Creeping totalitarianism

By Nathan Barton

I recently received three political quotes across my desktop. They are worth sharing.

“You don’t have to scratch liberalism very deeply to find socialism underneath, nor socialism to find authoritarianism underneath.” — Don Luskin, (1954 -) American columnist

“It has been well said that really up-to-date liberals do not care what people do, as long as it is compulsory.”
— George Will (1941-) American newspaper columnist, journalist, and author

“The Radical Centre seem to have the same obsession with control that the fascists and communists had, but unlike them, it is control for control’s sake rather than in the service of some clear ideology … They do not seek the triumph of Volk or the dictatorship of the proletariat, they just seek to replace all social interactions with politically mediated interactions. They seek to regulate everything via a total state that … just wants a world in which nothing whatsoever is private, everything is political. Their symbol is not the Hammer and Sickle or the Swastika, it is the CCTV camera.”
Perry de Havilland, British founder of Samizdata (still kicking, and I don’t know when he was born.)

I’ve been dipping recently also into a book called “Liberal Fascism” by Jonah Goldberg (the full text, and NOT Amazon). (PDFs are also available at various websites free of charge; if you search for them.) It is a detailed analysis not just of Fascism and all its various forms and what its characteristics are, but also of what totalitarianism is (and is not). Goldberg, writing several years ago, makes a very strong case that American Progressivism IS fascism: the FIRST fascist system (and government under Teddy Roosevelt and especially Woodrow Wilson) of the 20th Century and a model for both Mussolini and Hitler (and the rest of the tribe, like Franco and Peron and more).

Totalitarianism is not “necessarily” bloody and brutal government – it is the concept that the state is one with society and has total control over all of the institutions and members of society and the economy. No matter how light that control may be, it is the RIGHT of government (and especially “democratic” government) to exercise that control as IT seems fit.

Which is why I have entitled this commentary “creeping totalitarianism.” The concept of government having control over everything and choosing whether or not to “leave some of it alone” for the time being is a concept here in the Fifty States that can be traced back to Hamilton. But it really took fire with the tainted election of Abraham Lincoln to the White House in 1860. The next five years saw the rise of a powerful federal government, crushing not just the southern states but many in the north as well. And reaching into virtually every house, farm, tepee and hogan. It also saw a firm alliance between the Fedgov and certain industries.

Things didn’t really roll back much in the next 40 years, and Teddy Roosevelt picked up the pace of expanded government control, buoyed by the acquisition of an overseas empire during the Spanish-American War. But it was Wilson who was the real pusher of total government, and thanks to his machinations in getting the United States (already dead or dying, really, after the events of 1913: Federal Reserve, Income Tax, and Direct Election of Senators) into the Great War as the ally of the two biggest empires on the planet (Britain and France, FYI). Under Wilson, during the year-plus of American participation in the Great War, American totalitarianism expanded and the alliance between the Fedgov and industrial interests tightened. And some nasty, very nasty, things happened to those who were against the war, against those who spoke German (many of them refugees from Imperial Germany, Austria, and Russia), and even those not enthusiastic enough, even if that amounted to nothing more than not buying enough war bonds.

That 20-year break between the First and Second European Wars was the grand epoch of both totalitarianism AND fascism: Russian, Italian, German, American, Spanish and Japanese, plus a whole host of other countries. Government SPRAWLED and gobbled up more and more resources, and gained more and more control over more and more things. In particular, government was touted as the solution for every woe, every problem of society and the world. It gave snake oil salesmen a chance to be seen as public benefactors (by comparison).

The end of the Second European War and the Great Pacific War in 1945 saw a rollback of official fascism, but an actual INCREASE in the level of totalitarianism, virtually around the world, the unification of mainland China, the descent of the Iron Curtain across Eastern Europe, and the rise of multi-tribal dictatorships in Africa (and elsewhere).

One very real example of the creeping totalitarianism is found in many American cities, as discussed recently in The Economic Collapse Blog, where more and more cities are passing laws making it illegal for private groups (like churches) to feed and shelter the homeless. It is of course “all for the protection” of those homeless and unfortunate souls. They might be in a leaky and drafty room, or might not have food properly prepared – and get sick. The laws range from mandatory permits (with fees and rules and regulations and training and inspections) to outright bans, like the church in Maryland recently fined $12,000 (administrative, not judicial: no due process needed) because they had homeless people sleeping on their lawn and under the meetinghouse’s porch.

This sort of thing both happens more frequently AND gets more attention than in the past, because of our modern communications. Why happening more? Because the power of the state must grow or wither, and our beloved “leaders” and “civil servants” don’t want to wither away. So the control of the State grows, slowly but surely, over everything, even feeding the hungry. (And lets not talk about giving clothing (or toys) away!)

And it will continue until we people, common and ordinary people, say NO. And stop obeying. Even when it is easy to obey, and really tough to ignore them and go about doing what should be done.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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