Compare and Contrast lessons learned from the 20th Century

The advice of a “Yale professor”  http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/how-to-defend-our-democracy-from-fascism-20170113

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are 20 lessons from the 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

1. Do not obey in advance.

Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

2. Defend an institution.

Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

3. Recall professional ethics.

When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.

4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words.

Look out for the expansive use of “terrorism” and “extremism.” Be alive to the fatal notions of “exception” and “emergency.” Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.

5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.

When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.

6. Be kind to our language.

Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom. Read.) What to read? Perhaps The Power of the Powerless by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.

7. Stand out. Someone has to.

It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

8. Believe in truth.

To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

9. Investigate.

Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Learn about sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.

10. Practice corporeal politics.

Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.

11. Make eye contact and small talk.

This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.

12. Take responsibility for the face of the world.

Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.

13. Hinder the one-party state.

The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.

14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can.

Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.

15. Establish a private life.

Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.

16. Learn from others in other countries.

Keep up your friendships abroad or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.

17. Watch out for the paramilitaries.

When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.

18. Be reflective if you must be armed.

If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)

19. Be as courageous as you can.

If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.

20. Be a patriot.

The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.

With the Advice of Mike Vanderbough:

What I Have Learned From the Twentieth Century

With thanks to Schoolmasters Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Mao Tse-Tung and Pol Pot

From the Liberty Pole
June, 1999
by Mike Vanderboegh

As an amateur historian of this sad century whose time is almost up, I would like to reflect upon six lessons I have learned in my studies. Folks who wish to live free and prosperous in the next century would do well to understand the failures of the past.

LESSON NO. 1: If a bureaucrat, or a soldier sent by a bureaucrat, comes to knock down your door and take you someplace you do not want to go because of who you are or what you think — kill him. If you can, kill the politician who sent him. You will likely die anyway, and you will be saving someone else the same fate. For it is a universal truth that the intended victims always far outnumber the tyrant’s executioners. Any nation which practices this lesson will quickly run out of executioners and tyrants, or they will run out of it.

LESSON NO. 2: If a bureaucrat, or a soldier sent by a bureaucrat, comes to knock down your door and confiscate your firearms — kill him. The disarmament of law-abiding citizens is the required precursor to genocide.

LESSON NO. 3: If a bureaucrat tells you that he must know if you have a firearm so he can put your name on a list for the common good, or wants to issue you an identity card so that you be more easily identified — tell him to go to hell. Registration of people and firearms is the required precursor to the tyranny which permits genocide. Bureaucrats cannot send soldiers to doors that are not on their list.

LESSON NO. 4: Believe actions, not words. Tyrants are consummate liars. Just because a tyrant is “democratically elected” does not mean he believes in democracy. Reference Adolf Hitler, 1932.

And just because a would-be tyrant mouths words of reverence to law and justice, or takes a solemn oath to uphold a constitution, does not mean be believes such concepts apply to him. Reference Bill Clinton, among others.

The language of the lie is just another tool of killers. A sign saying “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes You Free) posted above an execution camp gate does not mean that anybody gets out of there alive, and a room labeled “Showers” does not necessarily make you clean. Bill Clinton notwithstanding, the meaning of “is” is plain when such perverted language gets you killed. While all tyrants are liars, it is true that not all political liars are would-be tyrants — but they bear close watching. And keep your rifle handy.

LESSON NO. 5: Our constitutional republic as crafted by the Founders is the worst form of government in the world, except when compared to all the others. Capitalism, as well, is a terrible way to run an economy, except when compared to all other economic systems. Unrestrained democracy is best expressed as three wolves and a sheep sitting down to vote on what to have for dinner. The horrors of collectivism in all its forms — socialism, communism, national socialism, fascism — have been demonstrated beyond dispute by considerable wasteful trial and bloody error. Leaders such as Bill Clinton who view the Constitution as inconvenient and ignorable are harbingers of tyranny.

LESSON NO. 6: While nations do not always get the leaders they deserve, they always get the leaders they tolerate. And anyone who tells you that “It Can’t Happen Here” is whistling past the graveyard of history. There is no “house rule” that bars tyranny coming to America. History is replete with republics whose people grew complacent and descended into imperial butchery and chaos. Dictators count on the assistance of people who are complacent, fearful, envious, lazy and corrupt. While there is no “Collective guilt” to the crimes of a regime (all such crimes being committed by specific criminal individuals), there is certainly “collective responsibility” — especially for those who watch the criminals at work without objecting or interfering.

A French journalist of the last century wrote: “I must speak out, for I will not be an accomplice.” Evil tyrants require, indeed they depend upon, willing and unwilling accomplices — good people who would never think of harming a soul themselves. Lenin called such people “useful idiots.”

