Dawkins and Mein Kampf: Translation

Richard Dawkins is still using Mein Kampf to swipe at his critics on twitter.

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The read it in German remark is aimed at those that say the Koran should be read in the original language only. That debate plays out here.

However, how useful would it have been to have read Mein Kampf to understand nazism before World War 2? Reading the preface written in 1933 in my 1938 edition of “My Struggle” still gives me goosebumps:

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So naturally you can form an opinion on nazism without reading Mein Kampf, but if others had widely read it to have an informed opinion in the 1930s would the popularity of appeasement been the same in the UK?

It is worth noting what Winston Churchill had to say about Mein Kampf:

“the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message.”

Source

That is the history of thought linking Islam and Nazism which is the context for what is happening regarding the tweet.

Hence my earlier blog saying Dawkins really should have seen this coming if he knew something about Mein Kampf.

I immediately brought up Rabbi Boteach “you shriek like Hitler” (see blogs on) to suggest again that Dawkins lacked empathy how people would perceive his comments.

Which Dawkins himself has alluded to on Twitter over Rabbi Boteach:

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Language is one thing, but none of us
can escape history or cultural context. We can plead ignorance but there comes a point when putting your hand up is the thing to do.

No, not like that …

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

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4 Comments

Filed under Dawkins, Religion, Richard Dawkins

4 responses to “Dawkins and Mein Kampf: Translation

  1. Scott Reilly

    “So naturally you can form an opinion on nazism without reading Mein Kampf, but if others had widely read it to have an informed opinion in the 1930s would the popularity of appeasement been the same in the UK?”

    I don’t agree with the general argument of this post, but the quote above I think sums up the argument of many on Islam’s most vocal critics: If western liberal apologists for Islam would just read the Koran and see for themselves the sectarian, illiberal ideas contained within, then perhaps they would be far more critical of the faith.

    • I thought that was the general argument … additionally historical context matters even if you are unaware of it. Had Dawkins been aware of Churchill’s quote and “islam is nazism” historical background would he have made that simile? Well, given what he said about Rabbi Boteach – probably.

      The parallel as you rightly identify is if you are really concerned about islamification helps to read the source book and get others too as well. That way you are better informed to deal with the situation compared to quote mining.

      If something is a serious threat for you, make the time to read up on it. Being more informed is not a disadvantage. Available original source material is a godsend for that.

      That is the point an academic should not undermine, and historical context something we should empathise with regarding Jewish and Islamic people.

  2. Although I’m quite a bibliophile myself, reading ‘Mein Kampf’ was like sawing my eyes out! It was painfully dull and poorly written. Haha, but I love Dawkins’ tweets :’)

    • Yes it was, but then I would come across something that was a warning to what Hitler would do in power and wish more people in the early 1930s had taken his book seriously.

      Let alone read it.

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