I will translate the weblog on 14thJune in English.
These days again I’m reading a book, “The literatures today,” actually it was my textbook of Japanese in my high school days. It also includes the section 8 in chapter3 of “Thought and Behaviour in Modern Japanese Politics.” He described Charlie Chaplin showed how “aberrations” behave in his movies. I think Chaplin’s outstanding work is “The Great Dictator.” Of course “Modern Times” is not only famous and popular but also very meaningful. Actually Mr. Maruyama mentioned Chaplin’s shrewd eyes on such occasions which would happen in our world. I feel, however, “The Great Dictator” is much more important in our days.
In this book, what he, Mr. Maruyama, insisted is the principle point how a monster, Nazis, got control of whole of Germany. For aberrations they don’t consider they aberrate—Chaplin showed us it with two actors standing upside-down on the plane. Mr. Maruyama came to stand on the natural question, “what did the Germans think of the situation during the war?”, and he referred the interview by Milton Mayer, “They thought they were free”, which Mayer interviewed to a philologist there at that time.
“To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—…what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.”
How we, Japanese people nowadays, take this text? Government is giving changes to Japanese politics little by little. Each of them might be very small, though, is it alright to treat them as well and good?
The interview by Mayer follows: “And one day, too late… you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in—your nation, your people— is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there…But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed.”
Thus regime in Germany in 1940s perpetrated shocking outrages against Jewish people, now what can we expect that that in Japan today will do? I insist that it’s time to think over what the government in Japan will go.
Below, I will refer the interview by Mayer to a philologist.
“To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it— please try to believe me— unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.
“How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, ‘Principiis obsta’ and ‘Finem respice’—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have. And everyone counts on that “might”.
“Your ‘little men,’ your Nazi friends, were not against National Socialism in principle. Men like me, who were, are the greater offenders, not because we knew better(that would be too much to say) but because we sensed better. Pastor Niemöller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke(too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing; and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something— but then it was too late.”
“You see,” my colleague went on,”one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You want for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking the others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not?— Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.
“Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community,’everyone’ is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there would be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’
“And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you, On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have.
“But your friends are fewer now. Some have drifted off somewhere or submerged themselves in their work. You no longer see as many as you did at meetings or gatherings. Informal groups become smaller; attendance drops off in little organizations, and the organizations themselves wither. Now, in small gatherings of your oldest friends, you feel that you are talking to yourselves, that you are isolated from the reality of things. This weakens your confidence still further and serves as a further deterrent to —to what? It is clear all the time that, if you are going to do anything, you must make an occasion to do it, and then you are obviously a trouble maker. So you wait, and you wait.
“But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked—if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next, Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.
“And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jewish swine,’collapses it all at once. and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in—your nation, your people— is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way.