Opponents of an absolute state often wonder how far the American people will go in allowing Hitlerian totalitarianism into every single aspect of their lives. When will they stop being compliant little beings, and instead, stand up and fight for their right to exist unencumbered by one totalitarian measure after another?
The government intimidates the people daily via the reporting of so-called terror plots and flashing its danger alerts. The media frenzy that follows gives us the caveat that we are all in immediate danger — from assorted hazardous weapons such as killer bras, sandal soles, eye compact, lipstick, and toothpaste. Thus we must be willing to take immediate action to stave off all threats, we are told, or life and limb are in immediate peril. No time to think about it, they say, because we must act now. Accordingly, it follows that blind faith in our leaders is not only the patriotic way, but the only way.
This has lead to people selling their souls for what they perceive as comfort and security. With life quickly becoming a series of snooping laws, assorted "security" measures, and redistributive schemes, people no longer take control of their own lives. In fact, the masses have become so impregnated with the notion of the Supreme State ruling every aspect of their bloody lives, they are losing sight of what self-sufficiency and work ethic means. This is why work ethic has been drilled out of their inner cores. Who needs work ethic when you can have the Redistributive State give you a buck for twenty cents worth of effort?
The other day, I got a response from a reader regarding my recent piece criticizing Thomas Sowell for his support of war and state. All this reader could do to defend Total State was to recite lethargic, half-baked clichés that I see on SUV bumpers every day. One thing he said was, “Freedom comes to people because other people died for it. Pure and simple. Without their sacrifice, we would not know what the words freedom and liberty mean.”
Of course, no cliché is final without a “pure and simple” at the end. But what the heck does that mean? Needless to say, the underpinnings of liberty are not death and sacrifice. Nobody ever cares to explain the meaning of these numskulled remarks that are meant to sound as sweet as a granny’s lullaby, but in black-and-white they don’t mean a thing. Such clichés are nothing more than a jumble of words meant to convey total confusion through the perversion of clarity.
Freedom doesn’t “come to me” because some guy in a foxhole thought he’d roll up a little freedom in a paper airplane and fling it my way. I know exactly what freedom and liberty mean, and it doesn’t take aggressive wars and the spread of empire — in the name of passing on the good life, democracy — to define two words. To interpret words takes a brain. Critical thinking. Effort. Knowledge is the key that unlocks the lies and immunizes against indoctrination. Knowledge takes time and work. Clichés take 5 seconds to read off a bumper sticker or pull up off of Google.
The reader also grossly misused the Thomas Jefferson quote that refers to fertilizing the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants. He used it to defend the current war when Jefferson clearly meant to throw off a tyrannical government when it has oppressed the human spirit and stood in the way of the pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness. And surely, waging war and inciting domestic terror do exactly that.
The Hitlerian system is springing forth fast. The recent rash of highly ridiculous and oppressive decrees in regards to airline travel puts our government in a total state of transparency. Yet, the masses are wearing their blinders and don’t see through it, or, their beer goggles are making Rosie O’Donnell look like Marilyn Monroe.
Hannah Arendt, in The Origins of Totalitarianism, remarks that in the early stages of a totalitarian movement, when political opposition exists, its proponents use propaganda and violence to frighten people into submission. She adds:
Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself; the masses have to be won by propaganda. Under conditions of constitutional government and freedom of opinion, totalitarian movements struggling for power can use terror to a limited extent only and share with other parties the necessity of winning adherents and of appearing plausible to a public which is not yet rigorously isolated from all other sources of information.
The same holds true when the opposition is not an opposing party, but crafty individuals that refuse to go along with the schemes and lies. Therefore, the government must combat unregulated information sources, such as the Internet, with plausible claims of its own. It thus pelts the populace with official propaganda, and tries to convince the populace that only it — the government — stands between freedom and security, good and evil, life and death.
Since 9-11, airport oppression has been the key to reaping total power by fanning the flames of fear. After all, we travel in order that we may move freely from place-to-place as we so choose. Thus airline travel is important to meeting our needs for independence, and the masses can hardly ever be deterred from flying. So the totalitarian mechanism called government has us all by the balls. The government, then, concocts its zany stories of terrorist agendas, foiled plots, and phony intelligence reports. The fact that there were/are/must have been WMDs in Iraq still lives on in the tiny brains of many.
Then, the government sets off these inane color alerts — the Homeland Security Advisory System — that are supposed to cause us all to react and immediately pander to its color-of-the-day. You see, infantile color alerts are aimed at the person of average intelligence. That’s who the government needs to persuade if we look at this game by the numbers. Colors are simple to decode — remember your wooden blocks in kindergarten? — and easy to instill in the brains of masses of uninformed people. The average citizen surely can and will process colors and interpret meanings exactly as their masters want them to do.
Select TSA employees will be trained to identify suspicious individuals who raise red flags by exhibiting unusual or anxious behavior, which can be as simple as changes in mannerisms, excessive sweating on a cool day, or changes in the pitch of a person’s voice. Racial or ethnic factors are not a criterion for singling out people, TSA officials say. Those who are identified as suspicious will be examined more thoroughly; for some, the agency will bring in local police to conduct face-to-face interviews and perhaps run the person’s name against national criminal databases and determine whether any threat exists.
Isn’t this so crazy, preposterous, and perverse that the people have got to finally wake up and look through the Marilyn Monroe mirage? We have a totalitarian regime that can impede your existence by way of judging your frown or sweat. The real issue is that if your facial expression shows defiance, rather than the submissiveness that is demanded by the tyrants herding you through their turnstile, you are a threat to "the agenda," and you will be punished for not quietly submitting to your noble superiors like an obedient little chap. And people get upset that we compare the Bush administration to Hitler’s establishment?
In Against Leviathan, Robert Higgs notes that "The government will never cease, however, to claim that it protects the people and to devote its immense resources to propagandizing and bamboozling the public to prop up that claim." So it continues to pile on. People I observe react to the "terrorist news" and color alerts as if they were spectators to an extra-inning ballgame, following the play-by-play dutifully. They tremble at each turn, and remark that the government "has to do something." They believe every single word of propaganda that they read and hear. They see nothing wrong with the current state of oppression because they’ve been hoodwinked into thinking all of it is necessary to protect us. How pathetic is that?
Lewis Lapham of Harper’s magazine, while defining a fascist state, noted that within such a state individual citizens are "the property of the government, happy villagers glad to wave the flags and wage the wars, grateful for the good fortune that placed them in the care of a sublime leader."
If we do not help to educate our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family — via encouraging independent and critical thinking — we will see a fascist state that will far surpass the Hitlerian totalitarian system or Stalinist regime. We may not be starved and locked behind a fence, but the masses will be stripped of all self-sufficiency, freedom of choice, mental stamina, skepticism, and the ability to discern between what is morally right or wrong. Arming the people with knowledge, however, is our best defense against a creeping totalitarianism that will otherwise go unimpeded. The depravity of an absolute state domestically and perpetual wars internationally must not go unexposed. We must end the wars against mankind in order to win the battle for freedom.
Karen De Coster, CPA, [send her mail] is an accounting and finance professional, freelance writer, and has an MA in Economics. She is fond of motorcycles, guns, Delirium Tremens, fresh lake perch, Stillwater (Minnesota), deadlifting, old barns, road trips through the Ohio Valley, magazine racks, general stores, cigars, iTunes, martini bars, Beethoven, Kid Rock, and articles defending Martha Stewart. She enjoys pissing off the extroverts by listening to her iPod in public. This is her LewRockwell.com archive and her Mises.org archive. Check out her website, along with her blog.