The ever-prescient Mel Brooks dropped what you might think was a throwaway line into "Springtime for Hitler," the big production number in his infamous 1968 film The Producers, and he even dubbed in his own voice to say it: "Don't be stupid, be a smarty / Come and join the Nazi party." Lest you think it was just a passing jest, be advised that Brooks thought enough of the line to use it again, fifteen years later: he put together a "Hitler Rap" to promote To Be or Not to Be, a remake of Lubitsch's 1942 classic, and incorporated the bit therein.

This might not be such a big deal, except that socialists — and not just National Socialists, either — seem unusually susceptible to this particular pitch. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has signed the European Union Treaty, and Cat writes in Brits at their Best that, well, Brown is a socialist:

[A]nd Socialism is a global religion. It hates nation states. It wants one allegiance to one global state in which national politicians such as Master Blair can play lofty roles. Socialism is an ignorant religion that ignores the scientific facts of freedom, the essential connection between a people being free and being prosperous, the indisputable link between a people's safety and education and happiness and their ability to make local decisions about their police and their schools and their livelihoods.

But, says Cat, this isn't the only reason:

But there is another reason for Brown and Miliband and Blair and Heath and Clarke and Major and Heseltine and all the rest of them to support the creation of the EU and the destruction of Britain, aside from the obvious reason that they do not like Britain much, do not understand or love her history, do not forgive her imperfections and seek to support her real goodness, and do not understand political or economic science, and that reason is this —

They want to be part of the inner circle. They want to be in the circle for exactly the same reason that there are circles of girls and boys in schools and circles of men and women in clubs and at work. They want to feel that they are in a special circle and you and most other people are outside it. They think that they are something because they are in the circle. They think the circle is superb.

"All the cool kids are doing it," as we used to say. It was a powerful appeal in the 1960s when a lot of young folks turned to the political left, and forty years later, though no longer young, they still feel its pull. And as with any religion, even an "ignorant" one, there are penalties for apostasy:

To walk out of the circle is frightening and, almost worse, embarrassing. Everyone in the circle will dislike them. Those men who jovially put an arm around them will give them the cold shoulder. The man or woman who leaves the circle finds her very sense of self threatened, if not her job and her lucrative contacts.

Where there is a group, you should not be surprised to find groupthink:

Besides, everyone in the circle thinks the same thing. They must be right. The "cascade of information effect" leads them all over the waterfall in the same boat.

And a swift boat it is, which may or may not explain 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry's affinity for Europe, and theirs for him.

Let it be said that I like Europe. I haven't been over there much, and when I was, it was secondary to a sojourn in the Middle East, specifically in Turkey — although Turkey, come to think of it, would also like to join the European Union — but I admit to a certain fondness for the place, and I wouldn't at all object to seeing it again on a timetable other than Uncle Sam's. But this does not mean that I want to take my lead, political, socioeconomic or whatever, from the way they do things over there; it's a destination, not an inspiration. If this puts me at odds with the cool kids, I can live with it; they've never embraced me before, and I see no reason why I should want them to do so now, especially given the path that they're on. As Cat writes:

To join in fellowship with others is a good thing, but because it is a human thing it has the possibility of being terrible, even monstrous. That is the inner circle of Europe with its circle of stars. It makes grown men and women want to be part of it — to enjoy its lavish pensions and perks, to feel specially precious, to secretly enjoy their snobbish elitism, and to simultaneously feel self-righteous because they are helping to establish a new world order of high-sounding platitudes. Never mind that it will be a disaster because it ignores political science.

Some of these same folks, incidentally, would chastise me for my insufficient concern for the planet, manifest by the fact that I live alone on a whole quarter-acre of land and drive ten and a half miles to work every day, followed by ten and a half miles back. My reaction, simply enough, is to fart in their general direction, and to note that the methane thus produced probably contributes less to the putative "greenhouse effect" than the carbon dioxide each and every one of them continues to exhale in the very face of Gaia.

The Vent

#561
  16 December 2007

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 Copyright © 2007 by Charles G. Hill