What Will Stop It?
Lesson #1 en Route to the Gulag
by John Loeffler, Steel on Steel Radio Program
Americans have enjoyed so much freedom for so long, they have forgotten that freedom is a fluke in the history of the world; not the norm. Our freedoms were hard-won over hundreds of years of human tears. The current view that freedoms are somehow self-sustaining and “obvious” ignores a primary rule of the political universe, well established in human history: governments and those in them always gravitate toward power, money and control; power for themselves, confiscating money and property from their people, who then have to be controlled lest they protest too much.
The founding fathers thoroughly understood this, having experienced a lack of protections first hand. They understood that government is a necessary evil, not a paternalistic good. In assembling the Constitution, they knew that only a clear statement of citizens’ rights would prevent power money and control from having their way.
Every one of our rights was established to protect individual citizens, the minority against the majority and to block abuse of power. “Shall not be infringed” was designed to prevent government encroachment; not as a guide for a “delicate balance” between “liberty” and “security.” Delicate balances always collapse uni-directionally toward power, money and control and away from individual freedom!
Lessons from the Looking Glass
Since 911, conservatives have been falling all over themselves to blow gaping holes in constitutional protections, demonizing those who object as giving aid and comfort to the enemy. “This is a war,” they rant, “and we’re defending freedom!” Now catch the illogic of this: We are going to protect freedom by demolishing the very legal protections that guarantee it.
In 1933 Germany faced a crisis. The country had just come through a horrible post-World War I decade of economic chaos and massive inflation. Tensions between the communists and the fascists were fierce. Both parties had substantial seats in the national parliament — the Reichstag.
On February 27, 1933 the Reichstag building itself was set aflame by arsonists. Germany’s newly-elected Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, quickly blamed the deed on his chief political rivals, the communists, accusing a mentally-deficient Dutchman by the name of Marius van der Lubbe of setting the fire. Van der Lubbe was tried and subsequently executed. Still many suspected something was amiss. The conflagration was so massive and so rapid, that the hapless van der Lubbe couldn’t have been a sole operator. Indeed, took 60 years before conclusive evidence surfaced that the Nazis had actually set the fire as a ruse for blaming the communists!
Germany’s new chancellor, Adolf Hitler, approached the aged president, Paul von Hindenburg, warning that their country was on the verge of a Bolshevik revolution and that emergency measures were required to handle the situation; measures Hitler assured him would only be temporary.
Reluctantly, von Hindenberg issued a warm fuzzy executive order entitled, Die Verordnung des Reichspraesidenten zum Schuetz von Volk und Staat (Ordinance of the Reichspresident for the Defense of People and State). Has that Vaterland Security sound to it, doesn’t it?
The Verordnung suspended those portions of Germany’s constitution, which were equivalent to our Bill of .Rights – temporarily, of course. However, once the rights were suspended, power and control quickly took over. The Nazis shut down the dissenting press. Political rivals were “disappeared” off the streets and hauled off to Dachau concentration camp (ten years before the Endloesung (Final Solution) was determined at the Wannsee Conference!). Squads of SS began spying on all the potential citizen criminals to see whose ideas were not politically correct so they could be branded enemies of the state.
Shortly thereafter, on March 24, 1933, the Ermaechtigung Gesetz (Empoerment Law — Law to Remove the Distress of People and State) passed the Reichstag 441-94, which gave Hitler the power to run things by executive order. In the avalanche of bad legislation was included the Heimtuecke Gesetz (Treachery Law), which made opposition to Nazi Party policies equivalent to treason against Germany. This meant you couldn’t criticize government policy without being an enemy of the state. This was in essence the very same argument being made by conservatives that if you oppose Constitutional violations by Homeland Security, you are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The Nazis used this law to imprison dissenters.
Since the German populace had been disarmed, no one could fight back. An atmosphere of fear settled over Germany as the long night of the black shirts began. Everyone – Jews especially — hunkered down, hoping that it would all blow over and get better. But it never did. Once constitutional limitations against abuse were suspended – for the good cause of defending the Homeland — they never came back.
But We’re Not Nazis!
Oh, but we’re not Nazis. We love freedom. Really? When Hitler came to power, the majority of Germans hailed him as the salvation of Germany. They were the good guys, or so everyone thought. It is crucial to remember that the entire Third Reich was a totally legal event, including the Holocaust! The people voted it in. Even after the war, many Germans were still wondering what had happened those last 15 years.
Witness the worldview changes that have occurred since the radical left flower child revolution of 1960s. Americans have experienced such historical revisionism in schools that few can tell you what the Bill of Rights contains and why those rights are so important. America has been in a constant state of self-demonization to the extent that Constitutional rights are viewed as the obsolete product of dead white slave owners.
Communism is alive and well on college campuses. For thirty years college students have been fed a steady diet of anti-American propaganda, attacking capitalism and exalting socialism with an all-powerful state as the ideal form of government. Indeed, Americans have accepted most of the major tenets of the Communist Manifesto, thinking they embody the essence of a free society. Moreover, American students have been encouraged to think of themselves as citizens of the world rather than the U.S. The Constitution is seen as a block to the emerging need for environmental harmony and global governance.
Americans have come to accept the core belief of Postmodernism; that there is no such thing as absolute truth or morals. Since there is no such thing as absolute truth, there is no such thing as absolute law. It all depends on what your definition of “is” is and the law can be tortured to say what we want it to say. As such, it can be used to convict anyone who needs to be convicted, since their rights can be defined away because it’s all a matter of definition. Besides, many Americans believe that rights are something that are “deserved” rather than inalienable. And, after all, politically incorrect people don’t deserve rights.
The Bill of Rights itself is under severe attack by means of thousands of laws which curtail the exercise of the rights or end run its prohibitions. The Bush administration seems determined to abolish habeas corpus and to suspend individual rights at will, merely by definition of an enemy combatant. The list of abuses is virtually endless. Every day, American citizens are routinely having their rights violated thanks to some legal precedent, which was established early on – usually leaving them little recourse because the law has been distorted so badly and the system has been rigged against them. The slide towards money, power and control is proceeding virtually unabated.
In a free society, rights protect the individual from the government. In a dictatorship, rights protect the government from the people. If enough legal precedents for end-runs of all the protections contained in the Bill of Rights are allowed to continue unchecked, where will those precedents be taken by future leaders when all protections have been dismantled? What will stop the tyranny that will invariably follow? Nothing.