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The Worst Blog Post of 2009

This Huffington Post piece by Alan Kaufman, “Google Books And Kindles: A Concentration Camp Of Ideas“. I thought this piece was a joke at first, but realizing it’s not only reminds of how terrible the left remains. Utterly hostile to technology, commerce, progress, industry, individuality, freedom, and modernity. A few choice sentences are enough to turn one’s stomach:

When I hear the term Kindle I think not of imaginations fired but of crematoria lit. And when I hear the term “hi-tech” I think not of helpful androids efficiently performing household chores or light-speed rockets gliding seamlessly through space but of the fact that between 1933-45, modern technology was used to perform in ever more efficient ways the mass murder of six million of my people. The instruments of so-called progress, placed in the hands of the modern state, disappeared six million Jewish men, women and children, into a void from which they will never return and in which a majority of them remain forever unidentified. This was done in the name of progress by means of technology for the creation of a better world.

The Nazis often were, by their own lights, well-intentioned idealists working for a better tomorrow. And their instrument was modern technology, aspects of philosophical and aesthetic modernism and the old religious concept of supercession implicit in the Christian notion of progress. Jews were outmoded, useless, they said. Most high level Nazis, like Himmler or Heydrich or Eichmann, did not feel visceral hatred towards the Jew. Rather, they looked upon them coldly as something that simply needed to disappear so that the new life could get on its way. And the means by which they sought to do so was first through a propaganda campaign that portrayed Jews, in Wagnerian terms, as a drag on the visionary energies and bursting vigor of the new Aryan man, and then by the implementation of this decision to eliminate Jews through ever more sophisticated state corporate and scientific technological means. And yet, during the war crime trials at Nuremberg, while Nazi Jurisprudence was tried and hanged, Nazi technological attitudes were not put on trial.

… The hi-tech campaign to relocate books to Google and replace books with Kindles is, in its essence, a deportation of the literary culture to a kind of easily monitored concentration camp of ideas, where every examination of a text leaves behind a trail, a record, so that curiosity is also tinged with a sense of disquieting fear that some day someone in authority will know that one had read a particular book or essay. This death of intellectual privacy was also a dream of the Nazis. And when I hear the term Kindle, I think not of imaginations fired but of crematoria lit.

[Hat tip to Brian Martinez; LRC cross-post]

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Alan Kaufman December 13, 2009, 10:57 am

    You know, contrary to the pedagogic standards of today’s educational system, attendance of a showing of
    Tarrantino’s ‘Inglorious Bastards’ does not equipt you
    to contribute to a discussion of ‘The Holocaust’. My guess is that as witha great many of the indfignant respondants to my essays in Huff Po and Evergreen Review, you haven’t even a clue as to what I’m talking about vis a vis the Holocaust. If you want to really engage me in dialogiue, try reading Isaiah Trunk’s ‘Judenrat’, Raul Hilberg’s ‘The Destruction of European Jewry”, Lucy Dadowitz’s ‘The War Against The Jews’, and IBM and the Holocaust, just to name a few starter volumes, and then get back to me. Try reading the whole book as book, not skipping here and there through Kindle while you check your emails, post on Facebook, read up on Lindsy Lohan, and search ebay for ski boots. Hedigger and Google have captured your brains. and are shelving them somewhere in labeled jars (virtually, of course. The real ones have been destroyed.)

    • iawai December 13, 2009, 4:22 pm

      Miss the point much?

  • Alan Kaufman December 13, 2009, 10:59 am

    I’d Like To Nominate yours as the MOST MORONIC BLOG RESPONSE OF 2009

  • Veritas September 6, 2011, 9:15 pm

    Or better, watch One third of the Holocaust, and see what shaky foundations the Hilberg edifice is constructed on. The Nuremberg hearings were the real revenge fantasy, not Inglourious Basterds.

  • Marcel Popescu September 7, 2011, 1:19 am

    He’s apparently traditionally published; as Konrath and others have shown, this tends to create a Stockholm syndrome in writers which has them defending publishers to the point of irrationality. (Though this guy takes the cake.) Since the Kindle is about to completely destroy those publishers, he’s upset.

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