As much as freedom-loving people recognize government censorship of media is generally a bad thing, sometimes censorship is a good thing for society. One such extreme case will rear its head next year as a previously-banned book will exit copyright protection.
In 2015, we had “new’ books by Harper Lee and Dr. Suess. In 2016, Meine Kampf by Adolf Hitler enters the Public Domain.
It has been illegal to publish in Germany for decades, but next year, it remains to be seen if a German version will be made available legally. With the fear and worry caused to Germans and Europeans because of the recent refugee influx and terrorist attacks, Adolph’s book might find a new life.
Sometimes freedom allows the pendulum to swing wide and protect not only virtuous things but also something downright evil to be published and spread.
Of course, Christian authors have a higher standard than copyright and censorship laws. We have a filter for our tongues and keyboards that puts Philippians 4:8 as the gold-standard, seeking to write what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise.
Frankly, those who don’t use those filters can end up writing just about anything.
The apostles Peter and Paul wrote quite a number of good things from prison that help people worldwide live out their faith two thousand years later.
Adolph Hitler wrote Meine Kampf from prison, but history teaches the Austrian corporal should have been kept in there a lot longer, as in a “throw away the key” length of time.
Adolph wasn’t stupid, he was just evil and pragmatic, a dangerous combination for sure. Some of his quotes from Meine Kampf might even be applicable, acceptable and even reasonable today, which makes it more dangerous.
English translations, quoting from the original German edition:
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
“Do not compare yourself to others. If you do so, you are insulting yourself.”
“What luck for rulers that men do not think.”
“Anyone can deal with victory. Only the mighty can bear defeat.”
“Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live.”
“It is not truth that matters, but victory.”
“By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.”
“Words build bridges into unexplored regions.”
“Reading is not an end to itself, but a means to an end.”
“I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.”
“Demoralize the enemy from within by surprise, terror, sabotage, assassination. This is the war of the future.”
“The victor will never be asked if he told the truth. ”
“The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.”
“To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.”
Unfortunately, Hitler was not entirely wrong on everything, which shows how lies and falsehood can be accepted, if packaged with just enough truth to make sense and enough literary spice to make it readable.
Authors and publishers, this is a complicated world we are publishing into. Remember the audience. Protect their hearts and minds with what you write and publish.
We’ll need it even more in 2016.