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Monday, April 19, 2010

CREEPING TYRANNY

I believe that I am an eyewitness to history. I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history. We elected him by a landslide - 98% of the vote . . . I've never read that in any American publications. Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.
That's how an article starts on Stormbringer, by a woman named Kitty Werthmann. She was a girl when the Nazis took over Austria. Her version of events isn't 100% accurate here - there was a vote, and the Nazis did win by a huge vote, but that was only after they successfully eliminated all the other parties and only a small percentage of the population actually voted. Still, technically and from her perspective as a child, what she says is true; Hitler won by a huge margin of the popular vote. It just wasn't a free election by any valid standard.

Still, Hitler was popular, and the Nazis did get a large percentage of the vote several times. Why? Well in the deep depression which Europe was suffering under, Nazis offered what people wanted to hear. Mrs Werthmann goes on:
We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany , where Hitler had been in power since 1933. We had been told that they didn't have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living. Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group - Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria.

We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back.

Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.

The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed. After the election, German officials were appointed, and like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.

Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home, an able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn't support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been required to give up for marriage.
At first, things seemed wonderful. Everyone had jobs. Everyone had schools. Everyone had health care. The violent battles between Marxists and Socialists ended. It seemed like everything was exactly what they'd hoped for and been told they would be given.

Of course there were problems. Children were required to go to "National Youth Day" meetings by law. Parents could not opt out or they'd be fined, or on the third offense, thrown in prison. Religious teaching was ended. Education for kids was mostly political indoctrination and sports.

THE PRICE
It wasn't for a few years that the real cost of this became obvious. The government paid for these efforts by simply taking what they wanted from Jews and other people they didn't care for. Health Insurance didn't have to cover people like mentally disabled or epileptics because they were simply carted off to special care centers, and "died a peaceful, natural death." Taxes went up to 80% of income, and because everything was covered, things started to go worse:
Before Hitler, we had very good medical care. Many American doctors trained at the University of Vienna. After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything. When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full. If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.
All that free stuff stopped being free, all that great medicine and science ground to a halt where it didn't advance the war machine. All that equality? Not so much:
When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers. You could take your children ages 4 weeks to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, 7 days a week, under the total care of the government. The state raised a whole generation of children. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had.
THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM
They weren't equal, they were just rammed into the work force and their children were taken away for programming. What struck me more than the subtle seduction of government providing everything and solving all problems - and the horrendous consequences of believing that - was the deep, deep overpowering socialism that the Nazis openly and loudly preached and brought about.

Practice true comradeship and you will be a true socialist
-From the Nazi Party Organization Book

Here's a few highlights from the article:
  • Socialized Medicine
  • Food Stamps for all
  • Free clothing from the government
  • College education for all kids
  • Free housing from the government
  • Government price controls
  • Government controls over stock in all stores
  • Government controls over farming and production
  • Government child care
  • Exclusively government schools
Mrs Werthmann tells a little story about how small business was approached:
We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables. Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn't meet all the demands. Soon, he went out of business. If the government owned the large businesses and not many small ones existed, it could be in control.
When the central government controls all business and economy, when central planning determines every aspect of your life, you not only exchange liberty for comfort and ease, but you exchange democracy for socialism.

The Nazis - National Socialist Party - were socialists. There is simply no rational or factual way to argue anything else. Even the big industries like IG Farben were told what and how to produce everything, what to pay workers, what to charge, and where to get their supplies. This was not far right wing economics, it was totally socialistic left wing economics. The Nazis hated communism because of its efforts toward equality and eliminating central power. Communism in principle was the enemy, but socialism was exactly what the embraced.

