Political Insanity, Part II: From Don Quixote to Mark Milley

Don Quixote sets out alone as a man, a traveling knight, who in the spirit of the tale of chivalry wants to help the humble to what is their right…. Since he departs alone, the matter turns out relatively well, because when he comes to this famous inn and wants to be dubbed knight there, the innkeeper and his staff enter into Don Quixote’s tomfoolery and play the dubbing of a knight with him…. Then he returns home highly satisfied. [It] goes relatively well, as long as he is alone and others benevolently enter into the tomfoolery. So let the buffoon go; he is a buffoon!

Eric Voegelin, “Hitler and the Germans”

Voegelin’s discourse on Don Quixote appears in a book titled Hitler and the Germans. This is no accident, for Hitler was Germany’s buffoon – posing as Germany’s savior. Buffoonish antics, in history, often entail serious consequences. Today we have a new set of buffoons, on the left and on the right. Therefore, nobody should be caught off guard by what is coming. But they will be caught of guard for the very simple reason that they have not been paying close attention. Everything “goes relatively well,” wrote Voegelin, “as long as … others benevolently enter into the tomfoolery.” We are beyond that now. Others are not “benevolently” entering into it. Quite the opposite.

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