OPINION: Kim Dotcom has a copy of Mein Kampf. So does the Invercargill public library, though we are told it is out on loan at the moment.
It is hard to argue with the library holding Adolf Hitler's much-reviled book. It should be available for scrutiny, if only because book-burning is the Nazi, not Kiwi, approach. Works of great folly are better dragged into the sunlight than thrown into the flames.
Better exposed and confronted than given the spurious glamour that comes from suppression.
Even so, there is something distressingly indulgent and amoral about Dotcom having acquired his own autographed copy. Not dedicated "to my good friend Kim", obviously, but still personalised by the most harmful villain of our age in a way that makes it a rarity and potentially a lucrative investment, if you care to consider it strictly in those terms.
Most of us do not. It is Mein Kampf for God's sake.
Intellectual freedoms duly acknowledged, the thought of making bucks out of it would still nauseate most of us, for very human reasons.
All the worse if there is also a suspicion that the owner-investor bought into not just the potential profit, but the poisonous morality and cynical social engineering given expression in those pages.
This Dotcom strongly denies. As it happens, we believe him. But there is a further concern. It is that he had a bit of moisture on his lips when he scored the purchase because he found the thought owning his own autographed copy of such a badass book kind of cool and exciting.
And we can strongly suspect that is exactly how he saw it.
Dotcom is an internet millionaire who has lots of form when it comes to spending his money indulgently.
How, then, should we feel about his potential ability to influence the spending of public money?
Dotcom yesterday launched a political party.
You would think that the Mein Kampf revelation would be catastrophic to the Internet Party's public credibility.
But politics do get messy and he certainly has more than rich-man resources on his side.
There is a sizeable catchment of people who are not necessarily inclined to react to him being portrayed as a James Bond villain (Goldfinger), nor a Batman villain (dangerous clown) and who will be powerfully drawn to a party whose platform can readily be understood as having a lot to do with technology-related jobs, the digital economy and protections against state snooping. Someone who could shake up a political firmament about which many people are not feeling particularly protective.
The Internet Party is trying to present itself to the public as being all about modern-age smarts, being understandably in conflict with The Man, and far from ideologically driven.
Mind you, convincing people of that last point becomes a tiny bit more problematic when you have Mein Kampf in your bookcase.
- The Southland Times
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