THE WARNING
Mrs Weltmann is worried this might be happening to America, that the slow creep of central planning and socialism is on the way in the US which she calls the last place on earth to be truly free. She understands that liberty is a higher goal than comfort, and that economic equality at the expense of freedom is always a bad choice. The article ends with this thought:
"It's true. Those of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity. America Truly is the Greatest Country in the World. Don't Let Freedom Slip Away - After America, There is No Place to Go"
The truth is, hardship and difficulty are always part of life. They cannot be escaped, no matter what plan or government scheme or theory you have. It is also true that these hardships are what shape us and teach us and build us into something greater, like a chisel on a block of marble. I would rather not go through such times, no more than anyone else. I want to avoid pain and sadness and difficulty, I want to avoid sickness and misery. If possible I'd spare everyone else when I can, but it is far worse to avoid all such times and never grow than to face many of them, and learn.

Tyranny is typically defined as those taking power for themselves to enhance their power, comfort and ease. This is the despot who takes over so he can rule and do what he wants, banning others from making him unhappy or displeased. This is what almost all tyrants eventually end up as, selfish and focused on their rule and ease.

Yet there is a different sort of tyranny, the kind of tyranny seen most often in the 20th century and into the 21st. Tyranny of the well-meaning and the carefully planned is a far worse sort. This is the kind of tyranny which religions put people under, and with very little difference, the kind of tyranny which ideology does as well. Communism in Russia, China, Cuba, Albania, and all other places it festers still was not an attempt by a small group of men to seize power for themselves, but a small group of academics and ideologues who thought that they needed power for everyone else's good. If we only have the power, they say, we could make things all better for everyone. Even if they resist, we know best and we can make life perfect if only people are forced to do what we want.

The Nazis were no different; they envisioned a glorious, better age for humanity, a time of prosperity, comfort, and advancement. Their schemes were based on the very latest scientific theories and social concepts. They took Darwinism and humanism to its hideous, terrifying final extent and imposed those ideas on everyone else. Humanity is evolving, so we should shape and protect that for the maximum benefit and speed. Some humans are more evolved than others - plainly that must be true if evolution is constant and everpresent - so lets clear out the less evolved so they won't pollute the race and slow that progress. Humanity is the end and highest pinnacle of existence, so we not only need no gods, but there is no ethic save what we impose. That which best serves the purpose of a glorious utopian future is what is right, not what ancient religions taught.

And they saw Socialism as the ultimate economic system to achieve those goals. An all-powerful government should control the economy and business so that this transition to the ultimate humanity and a glorious, evolved future can be achieved. Central planning can shape everyone to their proper place, helping them achieve these goals. Every single tyranny of the well meaning follows exactly this same pattern: you must give up your freedom for your own good, you must obey us so that we all benefit. Hitler didn't want power because of power, he wanted power because he believed that democracies were inherently corrupt and misguided:
"We are enemies of democracy because we recognize that an individual genius represents at all times the best in his people and that he should be the leader. Numbers can never direct the destiny of a people. Only genius can do this."
-Adolph Hitler
To achieve this destiny, the Nazis did what every well meaning tyranny has done: crushed freedom, crushed dissent, and imposed their ideas upon people no matter how much opposition there was. But this is the most critical thing to remember:

They only did so after seducing the population with promises and programs which seemed wonderful and the answer to their desires. They gave without hardship and protected without the people needing to lift a finger. They offered what people said they wanted and did so in a way which seemed beneficial. Then, when people were tied into the system and depending on it, they took the next step, and finally the corruption gets too far to stop.

Every one of us, at every opportunity, must fight tyranny whenever and wherever we find it. When our liberty is encroached upon even "for our own good," we must oppose this when the line is crossed. John Locke puts it this way:
"As usurpation is the exercise of power which another has a right to, so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right; which no one has a right to."
There is only so far which government may approach, and no further. When it crosses that line, each of us not only has an opportunity but a sacred duty to oppose that, and crush government back to where it belongs. Those in power should fear those they govern. They should act in service, not dominance. When a politician is elected, it is to serve, not to rule. Any politician who forgets that should be shown the door, immediately.

