Why do Americans appear to be such whipped dogs today? Are we really different from the Germans of recent memory? When is it time to be fully prepared, to hunker down for the final act, the clamp down, the police state? How do people know?
One doesn’t exactly know. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’… In the workplace, in your community, you speak privately to your friends and colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’
How do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic… the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked… But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C?
Remember your history. Germany. 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 so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.
The paragraphs above are from Milton Mayer who wrote the book,
They Thought They Were Free: The Germans
Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. A terrorist event on U.S. soil triggers it. A complete lockdown. It’s over. Too late. The full-on police state. It will never be the same again. Then, you see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we do nothing).
When is it time to prepare, to say something, to take action, to move, to be ready? How much longer?
It is better to be a year early than a day too late.
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