My wife and I have been watching a mini series on the History Channel about the rise and fall of the Third Reich. The first part of the series, covering the rise of Hitler, raised the question in my mind…
Could it happen here?
The long and short of it is that yes, it can. It has before, though not here. It can again, and it could be here.
The parallels are disturbing, to say the least.
The massive economic impact to the German economy after World War I is well known. If you haven’t read my article on Weimar Germany, you should.
The unemployment and economic woes suffered in the 1920’s and early ’30s were a fundamental factor in the rise of Adolf Hitler. Things were bad enough before the inflation problems hit, but when they did, the stage was set.
But while things were bad in Germany after WW I, the big NY Stock Exchange crash in 1929 seriously impacted Germany as well. Unemployment, already high, skyrocketed. This was a direct and major cause of the Nazi parti coming to power in 1930.
Even then economic issues across the world impacted Germany. Anyone think that us being even more connected today will help when things start to crumble? Or will the fact that we’re all standing on the edge of the cliff tied together pull us all over when others start falling?
Do you think that an economic collapse here wouldn’t have the rank and file American searching for someone to fix things? Or at least someone who says they can?
A Common Enemy
Then there’s something every dictator needs. A common enemy to focus people on. I’m not going to go in depth on this, but suffice it to say that having an enemy that people are convinced about lets the folks pulling the puppet strings put controls and restrictions in place that they’d otherwise never be able to.
Patriot Act anyone?
One key thing to consider is that most of the time these enemies are internal. That’s pretty much an absolute requirement, for reasons I’ll touch on later on.
Rome had it’s Christians to blame. Hitler blamed the Jews. Here in America we’re hearing all about how we have these domestic terror suspects. Those evil preppers and Constitutionalists.
A Nation of Tattletales
Every good dictator also has people tattling on others. A nice big network of informants is absolutely critical. When you get neighbor informing on neighbor, people are afraid to talk, even behind closed doors. It’s just another way to control people.
They all do this. It’s completely predictable. Sometimes they take it to a new level, like the East German Stasi. But it’s a key component to control folks.
Does the “See Something, Say Something” program ring a bell? How about the DHS telling us to let them know if we see things we find suspicious on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere on the Internet?
Internal Security Forces
Back to the common enemy part for a minute though. Remember how I said they have to be an internal enemy?
That’s because if they’re an internal enemy, it can be used to justify cracking down on the freedoms of the people, removing rights, enlisting internal security forces and secret police agencies to “protect” us from the enemy, and watching everything people do. You can’t do that with an external enemy.
And in almost every case, that internal enemy is a construct. It’s created through lies, propaganda, and manipulation.
All in the name of safety.
Do it for the children!
Nazi Germany had the SD and the Gestapo. Communist Russia had eight or so individual secret police agencies. China has the MSS. And so on… We’ve got the DHS.
TSA ring a bell? Sure, it started as a airport security farce, but they’ve moved into bus terminals, sporting events, political rallys, and weigh stations. They’ve started doing compliance tests where they order everyone to freeze, even though they have no statutory authority to do so.
Oddly enough, that’s also fairly common. These police agencies start off benign, but move beyond their legal authority. Nobody does anything about it because the folks that would have to shut them down or reign them in are the same people that benefit by their overreaches.
Could It Happen Here?
I could rant for a couple thousand words about how wrong so much of what we’re seeing today is. But that’s not productive here. Also, please don’t read this as a political rant with the Republicans or Democrats. As you know, I think that’s a joke, and a false dichotomy there to manipulate and divide us. The real battle is between the people that want to control us and We The People.
Tomorrow I’ll write about some things you can do to fight back. Today, please share your thoughts in the comments…