In Defense of Book Burning

we’re never told that flying towards the fire
was the 1930s version of Twilight

Much has been said of ‘book burning’. It was of course popularized in the 1930s with the solidification of the National Socialist’s control over Germany. The propagandists of the Third Reich wished to destroy books that were deemed damaging to the national character, and such rallies where hundreds if not thousands of books were heaped upon bonfires were organized by student unions at German universities, and aided in their execution by Adolf Hitler’s original muscle organization, the SA. However, this real history of this phenomenon, as usual, doesn’t tend to conform with the whitewash we are fed by our cultural betters.

First, the burning of books was not a practice without precedent. For an exhaustive list of all the book burnings in history, one can follow this link. The fact is that the early Christians routinely burnt heretical tracts and forgeries of Biblical documents. Long before, the Athenian state had similarly ordered the destruction of the writings of agnostic philosopher Protagoras. In 213 BC, the Qin Dynasty in Imperial China ordered the destruction of all Confucian texts, favoring Legalism as superior central ideology for the Chinese people.

Books have been burned throughout history, and most often this is condemned almost universally as an assault on knowledge itself. It appears, even if a book is of horrendous quality or forwards lies, even subversion, it should never be burned.

What foolishness. Books are a media item. Even those of the strictest non-fiction are vehicles for an ideological lens, through proposition or presupposition. A state has absolutely no duty to preserve any media item which could prove dangerous to the state itself, since the state is the vanguard of the nation and its traditions, the life of the state takes absolute preeminence over any concerns about the toleration of dissent. Of course, book burnings only take place when the books in question have been permitted to be produced prior to their condemnation. Because the Reactionary must favor censorship of degenerative ideas (historically this has been one of the duties of the priestly caste), he can’t really condemn censorship-after-the-fact. For a robust defense of censorship, see here (1, 2).

With regards to Germany in the specific sense, it must be understood just how depraved the Wiemar Republic actually was. With the abdication of the Kaiser after the First World War, Germany became a brand new Liberal Democracy in the truest sense of the word. All sorts of ideas became fair game and were produced in various forms for the public without protest by the government. Germany was no longer in the business of telling its citizens what they ought to believe about the world around them, especially in the arena of moral values. Pornography in particular became wildly popular. What was worse, from this milieu and the growing surge in the psychological pseudosciences, Germany got its own Alfred Kinsey, putting a scientific spin on utter depravity.

Magnus Hirschfeld (1869-1935)
one of the most perverted freaks in history

Here is an account of a tour which Magnus Hirschfeld gave of his sex museum to visiting American writers:

“After lunch they were given a tour by a “silly solemn old professor with his doggy mustache, thick-peering spectacles, and clumsy German-Jewish boots” who took them to the extraordinary Gallery of Derangements of the Sexual Instincts. There were displays of fetish objects donated by research subjects of the institute, including a home-made masturbation machine made of a bicycle wheel and used female shoes. There were historical sex aids from across the world and antique steam driven vibrators. The visitors looked at lacy female pants found on the corpses of ferociously masculine Prussian officers and female rubber body parts used by male transvestite prostitutes. The museum exhibited photos and fantasy art including sadistic drawings by ‘Lustmord’ prisoners convicted for crimes of sexual violence and murder. There were torture instruments from a German brothel and paper sailor-dolls made by German homosexuals during the Great War. The dolls were naked except for sailor caps and boots, and had aroused genitals and smiling faces. For a final touch tiny red drops were splattered on for deadly battle wounds.”

Hirschfeld was perhaps one of the first campaigners to argue for the legitimization of sexual deviations in the mainstream, his movement supported by other German intellectuals, the most notable of which being Albert Einstein.

With the rise of the Nazis however, his institute became an immediate target of Germans incensed by the damage being done to their culture by Hirschfeld and others, many of these offending authors being Jewish. In raids, books and research papers were gathered up and burned publicly to spare the next generation of irredeemable garbage. Other targets included books denigrating German history, and novels deemed to be encouraging of things such as communism, miscegenation, and pacifism. Garbage of course, is a big consequence of the printing press and the easy access to text-replication technology, and one of the responses to such garbage is to burn it. It’s important people get a sense of why the early Hitlerites went after books, because it wasn’t primarily about shutting down dissent at this time, it was concerned with purging out literature deemed harmful to the nation. In fact, of all the deplorable things that the Nazis did, this was actually one of the small examples of a noble purpose. 

Apparently we should weep for Hirschfeld’s work and the work of his fellow luminaries. I think not. Be honest, if you were put in charge of which media items were to be preserved for the public in a Reactionary State, would you preserve the works of Kinsey? Would you preserve the works of the early suffrage movement, the works of slavery reparation-beggars, the works of Karl Marx? Would you save this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this? As far as I am concerned, if you would not burn this trash, if you wouldn’t love to watch it all go up in smoke on a pyre, then you are mad. How could anyone honestly think that it is enough to unseat the current intellectual class, to destroy the institutions through with they propagate their ideas (schools & universities), and think that somehow you can neglect what they’ve produced? Has God placed some holy protective aura around intellectual property, for which we seem to have even more reverence than for life itself?

