Check Your Change At The Store!
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
I spent a good number of years trying to understand the strange group psychology that leads to cultic behaviors in religious or political groups – or even on larger scale, in societies.
I was always particularly interested in this topic because unless there is a social mechanism that can be identified, that is leading to different groups adopting cult-type thinking, what chance do we have at preventing cult-type thinking and tyranny from developing in our societies? Knowing the nature of the beast that we’re up against just might help prevent the beast from growing and developing to the point where it is stronger than we are.
One of the first differences that I have noticed in the everyday life in America versus Romania (where we dealt with the beast of cultic thinking in the political arena) is that… Americans never check their change at the store. They trust either the machines to give them the right change, or they trust the cashier to give the right change. We never do that back in Romania. In fact, it is only in Western countries that people don’t double check the change that’s given to them in stores (I have a couple of really funny stories of traveling with good ol’ posh, kind, trusty British people to Africa…). Back in East Europe, when you place an order online and you pick up the merchandise at the store, you count the items and check their quality prior to the person who is handing you the merchandise leaving. If they want to leave, you ask them politely to stay until you are satisfied that your order has been fulfilled. Then you double check the change. Then you make them sign, and then they make you sign; and you do everything in this order – first you make sure everything is fine, and then you sign. You don’t sign anything until you know for sure that whatever you purchased is in good functioning order and is delivered in its entirety. So I found the Western way of not double-checking the change to be particularly odd. And I kept thinking about this behavior which seems to be particularly insignificant, but it actually speaks volumes about both the ones who get the change and the ones who hand out the change. This very insignificant remark about how we conduct our day to day business speaks volumes about the differences in our cultures; East Europe doesn’t trust, the Western world trusts.
Then, about three years after moving to the States, I watched a documentary produced by a known Australian network, in which former bank employees were talking – under anonymity – about the ins and outs of their employment contract: how they had to hide some information from the customers, how particular fees were left unspoken of, and about the consequences of having been an employee of the banking system in the past. What I thought was going to be a rather interesting show, was actually a very surprising opportunity to re-learn the same lesson I have learned by watching people not double-checking their change at the store: in the Western societies, people can’t conceive the idea of human evil. Literally, everyone who used to work in a bank and was testifying anonymously how twisted and corrupted the banking system is, was doing so being utterly surprised and shocked that… people actually lie. (Goodness me!) By the end of the documentary, I was bitterly smiling at the seriously surprised reactions of those who have been scammed by institutions. And all I could think was, “Why are these people so surprised, though? How could they not actually read the contract they’re signing with the bank, as employees? How can they be so surprised?”
A little bit of time went by and I kept spinning these two pieces of information in my head, pondering about this strange Western phenomenon of trusting people without double-checking. And then the 2020 pandemic came, and the media started pulling people in two directions; and in two directions they went – half believing what the right winged media was saying, half believing what the left winged media was saying. Nobody even considered that there might be a third or a fourth story to the story. So I thought that was strange as well. I also realized that pulling people into two camps has been unexpectedly easy in America. Half America is as inflexible as iron, half is as spineless as wet clay. Two countries living in one, with no geographical border and no real flag to belong to. (The UNITED States of America represented by the Flag, are supposed to be… well… united. If USA doesn’t exist anymore, the flag that represented it is merely an antique, not a living symbol any longer.)
But what these two camps have in common is that they both trust without double-checking. Westerners trust people – sadly! I can’t wrap my head around that, and I honestly can’t understand why people would trust each other. Don’t get me wrong: everyone gets cheated and scammed at least once in their lives; I know I did. But the Western world seems to be a fertile place for tricksters to flock to because scamming is a mightily lucrative business here as people’s default modus operandi is trust.
