The Future of the USA


“We have to condemn publicly the very idea that some people have the right to repress others. In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousandfold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers … we are ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”  – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

I pulled that quote off InformationClearingHouse.com today.  I think it sums up where the U.S. is headed.

I don’t say that lightly.  We are, it seems, doomed to repeat the stages that the old Soviet Union went through.  And I mean that, all the way back to the tsarist days, but how far into them, I do not know.

We have an incredibly privileged class in the U.S., one so far above the rest of us that we have no concept of them.  The Russian Empire had that, too.  And it didn’t take long before the supposedly super-egalitarian Soviet state had its own dacha owning über class.  And while 99% of the USSR’s people lived meager lives with essentially no material comforts, that class had them all, right up until the end in 1991.

Will we have gulags, though?  That is the real question.  I believe it is likely we will have some form of them.  It will just be too easy for the übers to create those to keep the rabble down, to keep dissension under control.  That was the very reason, by the way, that Adolf Hitler had the Dachau concentration camp built.  It only took him six weeks to begin Dachau.  How long it took Stalin to begin the gulags, I do not know.  American currently has 1.25% of its population in prisons, the highest in the world, so we are becoming experts on running penal institutions and it would not take us long to expand them, if the powers that be decide on it.

But will our courts allow it?  Believe it or not, the Germans had a pretty good model court system prior to Hitler’s rise to the Presidency.  Dachau was built in the very short time before Hindenberg died and Hitler assumed the Chancellorship – and there were already TWO other camps started before Dachau – all of them while Hindenberg still lived.  Hitler buffaloed everyone at the beginning, with his burning of the Reichstag in order to pass the Enabling Laws, by which he assumed total power.  In that period of buffaloing, the courts were swept up in the fear of being carted off to a camp, just like everyone else.  They would never have worded it that way, but that is what it was: No one had the courage to call Hitler out, and the courts were no exception.  They found – as courts so often do – that it was their place to make sure no one made waves.  As such, they were themselves the least likely to make wave themselves.

What would it take to have an American Enabling Act?  We’ve already gone halfway there.  9/11 triggered the Patriot Act.  One more Reichstag burning – perhaps the Capitol or another Oklahoma City bombing and we might be right there on the brink.  I expect it will happen, but I have no idea what the specific event will be.

When it happens, the ultra-right will – just like in Hitler’s day – be energized beyond reason and will go around bashing heads, and once that begins, there will be little stopping it.  They just tried to assassinate a Congresswoman in Arizona, and a bystanding fairly Liberal federal judge was slain in the process.  This was after months and months of incitement.  Will the incitement end?  NO.  The ultra-right has its Adolf wannabes, all over the AM dial and the FOX network, and they have their ultra-right political movement that has taken over the Republican Party from the fuddy-duddy moderate right.

If Germany in the 1920s and 1930s is any indication, when this kind of move to the crazy end of the spectrum happens, it will only go away if one of two things happen:  If the economy picks up and everyone’s prosperity alleviates the need for some to be hired as thugs, or if they start a war and lose it.  If you asked people in the U.S. how Hitler came to power 99% will say he came out of WWI and rose to power because the Weimar Republic was so weak.  That is not even close to the truth.  At the height of the German hyper-inflation, Hitler TRIED to usurp the Weimar Republic in late 1923 –  in the Munich Putsch, but it failed.  After that the German economy turned around and had increasing prosperity all the way to the 1929 Wall Street Crash.  During that period the Weimar Republic had great stability and Germany was a very prosperous place to live.  Prior to his putsch, Hitler’s NASDAP had been feeding and arming the infamous Brown Shirts of the S.A.  But when he got out of prison in late 1924, the economy was turning around and for the next five years the Nazis were losing membership and votes, and the S.A. was almost a non-entity.

It may be no accident that the crazy right, including the Tea Party, has its roots most deeply embedded in rural America, where most jobs are barely above minimum wage, especially in the Appalachians and the Ozarks.  The roots of Hitler’s power was in mostly rural Bavaria, whose people are considered “hicks” by the rest of the country.

America is probably going to go through all that the Soviets went through, AND what the Germans went through.

If those are any example, it will take anywhere from 20 to 75 years to begin to straighten the country out and make it democratic again.

