The value of Mein Kampf

A French edition of Mein Kampf has become a surprise summer bestseller

Well:

“What is the use of making more people aware of the criminal delirium that it contains?” said Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing Unbowed France party.

Well, having a copy of what is – as is rightly said – agreed to be criminal delirium allows us to page through other manifestos to look for people saying much the same thing. Which does indeed lead to a number of possibly unfavourable pieces of note taking. There are definite echoes of fascist economics (note, economics that fascists pursued, not fascism itself) in the progressive protectionism of Colin Hines. Mariana Mazzucatto comes much to close, in my mind, to that all in the state, nothing against the state idea in her ramblings upon innovation and invention. And there are definitely an awful lot of people for whom – please note, neither Hines nor Mazzucato – replacing Jew with capitalist works as an explanation for what’s wrong with the world. Even, over on some of those fringes of anti-Zionism, an identification of each with the other.

That is, if we agree that we’ve a collection of twattish ideas then reading it can illuminate who else is also a twat.
M. Melenchon.

10 thoughts on “The value of Mein Kampf”

  1. ‘an awful lot of people for whom – please note, neither Hines nor Mazzucato – replacing Jew with capitalist works as an explanation for what’s wrong with the world’

    One could of course replace Jew with white man. And doubtless the people I have in mind would feel I was replacing Jew with them.

  2. €100 a hefty price? For 864(!) pages of luxury hardback? Rather cheap, imo.
    Just slightly more expensive per page than the same quality first editions I have of sir PTerry’s issues. Although those are admittedly more fun to read while giving the same level of acerbic comments on Human Affairs.

  3. In other words, the left don’t want the peeps reading the writings of a right wing lunatic and realising it’s close to the same stuff spouted by the left wing lunatics.

  4. In other words, the left don’t want the peeps reading the writings of a right wing lunatic and realising it’s close to the same stuff spouted by the left wing lunatics.

    Don’t forget that, apart from joining the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, Adolf declared himself a socialist on many occasions.

  5. “What is the use of making more people aware of the criminal delirium that it contains?” said Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing Unbowed France party.

    He’s right you know. That Hitler guy was fucking crazy, and the only sensible solution is to shut down all the atomic energy plants and repopulate France with Hottentots and Berbers.

  6. I’ve never read Mein Kampf: I was put off reading extremist literature by looking into the Koran. At first it seemed odd because I had been expecting something along the lines of the Bible – you know, based on tales of this and that, written as a sequence. Once I put that boyish misapprehension behind me I still couldn’t make much of it.

    Years later I discovered that scholars know three relevant things. First, nobody had any idea of what sequence the bits were meant to come in so whoever assembled the Koran heaped it up starting with the longer chapters and finishing with the shorter. (That’s a first approximation, anyway). Secondly, there’s a lot of unavoidable ambiguity because in Classical Arabic the lack of vowels and superscripts mean that many words cannot be distinguished from each other. Thirdly, some passages – maybe up to 20% of the content – have no discernible meaning at all. (One scholar has suggested that they were based on early misinterpretations of passages originally written in Syriac, not Arabic.)

    Is the work of the Austrian prophet as hard to understand?

  7. Dear Mr Worstall

    I thought that “Jew” and “capitalist” were more or less synonymous back in the day. Coupled with “successful”, it provided an opportunity to generate envy amongst the unambitious, risk-averse and lazy.

    I doubt that the average man in the street then, as now, realised the share between entrepreneur and consumers – about 3% to the one and 97% to the other if my recollection of your quoted figures is correct – and readily believed all wealth was creamed off by the evil capitalists exploiting the poor.

    Killing golden geese seems to be a normal activity of the average megalomaniac, the resulting disaster being laid at the door of those being persecuted. Win-win.

    DP

  8. @dearieme
    Read the thing in the English translation, years ago. Well a lot of it. It is incredibly boring. There’s a lot in it that’s thoroughly mainstream for the time it was written. People forget how normal anti-semitism was. Or would rather not remember. Some of it’s even mainstream now. With Richie, anyway.

  9. Actually it mayn’t be a bad idea it has been republished. It’s one of those books everyone will tell you they know what’s in it. Yet none will have read it. Even extracts. take pride in it. In fact they’d regard with horror anyone reading it. Very Orwellian. Ignorance is knowledge.

  10. Incidentally, the copy fell into my grubby paws was in the bookshelf at a mate’s house. Maybe that said something about his father or his grandfather. I know a couple of my family weren’t exactly unfavourable to Mosley. Woking class, E. Enders when the East End stayed their side of the Lea. But that whole era got retouched, didn’t it?

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