De Tocqueville observed that “America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” As related in the Old Testament, God judged nations based upon the immorality and criminality of their leaders. Entire peoples were scourged because of their failure to remove corrupt leaders.

As we move from the Twentieth Century into the Twenty-First, we should take care to remember the ancient story of Sodom and Gommorrah. If we wish to avoid the butchery of the Twentieth Century and the righteous judgment of the God of our antiquity, we would do well to keep our Bibles, our Constitution and our firearms close at hand.

Let me just say first off that Item 13 “Hinder the One Party State” from the Yale Professors list is just pure hypocrisy from the “Reality has a Liberal slant” crowd. However just because someone is a hypocrite doesn’t mean they are automatically wrong. In this case, every time a single party controls Congress and the White House they piss off America through crappy governance. In fact, the longest stretch of single party rule in the last four decades was under GWBush from 2001 to 2006. Clinton enjoyed a Dem majority from 92 to 94, and Obama a Dem majority from 2008 to 2010. We’ll see just how long President Trump can make a Republican majority last, and my prediction is “until 2018.”

Compare, both lists are inherently calling on Americans to first and foremost be GOOD people. Both lists are about empowering an individual to resist an unjust and immoral government.

Contrast. The Yale professor is much more touchy feely, and offers no practical advice on the use of force. Government is force, and like fire sometimes you must fight fire with fire. You’ll lose more often than not, but sometimes there are no good options.

Biggest contrast, Mike conveniently told you who to kill. Unfortunately he didn’t tell you how to do it. Reading Mike’s list makes it sound like some idjit will come alone instead of with overwhelming numbers in order to force your compliance.

That being said, there is plenty of public debate from the left and right about the potential utility, or lack thereof, on an armed populace being able to prevent “tyranny.”

https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/is-the-u-s-government-so-powerful-that-the-second-amendment-is-pointless/

https://www.armedwithreason.com/militia-myths-why-armed-populations-dont-prevent-tyranny-but-often-lead-to-it/

https://www.popehat.com/2015/12/07/you-are-not-going-to-resist-the-government-with-your-guns/

http://www.vox.com/2016/8/22/12559364/second-amendment-tyranny-militia-constitution-founders

Here’s old Roland’s thoughts on the matter. I don’t need a gun. I can blow up a water tower, or electrical substation, or bridge, or internet exchange point, or dam, just fine with some home made explosives. Every “insurgency” isn’t about winning on the field of battle, it’s about making the government irrelevant. I don’t need guns to do that, no one does anymore. Sure guns are useful tools, and would make shooting up a substation much easier http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304851104579359141941621778 but  some cheap RC cars or quadcopters loaded with explosives would have done the job just as good.

The problem with preventing tyranny isn’t in having access to guns. Nor is it in having good intentions and being a good and moral person (although that has a whole bunch of different benefits). The problem with preventing tyranny is that the fracking idiots on the Left and Right are so interested in pointing out the leaders on the opposite side as “Tyrants” that anyone who can spot an actual tyrant is drowned out of the conversation.

Donald Trump is no more a tyrant than Bill Clinton. Or GWBush. Or the iWon himself President Barack Obama. In fact, of all of them, the only one in the bunch that I wouldn’t mind sharing a beer with would be the one that spent his entire career being mocked by the Mainstream Media, GWBush. He wasn’t a good president, but he was a good man, and the same can be said for Jimmy Carter. Carter was a horrible president, but a decent human being.

And there lies the rub, people who are “good presidents” like Reagan or Clinton (or Nixon and Kennedy before them), are often really horrible human beings. I have no doubt that Donald Trump is an absolutely abysmal human being, you don’t have three marriages to trophy wives by being a loving husband.

So, do you know who WOULD have been a much higher risk to become a Tyrant? Hillary Clinton. She had the undying and unyielding support of the media. She had the approval of her own conscience to make the world a better place. She was convinced that she needed to be a strong leader to give the girls of America a strong female leadership figure. Literally all tyrants start out as populists with massive public support through the mainstream media. Before anyone brings up Pinochet, he was a Dictator, and he gave up power, and no one saw him coming.

So there you have it, a bunch of leftists all concerned now that Trump is set to take office, who would have continued to run with the “why won’t you cousin humping rednecks in flyover country just get a clue and let us do what we know is best for you?” liberal program are utterly shocked to find that “resistance to tyranny” might have some uses after all.

In other news, people who focus on the gun are artificially limiting their options for opposing actual tyranny.

Comments are open, speak your mind.

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