That is my two cents…

 

 

 

 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


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11 responses to “The Future of the USA

  1. EthicallyCivil

    You decry hyperbole from the AGW and the environmentalists yet fully embrace it w.r.t. the “Tea Party” and “the rich”. A revised and less self confident brain model might help. The liberals have their “concensus view” of the Tea Partiers as “racist” and “extreme” — but that’s narrative, not data.

    Reccomend you read “Bonhoeffer” by Eric Metaxis for his view of pre-war Germany, and descent into Nazism.

  2. Frankly, I don’t know what you are talking about. I do not in any way “fully embrace” hyperbole from the Tea Partiers and the rich. I despise the Tea Partiers, if that is what you mean. They are our modern equivalent of the S.A.

    I know quite a bit about Bonhoeffer, actually. I have done extensive research (for a book I am working on) on the run-up to the Nazis, all the way back to the beginnings of WWI. I especially have researched the anti-Hitler conspiracies of the Church, the Abwehr and the High Command, and their attempts to oust him or kill him (they often weren’t sure which), one of which Bonhoeffer was connected with, in his efforts with the Abwehr, the British, etc. I also have watched a decent documentary on him on Netflix.

    But I know a great deal about the period of pre-war Germany and the descent into Nazism. I am no scholar, but for a non-scholar few know more than I do. I will admit to being a bit rusty, since I’ve had to put my book down as I try to make a living. But I can talk for hours on the subject. It happens to be something I do know a lot about.

    If you’d care to have a discourse on that, let me know. I am always eager to talk about it.

  3. Actually, I am now reading on the pre-WWI era in Germany, all the way back to Bismark’s ascendancy and the beginning of the Second Reich. With some bits about the pre-Napoleon First Reich, but not enough there for me to be able to discuss intelligently.

    BTW, in today’s world, Bonhoeffer would be a Liberal. All religious people in history have not been right-wing. Hitler was the type of Leader the Tea Party is hoping for. If they ever do find one, God help the world. If Dick Cheney had been younger, and a good speaker, he had the right temperament. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are Hitler wannabes, but don’t have the political acumen. The ultra-right in 1919-1933 Germany had many like them, and in the end it digested down to Hitler.

    But even Hitler, it took a LOT of events to bring him to the Chancellorship. Barely in his favor, lucky breaks. And it took at least a couple to keep him from being ousted – once during the Munich talks and once during the Sitzkrieg. He was minutes away both times from being killed by the top people in the Wehrmacht. If things had gone the other way, even for just a few minutes, Hitler would have been killed, WWII would have never happened and we would not have a Holocaust to remember. And likely Israel would not exist. What the world would be like now, I don’t know. But I know 50 million people would not have died in WWII.

  4. EthicallyCivil

    by “embrace hyperbole” I mean that you embrace the exaggerated view of of the Tea Party’s alleged extremism (I’m not a Tea Partier) and the allegations of their racism. As for a “Furher” trend in the Tea Party — I can’t see one. Beck has lost his TV show he’s so popular. Most of the Tea Party members I know are far too libertation both for my comfort, or for adherance to any emergent “Furher” figure.

    Bonhoeffer’s politics in the modern world would be interesting. Neither right, nor left. He was a great believer in *personal* responsiblity, but also duty to others (self imposed). I don’t think he’d be at all tolerant of the “political correctness” that requires ignoring fact and logic. He’s far more of a clear thinker than Jim Wallis — his attitude toward “liberal theologians” from Union Theological seminary is wonderfully documented in Metaxis.

    He certainly *would* have been both pro-life and walked with MLK Jr. I don’t think he would have embraced the redistribution of wealth for “social justice”, but would have supported equal protections, equal access for “individual justice”. This (given the preponderance of African Americans on death row), would likely have lead him to be anti-death penalty. I don’t see any room in his clear, strictly Biblical, reasoned exegesis that he would (for example) support accepting gay clergy, or gay marriage — or have any comfort at all with the cultural revolution, or it’s revolutionaries.