Fret not, I have been offered an explanation: “People were trustworthy in America until just a few years ago, so there was no reason not to trust.” Or “Until a few years ago, a handshake meant more than a notarized paper today.”; or “Until a few years ago, people’s words meant something. People had values. People were trustworthy.” That’s what I have been told. And I have no doubt that that is true, that most people were trustworthy and that there was no reason not to trust. The whole issue with this explanation is, this is a Westerner type of thinking. In East Europe, you don’t stop trusting when you have a reason to stop trusting. You start trusting when you have a reason to trust; because people do a lot of things in secret that one is not aware of, things that go unseen. So by the time one has a reason not to trust, it’s too late. Don’t get me wrong, we are a particularly respectful geographical area; one respects everyone by default, but one does not trust anyone until the prove themselves to be trustworthy. There is a massive difference there.
The explanation of how America got to this state, where the country is divided in two camps that cannot be reconciled – one of iron and one of clay lies in the explanations above: Americans trusted their leaders because they had no reason to doubt, instead trusting only the ones who were found to be trustworthy. And this is not a critic; this is a mere observation of history repeating itself; trust with no proof is exactly the mistake that Romania did. This is what Germany did as well.
Looking back, isn’t it obvious that someone has not been trustworthy along the way, both in Romania and in America’s case? If everyone would have been honorable and trustworthy, the spirit of the Constitution would have been passed on and we would still celebrate America like one nation under God; but we don’t. That means, someone lead half this nation astray – the half that wanted to be led astray. So who are we going to blame? The ones who led where they pleased or the ones who forgot to be vigilant and blindly trusted? – Dare I suggest that maybe both share the blame?
The Hitler Affair with the German Crowd
I always found the “Hitler was a dictator and he led the people down the wrong path.” interpretation of the events in Germany to be lazy. It’s a simplistic way of blaming one person for the behavior of an entire nation. The case of Romania is way less popular, but the situation in Romania was identical in spirit with Germany (it just lacked the resources to produce as much damage): Ceausescu didn’t do alone what he did. Romanians wanted to be seduced by Socialism, just like Germans wanted to be seduced by Socialism, and just like America is ripe and ready to be seduced by Socialism.
If you look carefully to what happened in Germany, there are a number of crimes – including executions – that were committed prior to Hitler’s decision or involvement or without his knowledge. For instance, the health care system in the Nazi Germany is probably one of the best examples. Many nurses were not even waiting on the doctor’s orders to carry our compulsive sterilizations or later on, the killing of young kids considered “nonviable”. The medical system came to Hitler through its leaders and offered support; Hitler didn’t go to the medical system to ask for support.
If you look carefully at what happened in Romania, the only reason why the implementation of the National Feeding Program was possible was because at some point, someone decided to support Ceausescu by offering his wife the title of Doctor in Macro-Molecular Chemistry without her earning that title. And using this title of Doctor, she developed a “feeding plan” that starved our nation to death – literally. If the college of Chemist Doctors wouldn’t have granted a woman who didn’t graduate high school the title of Doctor, it would have been way harder for her to starve us to death; but people in leading positions supported them, for their own benefit.
So did Hitler make Germany what it was and Ceausescu make Romania what it was, or did Germany make Hitler what he was and did Romania make Ceausescu what he was?
Let’s consider the way we define what’s real and what’s not real, as human beings. The “nurture” part of our being is based on learning how other people behave. We learn how others behave either through education (which requires the intentional efforts of others to impart the social norms) or through observation (which requires us observing others and choosing to imitate them). I don’t have any authority to step into the field of social sciences, but I can share with you a couple of fun social experiments that I single handedly conducted in order to define my own world when I was a teen and in the very young stages of adulthood (in my mid-twenties). As I said, I have always been intrigued about the human capacity to live under political tyranny, or as part or religious tyranny (cults), or any other form of oppression. And a big part of that is, people need to accept the tyranny. They need to accept it in the first stages of implementation, when it still seems to be innocuous and innocent and impotent. The perceived benefit of accepting tyranny must be greater than the perceived danger of accepting it. (But that’s no object, since socialists have no issues lying and people have no issues accepting to be lied to.)
Let’s take a look at these very simple experiments I was mentioning, which I conducted in order to learn if my actions as an anonymous, no-one (really) can impact those near me or not. Some of these efforts were more thought through; others were on the spot ideas that came to me because the context was ideal to conduct a social experiment.
