the partial truth and nothing but the partial truth

“When one is contending with an ideological regime, the line that must be held absolutely to the end is to reject, without discussion, the description of reality set forth by this regime.  As soon as one puts one’s fingers in the gears and admits this description includes a “partial truth”–for example, that there are Aryans and non-Aryans, and that a “Jewish problem” therefore exists–one is lost.  The will now obeys only a distorted intelligence.  It remains only to beg the “Aryans” to resolve this “problem” in a “humane” manner.  In the world of ideology, the “partial truth” that holds seductive power is the very site of falsification and what is most false.  This rule holds true for all ideology, and particularly for communist ideology.  As soon as people accepted a description that divided reality between socialism and capitalism, they could only beg the two “camps” to obey the general principles of morality–even if this meant granting superiority, in principle, to the first for its having done away with “exploitation.”

“The No, the refusal to discuss, must be set forth from the first moment.  If it is not, one loses one’s sense of the false logic that occurs with the second step, which is introduced by therefore.  The Treaty of Versailles humiliated Germany: therefore it is necessary to take a certain measure in order to solve the Jewish problem, therefore. . . .Until, by an imperceptible drift, one arrives at the Final Solution.  Workers are exploited: therefore there must be a revolution, therefore. . .etc.  We must flee the “partial truth,” because this truth, however indisputable in appearance, is already embedded in a system of insane logic.”

Alain Besancon

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