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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:01 PM
Original message
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
That is my single question..can anyone relate to the below ?
And for added points, does anyone know where the below book excerpt is from?

"What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, "was the ever widening gap, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with.
And it became always wider. You know, it doesn'tt make people close to their government to be told that this is a peoples 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.

"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.

Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to.
( Our government) gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think aboutwe were decent peopleand 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 itplease try to believe meunless 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 person 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.


the book is: They Thought They Were Free.
Milton Mayer
first published in 1935.
The people are Germans, in Nazi Germany.
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Subdivisions Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. MY GOD! And I'm not even religious!
I had NO IDEA that was not written by a blogger today. Absolutely incredible historical parallel.

Excellent post, dixiegrrrl. K & R!
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NightWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
2. combine the German's incremental atrocities to Panem et Circenses (Rome's bread and circuses)
and you see where and how we got to where we are today.

The Totalitarian Tip Toe (as I heard it once before) combined with distractions and the instant gratification of the masses and it is very EASY to see what's going on. We should rise up against.... oh look, that "pants on the ground" guy is on American Idol again and my iPhone has a new app to tell me what to think.... what were you saying? the circus is coming.
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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #2
10. I am chagrined to say I had never heard of
"The Totalitarian Tip Toe"...
Nice phrase.

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arthritisR_US Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
3. it's so bloody scary how much it parallels today. I'm going to order that
book from Chapters, thanks Dixie :hi:
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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. You are most welcome.
the book is unfortunately not available to read online, so must be bought.
The excerpt I posted is really the key part, but I do recommend reading the book.


btw...a related book is:
It Can't Happen Here by Upton Sinclair
and it IS available on line to read:
http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0301001h.html
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arthritisR_US Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Thanks! I'm going to start the online one now :-) n/t
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NoNothing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
4. You realize
This kind of rhetoric simply plays into conservative hammering of the government as some "other," some unholy beast that must be starved and diminished. Right? I mean, you can't simultaneously identify with the above excerpt AND think the same government should become bigger and more powerful, can you?
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Fire1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Good point. n/t
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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Labeling ideas as either "right wing" or "left wing"
is one of the methods used to keep us from looking at what is going on.
The old "divide and conquer trick has been used well.
It is possible to see parallels in history without having to fight labels.

The SIZE of government. has nothing to do with my post.
It is the behavior of government that is an issue at the moment.

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NoNothing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Size matters
If the behavior of the government is more bad than good, it is illogical to want more of it.
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Fuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-05-10 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #9
18. That's a simplistic way of looking at it.
The 'government' is us, the people. We, however, through our complacency and laziness and through jingoism over 'social' issues have allowed ourselves to be sidetracked where we view 'politics' as a sporting event, left vs right, arguing over bullshit while the big issues and real power are being taken away from us. We are allowing ourselves to be ruled and pushed around, allowing our constitutional rights to be taken away out of fear. That's how I read the above passage. It's not the size of the government, it's what it does in our name and how we allow it to control us.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-05-10 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #4
17. What we need to defend here is the notion of public goods
If the government has given up on the notion, we need to call them to account.
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bain_sidhe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 12:59 PM
Response to Original message
11. part of that was my sig during most of the Bush years
very sad to think that it still applies.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
12. K&R
Edited on Thu Feb-04-10 01:59 PM by RaleighNCDUer
for Mayer's "They Thought They Were Free".

EDIT: Only, I thought it was published in '55 - it couldn't be '35, because it refers to events in '36 and later.
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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. I double checked the pub. date.
You are of course correct,
typo, most probably.

Thanks.
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Mira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
14. A book I have been meaning to pick up and read for months now
This excerpt echoes what I heard from German family members and friends growing up in Germany. At least from those with enough brain and courage to speak about it.
Now I will speed up getting a hold of this book.
Thanks Dixiegrrrrl for bringing this to the attention of folks here.

Reading it makes my hair stand on end and my flesh crawl.
For all the obvious reasons.

I wish I could give it more than one recommendation.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 03:04 PM
Response to Original message
15. "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one

Thomas Paine
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The Doctor. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-04-10 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
16. Yep, been spreading it around for years.
To little avail.

These days, we have a powerful propaganda machine to set the philosophically oblivious mouth-breathers against those of us who would stop it.
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