Media is a weapon. Even the political novice knows this. In the hands of evil, media can do immeasurable damage, because it can forward views of the world especially tailored to titillate and pull at heartstrings. It can take advantage of feigned scientific grounding and so-called psychology. Too many on the right believe that if you silence the professor, you prevent the indoctrination, but it’s written on every page of the books that people consume on a daily basis, the never-ending stream of crap that issues forth from the worst elements of our society. Worse still, on a mass level there can be no argumentative victory over it. The intellectual current it forwards is perfectly tuned to man’s fallen nature, encouraging further, irresistible degeneration. There is only one ultimate vaccine to an influence so strong.

We have this baseless aversion to the idea that any media should be destroyed, and instead believe that the apparatus is enough. No! If you want for the stability of society and for the good of nations both moral and practical, you must come to your senses and endorse the position that one of the first duties of a Reactionary State is the complete incineration of all texts and other media formats which are suffused with the Modern ideology. The Cult of Progress has its Bible, but unlike a static document this is instead a narrative which weaves its thread through every foul tract they produce, fiction and non-fiction alike.

Burn every last scrap of it.

“for our God is a consuming fire.”

                                                                                                       – Hebrews 12:29
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9 thoughts on “In Defense of Book Burning

  1. I would certainly burn almost all of it, and probably even many of the authors.

    But I would keep some of it, some of the most exemplary material, drawn from across the whole scope of the crisis, “ad perpetuam rei memoriam.” I would want to be able to show: here are the insane ideas they embrace; here is how they progressed. If any madman ever begins to advance this train of thought again, here is what it looks like: you must therefore not flinch or hesitate from swiftly extirpating the beginning of the error, even if it seems “harsh” to you, for you must know whither such thoughts infallibly lead, and what kind of monstrous evil you are beholden to prevent in its first flower.

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  2. I would agree, keep the finest text-examples of their bizarre arguments, but certainly not for the general public. Such documents I feel, when viewed by people of naturally lower castes, could not be understood in the way we understand them. They would have the same effect that Marat's articles did on the French peasantry.

    There should ideally exist something like the Vatican library where the highest of castes could view such things if they were relevant. This makes sense, as the high castes don't find attraction to Liberalism, it would rob them of their naturally endowed political power. They could, for the most part, read it without being affected.

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  3. An excellent article. After reading this and thinking back a few years to when I was doing Nazi Germany (1918-1945) at school, it has dawned on me how much was left out and altered to make certain things appear in a better light. We were certainly never told about men like Magnus Hirschfeld, only that liberal = good and book burning = evil.
    Thanks again for the reading list you suggested over at The Iron Legion, it has been very helpful. You have an excellent blog which has been very useful in furthering my understanding and admiration for reactionary thought and politics.

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  4. Thank you for your kind words. I quickly learned to discount most of what formal education teaches you in fields such as these. For instance, I had a history teacher tell me that the exclusion of false and forged gospels when the NT was compiled were totally random and unjustified.

    Once down this Reactionary path, I must warn you, the road gets rather treacherous. The more you discover, the more you'll want to know. Riding the tiger, especially this close to what may be the end, is no journey for the faint of heart. Godspeed.

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  5. Mark,

    Being a World War 2 junkie I always viewed the Book Burning events with disdain but after I read your post I understand how much of a fool I was to follow what the Media wanted me to know. Now I tend to see this event in a different light. So much of truth is hidden and its good to have people like you who can put things in better perspective!

    Great Post Mark!

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  6. The truth is there, but it takes a little perspective and framing to actually present it correctly. Events like these are always misrepresented and part of it is down to ideological malice, and the other part is just down to simplicity. People just want to say, “Nazis were the most evil thing ever in history ever and that is that.” This is much easier to teach than the millions of nuances of both the Interwar Period and WWII.

    A good example of this is the false teaching that anti-semitism across Europe was all eugenics race-based. This was essentially an explicitly German phenomenon. The Italian Fascists had a spiritual conception of race with scant biological components, and in Eastern Europe, anti-semitism was based around real grievances against a rising minority class, and its very much accurate association with Communism.

    But I think the best example of how our history is taught incorrectly, is the covering up of Communist crimes which dwarf those of any nationalist movement. Very few know for example, that the Cuban regime killed more people, by orders of MAGNITUDE, than any Latin American right wing dictatorship. Mao makes Hitler's numbers look minuscule. Why is this airbrushed?

    I think we need to understand this kind of near-term history as it was, because then we can combat agendas built on historical misconceptions. Older history is not so important in this regard (except in certain special cases), but the last 120 years are ESSENTIAL to understanding how we got where we are.

    Thank you for reading.

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  7. I'm reading a work by Nick Land on Neo-Reactionaryism that spoke on democracy in a way that reminded me of this article:

    “…[Hobbesian thought] conceives the dynamics of democratization as fundamentally degenerative: systematically consolidating and exacerbating private vices, resentments, and deficiencies until they reach the level of collective criminality and comprehensive social corruption.”

    It's no wonder that most anti-democratic/liberal views (be it monarchism, Fascism, Nationalist Socialism, etc.) have similar views on censorship and degeneracy.

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  8. As usual, the question is really about content rather than method. The Liberals insist on making it about method, because then everything can be permitted and man's depraved nature will incline him towards degeneracy. However, if one is interesting in preserving order, he cannot judge based on method, but rather content. Is the content being produced and distributed conducive to sound governance, a good society, and moral prudence? I would argue, in burning the books that they burned, this was one of the few things the National Socialists got right, but of course it must be lumped in with the Holocaust and such.

    Liberalism decrees two rules for information:

    1) Make it as simplistic as possible
    2) Make it fit the narrative

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