NOBAMA
Stormbringer wants to tie these warnings to President Obama in very overt ways. I do not think President Obama is a Nazi, nor do I believe that he's trying to slide the nation into tyranny. I believe that he is an ideologue who thinks he's doing what is right and good for others, even if they don't want it or don't understand it. Like Hillary Clinton, he wants to raise taxes "for our own good," he wants to impose greater government control over your life and the economy for the benefit of the most downtrodden and weakest. The goal is not tyranny, but the benefit of others, to bring about better society where his understanding of equality and justice rule supreme. The rest of the Democratic Party leadership agrees.

That's why the Democrats aren't doing anything about the economy. Sure, they will make noises about plans being to work on the economy and about how they want to fix jobs, but their goals have nothing to do with economic health. That's why they aren't doing anything about the deficit, because they don't care about the deficit. The best way to test this is to confront any leftist you know about why they shared conservative concerns when President Bush and the Republicans in congress were running up deficits but now don't care. Its because the deficit wasn't the issue at all, it was what the money was being spent on. The number was irrelevant, it was simply that this number was a result of spending they didn't like under Bush and embrace under Obama.

The goal is socialism, it is to bring about economic equality and "social justice" by which perceived and historical evils are recompensed and the minority in America is given what the majority only had. It is about taking wealth away from the more successful and giving it to the less successful so everyone is about the same level of economic status. If people lose their jobs, that's a price worth paying. If the deficit is risen by more than ten times what it was under President Bush then that's a minor concern, because the goal is so noble.

And it is this effort bit by bit to bring about their well-meaning goals by which tyranny creeps in bit by bit. They don't want a dictatorship, they don't want to strip away liberty - in fact, they define liberty as "economic equality" rather than "a lack of those in power taking away free exercise of rights." It just is inevitable that this tyranny takes place when government takes away more and more of your freedom and self determination and replaces it with well meaning programs and laws to protect us all, for our own good.

For more thoughts on liberty, check out my essays on the topic.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Rob De Witt said...

Another thoughtful and very clear essay, and the Stormbringer post was an excellent takeoff point.

Once again I must take issue with what is really an assumption, which is that Obama's actions stem simply from his own naive belief in the fraud that is Socialism. Always the question must be asked, Cui Bono?

The destabilization of the American economy can only result in great wealth for anyone prescient enough to predict it in the world markets. How much more might accrue to someone who actively engenders it? Obama is, I feel sure, only a stalking horse for someone intent on proving the National Socialists to be lacking only in imagination.

http://washingtonrebel.typepad.com/washington_rebel/2010/04/jump-how-high.html

10:11 PM, April 19, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I do not think President Obama is a Nazi, nor do I believe that he's trying to slide the nation into tyranny."

In a word, bullsh*t.

~ RickZ

3:41 AM, April 20, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RickZ, I'm betting you've never read a history book either.

My money also says, you're part of the 47%

TXL

8:52 AM, April 20, 2010  
Blogger lance said...

Ya you really need to mellow out RickZ. The level of conspiracy that would have had and is still taking place for these things is just laughable to even take seriously.

11:16 AM, April 20, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The irony of this is pretty amazing! The ignorance of the writer blatant. The only tyranny I have seen is not creeping but obvious, The rights united states citizens used to enjoy, freedom of association, freedom from tyranny have been usurped by the Bush II doctrinal changes.

10:50 PM, October 08, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, you're able to clearly and specifically enunciate these losses of liberty with tangible examples, then right? Since you're so sure they all took place?

You... do know that President Bush hasn't been in office for 2 years, right?

Right?

7:19 PM, November 08, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are people so willing to move to a system where they receive education, food, healthcare, and housing? If everything is good the way it is, why would people support any changes? Perhaps the poor are tired of being poor even though they are working so hard at the several jobs they hold just to barely pay their bills?

12:55 PM, April 14, 2012  
Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

That last comment is why I sometimes despair of writing at all. Its as if I didn't even post a thing.

11:59 PM, September 29, 2012  

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