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.’ And it is alarming indeed how seldom any real voice is heard in discussion of public affairs.The reasons are easy to find.For it is, after all, a somewhat rare talent to be able to speak one’s mind at all; it is perhaps a still rarer one to be able to speak it on subjects distorted by the stress of rival interests which include one’s own.But Mr Belgion’s voice, it goes without saying, is a real one; he writes a prose which follows the conformation of a subtle and sensitive mind.The subject of the Nuremberg trials was treated with ugly relish by the popular press, and by many of us it is regarded with nothing but weary repugnance.Neither of these two attitudes is likely to produce observations of any value.Mr Belgion, however, has somehow preserved through the corruptions of the last eight years a sensitive conscience, and it is this uncommon faculty which, in this little book, is to be observed agitating among the lies and prevarications of the Inhuman Voice.Mr Belgion starts from the observation that there has been no convincing explanation of the Nuremberg trials, and that ‘the absence of one is significant.An explanation fails to convince’, he goes on,when it is not true.If the public of the world has not been given the true explanation of the Trial, it is not to be supposed that the lack of this explanation was accidental or aimless.The true explanation was kept back for a reason.I suggest the reason to have been that it was of the very heart of the real object of the Trial, and essential to its attainment, that it should not be disclosed.Evidently the author of this pamphlet is a man who has smelt a rat and is determined to go after it.Mr Belgion proceeds to a critique of the thesis that the trial was the outcome of a ‘demand’ for ‘justice’.He concedes that the ‘demand’ was made, but demonstrates with a wealth of detail the equivocation in the use of the word ‘justice’.There would be no point in recapitulating here all the stages of the argument; it is to be hoped that the reader will get hold of the book and follow them for himself.It may be mentioned, however, that Mr Belgion thinks that there was a deliberate desire on the part of the authors of the Charter ‘to pretend that no persons except Germans could commit, or be suspected of deeds defined as “war crimes” or as “crimes against humanity”’.He goes on to show (what is obviously not difficult to show) that the Allies, and one ally in particular, did commit such crimes.‘There was not one kind of deed specified in the Nuremberg Indictment as a “war crime” which one or more of the chief victorious Powers, who arrogated to themselves the task of punishing so-called “war criminals” among the defeated, was not open to being accused of.’ From this it is an easy step to the statement that the trials and condemnations, which ignored ‘the principle of equality before the law’, were ‘in accordance with the official morality of the defunct National Socialist Government of Germany’.The object of the trials was to establish the guilt of Germany ‘in the eyes of the whole world, and also in the eyes of the German people themselves’.This conclusion is a commonplace and would, I believe, have been readily accepted by nine out of every ten English people at the time when the trial was first mooted.It is the merit of Mr Belgion’s little book that he shows, with a brilliance of exposition that holds the attention from the first page to the last, what dangers lurk behind this simple and commonly accepted belief.The ordinary man would be very astonished to hear that the object Mr Belgion discovers behind the trials is an improper one for any proceedings that aim at justice.Yet of course Mr Belgion is right.He is right but.… In the present state of public morality, it is doubtful whether politicians in states ruled by the popular will could in fact have acted much otherwise than as the allied leaders in fact did act.The ‘demand for justice’ was there, however equivocal the justice it asked for.The error goes back to the root of our troubles, of which the Nuremburg trials were perhaps no uglier a fruit than were the false ideological ‘line-ups’ of the 1930s, without which….But it is useless to speculate.T.S.Eliot on CultureT.S.Eliot, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (Faber & Faber)When Mr Eliot first presented himself as a writer of prose, it was in the character of a literary critic.The essays collected in The Sacred Wood changed the course of literary criticism in this country, so far as it had a course; and so far as it did have a course, it was time it was changed.The stream started by this whang of the magician’s rod is still flowing – if the analogy of a stream can properly be used at all for anything that has become desiccated.For Mr Eliot, however, The Sacred Wood was only a partial statement; he quickly became uneasy, like a man who has made a remark that has been overheard out of its context and so feels obliged, not to take back what he has said, but to qualify and expand it.The first major public demonstration of Mr Eliot’s reservations was made in For Lancelot Andrewes.In the preface to that volume Mr Eliot spoke of a wish to dissociate himself ‘from certain conclusions which had been drawn’ from The Sacred Wood: he also spoke of a wish ‘to indicate certain lines of development’, and from this one may gather that there had been a widening or at any rate a deepening of certain interests since the publication of the earlier volume.It was in the preface to For Lancelot Andrewes that Mr Eliot introduced the ghosts of three unborn books which haunted his readers for some years.The Principles of Modern Heresy was the happiest of these ghosts, for it found embodiment, perhaps in slighter form than was originally intended, in After Strange Gods.The School of Donne had, in a sense, been written already.No doubt, had Mr Eliot carried out the work as he intended in 1928, he would have made a number of distinctions, and we should have found that the school of Donne was not quite what we thought he had meant, in his earlier essays, to indicate to us that it was.But that ghost was less haunting because we thought, with whatever imprudent assurance, that we knew the sort of form she would take.The Outline of Royalism was as near to being a figure of fun as a ghost could be; at that time, and for some years afterwards, it was generally known that marxist socialism was the only manifestation of government that one need take seriously and that monarchy was merely part of the monstrous opposite – called fascism, capitalism, imperialism – by which socialism then, even more than now, defined itself.Those who had ventured beyond the permitted fields, or asphalt pavements, of marxist socialism, and read some pages of Charles Maurras, could generally only regret that Mr Eliot was plotting to resuscitate an outworn political philosophy; outworn, for to them it was evident that people who enjoyed a free and pacific life under the stable protection of the Third Republic could have nothing to learn from the ancien régime.The point about the announcement of the three books in the preface to For Lancelot Andrewes was that it involved a declaration of unpopular loyalties.There was widespread regret that Mr Eliot had gone wrong.When I became aware of these things in 1931 people told me that I might read the poetry and The Sacred Wood but that I was to consult The Left Review before believing a word that was said in Mr Eliot’s later writings in prose.After Strange Gods appeared in 1934, and bore witness to Mr Eliot’s theological preoccupations and, more important and more characteristic, to his determination to take these preoccupations into studies to which they were, at that time, more often than not thought not to be relevant [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]