    • I don’t see my view of the Tea Party as being exaggerated at all. They are bizarre, ignorant, pro-violence, and I expect that soon enough they will be using violence itself. They openly proposed violence against Democrats at their rallies in the 2008 elections. That may have flown in the milieu that was Germany post-WWI, with the courts that let right-wingers (Freikorps and any number of others, including Hitler’s 1923 putsch) off easy, sometimes even without trial at all, for murders but threw the book at Communists and others who did the same things.

      I would basically agree with you on Bonhoeffer’s positions, from what I know of him. At the same time, American Liberals in his time would not have taken the gay positions that they do now, so I don’t know that Bonhoeffer’s 1930s positions would be his if he had lived in America from the 1960s to 2011. I would have had no support for them in 1967, but have at least some sympathy for their cause now. I would not think it necessary to call a gay union “marriage.” But I do think they should have equal standing before the courts and in things like living wills, etc. I don’t “get” gayness, but who one chooses to love isn’t my business – I see that as hand-in-hand with your “personal” responsibility. But in 1967? No way would I have thought they should have any rights. Now take that back another 30 years here, and project that to Germany. Of course Bonhoeffer in 1940 would have not supported it. Differnet times, different history, different situation altogether.

      I see Bonhoeffer much as you tell it.

      Beck is an idiot who never should have HAD a TV show. I didn’t even know he’d lost it. I tune out idiots and don’t follow their careers.

      “Most of the Tea Party members I know are far too libertation both for my comfort, or for adherance to any emergent “Furher” figure.”

      Do you mean Libertarian? If so, the rest of your sentence doesn’t jibe with what I’ve seen. They act just like the right-wing did in Germany in the 1920s, having NO respect for their democratic government or its Constitutional protections for those who aren’t one of them. Their attitudes toward Liberals is frightening, and from what I gathered, directly led to the shooting of the US Congresswoman in AZ and the Liberal judge whom they had been threatening for a long time. Libertarians NEVER condone violence, except in resistance to tangible invasion. I know. I was one, and even managed a Congressional candidate’s campaign. Libertarians are NOT what the GOP hijacked and claim as Libertarian thinking in order to get elected (and then never follow through on). And especially, they are not what any Tea Partiers has twisted it into. Tea Partiers are wackos. Everyone of them needs to take a basic Civics class, to learn what principles the country is built on and how government works. They want to destroy the US government, to tear it down. That is driven by the right wing think tanks’ daily talking points. Talking points that only sheep would parrot.

  5. EthicallyCivil

    Do you actually know any Tea Partiers? Do you have any facts that support your characterization of them? Your claims are certainly consonant with many accusations levelled against them, but these (to my reading) are only confirmed through the echo-chamber of repetition of unsubstantiated claims against them.

    As for Bonhoeffer and gay marriage, given his approach to scriptural interpretation, I don’t see a lot of room for evolution in his thinking. However, he would oppose any persecution of gays — especially given his exposure (at a remove) while a member of the Abyssian (sp?) Baptist church and she the treatment of black in 1930’s America.

  6. EC, I suggest you go to http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/ and read the book “The Authoritarians” and “Comment on the Tea Party Movement.”

    You will deny that any of it applies to you or your fellow Tea Party clones. You all think you are as individual as the Marlboro Man, while you are all ditto heads.

    I used to say that the next original thought by a Republican would be the first original thought by a Republican. I have seen nothing at all to change that point of view.

    From my own observations, I would agree with the author, a psychologist who put years into studying authoritarians and their followers. Tea Party people – authoritarian followers – have the following qualities, according to him, and which I see in them also:

    1. Authoritarian submission
    2. Fearfulness
    3. Self-righteousness
    4. Hostility
    5. A lack of critical thinking
    6. An “our biggest problem” mentality
    7. Compartmentalized thinking
    8. Double standards
    9. Feeling empowered when in groups (shades of Hitler’s Brown Shirts)
    10. Dogmatism
    11. Ethnocentrism
    12. Prejudice

    He lists them, and I recognize them all in the Tea Partiers. You people are incapable of being rational, preferring instead to blindly follow like sheep, but sheep who are increasingly hostile. You can’t even own up to any of those qualities, either. I expect you to deny every one of them. There is no reasoning with people whose only way of “thinking” is to parrot what their authoritarian masters (Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, Matlin, FOX News, etc.) have put out as the God’s honest truth – which you absorb uncritically, because you don’t even know what it is to have your own thoughts. How ANY ratinoal person could swallow the idiocies that have come from those

    Having knee-jerk reactions to what you hear is not thinking. It is emotion. And they pull all your strings, right and left, and you don’t even recognize you are being played. Played for suckers. They are using you, and you are too inert to even recognize that it is happening. You and all the other right-wing crazies, whether you are formally Tea Partiers or not.

