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Additional resources for Bernard Shaw and Totalitarianism: Longing for Utopia
1, 224). And we know that one of Shaw’s greatest accomplishments—among so many—was his ability to overcome an almost paralyzing shyness and become perhaps the greatest public speaker in England. But we must still wonder if he was ever able to feel “quite grown-up and tremendous, like other chaps” and if this might explain some of his admiration for unscrupulous men of action. Shaw wanted to see a race of supermen, and claimed that until there is an England in which every man is a Cromwell, a France in which every man is a Napoleon, a Rome in which every man is a Caesar, a Germany in which every man is a Luther plus a Goethe, the world will be no more improved by its heroes than a Brixton villa is improved by the pyramid of Cheops.
You will end by infecting the whole country; you will bring about such a state of things that the whole country will deserve to be ruined. 25 For all his tenacity, moral conviction and heroism, Stockmann has the traits of the fanatic. He even imagines himself a kind of modern-day Christ, at the end of the play exhorting his children to ﬁnd him twelve boys that he can educate as his disciples. In a remarkable book, Ibsen and Previsions of the Superman: The Quintessence of Ibsenism 41 Hitler: The Playwright, the Plagiarist, and the Plot for the Third Reich, the historian Steven F.
Preface to On the Rocks, vol. 5, 492–93) The only country which has yet awakened to this extension of social responsibility is Russia . . For example, when the Russian railways were communized, some of the local stationmasters interpreted the change as meaning that they might now be as lazy and careless as they pleased . . The unfortunate Commissar who was Minister of Transport found himself obliged to put a pistol in his pocket and with his own hand shoot stationmasters who had thrown his telegrams into the dustbin instead of attending to them, so that he might the more impressively ask the rest of the staff whether they yet grasped the fact that orders are meant to be executed.