One of the incognito social experiments I conducted was to see if I can influence people in the way they swim in the swimming pool. I love swimming. Back at home, I used to go swimming at the gym that was part of a hotel. The hotel was renting out the SPA area for private parties at night so sometimes the floating lane dividers were removed. One morning, I arrived first at the swimming pool (6.00 am) and the dividers were missing. So instead swimming in the dedicated long direction of the swimming pool, I started swimming on the short side, in the middle of the pool, transversal to the dedicated direction. Within half an hour, there were six other pool regulars who were swimming “the wrong direction”. I didn’t even think it would last that long. It really made no sense to swim on the short side, but for me, as an experiment conductor, it was a fun exercise. The next day, I overheard the guys at the greeting table at the gym talking about how yesterday was a weird day because throughout the entire day people swam the wrong way and nobody knows why. I left the gym at 7am in the morning. Apparently the wrong swimming fad continued for the next 17 hours, till 12am, when they closed the gym. Quite remarkable, isn’t it? People simply accepted what was imposed on them without even questioning what’s going on. Rather than talking to me and trying to convince me to swim the “right way”, people preferred to join me in swimming the wrong way.
Another experiment, which was way more intentional, was that I decided that I will not allow any kind of cursing or swearing in my proximity, be it at school, or later at work. So when I started my 9th grade (14 years old), every time one of my colleagues would curse, I would look at them and say: “Helllloooo?!?!?!”; at the beginning, especially the boys laughed it off, but as it started catching on, other colleagues started appreciating the commodity of sharing a “curse free” space. The overall quality of the language increased significantly in the classroom, even during the brakes. By the time we graduated high school, we were the only classroom recognized by the teachers and the principal as the “class who doesn’t curse”. We had a meeting ten years from graduation, and when I walked in, I was greeted with a “Hellllooooo?!” by my colleagues. They haven’t forgotten. At the same time, some of my high school colleagues went to the same university I went to, and after graduation, I ended up working with some of them as young professionals employed by the same employer. The same “rule” that I implemented in 9th grade was respected at our work place. It would have been way harder for me to come as a single employee with a social norm of clean talk and try to pursue people to respect it. But because for ten years I have been with the same handful of colleagues in high school and then in university, and these colleagues were already familiar with the clean speaking rule around me, it wasn’t a single person effort any longer; a handful of people who were hired by the same employer over the span of 6 months were all abiding by this unwritten rule of “clean talk” for a decade by now. By the time I ended my contract with that employer, if someone was feeling like cursing at work, they would go in a different office, close the door and curse there. This was usually preceded by: “Oh, Ligia is here, let’s go finish this conversation in the back room where we can curse.” Overall, close to eighty people accepted to keep a clean language around me; which is phenomenal because this represents the compliance of three separate groups of people, with 100% rate of compliance per each one of the groups. The discomfort of being reprimanded for their curses outweighed these people’s desire to curse.
These are merely two examples of how one simple person (without any kind of social studies) can influence collectives. And I have to admit, observing group behavior and testing to see if one can change the way an entire group acts can be quite spectacular; you would be surprised, if you ever tried to do this, how easily people allow themselves to be influenced. (Ever tried to park a car in an unmarked parking lot, as a first comer? Park it any way you want, people will follow the direction you parked and will form a line defined by your car.) It is safe to say that my social experiments, including these two, have convinced me of the impact my actions have. I am still a nobody. So are you – most likely. My actions and words matter more than I could have imagined; and so do yours.
People have the great capacity to influence and to be influenced, people love seeing and to be seen; and I believe this is the trait that makes societies vulnerable to being exploited. I am using the term “trait” because in itself, it is great that we can influence each other; but when we influence each other to evil, this trait is our greatest weakness.
After all, isn’t our entire social acceptance of “normality” based on social norms? Five people behaving the same way is a crowd dictating a social norm, or in other words, generating the “normality”. Fifty people behaving and saying the same thing determine social norms that are only questioned if someone is deliberately out there to question them. Otherwise, they become “unwritten laws”. The larger the group that acts in a particular way, the easier it is for an observer to determine the definition of “normality”, and the clearer the social norms. With no pretensions of being an authority in psychology (because I am not), I think it is still fair to say that we actually all know that we can influence each other.
