They Thought They Were Free

An excerpt from
They Thought They Were Free

But Then It Was Too Late

What no one seemed to notice, said a colleague of mine, a philologist, was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

It is imperative to reveal the similarities of Hitler and the Nazis rise to power to Obama and the Progressives.  No, I’m not saying Obama is Hitler.  As much as I dislike Obama’s policies and complete lack of leadership, as of now, I can’t compare him to someone who exterminated 6 million Jews.

I will point out that both came to power from the votes of run-of-the-mill people.  The housing market crash of 2008 coupled with the talking down of the American economy by opportunistic Democrat politicians ushered in a candidate that campaigned on hope and change.  It didn’t matter that the success of Obama’s campaign which blamed Republicans, was based off his own party’s policy failures dating back to “The Housing and Development Act of 1992” which established an affordable housing loan purchase mandate for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Contrast that with the stock market crash of 1929 that sent Germany spiraling downward.

The message of hope and change like the Nazi message appealed like a breath of fresh air to a lot of Americans, and the country’s self-inflicting despair left people looking for something to cling to.  The Progressive’s propaganda was easy to accept:  it offered hope with Utopian dreams and a scapegoat for their own failures (Conservatives, The Rich, Capitalism, Religion) .  Remember the Nazi party’s propaganda was also easy to accept with the demonizing of the Jews and Communists.  Fast forward to today on debate of whether the government should provide another massive entitlement program; opposition to this and other Obama schemes is likened to being racist, jihadists, anarchist, kidnappers and suicide bombers.

Even worse, bureaucracies of our own government like the IRS and EPA use Brownshirt tactics to intimidate opposition, i.e., you and me.  I could go on and on.  And rest assured this is not an indictment of those only of the Left Wing.  The Right Wing has their own authoritarian faction.

Most Germans didn’t understand what happened during the Nazi reign would or could ever happen.  How could anyone?   But history does allows us insight into unforeseen events if choose to look.  Look around you.  Do you think you are truly free?