It cannot happen here?

In the 1930s, good people in Russia, Germany, and Japan watched in horror and disbelief as each nation was led downward into the darkest recesses of depravity.  Each day, there were glimmers of hope that matters might be reversed, that the people would regain their senses and reject the extremist ideologues who were enacting destructive policies, but each day, matters grew progressively worse.  How did it feel to witness that?  Perhaps we shall get a taste.

The governments grew so powerful that they co-opted the functions of parents and brought into their service even small children.  The state, not the parent, was to be obeyed.

The analogy between the 1930s and the 2020s is not perfect, but the parallels are unmistakable.  A relatively few people in power can exert disproportionate influence over a society and lead it to destruction.  Once a core of acolytes is in place, it is a matter of technique to insert thousands more into various key positions — turning the news media into a propaganda arm of the ruling party, controlling critical infrastructure, commanding industry, and effectively saturating officialdom with bureaucrats who do the dirty work.

In the 1930s, this was not accomplished without opposition, even violent opposition, to the edicts of the slave-masters.  Many dissidents were assassinated; hundreds were killed in the streets by government thugs; and many thousands more were imprisoned, often never to be heard from again.  In the end, the governments imposed their will.

The régimes, having looted their own economies, blamed their political enemies for the shortfalls.  To compensate for their domestic failures, Japan and Germany (and to some extent, Russia) turned to foreign conquest, plundering neighboring nations for their produce.  In doing so, they led a generation of their young men to slaughter and condemned their great cities to fiery ruin.  Misery was inflicted on historical scales.

By the end those decades, the tyrannies of the Axis were finally brought to heel by their civilized foes, foes who showed mercy — mercy to the merciless.  The despots could not have been more fortunate in their choice of enemies.

Today, however, the enemies of the Western civilizations are not civilized, nor are they merciful.  Abroad, they are murderous terrorists.  At home, they are often, as yet, content to "cancel" their opponents, although already they have shown a propensity to imprison them, casting aside the notion of "innocent until proven guilty" and using pre-trial detention as a form of pre-trial punishment.

The most baffling factor in all this is the willful ignorance of millions of voters who, watching the value of their money deteriorate, cheer on the embezzlers, applauding those who are casting us into poverty.  Who, watching the insanity of unpunished criminality, a policy that bankrupts retail businesses, return the enablers to office so they can do more of the same.  Who, seeing their children exposed to displays of sexual perversion by government, reelect the groomers.  It is both amazing and disheartening.  How could this happen?  How did it?

There is no rational way to explain such irrational obeisance to our abusive government.  Decades of careful cultivation by the so-called education establishment is surely a major factor, but the number of adults who have witnessed two years of the worst "I told you so" in recent history, and yet have voted to continue it, is inexplicable.  To this day, many of them deny that Biden's wrecking-ball policies have anything to do with the higher prices that we were warned would occur if he took office.  Their disconnect from reality defies explanation.  It is pointless to attempt to discuss it with them, because they almost instantly revert to mindlessly accusing critics of being "Nazis," racists, and "election deniers."

In the 1930s, the rise of dictatorships was witnessed by such leftist historians as Harold Rugg, whose works contain the prescient warning (in 1932!) of "a second world war."  Placing oneself mentally back into those days, without the present benefit of our hindsight, one could well imagine how it felt, to watch helplessly as the totalitarians of that era rose to power, consolidated their control of the populace, and then led them into unimaginable atrocities.  What at first seemed could never happen, eventually seemed inevitable and unstoppable.  The wicked ones marched from victory to victory, trampling all who stood in their way.

How far will the present madness of government go?  We see it becoming more and more out of control, ruling over us with little or no accountability for its disastrous practices.  Every time we think it can get no worse, it does.  Every time we think the American people will wake up, too many of them sleep-walk, chanting their meaningless slogans, worshiping Mammon and Baal.  

As President Reagan warned us, there is no place else for democracy to go; we are its last and best hope.  Can we, unlike the unfortunate Germans, Russians, and Japanese of 1932, turn this around?  Is any task more urgent?  

Image: Don Hankins via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

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