Wednesday, January 11, 2017

They Thought They Were Free

From:  They Thought They Were Free. The Germans, 1933-45 by Milton Mayer
But Then It Was Too Late

"What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter...

"Those," I said, "are the words of my friend the baker. ‘One had no time to think. There was so much going on.’"

"Your friend the baker was right," said my colleague. "The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway. I do not speak of your ‘little men,’ your baker and so on; I speak of my colleagues and myself, learned men, mind you. Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and ‘crises’ and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the ‘national enemies,’ without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?

"To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head...


Peter Mikkelsen said...

The short-fingered vulgarian (aka Trickle Don t-Rump) is trying to fast-track the entire Dictatorship 101 playbook. Purge all the agencies and departments, stuff the bureaucracies with loyalists, and the same for as much of the military's command staff as possible. Destroy all the government services people depend on and use the ensuing dissatisfaction as cover to pilfer the treasury and reorganize the entire ball of wax to serve the royal family.

Robt said...

Didn't you mean Trump held a pisser, not a presser?

Bishop Birther upset with CNN and Buzzfeed for story he disapproves of.

I can only ask. Trump, Putin wouldn't whine in a press conference like that. He would taint the reporter with Plutonium. And make sure his death is reported. Trump is a wussy.
hew hewitt is disappointed, he wanted someone strong like Putin.

Why cannot the reporters retort back at Trump, when he tearfully rants of mistreatment by the media.

Retort back to trump with, "like the guy with the birth certificate slanders" !

Maybe the networks need to replace the DC reporters with the war correspondents.
No, O Reilly wasn't a war correspondent.

W. Hackwhacker said...

This could well be the template for "postponing" the 2020 election. ("We have a national emergency! Enemies within! Only I can fix it!" )

trgahan said...

The galling/depressing thing is:

The 62+ million Americans who showed up and voted in the primaries/general for Trump (most lying to pollsters when asked the entire time) firmly believe, in their hearts of hearts, that THEY are the "politically aware" ones who just rose up and stopped the very insidious dictatorship process described in this article....because Rush and Hannity told them so.

Rusty White said...

What a sad joke it is that we all have 4-8 more years of these type of media spectacles where Derp Füehrer regurgitates whatever brain fart, insult or empty slogan that occupies his brain at any given moment while his staffers/entourage are in attendance to flatter and salute his supposed "greatness".

Kind of makes one look back on W's numerous failed attempts at humor during his conferences with a shred of respect. He knew deep down he was a dolt and couldn't always answer the questions posed fully, but at least he attempted to cut the tension and not attack the press personally.

Robt said...

In GW days I had a hunger for reporters to be more stringent and targeted in questions to my president; Where did the $13 billion in cash go? Why was Cash even sent into a war zone?

During Obama's years. I wanted reporters to ask more pertinent question. Unlike "are you going to invade Texas", Where is your Birth Certificate".
More like, "why can't the health care debate table have single payer or Medicare buy in set before discussion. It can always be taken off:?

Not even inauguration yet and I already have reporting questioning anxiety.
The simple question every network and indy at the Tsar Clown Trup rally pisser .
Easily each and every reporter could repeat the same question. Leaving herr Vulgarian with no other subjects. Donald does need the media and HAS to talk with them. Breitbart is not a major network that reaches Americans as much. They all know this.

It is going to be us tadpoles that get cheated or uninformed. The Networks DEO's have everything to do with this. Trump is simply to ridiculously arrogant and ignorant to apply himself and discern info. It is smoke, mirrors and plutonium he finds he wants to exude. Now what we get on the networks is the talking heads discussing amongst themselves on public TV how Trump abuses them and why do they accept it.
That Trump supporters don't care and give him a pass. What are us reporters supposed to do?
I understand FOX has a ID psychologist on the payroll. Ask DR. Krauthammer to provide live theropy to all the network hosts.

Waiting for Tweety to call out on Trump inauguration day,
"we are all Judith Millers now"!