Escape From Freedom

A REVOLT against freedom seems a paradox; yet this is what our age has witnessed in country after country. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia was directed not against the autocracy, but against the weak liberal régime of Kerensky. In the same way the Fascist and National Socialist revolutions occurred not as a protest against oppression, but as movements against governments which were mild to the point of feebleness in their methods. A German psychologist applies the method of Freud to the study of the causes of Hitler’s victory and to a consideration of the social and economic problems which are common to the entire world. He sees modern man as conscious of isolation and weakness in the typical democratic state, as tempted to escape from a sense of insecurity into the blind obedience of the dictatorship. While the author’s primary approach is that of the psychoanalyst, there are some shrewd and thoughtful general observations on the factors which promoted the triumph of the Nazis. Dr. Fromm believes that the danger of fascism can be exorcised only by measures which will lead to a sense of ‘positive freedom’ on the part of the individual, enabling him to fit harmoniously into his social environment.
W. H. C.