December 24, 2013

"The power which has always started the greatest religious and political avalanches in history rolling has from time immemorial been the magic power of the spoken word, and that alone."

"The broad masses of the people can be moved only by the power of speech. All great movements are popular movements, volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotional sentiments, stirred either by the cruel Goddess of Distress or by the firebrand of the word hurled among the masses; they are not the lemonade-like outpourings of the literary aesthetes and drawing-room heroes."

Wrote Adolf Hitler, quoted in "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich."

I was listening to that in audiobook form during our long car ride yesterday. That passage struck me, and I made a point of remembering a word — "volcanic" — so I could search for it when I got home. I thought it related in interesting ways to present-day issues about speech.

26 comments:

eric said...

I think it was a rising british star on CNN who said something like, "Phil Robertson and the Westboro Church agree on homosexuality."

The implication being, if Westboro agrees with you, you're wrong.

I think you're taking the opposite tact here. Hitler agrees with you on the power of speech. And Hitler should know, right? He gained all that power.


Surely we can see how both sets are flawed?

Ann Althouse said...

Speech is powerful when it's powerful.

It's not all lemonade.

eric said...

I don't think you're wrong, Professor.

My point was only, such an argument is flawed. Or if you prefer, a fallacy.

But there is another fallacy called the fallacy fallacy (Weird, right?). It states that an arguments conclusion isn't wrong just because it was reached by fallacy (Or something like that, not a direct quote).

If I'm not clear, it's my fault. As I stated in another thread, I agree with Dennis Prager on these things. When the read doesn't understand, it's the authors fault.

To restate. I agree with your conclusion. I was merely pointing out the fallacy which lead to it.

eric said...

read=reader

rhhardin said...

It seems overwritten.

Smilin' Jack said...

Speech is powerful when it's powerful.

It certainly got Hitler off to a good start. But unfortunately for him, it's not as powerful as having a bigger army.

traditionalguy said...

Herr Schicklgruber was an expert practitioner of the magic using spoken words to erotically seduce audiences into receiving the spirit speaking through him.

Obama uses his brilliant smile to achieve the same effect on crowds and TV audiences.But what the men channels is important.

God and devils are speaking spirits. One Spirit speaks truth and one spirit always lies. Discernment of spirits is a gift that we all need.

Ann Althouse said...

@eric What argument do you think I have made?

I've provided a quote that I found striking and thought it "thought it related in interesting ways to present-day issues about speech." I'm starting a conversation. It's a jumping off point.

That quote has Hitler writing about the spoken word. If he were speaking about the written word, what would he say?

Ann Althouse said...

"Anna [Schicklgruber] died in 1847, whereupon Johann Hiedler vanished for thirty years, only to reappear at the age of eighty-four in the town of Weitra in the Waldviertel, the spelling of his name now changed to Hitler, to testify before a notary in the presence of three witnesses that he was the father of Alois Schicklgruber. Why the old man waited so long to take this step, or why he finally took it, is not known from the available records. According to Heiden, Alois later confided to a friend that it was done to help him obtain a share of an inheritance from an uncle, a brother of the miller, who had raised the youth in his own household. 13 At any rate, this tardy recognition was made on June 6, 1876, and on November 23 the parish priest at Doellersheim, to whose office the notarized statement had been forwarded, scratched out the name of Alois Schicklgruber in the baptismal registry and wrote in its place that of Alois Hitler.

"From that time on Adolf’s father was legally known as Alois Hitler, and the name passed on naturally to his son. It was only during the 1930s that enterprising journalists in Vienna, delving into the parish archives, discovered the facts about Hitler’s ancestry and, disregarding old Johann Georg Hiedler’s belated attempt to do right by a bastard son, tried to fasten on the Nazi leader the name of Adolf Schicklgruber."

Shirer, William (2011-10-23). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (Kindle Locations 251-261). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Ann Althouse said...

"There are many weird twists of fate in the strange life of Adolf Hitler, but none more odd than this one which took place thirteen years before his birth. Had the eighty-four-year-old wandering miller not made his unexpected reappearance to recognize the paternity of his thirty-nine-year-old son nearly thirty years after the death of the mother, Adolf Hitler would have been born Adolf Schicklgruber. There may not be much or anything in a name, but I have heard Germans speculate whether Hitler could have become the master of Germany had he been known to the world as Schicklgruber. It has a slightly comic sound as it rolls off the tongue of a South German. Can one imagine the frenzied German masses acclaiming a Schicklgruber with their thunderous “Heils”? “Heil Schicklgruber!”? Not only was “Heil Hitler!” used as a Wagnerian, paganlike chant by the multitude in the mystic pageantry of the massive Nazi rallies, but it became the obligatory form of greeting between Germans during the Third Reich, even on the telephone, where it replaced the conventional “Hello.” “Heil Schicklgruber!”? It is a little difficult to imagine."

