One of the best memoirs of the 20th century may be The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig

In 1914, Zweig was on holiday in Belgium. The mood was "carefree". Many nationalities were enjoying the seaside, including many Germans. Newspaper boys bawled out menacing headlines but
people thought these things are always satisfactorily settled at the last moment - so, why not this time too?

The kites rose in the air, seagulls flew overhead, and the sun shone on the peaceful scene, bright and warm

Suddenly there were Belgian soldiers around the place, a sight never usually seen on the beach. ...machine guns were transported on little carts with dogs harnessed to them.

Someone said, "Precautions have to be taken"

"Nonsense!" I replied with genuine conviction..

I replied with genuine conviction, for "in the world of the past we still believed that treaties were sacred"

It seemed to me utterly absurd that while thousands of Germans were casually and happily enjoying the hospitality of this neutral little country, there could be a German army stationed on the frontier ready to invade. "Ridiculous" I said

There is always a strong desire to go on hoping in an hour of danger

[But] there was no doubt about it, this monstrous thing was in progress - the Germans were invading Belgium in defiance of the statutes of international law


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More from @TomLondon6

12 Jan
A book has arrived in the post (NOT from Amazon)
Michael Parenti, "Dirty Truths"

"I call these writings Dirty Truths because they deal with the kind of undiluted information and ideas largely excluded from our corporate-dominated media, schools and mainstream politics...

, views that are studiously ignored or strenuously denounced, so much so as to take on the appearance of something improper. They are not merely dissident but "dirty" as it were, lacking the unexamined repetition and aura of respectability that are bestowed upon more

conventional opinions

[Truths are better than lies]

[This will], I hope, prove a refreshing departure from the predominating ideological pap that is fed to us time & again about such things as poverty & wealth, fascism & free markets, media & culture, consciousness & class

Read 4 tweets
11 Jan
Karl Marx: "The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal,
has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant

material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness,

Read 5 tweets
10 Jan
"I had learned too much history not to know that the great masses always and at once respond to the force of gravity in the direction of the powers that be. I knew that the same voices which yelled “Heil Schuschnigg” today would thunder “Heil Hitler” tomorrow."
- Stefan Zweig
“The herd instinct of the mob was not yet as offensively powerful in public life as it is today; freedom in what you did or did not do in private life was taken for granted...toleration was not deplored as a weakness & debility, but was praised as an ethical force”
- Stefan Zweig
“It remains an irrefragable law of history that contemporaries are denied a recognition of the early beginnings of the great movements which determine their times.”
- Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday
Read 11 tweets
8 Jan
“These are the times that try men's souls.”
- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis
“To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead.”
- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis
“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”
- Thomas Paine, A Letter Addressed to the Abbe Raynal
Read 9 tweets
27 Dec 20
"In sum, as highly skilled specialists, news manufacturers are more than merely conduits for official and moneyed interests. They help create, embellish, and give life to the news, with an array of stereotyped, often misleading, but well-executed images, tones, evasions, ...
nuances, suppressions, and fabrications that lend confirmation to the ruling class viewpoint in a process that is not immediately recognized as being the propaganda it is. Their authoritative voices on radio and television, their decisive...
wrap-ups and reassuring appearances before the camera, and their endless columns of system-sustaining stories and
commentaries help make us believe "that's the way it is." At the same time, this media message preempts the public agenda and crowds out...
Read 4 tweets
1 Nov 20
BEWARE "doublethink"

In 1984 George Orwell defines "doublethink":

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies,

to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it,

to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again,

Read 8 tweets

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