Should we be concerned about the dangerous ideas in Hitler’s Manifesto? “Mein Kampf Enters the Public Domain” – The Atlantic

“As Hitler’s infamous book enters the public domain, its history shows that censorship can’t stop dangerous ideas.” Censorship has never worked (Exhibit A:  The Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books, Index Librorum Prohibitorum ).

The concern about public access to Mein Kampf is understandable, but unfounded.  Those who are inclined towards those ideas already have access to the text via the Internet. And the ideas contained in Mein Kampf have spread so extensively there is no way to prevent access to them (unless we’re willing to take drastic measures in violation of our own values).

As Abraham Foxman, author of the introduction to Houghton Mifflin reprint of Mein Kampf, described the book this way: “Its theories are extremist, immoral, and seem to promise war and catastrophe if taken seriously.” (xxi) This is not a call to ban it but instead to take it seriously. He noted that the first time around we ignored it, resulting in “a tragedy of unprecedented proportions.” The lesson, he continues, is “the lesson of vigilance and responsibility, of not closing our eyes to the evil around us.” Ignoring it will not make “the evil” go away.

As far as I’m concerned the more people who read Mein Kampf the better. The ideas found in this work are so horrific and extreme that I’m confident (barring extraordinary circumstances) most people will reject the hateful and destructive ideas contained in it. Those who are unfamiliar with the ideas advanced by Hitler are more susceptible to falling under their spell.  Rather than trying to deny access to such ideas, we should counter them with reason and evidence.

And, as the author of The Atlantic article points out: “In today’s environment, it is better to discuss Mein Kampf openly and critically in the classroom than to have curious students seek it out on the Internet, where teachers will have no chance of influencing them.”

If you haven’t read Hitler’s despicable work, I would highly recommend it. I say this confident that you won’t be persuaded by his sentiments.

Source: Mein Kampf Enters the Public Domain – The Atlantic

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