Carol said...

So, we don't have a funny name on him after all. But we have other things.

Biff said...

Althouse said, "Speech is powerful when it's powerful."

Smilin' Jack responded, "It certainly got Hitler off to a good start. But unfortunately for him, it's not as powerful as having a bigger army."

Biff says, "A bigger army is nice to have, but it can be defeated by a smaller army that is better led. Effective speech is (usually) an important component of effective leadership."

traditionalguy said...

Free speech is an antidote to poisons from the lying speakers. Spoken truth defeats spoken lies.

That is why the Government media today plasters the airwaves with slander of truth speakers in hopes no one will listen to them.

Hitler, and others, once in authority quickly declared speech illegal and books banned/burned for containing a hint of Christian Hate Speech, or Zionist Jew Lover Speech, or Reform Theology Speech, declaring that all speakers be punished by loss of property, position and life by torture.

The British Monarchy's Empire was not innocent either. in the 1770s despite the Colonists claiming Rights of English Citizens, the King answered by an Army and Navy invasion to kill off the rebel speakers.

chuck said...

When I was a kid I ran across Mein Kampf while working in the town library. Of course I had to read it. My impression at the time was that Hitler had astute things to say about crowds and how to manipulate them.

St. George said...

"And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you....

"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?"

Revenant said...

I think it was a rising british star on CNN

Wouldn't "has-been" be a more technically accurate description, given that he was much more successful in the UK prior to getting sacked?

m stone said...

St. George: It all started with Elohim speaking all creation and life into existence.

eric said...

The professor wrote;

"@eric What argument do you think I have made?"

From another thread, you quoted and wrote;

""Hitler was NOT about speech ! Good grief !""

He STARTED with speech."

I think this post is the counter argument, expounding upon, "He STARTED with speech."

traditionalguy said...

Tonight is the date Gen. Washington and his Scots-Irish troops attacked the Foreign troops King of England sent here to kill us and saved the war in Delaware, the home of our Professor.

EDH said...

"The power which has always started the greatest religious and political avalanches in history rolling has from time immemorial been the magic power of the spoken word, and that alone."

Hitler, seemingly borrowing the phraseology of Marx, really saw the influence of "great men" such as himself as the bulwark against the historical materialism offered to the masses by Marxism.

"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." - Karl Marx

Richard Dolan said...

In the beginning was the Word ...

Words frame the inhabited world, organize how we see it, put in perspective what we experience in it. So, of course, speech is powerful.

But there are lots of conflicting voices, and the power of speech, anyone's speech, is quickly diluted. There are ways to overcome that problem, but they involve harnessing forces other than the power of words.

Terry said...

I thought it was Orwell until I looked below the fold.
Who is the translator?

madAsHell said...

I dunno.....Obama has sold a lot of guns, and ammo.
I don't think that was his intention.

So, it's kinda like Obamacare. It wasn't his intention.

Foobarista said...

Speech is powerful when it's backed by action. Any decently competent writer can come up with a good speech, but the great speeches are remembered because those who gave them backed up the speeches with actions. MLK's "I have a dream" speech worked because of his ongoing efforts and sacrifices. Churchill's speeches resonate because of his wartime leadership.

For that matter, Adolf's speeches are remembered because of his evil actions, where he backed up exactly what he said he'd do.

But speech without supporting action is empty, as our glorious leadership is discovering.

Foobarista said...

Speech is powerful when it's backed by action. Any decently competent writer can come up with a good speech, but the great speeches are remembered because those who gave them backed up the speeches with actions. MLK's "I have a dream" speech worked because of his ongoing efforts and sacrifices. Churchill's speeches resonate because of his wartime leadership.

For that matter, Adolf's speeches are remembered because of his evil actions, where he backed up exactly what he said he'd do.

But speech without supporting action is empty, as our glorious leadership is discovering.

betamax3000 said...

From a Trip Through the Looking Glass...

"From then on, things developed in the United States and in the German Reich in such a way that future generations will have no difficulty in making a definitive evaluation of the two different socio-political theories. Whereas the German Reich experienced an enormous improvement in social, economic, cultural and artistic life in just a few years under National Socialist leadership, President Roosevelt was not able to bring about even limited improvements in his own country. This task should have been much easier in the United States, with barely 15 people per square kilometer, as compared to 140 in Germany. If economic prosperity is not possible in that country, it must be the result of either a lack of will by the ruling leadership or the complete incompetence of the men in charge. In just five years, the economic problems were solved in Germany and unemployment was eliminated. During this same period, President Roosevelt enormously increased his country’s national debt, devalued the dollar, further disrupted the economy and maintained the same number of unemployed."


https://k0nsl.org/blog/the-hitler-speech-they-dont-want-you-to-hear/