Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Naomi Wolf Expounds

"They Did This in Germany"

OK, I've blogged before about Naomi Wolf and her book The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. But having become aware of some much better YouTube footage (hat-tip Punditman at Another Point of View) I felt it was time to revisit the subject.

According to Wolf, would-be tyrants follow a readily identified blueprint for weaning a free society from their addiction to things like human rights and free elections.
Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.

They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.
That was from Ms. Wolf's article in Huffington Post, Ten Steps to Closing Down an Open Society. Here are the steps in bullet form:
  1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
  2. Create a prison system outside the rule of law
  3. Develop an unregulated paramilitary
  4. Set up an internal surveillance system
  5. Harass citizens' groups
  6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
  7. Target key individuals
  8. Control the press
  9. "Dissent = Treason"
  10. Suspend the Rule of Law
It kind of reads like a shopping lists of concerns that the unruly mob have been decrying at length, doesn't it? OK, take the time to watch this interview. It's a fairly long one (nearly 40 minutes) but well worth the time.

Naomi Wolf Interview

And about the subheading - As Ms. Wolf explains, it is not hyperbole to compare the Bush regime to Nazi Germany. The important thing is that the comparison is to Nazi Germany in the '30s, before the outbreak of WWII. I don't expect you to enjoy the video, but I hope you at least appreciate its significance.

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