From Thomas Mann's Diaries 1918-1939, entry of August 5, 1934:
A cynical egotism, a selfish limitation of concern to one's personal welfare and one's reasonable survival in the face of the headstrong and voluptuous madness of 'history' is amply justified. One is a fool to take politics seriously, to care about it, to sacrifice one's moral and intellectual strength to it. All one can do is survive, and preserve one's personal freedom and dignity.
I don't endorse Mann's sentiment but I sympathize with it. Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933. Imagine the effect that must have had on a man of Mann's sensitivity and spiritual depth. You witness your country, the land of Kant and Schiller, of Dichter und Denker, poets and thinkers, in Heinrich Heine's phrase, transformed into a land of Richter und Henker, judges and hangmen.
My response to Mann would be along these lines: It precisely because men of the spirit must survive and survive to create that they must be concerned with politics and with those who can kill and suppress them. You escaped to the USA, but what if there were no such country to which to escape because all of the people of high quality practised your cynical egotism, your selfish limitation to the personal?
I will have to find the passage in Plato's Laws where he says that the good who refuse to get involved in politics will end up ruled by the evil.