"They Thought They Were Free"greenspun.com : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread
Well... I guess this could go under government, too... You decide.
I found a neat site while on another forum, thought you might appreciate the logic - and the addy
They also thought they were free
How could it happen? Here's how a college professor, in another country and in another time, described it:
What happened was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to be governed by surprise, to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believe 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 people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. ~ 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.
To live in the process is absolutely not to notice it-please try to believe me-unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted.' Believe me this is true. Each act, each occasion is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow.
Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven't done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we did nothing). You remember those early meetings of your department in the university when, if one had stood, others would have stood, perhaps, but no one stood. A small matter, a matter of hiring this man or that, and you hired this one rather than that. You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.
This quote is from a remarkable book about Nazi Germany written by Milton Mayer in the 1950s. They Thought They Were Free (University of Chicago Press) examined not the horrific perversions but the horrible normalcies of the times. Mayer summed up his own experience this way: Now I see a little better how Nazism overcame Germany ~ It was what most Germans wanted-or, under pressure of combined reality and illusion, came to want. They wanted it; they got it; and they liked it. I came back home a little afraid for my country, afraid of what it might want, and get, and like, under pressure of combined reality and illusions. I felt-and feel-that it was not German Man that I had met, but Man. He happened to be in Germany under certain conditions. He might be here, under certain conditions. He might, under certain conditions, be I.
We, too, think we are free. But let's review the bidding. Here are some restrictions on American freedoms that are less than a generation old, each instituted, we were told, to protect us from a danger, a crisis or a threat to national security:
Roadblocks as part of random searches for drivers who have been drinking or using drugs.
The extensive use of the military in civilian law enforcement, particularly in the war on drugs.
The use of handcuffs on persons accused of minor offenses and moving violations.
Jump-out squads that leap from police vehicles and search nearby citizens.
Much greater use of wiretaps and other forms of electronic surveillance.
Punishment before trial such as pre-trial detention and civil forfeiture of property.
Punishment of those not directly involved in offenses, such as parents being held responsible for the actions of their children, employers being required to enforce immigration laws, and bartenders being made to enforce drinking laws.
Warrantless searches of persons and property before entering buildings, boarding planes, or using various public facilities.
Closing of public buildings or parts of buildings to the public on security grounds.
Increased restrictions on student speech, behavior, and clothing.
Increased mandatory use of IDs.
Increasing restrictions on attorney-client privacy.
Greatly increased government access to personal financial records.
Loss of a once widely presumed guarantee of confidentiality in dealings with businesses, doctors, accountants, and banks. The greatest incarceration rate of any industrialized country in the world.
Mandatory sentencing for minor offenses, particularly marijuana possession.
Increased surveillance of employees in the workplace.
Laws in 11 states that make it a crime to suggest that a particular food is unsafe without a "sound scientific basis" for the claim. Random traffic stops of blacks are so frequent that the drivers are sometimes said to have been stopped for DWB-driving while black.
Increased use of charges involving offenses allegedly committed after a person has been halted by a police officer, such as failure to obey a lawful order.
Widespread youth curfews.
Expanded definition of pornography and laws against it.
Greatly increased use of private police forces by corporations.
Persons being forced to take part in line-ups because of some similarity to actual suspect.
The rest of the article is at: http://prorev.com/stayfree.htm
The home page for Progressive Review is: http://prorev.com/
-- Sue Diederich (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 11, 2001
This is what I was trying to do when the great snafu at Cside occurred. But I was also trying to give some of the actual cases. The best analogy is old and worn out, but still true. Put the frog in the pot, and bring the temp up slowly...suddenly froggy is cooked.
The framer's of the Constitution had so many marvelous quotes regarding this. A free people must be a moral people....Government is pure force...The cost of freedom is eternal vigilance...and so on.
The internet has proven to be a powerful tool in allowing people to access all manner of information and the Un and the US are fighting to control and curtail it because it threatens their power base. We should all use it to the best of our ability while we still can, even though it is all subject to echelon and carnivore.
-- Doreen (email@example.com), May 12, 2001.
I was discussing this with the guy I work with and came to the conclusion that their logic is if you build the chain one link at a time eventually no one will notice when you put the shakles on the ends of the chain. We are now required to keep proof of insurance in our vehicles. I got chills when asked at a roadblock "May I see your proof of insurance and vehicle registration documents and drivers license". It reminded me so much of those old movies.
-- Jay Blair in N. AL. (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 13, 2001.
What an excellant article. I went and read the whole thing. I'm thinking of printing it out and having all of the kids read it. Even my kids don't understand what it's all about. Maybe we should e-mail this to people? It's pretty long but even if they only read part of it they would gather some good info.
-- John i S. IN (email@example.com), May 14, 2001.
Thanks guys - I would have been crucified (ok... bad choice of words) had I tried this anywhere else.
I have the whole thing on the hard drive, but no ink, so printing will have to wait a bit.
Guess what.... Isn't it law in some/most/all states that a child has to pass a Constitution test before graduating Jr. High?? Well - they are planning on passing my daughter and about 6 other kids without the test. I know in IL its required. 3 weeks left, and the school is STILL hemming and hawing over it.
They gave Jen the book back in October, but not the supposed 'packet' of materials which tells what to study. NO test date in sight.
Talk about a delemma..... I hope they don't make me do something that several kids and their families (not to mention teachers, board members, etc) will regret. It would be awfully hard for me to explain to my own daughter if I am responsible for her not graduating next month...
Any advice?? (I know she knows it, cause its a MAJOR thing with me, but the test on it IS required...) I'm really at a loss on this one -
-- Sue Diederich (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 14, 2001.
The high school here in Texas just kinda semi-sorta taught the Constitution in government class. Mostly they just learned about all the government programs and how to get on them. When it came to the Constitution, my second son was constantly correcting the instructor and making him mad. Before it was over with, the instructor looked me up and told me that Jon was the most politically savvy student he'd ever had and that he had looked things up and done his own research and found out that Jon was right about the Constitution. Said he'd learned things he didn't know, and he'd been teaching government for nearly 30 years. Judging by that, I don't think they test on the Constitution here any more. When I went we were heavily instructed on the Constitution, but that was because I had old Judge Spearman, the retired county judge, for the instructor. He was born in 1900, back when people still knew their rights and were still willing to die to keep them and felt we should all be the same way. The schools here now are too busy teaching the socialist New World Order classes to teach either history or the Constitution. Well, that's my soap box speech for the day. Ya'll just over look me.
-- Green (email@example.com), May 15, 2001.
Sue, that's a tough one. I'd call the school and volunteer to put the test together for them if they don't feel confident enough in their teacher's knowledge...My niece who is in 8th grade(maybe 7th?) spent quite sometime going over the Constitution with me on the phone this spring. She was amazed that someone would know that stuff when they didn't have a test to take on it. Hopefully I planted a little revolutionary seed in her.hmm.She's in IL as well so I don't think all the schools have done away with it there. Anyway, that's what I'd do.
Green, you can jump on the box whenever you have the inclination!
-- Doreen (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 15, 2001.