The Asia Times, an online newspaper, has quoted Evelyn Waugh in the context of an article on the current immigration crisis in Europe. The editor, Herbert London, begins by questioning whether the policies of Angela Merkel may have stretched the concept of toleration beyond reasonable limits in the face of the antifeminist criminality by North African immigrants recently reported from Cologne. He concludes with a quote from Waugh:
Part of the western tradition from Voltaire to William James is a belief that ideas are not dogmatic. There may be a right and wrong, but the search for truth is never ending. Ms. Merkel has allowed herself to be captured by the Zeitgeist. Her good intentions are yet another pathway to hell. As Evelyn Waugh wrote “…barbarism is never finally defeated… Unremitting effort is needed to keep men living together at peace; there is only a margin of energy left over for experiments, however beneficent. Once the prisons of the mind have been opened, the orgy is on…”. Ms. Merkel has opened the prisons of the mind and Germany is experiencing the results.
The quote is from Waugh’s postscript to Robbery Under Law: The Mexican Object Lesson (1939; p. 279). His message was directed at the toleration by Western governments of the corrupt leftist regime in Mexico which was, inter alia, attacking the Roman Catholic church and expropriating foreign property. The passage also appears in Waugh’s Essays, Articles and Reviews (pp. 161-62) where it is joined to an introductory passage and retitled: “Appendix: Conservative Manifesto.”