Lord Haw-Haw Agonistes

|

Here's an interesting review of a new biography of William Joyce, the notorious Nazi-sympathizing Brit propagandist better known as Lord Haw-Haw. Those of us of Irish extraction (or, more precisely, embittered Irish extraction) will immediately recognize attentuated versions of Haw-Haw from any number of family gatherings, even when it's only Catholics in the room.

William Shirer is quoted on the roots of Joyce's derangement, a set of twinned revulsions that have poisoned all too much of European history:

I should say that he has two complexes which have landed him in his present notorious position. He has a titanic hatred for Jews and an equally titanic one for capitalists.

Whole thing here.

[Link via Arts & Letters Daily]

NEXT: Teapot Dome on the Tigris

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Sir Real,

    Can you seriously suggest that “capitalism” was to blame for the potato famine?

    Even if you could contort yourself to do so (and overlook all the other historic, political, facts that distorted commerce at the time) do you think modern capitalism would create a similar result?

  2. Antisemitism- bad-

    But with regard to Capitalists- Ireland was a net EXPORTER of food during the great potato famine. Watching millions of your countrymen starve to death while English Lords pursued “profit” would give most any culture a justifiable suspicion of capitalists.

  3. sir real,

    if you bothered to follow the link you could actually read the article in the Spectator and might realize that Mr. Joyce probably couldn’t care less for the fate of Catholic peasants during the Potato Famine. It’s rather unlikely that this particular aspect of history was the determining factor for his titanic hatred for capitalists.

  4. And if you read the article further, you’ll discover that there is absolutely no evidence to back up the assertion that he hated capitalists. He was a Conservative, a member of the Junior Imperialist League, and a brawling anti-IRA Orangeman who got slashed with a razor by, he assumes, “a Jewish Communist.” Other than the standard propaganda tactic of telling soldiers they’re spilling blood for war profiteers, I’m curious about what he did to earn such an appellation from Shirer. The absence of any evidence is especially noteworthy given the detail into which the review goes in demonstrating his anti-semitism.

    Looks like an interesting read.

  5. KJ-

    If you would bother to read the WRITE-UP as well as the link, you will note Nick talking about anti-semitic and anti-capitalist sentiment in those of Irish Extraction. My post was on the (perfectly rational) reasons for anti-capitalist sentiment in Irish culture in particular.

    But thanks for your pointless, condescending remark.

  6. Sir Real,

    Get a grip. A tad defensive about this aren’t we?
    You dredge up two far fetched examples (hardly “concrete”…that’s your opinion)of what you percieve as the failures of capitalism, get questioned about it and then accuse me of “character assasination”?

    I admit capitalism isn’t perfect, so how does that create any “straw man” argument?

    If you weren’t attacking capitalism with the same argument I’ve seen thousands of times from the witless out there then I apologize for misunderstanding.

    I’m accusing you of being “mendacious”? Funny, I don’t see it. Ignorance? Yes. Arrogance? Yes. But I’m not suggesting you are lying, just mistaken about capitalism being the root of the “evil” you mention.

    Maybe you don’t “drink from anyone’s Koolaid” but maybe you should chill out, get a little less defensive and maybe your arguments will be more impressive.

  7. JAG-

    Are you being willfully ignorant of what I’m trying to say? We aren’t talking about historical fact, we are talking about historical PERCEPTION, and how that perception shapes Irish suspicion of capitalism even today.

    And while capitalism didn’t cause the pathogen that eradicated the potato crop, exporting food from a famine stricken country is the best example of the moral bankruptcy of the system available. Are you suggesting exporting food from a famine stricken nation DIDN’T exacerbate the suffering of the Irish people?

    And as for capitalism producing a similar result today- HELL YES.

    Orwell has a magnificant piece (I believe either “The Lion and the Unicorn”, or “Notes on Nationalism”) that points out how England (the largest net exporter of woolen goods in the world) didn’t have the wool to properly CLOTHE IT’S OWN SOLDIERS in WWII. The market seeks out highest profit, regardless of the ramifications of that. That’s what capitalism IS, and it doesn’t give a good god-damn how many people have to starve, contract cancer, or freeze to death in german trenches- as long as those costs are socialized, of course. (In cancer’s case, there’s even money to be made from curing it- why stop causing it?)

    Finally, given the current state of subsidies and tarriffs, and the shrinking right to organize around the world, attaching “modern” to capitalism looks like a distinction without a difference.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.