Let’s Not Give Them an Inch

Remember Chiune Sugihara? He was the Japanese diplomat in Lithuania who, during World War II, went over his bosses’ heads by issuing exit visas to thousands of Jews whose lives were threatened by the Nazis.

We posted about him at New Escapologist because he used his free agency where others would have denied it. He was a cog in a machine but he refused to act like one.

I don’t think it’s fanciful to say that many of us will be given the opportunity over the next few weeks, months and years to act as Chiune Sugihara did. Some have already risen to the occasion.

Challenge racism wherever it arises. We too often tolerate intolerance.

Never play devil’s advocate by saying “well, at least the actions of Trump/May/Farage/White Supremacists will give us [blank].” Don’t look for silver linings in blatantly unconscionable acts. No potential gain is worth what they’re doing.

Do not look to their followers and confuse their cowardice, ignorance and spite with an appetite for change.

Do not pull your punches. Do not give them an inch. They’ve already taken their mile.

Whenever you get a chance — and you will get chances — use it to do the right thing. Your opportunity may not come in the form of saving six thousand lives with a signature, but you should still look out for that fork in the road where you can grind like a cog or step up like Sugihara.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at www.wringham.co.uk/about.

One Response to “Let’s Not Give Them an Inch”

  1. Drew says:

    When an aggressive dog comes after you, if you try to run away, the dog will become emboldened and keep coming. Conversely, if you turn around and confront it, it’ll cower. It’s the same with people. Generally, we all know right from wrong, even bullies and bigots. So when you stand up to a bully / call bullshit on them / kick them in the chops, they’ll back down because they know you’re right.

    Turn, face the problem, and challenge it.

Leave a Reply

Latest issues and offers


Issues One to Seven

A bundle of our first seven issues. Featuring minimalism, Houdini, Leo Babauta, Bohemianism, Alain de Botton, Sartre, and Tom Hodgkinson. 567 pages. £35.


Issues Eight to Thirteen

A bundle of our last six issues. Featuring Luke Rhinehart, Flaubert, Mr Money Mustache, part-time work, Will Self, home life, Richard Herring, and E. F. Schumacher. 593 pages. £30.

Issue Thirteen

Our final issue. Featuring an interview with celebrity mortician Caitlin Doughty; Matt Caulfield on zen fool Ryokan; and Reggie C. King on David Bowie and Sun Ra. 122 pages. £7.

Escape Everything!

A hardback guide to scarpering. Essential reading for wage slaves and slugabeds alike. Published by Unbound and Penguin. 230 pages. £12.