In Bureaucracy, History, Politics on September 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Here’s an intriguing truth about repressive bureaucracies: They like to portray themselves as defenders of freedom–at least, as far as their official propaganda is concerned.

A modern-day case in point: The Republican Party–and especially its latest “Values Voter Summit,” held in Washington, D.C., on September 17-19.

Attendees included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Congresswoman Michele Bachman (R-Minn.) and former governors Mitt Romney (Massachusetts) and Mike Huckabee (Arkansas).

Others included anti-ERA and -abortion activist Phyllis Schlafly and Christine O’Donnell, who upset Congressman Mike Castle (R-Del.) on September 14 to win the Republican Senate nomination in Delaware.

The purpose of this summit: To provide a showcase for those Republicans who want to seek the Presidency in 2012.

To learn the priorities of those sponsoring–and attending–the Values Voter Summit, you need only look at its website (at http://www.valuesvotersummit.org/):

• Protect Marriage
• Champion Life
• Strengthen the Military
• Limit Government
• Control Spending
• Defend Our Freedoms

All of this sounds positive—until you realize this is coded language which actually means:

Protect Marriage: Legally ban gays from marrying.
Champion Life: Legally ban all abortions–including those for victims of rape and incest. Imprison doctors who perform them and women who receive them.
Strengthen the Military: Turn the national budget over to the defense contractor industry.
Limit Government: Cut funding and/or powers of those agencies charged with protecting consumers–and the environment–from predatory businesses. (A more honest way to describe “business de-regulation” would be: “Let criminals be criminals.”)
Control Spending: The sky’s the limit for wars and military spending. Programs to address poverty, protect consumers and the environment go into the garbage can.
Defend Our Freedoms: Civil liberties are for the Radical Right–not its critics. It’s patriotic to support George W. Bush’s false claim of WMDs in Iraq; it’s treason to publicly criticize him (as the Dixie Chicks found out).

Seventy years ago, members of another repressive political organization styled themselves as champions of freedom.

Consider the following lyrics from “The SS March”:

Clear the streets, the SS marches.
The storm-columns stand at the ready.
They will take the road
From tyranny to freedom.

The men in the black uniforms who

• swore unquestioning obedience to Adolf Hitler;
• demanded unquestioning obedience from everyone else;
• murdered men, women and children in the millions–

these were the defenders of freedom?

Yes, in their own eyes, exactly so.

They believed that by serving a “higher purpose” and acting in the cause of Germany’s “salvation” they were given license to commit any act–no matter how brutal. For them, there was no thought of breaking the law, because they were the law.

Thus, the SS could arrest, brutalize and/or murder

• anyone deemed an enemy of the Third Reich;
• anyone who violated the Third Reich’s strict anti-abortion laws;
• anyone who violated Germany’s harsh laws against homosexuality.

Like today’s Republicans, the Nazis had their own coded language:

Protective custody meant arresting the Reich’s political opponents.
Self-Defense meant Germany’s unprovoked invasion of another country.
Aggression meant resistance to Germany’s unprovoked attack.
Resettlement meant arresting and deporting tens of thousands of Jews to Poland, where they could be slated for elimination.
Special handling meant the machinery of selecting and mass-murdering the Jews and other “undesirables.”

A final note: It’s commonplace to believe that evil dwells only in a handful of supremely ruthless predators–like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Richard Nixon, Joseph McCarthy, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay. And they, in turn, corrupt their otherwise saintly countrymen into following their demonic and disastrous path.

But the ugly truth is that dictators–whether Nazi, Communist or Republican–depend on millions of ordinary men and women for support. They do not rise to power or remain in power except for the continued support of those who enthusiastically support their policies.

More than a half-century ago, the famed journalist, Edward R. Murrow, warned Americans of this truth at the height of the Joseph McCarthy “Red scare” hysteria:

“No one man can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices….We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men.

“Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular….We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.”

Joseph McCarthy is dead, but his repressive spirit–wrapped in the false patriotism of hatred and fear-mongering–remains as alive today as it did in 1954. So do the politicians who embody that spirit. And so do the voters who actively support those politicians.

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