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Wecken Sie Auf!

Prof. John Lukacs observed in his recently published book Democracy and Populism that a common theme of nationalists (as opposed to patriots) and their sort is the constant call to a people to Awake!  In other words, to fail to agree with their diagnosis and their policy prescriptions is to be virtually unconscious, asleep, unaware of the world around you.  No one who is paying attention can seriously believe differently from the one who is trying to wake you from your dreamworld.  Achtung

This came back to me as I was reading over Santorum’s “Blathering,” I mean, “Gathering Storm” speech [1], in which the call to “wake up” or a remark about someone or other “sleepwalking” in the midst of great danger was repeated several times.  There is one sense in which this sort of sleep/wakefulness rhetoric is commonplace enough, but in the context of Santorum’s “the Iranians–with their mighty Venezuelan friends!–are coming to conquer the world” argument it takes on a rather more obnoxious quality.

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1 Comment To "Wecken Sie Auf!"

#1 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On October 31, 2006 @ 1:35 pm

I don’t know whether your use of the German qualifies this post as an instance of [2], nor whether irony takes an implied analogy outside the Law.

That the jihadi threat is different from the Axis of 65+ years ago seems clear, even if some fascist ideas have found their way into both Arab nationalism (now passé) and contemporary jihadi ideology. The [3] reference seems more apt, although also imprecise.

We do face real dangers, which are less serious in the immediate sense than the “WWIV” folks would have it, but may be more profound in the long run. No Iranian or Bolivian landing in New Jersey is in the cards, but our civilization is sick and literally sterile, while its enemies settle en masse in our cities. The Santorums are overheated and adventurist, while the opposition is blind and reluctant to resist at all.

And today, of course, is the day of the hobgoblins.