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Thread: The Road To Soft Totalitarianism

  1. #1

    The Road To Soft Totalitarianism

    The Road To Soft Totalitarianism
    By Rod Dreher - June 1, 2020

    “There always is this fallacious belief: ‘It would not be the same here; here such things are impossible.’ Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth.”—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, and with it Soviet totalitarianism. Gone was the communist police state that had enslaved Russia and half of Europe. The Cold War that had dominated the second half of the twentieth century came to a close. Democracy and capitalism bloomed in the formerly captive nations. The age of totalitarianism passed into oblivion, never again to menace humanity.

    Or so the story goes. I, along with most Americans, believed that the menace of totalitarianism had passed. Then, in the spring of 2015, I received a phone call from an anxious stranger.

    The caller was an eminent American physician. He told me that his elderly mother, a Czechoslovak immigrant to the US, had spent six years of her youth as a political prisoner in her homeland. She had been part of the Catholic anti-communist resistance. Now in her nineties and living with her son and his family, the old woman had recently told her American son that events in the United States today reminded her of when communism first came to Czechoslovakia.

    What prompted her concern? News reports about the social-media mob frenzy against a small-town Indiana pizzeria whose Evangelical Christian owners told a reporter they would not cater a same-sex wedding. So overwhelming were the threats against their lives and property, including a user on the Twitter social media platform who tweeted a call for people to burn down the pizzeria, that the restaurant owners closed their doors for a time.

    Meanwhile, liberal elites, especially in the media, normally so watchful against the danger of mobs threatening the lives and livelihoods of minorities, were untroubled by the assault on the pizzeria, which occurred in the context of the broader debate about the clash between gay rights and religious liberty.

    The US-born doctor said he had heard his immigrant parents warn him about the dangers of totalitarianism all his life. He hadn’t worried—after all, this is America, the land of liberty, of individual rights, one nation under God and the rule of law. America was born out of a quest for religious liberty, and had always been proud of the First Amendment to the US Constitution that guaranteed it. But now there was something about what was happening in Indiana that made him think: What if they were right?

    It’s easy to laugh this kind of thing off. Many of us with aging parents are accustomed to having to talk them down from the ledge, so to speak, after a cable news program stoked their fear and anxiety about the world outside their front door. I assumed that this was probably the case with the elderly Czech woman.

    But there was something about the tension in the doctor’s voice, and the fact that he felt compelled to reach out to a journalist he didn’t even know, telling me that it would be too dangerous for me to use his name if I wrote about him, that rattled me. His question became my question: What if the old Czech woman sees something the rest of us do not? What if we really are witnessing a turn toward totalitarianism in the Western liberal democracies, and can’t see it because it takes a form different from the old kind?

    During the next few years, I spoke with many men and women who had once lived under communism. I asked them what they thought of the old woman’s declaration. Did they also think that life in America is drifting toward some sort of totalitarianism?

    They all said yes—often emphatically. They were usually surprised by my question because they consider Americans to be hopelessly naive on the subject. In talking at length to some of the emigrants who found refuge in America, I discovered that they are genuinely angry that their fellow Americans don’t recognize what is happening.

    ...
    ...I will say simply that by “totalitarianism,” I mean an all-encompassing ideology that seeks to control not just the actions, but the thoughts of those under its power. By “soft,” I mean to distinguish it from the “hard” totalitarianism of the Soviet-style dictatorships. This is going to be something much more akin to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World than Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It will be like James Poulos’s concept of the “Pink Police State” — hardline managerial progressivism that permits personal liberties, but restricts political ones. And it will be administered not wholly by the state, but by corporations and other institutions run by managerial elites, enabled by the vast network of surveillance technology that is already in place, thanks to the ubiquity of the Internet, smartphones, and smart devices.
    ...
    we refuse to control real criminals (that’s the anarchy) so we control the innocent (that’s the tyranny).
    ...
    More: https://www.theamericanconservative....talitarianism/
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul
    They are what they hate.” - B4L


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.



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  3. #2
    I wish these elderly Second World émigrés would join this forum.
    'I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag.'--Molly Ivins

    'Well, you can get no more liberty than you give.'--Will Rogers

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    I wish these elderly Second World émigrés would join this forum.

    What? You wanna turn this place socialist?
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by CCTelander View Post
    What? You wanna turn this place socialist?
    No, I want the people who think immigrants automagically turn places socialist to see how they're helping the socialists.
    'I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag.'--Molly Ivins

    'Well, you can get no more liberty than you give.'--Will Rogers

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    No, I want the people who think immigrants automagically turn places socialist to see how they're helping the socialists.

    I'm sure you caught it but that WAS my point.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul



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