    All of you need deprogramming interventions, like the ones they used to give Moonies.

  7. That list reminds me a bit more of the MoveOn, BlueState, and RealClimate crowd. Get out of the

    Unlike you, I don’t believe in “deprogramming” for people who believe differently from me. I believe in “Friendly Persuasion.”

    What do you think that says about the two of us, and that list you cite.

  8. Apologies fragment sentence — “Get out of the echo chamber of the left. The self reenforcing set of prejudices are harmful to critical thinking. Get out, meet real conservatives, talk to real tea party members. It will do you a world of good, and may even improve your arguments above the level of ad hominem and offensive stereotype and over generalization”

  9. Okay, it is quite clear that you didn’t even pretend to read the stuff I mentioned. If you want to continue this dialog, I insist that you do read “The Authoritarians.”

    Its author got most of his impetus to write it from none other than Richard Nixon’s Council to the President, John Dean, who does happen to know a good deal about that side of the political spectrum. Dean bent Altemeyer’s ear a lot while Dean was writing “Conservatives Without Conscience,” which was to have been co-authored by some guy named Barry Goldwater.

    Goldwater himself was appalled at the hijacking of the Republican Party by the ultra-right.

    So, you see, the impetus behind the authoritarian treatise was not MoveOn.org, nor RealClimate (whom I abhor).

    I am a true Independent, although I am a social Liberal. Scientifically I am far from a tree hugger; I’ve seen them lie once too often (actually more than once). But the ones I’ve seen lie and live by double standards and hypocrisy most are the right-wingers, of whom the Tea Party is the most unbalanced.

    Yes, you’ve said I say these as an empty, non-knowledgeable Liberal. If you want to read what I think, read that short authoritarian book. He literally has said it better than I can, although if I took the time (which I seriously thought about doing) I would have delineated for you 80-90% of what he said. So I am taking the short way here: Read it.

    I should post quotes out of it here, anyway.

    As to the vast Liberal conspiracy that Tea Partiers have conjured up in their imaginations, if you think that, you don’t know anything about Liberals. They are so fragmented they couldn’t even pass bills when they had huge majorities in both houses of Congress. Obama being the second coming of the devil? What a joke. He is the most emasculated President in my lifetime. He has no leadership abilities whatsoever, not counting his speaking ability. He is legislatively as stupid as George W Bush was about everything. Liberals couldn’t legislatively tie their own shoelaces. Any assertions by Tea Partiers of some great conspiracy on the Left is a total delusion – spoon-fed to you all by Rush and Glenn and daily brainwashed into you by FOX News.

    Our nation is at risk – as Rush reminds us all the time – but it is at risk from himself and his kind. The America we were all born into no longer exists. The right wing has already destroyed America, the greatest social experiment of all time. It will be up to other democracies to carry forward. America has already died. You have all killed it.

  10. I’m reading the book you cited. It’s a fair enough request.

    I have a request for you. Do you actually know *personally* any Tea Partiers. I know a handful. You should get to know some. Get your own sense about them. As you’ve seen the “warmists” lie (and that’s what it is), I’ve watched a mainstream media misrepresent conservatives and people of faith for decades. (“clinging to God and guns” I believe was the line) So I’m very skeptical about the reporting on the Tea Party movement.

    My biggest concern about the ones I know personally is that they don’t have *any* respect for *any* authority, and that it’s likely to get them in trouble. The folks I know are walking down the center lane of the highway of life with the middle finger occasionally raised to authority… and other than that, reasonable, responsible people (with all their teeth, comprising people of people of multiple ethnic backgrounds, and well educated with BS and MS degrees). I could of course be suffering from small sampling population errors… but that’s the experience I have with Tea Partiers.
    So you have your homework, and I have mine. Should be enriching for both.

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