Last night I finished watching The Lives of Others, a German film set in East Germany, mostly before the Wall came down. It has a faithful portrayal of life under a government that has transgressed its God-given role of maintaining peace and defending its people. Behind the Iron Curtain, government was the worst problem, and the individuals suffered.
The United States has been creeping in that direction for some time. Totalitarian advancement is usually promoted only during a crisis like war or extreme economic trouble. It can happen under the watch of either political party, though it seems that the Left is more inclined to seek it out. (Progressivism since the 1920s has been a kindred spirit to Italian and German fascism, which are totalitarian in their own ways, and to socialism in general.) It has disturbed some observers that since last September, the Orwellian creep has been accelerating, now including occasional goose-steps.
I’ve already mentioned the tragic murder of the mass-murderer Tiller. (The link between abortion, progressivism, and eugenics should not be forgotten, either.) There have also been recent, tragic Muslim attacks either planned or carried out in the United States, although the professional media’s political agenda is to suppress the religious and ideological motives of those attacks, while emphasizing the religious and ideological motives of transgressors like the individual who murdered Tiller. My best guess is that this agenda comes from a desire to prove that “we” (i.e. Christians) are just as bad, if not worse, than “them” (i.e. Muslims). The natural response must be hard to understand for those whose worldview is bound by such moral equivalence: Christianity condemns vigilante murder, while Islam demands it. Christian murderers contradict their religion, while Muslim murderers fulfill theirs.
I realize that the last two sentences may be considered incendiary by some, but it’s meant only to be accurate. It can be tested by finding the places in the Bible and in the Koran that dictate morality for the individual practitioner of each religion. Prove me wrong in that way, and I will be happy to retract it, for I wish it were not so. For some to claim that Islam is a “religion of peace” may reflect the personal desires of many Muslims living today, but it does not reflect the source and norm of their doctrine. In fact, it’s a bit orwellian.
Speaking of orwellian things, the concept of “hate crimes” has been gaining traction in the United States for some time. This attempts to criminalize certain thoughts, which become prosecutable when they are acted upon. It’s an orwellian term on several levels. Those who promote it are not really interested in fighting hatred, but in gaining general acceptance for certain classes of people. If they were interested in fighting hatred, then everyone who attacks and kills because of a personal or ideological animus toward the victim and what he represents would be prosecuted with a hate crime. So it’s a purposely deceptive term, like “the Ministry of Love.”
The “hate crime” concept is also orwellian because it attempts to force the populace into thinking a certain way. It’s closely related to the idea of a “thought crime” or a “sense offense” (from the sci-fi movie Equilibrium). This is a totalitarian characteristic.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the “hate crime” concept is that it is being put into practice in the United States, land of the free and home of the brave. It’s one more step in the direction of East Germany.
Thankfully, we still have some freedom of the press. Today, that’s exercised more in print by the amateur press than the professional press. However, even that freedom is under attack on the airwaves via federal management of the radio spectrum. Some are seeking to eliminate certain kinds of commercially-successful content, because of the ideas expressed therein. That oppression would be totalitarian, too.
I find it interesting that the East German government required the registration of typewriters. They were able to identify the typewriter used to write a certain thing by analyzing characteristics of the typing. Together with the registry, that made it possible for the Stasi to find out who had written things they didn’t like. Classic totalitarianism.
You may think it could never happen here. Yet in another area, some politicians and bureaucrats today are calling for similar measures in the United States: registration of firearms (including ballistic fingerprinting in some cases, that would identify the weapon used to fire a given round), and the unproven technology of “micro-stamping” to make such registration and identification more practical. As I understand the idea, this technology would somehow make each weapon put its unique mark or serial number on every brass casing it fires. Despite its non-existence, some lawmakers are talking about requiring it in all new firearms. Inch by inch and mile by mile, America creeps away from freedom, but I’m sure the Stasi would have approved.
Maybe you really do think it could never happen here, and that I’m being overly alarmist. I wish you were right. But like many, I value the constitutional freedoms I enjoy as an American, and if we allow one of them to be taken away, then any of them can be taken away. I don’t cherish the thought of living in East Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist China, the Third Reich, or any number of totalitarian states that have really existed, and some still do. The freedom I would miss the most is my freedom to speak and live according to my Christian faith. That includes teaching it to my children, practicing it daily and weekly in my household, at church, and with my fellow citizens, speaking about it with any of my neighbors, and making it the final determination of all my actions. Because of the increasingly orwellian nature of our government and society, the things I’ve written here make me a “rightwing extremist”, but with the founders of our nation and countless patriots on my side, I’m in good company. Yet that’s just my point, isn’t it?
Please, recognize the orwellian drift of America, and always do what you can legally do to protect the freedoms with which we have been blessed. Talk about them. Defend them. Exercise them. Teach them. This may make you a “right wing extremist” like me, but it’s a matter of good stewardship.