Creeping Totalitarianism

Posted by: eric on July 2, 2009 at 7:20 pm

As we get ready to celebrate America’s day of independence.  Here is something to think about.

Generation We inherits an America whose greatest political traditions, as embodied in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, are being slowly sapped. They are witnessing the gradual weakening of American democracy through erosion of human rights, media manipulation, and citizen apathy, and the concentration of excessive power in the hands of special interests.

In her powerful book The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, Naomi Wolf writes of 10 changes that have historically characterized nations that slip from democracy into dictatorship.  Among the country examples she studies are Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany, and Stalin’s Russia. As she shows, each of the 10 changes—steps toward totalitarianism—can be seen and documented in the United States today.

The 10 steps include, for example, the invocation of an external and internal threat as an excuse for a crackdown on civil liberties— something the Bush administration hasn’t been shy about doing since 9/11; the establishment of secret prisons—which we’ve seen happen at Guantánamo Bay as well as at other sites around the world, to which terror suspects have been sent for abusive questioning, and in some cases, torture; the branding of political dissent as “treason”— rhetorical labeling used frequently in recent years by conservative politicians, pundits, and outlets like Fox News; and the subversion of the rule of law—as illustrated by, among other scandals, the firing of Justice Department officials apparently for refusing to cooperate with politically-motivated prosecutions.

Wolf’s book, consciously modeled on the revolutionary-era writings of such freedom-loving patriots as Thomas Paine, is written in the form of a letter to a friend named Christopher Le, a Millennial youth. We would echo Wolf’s call to young Americans to recognize the danger of creeping totalitarianism and stand up against it.

Does it seem exaggerated to compare the situation in the United States today with the early stages of totalitarianism under Hitler or Stalin? If you think so, I urge you to read Wolf’s book and examine the parallels she documents.

2 Responses to “Creeping Totalitarianism”

  1. gmcguire Says:

    I just discovered GEN-WE through another site. I AM SO PROUD OF ALL OF YOU FOR REALIZING THE POWER OF YOUR GENERATION AND FOR WANTING A BETTER COUNTRY AND WORLD THAN YOU HAVE INHERITED. My hope is that your generation will ban together to get yourselves elected to Congress or your State Legislative bodies not for personal gain but to bring an end to politics as usual with its pandering through lobbyists to political contributors. Your generation is in a position of demanding reform and instituting it. As a senior citizen I wish you Godspeed in all your endeavors and apologize for putting these burdens on your young shoulders.

  2. Obama Says:

    Totalitarianism; government run healthcare, honor thy president every morning, civilian national security force…..all under the guise of the fallen system which is run by the same people be it Bush or Obama. The same group of people continue to run this country behind the scenes.