June 24, 1933 - Article - Room To Breathe In, by Dorothy Thompson
Recently two books appeared by English authors, one from the pen of the eminent British mathematician and sociologist, Bertrand Russell, and the other by the novelist descendant of one of England's most distinguished scientists, Mr. Aldous Huxley. Lord Russell's book was an essay, and he called it The Scientific Outlook. Mr, Huxley's book was a Utopian novel, and he took his title from Shakspere, and called it, Oh, Brave New World! Both books were ironical pictures of a future society when the chance and accident, the working of free economic competition, the chaotic political life produced by parliamentary government and parties, free biological choice, the catch-as-catch-can of modern liberal democracy should be replaced by a truly scientific form of government.
In the future state, as foreseen by both Bertrand Russell and by Aldous Huxley, "every little boy or girl that's born into this world alive" will not be "either a little Liberal or else a little Conservative" as Gilbert and Sullivan had it, but will be conditioned by methods of psychological suggestion.
Reading these books, we shudder at the horror of the world portrayed, and laugh, because, obviously, these are only the Pucklike dreams of imaginative men. How resigned we are to our chaotic world as we lay down these books. It is dreadful to be hungry, to be humiliated, to be frustrated, as many of us are, in this sad old world. Obviously, our social system is atrociously organized. But who would not rather tramp the road unsure where he will lay his head at night, than live in the handsomest, most hygienic, most comfortable prison?
Then the disturbing afterthought comes: Perhaps we do not think like this because there is any ultimate truth in our conception of life. We do not think as we do, merely because the idea of freedom has been suggested to us from childhood? Is not a lion born I a zoo as happy, and infinitely healthier and better cared for, than one roaming in the jungle, a prey to hostile forces of nature? Are we not all silly romantics?
Artists have a kind of prophetic sight. I have just come back from - the Germany of Adolf Hitler and National Socialism - I have watched with unbelieving eyes the developments of the first ten or twelve weeks of the German revolution. And as I read the German newspapers, following the decrees of the new dictatorship, I have a strange apprehension that I am reading Aldous Huxley's book come true. Is this, perhaps, the Brave New World?
But the German revolution is better expressed in its own words. All students of contemporary world affairs must learn it. The word is Gleichschaltung. Gleichschaltung means "bringing into line." It means "conformity." It means, quite simply, "making everything alike." (pg. 3)
Whoever has followed the German press since the revolution on the fifth of March has seen this word over and over again. "Gleichschaltung of the provincial governments." "Gleichschaltung of the civil servants." .... "Gleichschaltung of the professions." .... "Gleichschaltung of the schools, of the universities." .... Gleichschaltung," finally, of every individual human being. "Brains and fists," wrote Joseph Goebbels, fiery Minister of Propaganda, in a call to the people on April 28th, "must make an unbreakable alliance. The peasant behind the plow, the worker in his study, the physician at the sickbed, the engineer at his drawing board, all must realize that the nation and its future are above everything, and that each man is judged by his service to the fatherland, and thus to the general good."
There are to be no minorities of opinion in the new Germany and no division of loyalties.
But Germany goes further, and demands, in effect, that her people accept the theory that the world revolves around Germany, and no voice raise itself in protest. The new German state is ushered in with a set of principles with which every manifestation of life must be brought into conformity, and no moral or intellectual doubts allowed.
The new Germany does not want people who think for themselves, because people who think for themselves build minorities and invariably spoil the pattern. The National Socialist conception of the state is of a perfectly functioning machine, where each person takes his place as efficiently as a cog, and the whole system moves when the leader pushes the button. (pg. 4)
The leader, Mr. Hitler, says: "The first object of education must be a sound body. Then, in a second instance, comes the education of the mentality. But here, again, character is more important than intellect. Our people must be given every suggestive power that lies in self-confidence. The youngest child must be brought up in the belief that he is unquestionably superior to others. In his own body, he must feel that his own people are unconquerable." (pg. 5)
And the Jews?
The Jews, alone, are not to be brought into line. That is to say, only those Jews are to be treated as other Germans whose fathers fell in the war or who themselves saw service in the front-line trenches. These Jews, even, are to be citizens of the second class, because their children will be discriminated against in educational matters, and they will never under any circumstances be allowed to hold positions of real leadership in the new German state. All the rest are to be treated as guests, as aliens with restricted rights. (pg. 52)
Hitler succeeded for one reason: He knew a great deal better than civilized people do, what the German masses want. (pg. 54)
Comments: We can easily see Gleichschaltung in operation today in America, for example, when it comes to the income tax. Even though the income tax was never supposed to be a tax that despoiled working people of the fruits of their labor, all information that is fed to them conditions their minds to file and pay income tax on their labor. As Hitler stated in his book Mein Kampf: "The nationalization of the broad masses can never be achieved by half-measures, by weakly emphasizing a so-called objective standpoint, but only by a ruthless and fanatically one-sided orientation toward the goal to be achieved." This is true when it comes to people believing that they are free. Since childhood, people have been told that they live in a free country and that they are a free people. At the same time no in depth study of the subject of slavery is part of their education in the government schools. Do you really think all of this happens by chance? Also, Franklin Roosevelt knew what the majority of the American people wanted, and he knew that giving them what they wanted would make him popular. History shows that it worked very well, for today he is still held up as one of the greatest presidents in the history of America, even though he did great violence to the Constitution to accomplish his objectives. It should also be pointed out that a mass meeting such as the one that happened in Germany in May, 1933 will probably never happen again. Television has rendered the mass meeting unnecessary.