Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An Erudite Politician!

Plodding along at my day job at Yad Vashem, I needed an item of information about Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the strange Englishman who became one of the prophets of Nazism. So I wandered over to the relevant Wikipedia article, and found what I needed. Then I read on, and found something far better: a review of Chamberlain's book "The Foundations of the 19th Century", written by none other than... Theodore Roosevelt, who a few years earlier had been president of the United States. If you have the time - and five minutes is all you'll need - you really should go read the review. Bear in mind that Chamberlain's ideas motivated people to genocide, and then watch how Roosevelt demolishes the book, and weep. First, that what was so blindingly obvious to Roosevelt, namely that Chamberlain was a crank, was not noticed by misguided millions, many of them highly intelligent and educated. And second, can you think of any world-class leader today who could write on a par with Teddy?

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