The Corner

Politics & Policy

‘According to the Modern View …’

On the homepage today, I have an unusual article, or an offbeat article: a series of questions and answers. The questions were put to me at a gathering not long ago and they concern some subjects I write about frequently: dictatorship, dissidence, music, language, WFB, golf, The Simpsons, Charles Barkley … You may find it interesting.

Here on the Corner, I’d like to share a quotation, which came to me from a historian friend of mine in Britain. I shared it with Kevin Williamson, with whom I recently did a road trip. (Podcast to come.)

My historian friend was perusing some Nazi-era documents, as one does. He came across a statement from an official of the German Nationalist Party, or DNVP. The date is April 4, 1933. The question is, Does a person have the right to change his name, or to keep the new name, if he already has? (This was a question extremely important to Jews.)

Here is the statement: “The preceding liberal epoch was concerned with the protection of the anonymous individual and his individual views and aspirations, however perverse. According to the modern view, the individual only has a claim to the protection of his individual opinion in so far as it coincides with the will of the community.”

Beware this “modern view,” whether it is imposed by Left or Right. Illiberalism is always at work, ready to make the individual conform or suffer.


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