If you do, I strongly urge you to watch this YouTube video:Yes, I know, it's Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women and she was AlGore's instructor on how to be an "Alpha Male" during the 2000 election cycle. She is also the author of The End of America: A Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot, and this video is on that topic.
It is an enlightening piece.
Ms. Wolf notes that there are ten characteristics of open societies that are sliding down the slope towards totalitarianism, using Russia, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy as her examples. Those 10 steps are:
- A hyped internal or external threat
- Secret prisons and torture of prisoners, sometimes with military tribunals
- The creation of a paramilitary force
- Surveillance of the general population
- Arbitrary detainment
- Infiltration of perceived opposition groups
- The targeting of key individuals
- Restraint of the press
- The recasting of criticism as espionage, and dissent as treason
- Subversion of the Rule of Law or the imposition of martial law
She's not alone in seeing the building blocks of totalitarianism. The GeekWithA.45 long ago waved the warning flag:
We, who studied the shape and form of the machines of freedom and oppression, have looked around us, and are utterly dumbfounded by what we see.But what Naomi Wolf neglects to include in her list of necessary ingredients for totalitarianism are the crucial ones, ones I'm not at all surprised she missed.
We see first that the machinery of freedom and Liberty is badly broken. Parts that are supposed to govern and limit each other no longer do so with any reliability.
We examine the creaking and groaning structure, and note that critical timbers have been moved from one place to another, that some parts are entirely missing, and others are no longer recognizable under the wadded layers of spit and duct tape. Other, entirely new subsystems, foreign to the original design, have been added on, bolted at awkward angles.
We know the tools and mechanisms of oppression when we see them. We've studied them in depth, and their existence on our shores, in our times, offends us deeply. We can see the stirrings of malevolence, and we take stock of the damage they've caused over so much time.
Others pass by without a second look, with no alarm or hue and cry, as if they are blind, as if they don't understand what they see before their very eyes. We want to shake them, to grasp their heads and turn their faces, shouting, "LOOK! Do you see what this thing is? Do you see how it might be put to use? Do you know what can happen if this thing becomes fully assembled and activated?"
Some, to be certain, see these things, and perceive the danger. Many of these, their minds and judgments clouded, act as if they had appeared new and pristine, and proceed to lay all of the blame, 100% of it, at the feet of the current administration, judges and legislators, not stopping to think that such malignity does not appear de-novo, and all at once.
It is human, after all, to assign blame for such things as the evidence of ill intention and malign design, and sometimes it is just to do so. We remind ourselves though, that it isn't always the case, and that evil can also emerge unbidden from the sum of vectors, rather than the charting of a course.
Such sickness as this grows over time, years and decades. It accretes in lightless corners and in broad daylight in places where self-deception, man's oldest enemy carries the day.
Alone, and in small groups, we sit in the shade and think, to find clarity. Some of the forms we see are plain as day, and others are ambiguous. We know that it is human nature to see patterns in the stars, to connect the dots. Often, the patterns we see are real, and sometimes, they are just constellations. We pause and check each bit of history, one at a time. We know that we cannot afford to be wrong.
The original machine designers warned us of this. They knew that the temptation would always be there, and they sternly warned us that assembling such machines, even with the best of intention was to court a cascading disaster.
She's right, the building blocks are all there. There is indeed cause for concern, even fear. But the two necessary ingredients she missed have been remarkably well described by others. The first by Eric Hoffer is a populace well prepared for a mass movement:
When people are ripe for a mass movement, they are usually ripe for any effective movement, and not solely for one with any particular doctrine or program.And what group best fits that description?
The second is described by Jonah Goldberg in his definition of fascism:
Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people."A leader attuned to the will of the people." Naomi Wolf cites Russia, Germany, and Italy as her examples of states that descend from what she calls "openness" into totalitarianism. But what she fails to note is that each had a strong, charismatic, and popular leader - Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini. She tries to portray G.W. Bush as such a leader, but the very idea is laughable. The same can be said for John McCain.
But The Obamessiah?
Yes, the Right has constructed many of the mechanisms of oppression, she's correct. But she's wrong if she believes that only the Right would put all the pieces together and use the resulting machine. Jonah Goldberg's entire book is an explanation of how the Left has systematically redefined and mischaracterized Fascism as a right-wing phenomenon. Instead it is, as he explains in great detail, national socialism as opposed to international socialism.
At least she admits to understanding what the Second Amendment is really for.
Watch the video. Think about what she says (and what she doesn't.)
I expect to see a LOT of comments to this post.