leader to follow blindly, no longer having the hard work of sorting truth from falsehood on their own. Ideologies that combine certainty, action, violent rhetoric, scape-goating and a charismatic leader provide an easy escape in this Vale of Tears from concerns of morality, justice and self-criticism, and that is often attractive for people of all ages, but especially for the young who usually lack the experience to readily recognize when a bill of goods is being sold to them. Continue reading
Recently I followed the twitter feed of the National Institute of Marriage (NOM), an organization that is fighting efforts to permit gay marriage. There is another twitterer with the blog handle Ifollowhate, and he (or she, or maybe they) follows every person who follows the NOM account, and promptly tweets to said person, “why do you follow a hate group?” I thought little of it and didn’t bother to respond, so I just blocked this account. Then I thought about this. There is a person (again, maybe more than one person is attached to the account) who spends their entire day parked on twitter, seeing who follows another twitter user, ready to pounce on any individual who dares follow this group. (NOTE: Not exactly – see comments. This is an automated program, though the Ifollowhate twitter account does followup with other twitter users.)
What a sad existence. Imagine if your entire life was spent devoted to nothing more than harassing people you disagree with politically, accusing them of being (or following) a hate group. Yet the mentality that drives such a person (or group) is more and more common.