We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Just imagine a German version of this…

It is always interesting that when newspapers cover Chinese news, mentions of history’s most prolific mass murderer just get reported baldly without much comment:

Players won points for acts of selfless Communist spirit and the winners were greeted, on screen, by Chairman Mao in Tiananmen Square. Points were deducted, however, each time a player had to be taken aside by his local Party secretary for a “corrective chat”.

- China embraces online gamers

Yet somehow if a German videogame maker (let alone a government sponsored one) were to feature that also-ran mass murderer Adolf Hitler ‘greeting’ players on screen in a video game, I suspect the reportage might be… a tad different.

Curious, no?

11 comments to Just imagine a German version of this…

  • If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao. . . .

  • Tedd

    I wonder if myth has always had more staying power than the truth, or if it’s only in our era, where the myth-makers (journalists, entertainers, and academics) have been so ideologically monolithic.

  • veryretired

    O, Tedd, I think that monolithic myth is the story of humanity’s history, if for no other reason than that any questioning was met by gruesome, tortured, inevitable death, not only for the questioner, but his whole family, clan, or tribe.

    We see echoes of that mindset in the Rwandan mass murder, the endless acts of terrorism and revenge between the sunnis and other islamic sects, the hatred of hard leftists for anyone who deviates from whatever the party line is this week.

    Remember, the left opposed any military action against the Nazis until the invasion of Russia, then they did a 180 and were rabid for war.

    Hitler isn’t hated because he killed millions, or even for starting WW2, no, he’s history’s biggest villain because he attacked the SU. Stalin, who was complicit in the war, and certainly responsible for the deaths of many more millions internally than Hitler, gets a pass because he’s on the hard, marxist left. Mao gets the same indulgence.

    Victor Hansen wrote a very insightful article awhile ago that talked about the uses of the granting of indulgences, and, although he mostly talked about US political figures, the general rule applies internationally as well.

    If you are on what is commonly called the left, and say all the right things, what you do is immaterial—Ted Kennedy is the prime example of that, but there are many, many others.

    Today, in fact, the effort to impose the kind of monolithic culture that was common in the past, or is common in totalitarian societies, is one aspect of the fundamental battle we must fight so relentlessly.

    We were born into societies in which men and women could construct their own life’s story, build their own myths, as it were, within certain broad parameters. It is that aspect of our culture that the collectivists hate so passionately, and seek to destroy in every venue they can.

    The nonsensical crap they teach in schools, or the way the media disappears some stories while going on endlessly about others, or the cliche’ ridden faux-drama on tv or in the movies, all the multi-culti pc baloney that infests every sort of conversation, these are all symptoms of the larger issue—will our minds continue to be free and independent, or only allowed to think and speak and believe what the party line has approved.

    I contend that any ideology that fears the independent mind is a poisonous brew that can only result in death, both figuratively, in the spirit and creative impulse, and literally, as history shows with example after example.

    The anti-mind is the anti-life.

  • Alsadius

    I think part of the difference is that we never fought Mao(well, except in Korea, but western society would prefer to just forget that war) – Hitler wasn’t just a mass murderer, he was also an enemy in a way that Mao never was. Look at how someone like Mussolini is treated – he was a repressive dictator, yes, but never did any real large-scale atrocities. But because he was on the other side of WW2, his name is almost as black in the public consciousness as Hitler’s, despite the fact that he was nowhere near as bad.

  • joel

    Well, the Emperor of Japan certainly got off easily in the Western media after the war. He wasn’t hung by his heels, either. But, he was certainly complicit in the “crimes” of Japan committed during WW II and before. He escaped because he preferred to be painted as a helpless figurehead, when in reality any Japanese general would have committed suicide at the slightest indication of the Emperor’s displeasure.

    We live in a cesspool of lies. Just get used to it. Don’t take any of this stuff seriously. It is all just one big narrative. People are just ignorant.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    Chairman Mao is fine. Woe betide anyone who makes even a passing reference to Jimmy Savile: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21108337

  • hennesli

    Alsadius, no doubt the reason why Franco has thus far evaded the historical infamy of his fellow fascist dictators.

  • Rich Rostrom

    There is another key reason why Hitler is more notorious than Mao.

    Hitler operated in the core of modern world civilization. (In the last two hundred years, Europe has been the center of culture – spreading its literature, languages, law, sports, clothing, religions, and ideologies around the world. The main rival to Europe is America.) Germany is one of the core nations of Europe – physically central, with close economic, cultural, and political connections; also with a massive ‘diaspora” in the U.S. Also, Hitler committed most of his crimes outside Germany.

    So what happened in Western Europe and Germany was visible to people who would then tell the whole world about it. Hitler’s worst crimes were against the Jews, arguably the most eloquent and influential people in the world. And Hitler was defeated and his crimes publicly exposed.

    What happened in China was much more isolated from the world. Mao’s crimes were almost entirely confined to China. There were barriers of language and culture – very few outside China can read or speak Chinese. There were barriers of physical is
    olation – China’s land borders are nearly all in desolate areas and forbidding terrain; it has no close overseas neighbors. Mao and his accomplices were never overthrown, and there has never been a public exposure of their crimes.

    This kind of distance matters a lot. W. H. Auden wrote that if what happened in Stalinist Russia had happened in Germany, British intellectuals would have seen it clearly and been outraged.

    For another analogy: Hitler as the leader of a very visible criminal gang. They commit armed robberies by daylight, attacking big banks and the homes of leading citizens, shooting up the streets, hitting random citizens, who are finally cornered and killed in a great gun battle with police – after which the bodies of tortured and murdered kidnap victims are discovered.

    Mao as the head of a vicious crime syndicate operating among an ethnic minority – victimizing only them, and maintaining outward respectability in the larger community until his death.

  • Paul Marks

    Perry is right – there is a terrible contradiction between China “civilized place to do business” and China “the place whose rulers honour Chairman Mao”/

    Mao was the largest scale mass murderer in human history (see “Mao: The Untold Story” and many other works), he also believed there should be no private business what-so-ever (indeed that was central to his Marxist ideology).

    China must choose – Mao or the market.

    In the end it can not have both.

    I suspect that this contradiction will not work itself out without a violent convolution – one way or the other.

  • I don’t know about the title premise. I can see this done with Erich Honecker in the Mao role without much of a fuss being made at all.

  • Spiny Norman

    Joel,

    He escaped because he preferred to be painted as a helpless figurehead, when in reality any Japanese general would have committed suicide at the slightest indication of the Emperor’s displeasure.

    It was completely out of his hands. Hirohito escaped the hangman’s noose because McArthur (and Truman) thought him far more useful as a puppet. Leaving him in place, but effectively powerless, doing the bidding of the new Shogun, was instrumental in pacifying post-war Japan.