By Alan Caruba
Not long ago I saw a television documentary on the rise of the Third Reich in Germany. I have, in addition, read any number of books on the period of the 1920s and 30s. The lesson it teaches is that the Nazis did not suddenly arise, take control, and impose a totalitarian government on Germans. It was a matter of slow progress until October 29, 1929 when the U.S. stock market crashed.
The affect was worldwide. In Europe where nations were still trying to revive from the devastating impact of World War One, it created havoc similar to the Great Depression that gripped America for a decade.
In the wake of the 1919 Versailles Treaty, a defeated Germany had been hit with huge reparations. The Weimar Republic was struggling to return the nation to some degree of stability.
The destabilization of the worldwide financial system created the chaos needed for Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists to gain seats in the government and when Hitler was named Chancellor it opened the door to total control.
Thousands of communists were rounded up and put in concentration camps, thus eliminating the main political challenge. Ordinary Germans realized that anyone could be arrested and detained without any recourse to the law.
Hitler then turned his attention to the Jews of Germany, a minor part of the population, many of whom had lived there for generations. Scapegoating the Jews played into the anti-Semitism that had existed for centuries in Germany and provided an “enemy”, an alleged reason for the nation’s travails.
I was thinking about this with regard to the way Hugo Chavez managed to take over Venezuela, a major oil producer, step by step until recently when that nation’s supine congress gave him the right to rule by dictate. Ever since he took over and began to nationalize everything, Venezuela has been on a downward path economically and socially. The same thing happened after Fidel Castro took over Cuba in 1959.
Dictators are the ultimate control freaks, nags and busybodies.
In countries where Islam is both the state and the primary religion, people can be whipped, stoned to death, jailed, tortured, and executed for religion-based reasons. One must always demonstrate support for the state and the faith or run terrible risks, but unlike Communism, religion is the all-consuming factor.
Largely unreported, the ethnic cleansing of Christians continues apace in the Middle East, hardly differing from the fate of its Jews. There are few Jews in those nations where many had lived for generations because, with the founding of Israel in 1948, thousands were forced to flee for their lives. Many Arab Christians and Persian Bahaists, joined them. Thousands sought sanctuary there along with the survivors of the Holocaust, but Israel would have to fight several wars of defense. For more than sixty years, no effort to find peace with the Palestinians has yielded any positive response.
What does this have to do with America?
Well, it seems to me that the first two years of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid administration has given most Americans a taste of what it is to live in a nation where the central government is run by people who do not give a damn for public opinion or the Constitution.
It took barely a year for Americans to come together in a Tea Party movement to oppose Obamacare. That hideous piece of legislation interposes the government between all Americans and their physicians, inflicting a bureaucratic nightmare that, if permitted to exist, will surely kill Americans denied timely care.
The members of the Tea Party are not just Republicans, not just Democrats, and not just independents. They are quintessentially Americans that swiftly concluded that a serious mistake was made when Obama was elected. On the anniversary of the original tea party, Sen. Reid was forced to make a humiliating retreat, dropping the $1.1 trillion “budget” bill intended to shackle the newly elected members of Congress and to impose still more debt and control over Americans.
The Obama administration is shot through with control freaks, nags and busybodies, not the least of whom is the First Lady, Michelle Obama. On the signing of a bill giving the governmental control over food in the nation’s schools she said that obesity is “not just an economic threat, it’s a national security threat as well.” That is just absurd. It is a feeble excuse to interpose the federal government between parents and the schools to which they are compelled to send their children.
“We cannot leave it up to the parents,” said Michelle Obama. Not surprisingly, a Rasmussen Reports poll revealed that 75% of those asked did not agree with the First Lady.
Hardly a day goes by when some member of the Obama administration doesn’t say or do something absurd. In mid-December, the U.S. Surgeon-General, Regina Benjamin, said “there is no risk-free level of exposure to tobacco smoke.”
She claimed that even occasional smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke “causes immediate damage to your body that can lead to serious illness or death.” That is not based in any valid analysis and it ignores the rising levels of life expectancy in America. It is just another piece of the hysterical anti-tobacco agenda of busybodies who have no right to tell anyone whether they should smoke or not.
The most dangerous thing Americans do every day is to get behind the wheel or be a passenger in an automobile. Auto accidents annually kill 40,000 or more.
Recently, at the Cancun, Mexico conference of global warming charlatans, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, said that “climate change is one of the greatest threats facing our planet” as if human beings had anything to say or do about it. He might was well have said that the United Nations must begin to control the Sun, the oceans, and the clouds.
Finally, after being banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1980, the agency decided that saccharin, a sweetener substitute for sugar, was neither toxic nor a cancer-causing agent, a fact determined in the late 1990s by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The EPA routinely bans chemicals claiming they could cause cancer, ignoring the fact that too much exposure to any chemical, including salt or sugar, is unwise.
These and a thousand other examples are reasons to distrust the Obama administration in particular and the federal government in general. As it continues to grasp more and more power over lifestyle decisions that belong to individuals, it threatens the very reason America was founded.
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