BUT, THERE'S A BIG 'BUT'
So we're going to read an excerpt starting on page 29.
"It was a truism to the Revolutionary generation that if the fragile mechanism became unbalanced, American leaders too - of course - would revert to brutality. we are so removed from the tyranny that the nation's first patriots experienced, personally that we have not only forgotten this crucial insight, we have even forgotten to consider how obvious it was to the fathers and mothers of our country.
The Founders never expected us to fall asleep or get lazy. They counted on us to keep the web of the precious system intact so that an American despot could never arise. They trusted us to cherish liberty as they did.
The price of liberty, the generation that debated and created the Constitution understood, is eternal vigilance.
THE STRENGTH AND EAST OF DICTATORSHIP
There is also a reverse process that systematically closes down freedom.
Many Americans have an impressionistic sense that Mussolini and Hitler came to power through violence alone. But each came to power legally in a working democracy; each made use of the Parliamentary system itself to subvert and reorder the rule of law; and each then, quickly, legally aggregated state power overwhelmingly in his own person. Both leaders were supported by sophisticated intellectuals and political theorists who made the case to the people that democratic processes weakened the nation in a time of crisis.
All dictators: invoke an external and threat; develop a paramilitary force; create a secret prison system; surveill ordinary citizens; arbitrarily detain and release them; harass citizens' group; target writers, entertainers, and other key individuals for dissenting; intimidate the press; recast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage"; and eventually subvert the rule of law.
(My comment - does the above sound too frighteningly FAMILIAR?)
Unfortunately, while it is very difficult to sustain an open society, history shows that it is fairly simple to close one down.
The same ten steps have shut down democracies all over the world at many different times and these steps are no secret: After all, Mussolini studied Lenin; Hitler studied Mussolini; Stalin studied Hitler; and Chinese communist leaders studied Stalin, and so on. Indeed the United States has helped develop a training center, the School of the Americas (now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), to train various pro-capitalist Latin American leaders in the theory and practice of violent dictatorship.
Is the United States in 2007 parallel to Italy in 1922 or Germany in 1933, Czechoslovakia in 1968, Chile in 1973, or China in 1989? No. But over the past six years we have been watching the United States move closer to becoming a more closed society.
THE APPEARANCE OF NORMALCY IN AN EARLY FASCIST SHIFT
It's easy to look around at America in 2007 and choose to believe that this warning is overheated: After all, we are for the most part doing what we have routinely done. We are going online into a vibrant Internet world; clicking through hundreds of TV channels; enjoying Hollywood films; reading bestsellers that present views across the political spectrum. The courts are ruling, newspapers are publishing exposes, protest marches are being planned about the war; a presidential race is underway.
But there are plenty of examples of a shift into a dictatorial reality in which, for several years, while the basic institutions of freedom are targeted and rights are eroding, daily life still looks very normal - even, for many people, pleasant.
Americans tend to think of the shift to fascism in scary setpieces: the boots on the stairs, the knock in the middle of the night, the marching columns, the massive banners waving over city streets; a Leni Riefenstahl film all the time, or an unrelieved scene of citizen terror with crematoria smoking in the distance. We are so used to seeing depictions of the most sensational aspects of totalitarian societies - the gulag, the death camps - that we don't pay much attention to the fact that there is often an incremental process that led those societies to become places where such things could happen.
The view that fascism looks from the start like a nationwide prison camp rather than a fairly normal society can be comforting when facing an argument like mine. It's natural to wish that the two realities were so categorically different that, of course, "It couldn't happen here."
But as would-be dictators consolidate power, if they are training their sights on a democracy, rhings proceed fairly routinely in many areas in the earliest years. In the beginning, the horror, as W. H. Auden put it, is usually elsewhere, taking place while other people are going about their normal daily round. Peasants in Italy celebrated their harvest festivals in 1919 in Naples when Mussolini's arditi were beating bloody the local communists in Milan. Journalist Joseph Roth, the star columnist for the Frankfurter Zeitung, files glitzy reports on urban style and nightlife, on architecture and the avant-garde; he and his colleagues dwelt on the latest fashions and described the trendiest watering holes. As Roth rebutted rising anti-Semitism in print, Hitler was consolidating power around himself. Victor Klemperer, a Jewish professor of French literature who kept a diary throughout the rise and fall of the Third Reich, cared for this garden, did repairs on his car, chatted with his Nazi neighbors, went to the movies with his wife, even as he became increasingly aware of persecution, arrests, theft of property, and new discriminatory laws; even as he was certain of an inevitable catastrophe. That's what people do."
AGAIN: Does this sound familiar?
We have precious little hours to the election, and you need to get this book, buy copies used and distribute them to your liberal friends. Wolf is giving you the roadmap to how this creeping cancer has made this country so vilely different from its intended creation. Apply what I have just typed to us under Bush and Obama. We have let this happen with blinding speed.
Wolf may be known as a liberal, but in this book the roadmap is in your hands. We, as all of us on this planet come into this world but the second our umbilical cords are cut, the governments impose suffocating restrictions on you.
We in America have the Second Amendment. We FOUGHT FOR THE RIGHT TO BE FREE OF THE KING - A DICTATOR ACROSS AN OCEAN, AND WE KILLED OUR ENEMIES FOR THE RIGHTS OF LIBERTY AND FREEDOM. TYRANNY ALWAYS COMES, AS IT DID FOR US WITH THE REDCOATS, AT THE END OF A GUN.
We are outgunned by our own government whose purpose it has become is to control us and kill us if necessary. Your paramilitary police forces, sheriffs, highway and border patrol and the DHS, the TSA and the other rogue agencies, including EPA, the IRS, the Federal Reserve (that private bank you thought was government run), the Forest Service and the rest of those being distributed heavy weaponry to be used against US (and that means YOU), have grown so outlandishly powerful, we had better do some serious thinking before we vote. And do NOT everf accept FEMA camps as "normal".
If you don't believe we are facing a dictator and his big guns, you need to take the power away from him to insure your safety because you haven't been paying attention (the eternal vigilance referred to above). If your elected representatives are running (and running amok) and are ignoring the fact that the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution limits their power and increases ours, vote them out of office. That is the first way to defeat tyranny. The second is to arm ourselves and refuse to submit to the dictator, no matter what. We were given a republic and it is our responsibility and duty to defend it with our lives. If tyranny arrives at our gate or our door, or on our public streets, we were given the remedy.
Read this book before the election. Find it used, buy a bunch and start distributing it. Use Amazon, Alibris, Barnes and Nobel - any way you can, but buy it.
Naomi Wolf's lectures on this subject are stunning in that they will open your eyes to what has been happening for years under both the Democrats and Republicans alike while you were busy watching sports or sitting playing stupid video games on your Xbox or draining your intellect through Facebook.