The Revisionist: A Statement of Purpose

Published: 1999-11-01

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In one of his essays George Orwell described in acute detail the spiritual death of those among his peers who subordinated their minds to the changeable and heavy-handed dictates of the Communist International under Josef Stalin. Orwell understood that without freedom, creativity dies. Men and women may be able to say and do any number of things, but when they find out there are certain things that they can't discuss, can't investigate, and can't use as fuel for their creative urges, the full range of their creativity starts to dry up, as surely as our eastern states have withered without rain.

In Orwell's time, it meant the inability to speak freely about Nazism, the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939, or even about the inspiration for 1984's Emanuel Goldstein, Leon Trotsky. In our day, it means we are unable to speak freely about the Holocaust: unable to say what it really was, unable to question what significance it really has. We understand the critics who say that we should just let go, and go with the crowd. Political correctness is, we are told, just a nasty name cooked up by conservatives to mask their own intolerance and lack of compassion. Unfortunately, once one becomes aware of the dark corners, the curtains that mustn't be looked behind, the soul won't rest. Dostoevsky understood it well; build a Crystal Palace, call it the last word of civilization, and someone will throw a brick at it, just on principle. He also understood that no matter how healthy the rest of the body, it was the one aching tooth that would attract all the attention, that would inevitably be poked and prodded.

Of all of the sacred cows, the eternal verities, what Veblen used to call the "vendible imponderables of the nth dimension," the Holocaust bulks largest. It is the Crystal Palace of our intellectual life, the lingering toothache of our culture. Yet it is also untouchable; to touch upon it at all, without following the herd, is punishable with prison in some Western countries, and there is a movement to make it a crime in our own.

The purpose of The Revisionist, for as long as it may wave, is simply to be the brick that smashes through the crystal palace of the complacency, irrationality, and hypocrisy that has reduced our national intellectual life to little more than the rote maneuvers of linemen at a poultry processing plant. It is to be that finger which prods and pokes the pain, because here at least the poking and prodding is honest and liberating, and doesn't skulk around in the garb of postmodernist lingo or in self-promoting drag.

We will emphasize the Holocaust, and the gas chamber legend, as the means of defending intellectual freedom, though these will not be the only themes we shall engage. Whether we will be able to successfully skeet the other clay feet of the hegemonic ideology of liberal Secular Humanism depends on how well we defend the right to think differently about the Jewish catastrophe, as much as anything else. You focus on the hardest part, and the rest comes easy. Easy like the rain.

George Brewer, Editor-in-Chief

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Author(s): George Brewer
Title: The Revisionist: A Statement of Purpose
Sources: The Revisionist # 1, Nov. 1999, Codoh series
Published: 1999-11-01
First posted on CODOH: Oct. 30, 1999, 7 p.m.
Last revision:
Comments: A statement of purpose for 'The Revisionist' a journal of independent thought
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