Thinking out loud

Sunday, June 18, 2006

If one tells big lies...

I began reading a biography of Winston Churchill (by David Irving) today. Its not the most flattering one and someday I'll have to read one that is pro-Churchill before I can form my conclusions about the man. It's a huge two-volume biography, quite suitable for a man of such tremendous influence, and I'm not even sure I'll make it through the whole thing.

So far (57 pages), Irving has pointed out so many weaknesses of the man that my head reels with the kind of hero-like perception I had of him. Of course, we know that Churchill had been against the liquidation of Britain's hold on India but even so it is hard to not respect the man. What is disturbing though is that he may have been partly responsible for the spread of 'The War' to Britain. Apparently Hitler hadn't had ambitions on England but Churchill's persistent exaggerations about Hitler's defence spending and his intention to attack Britain seem to have finally led him to do just that. The thing is that it seems that individuals have such profound influence on the course of history. Its almost frightening.

In any case, the biography mentions a statement from the original Mein Kamph which is supposedly not present in the authorized English translation. It says - "If one tells Big Lies, people will always believe a part."

More on this when I've read more.

6 Comments:

  • > If one tells Big Lies, people will always believe a part.
    A different version goes, Government is the perfect example of the aphorism that if you lie big enough, long enough, the lie becomes the truth.

    By Blogger Kartik Vaddadi, at 8:57 AM  

  • Hi, i think of Churchill as hero of world war-II. But, i dont think that 'he was partly responsible for the spread of 'The War' to Britain' and its hard to say that, Hitler hadn't had ambitions on England.

    Whatever maybe the case, but its true that if not Churchill, it was very difficult to stop Nazis.

    By Blogger Prashant Gawai, at 9:02 AM  

  • Kartik: Since you bring up government, here's another gem by G.B.Shaw. Slightly peripheral but one of my favorites nonetheless....

    ...but I am going to ask you to begin our study of Democracy by considering it [democracy] first as a big balloon, filled with gas or hot air, and sent up so that you shall be kept looking up at the sky while other people are picking your pockets. When the balloon comes down to eath every five years or so you are invited to get into the basket if you can throw out one of the people who are sitting tightly in it; but as you can afford neither the time nor the money, and there are forty millions of you and hardly room for six hundred in the basket, the balloon goes up again with much the same lot in it and leaves you where you were before...

    By Blogger Parijat, at 9:52 AM  

  • Prashant: as I said, this is not the most flattering of biographies and I will suspend any judgement till I read a more pro-Churchill account. Meanwhile, given the facts presented so far, Churchill's speeches/writings may certainly have had a hand in it.

    As for Churchill stopping the Nazis, I still don't know enough about that period to comment either way. I'm still reading :)

    By Blogger Parijat, at 10:20 AM  

  • Manas just sent me this excerpt from somewhere. Seemed like a jibe at this post so.... :)


    Argumentum ad nauseam or argument from repetition or Argumentum ad
    infinitum is the false proof of a statement by (prolonged) repetition,
    possibly by different people. This logical fallacy is commonly used as a
    form of rhetoric by politicians, and it is one of the mechanisms of
    reinforcing urban legends. In its extreme form, it can also be a form of
    brainwashing. In common usage the statement "A lie repeated often enough
    becomes the truth" is often used to allude to the same concept, which self
    referentially has been attributed diversely to Lenin, Goebbels, Hitler and
    Stalin among others, when little evidence can be found to support most of
    these historical figures having said this.

    By Blogger Parijat, at 12:02 PM  

  • Dude, I just love reading your blogs. keep writing

    By Blogger Rajat Jain, at 7:05 AM  

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