So getting back to Hitler and his Reich, I tried to imagine how many people it would take to tell me something about myself before I start believing it. If three people would tell me the same thing about myself, or behave the same way towards me, would that influence the way I see myself? What about fifty people? How many people, I wonder, told Hitler that he has what it takes to lead the country out of darkness? If one anonymous person like me can change the way a group acts, how much easier is it for a group to at least encourage the way one individual acts? How much support did Hitler have from different groups with various interests?
In one of his lectures from the Maps of Meaning series, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson is talking his students the dialectic between Hitler and the crowd, and how they influenced and built each other. I would like to quote him, as his words articulate perfectly in a very easy to follow language how the mutual seduction between Hitler and the crowd worked – and it actually describes exactly how the mutual seduction between any tyrant and its country works, including Ceausescu and Romania.
This is an excerpt from a live recording: “Now think about it this way; if one person thinks something about you it’s like… right, whatever; but if five people tell you that [same thing], then not taking them seriously is kind of narcissistic, right? And if it isn’t five, let’s say it’s fifteen people that tell you the same thing or act the same way towards you. Probably you should clue in. Well, what if you are a politician and you’re trying out a bunch of different ideas; and you’re good at interacting with the crowd. You are charismatic and you watch the crowd. But you’re not necessarily all that articulate, you don’t have your values all straightened up, but you’re kind of angry too. And maybe that’s because you spent a lot of time in World War I in the trenches, which was no joke, and all your friends got blown up. And then you’re unemployed, and then you’re trying to become an artist and that didn’t work out even though you were moderately talented. And then maybe the economy fell apart completely on you; hyperinflation. And then maybe there was a communist menace coming in from the East – and there genuinely was – and so, you’re not the world’s happiest clown at that point. And you’re talking to people who are not that happy either, because they were also badly defeated in World War I, and they had a terrible treaty they had to sign and they lost part of their territory. And so, the crowd is not happy and neither are you. And there’s a reason for it. And so you start talking to them. You don’t know what you’re upset about, and neither does the crowd! So you start to articulate some things about why you might be upset. And some of them fall flat; but you are paying attention to the crowd. So you stop saying those things. And some of the things make the crowd really wake up and listen. And so you start saying more of those things. It’s an unconscious dialectic between you and the crowd. It’s mediated by consciousness but it’s not like you’re sitting there saying – although you might be: “I’m gonna tell this crowd more of what it wants to hear.” It’s more sophisticated than that. So you do that a thousand times, and you do that to ever increasing crowds. And the crowd really starts to go mad. And they basically tell you that you’re the savior of the nation. How many bloody people have to tell you that before you start to believe it? I would say, with a typical person, a hundred would do it. That will get you going. If a hundred people tell you specifically why you are special, you’re going to be thinking – even if you’re kind of humble to begin with – you’re going to be thinking: “Geez, there’s gotta be something to this, man!”. But if it’s a million people and they’re roaring their approval, well… And then, when it’s a whole nation, good luck withstanding that! There’s just not a chance. How are you going to withstand *that*? Now, you could be like Gandhi, and you could have taken that in account beforehand, because he did. […] He lived a very very very very simple, bare-bones, ascetic life, and that was to see if he can keep his damn ego tamed down while the groundswell was building behind him. And he dressed really simply, and he didn’t know much, and he ate very simply, and he just tried to stay away from the whole materialistic success element that would be an element that would turn him into an actor and swell his ego and he seemed to do that pretty well. […] What I’m saying is that you have to be an extraordinary person, you have to be extraordinarily wise and you have to take ridiculous precautions if you’re going to put yourself in the public sphere like that and expose yourself to that kind of adulation without becoming a puppet of the crowd. And that’s what happened to Hitler. I mean, it’s not like he was not also a conscious manipulator, and surrounded himself by people who were propagandists and all of that, so there is a conscious element, but you’ve got to think these things through and see how that dialectic develops. He learned how to appeal to the darkest fantasies of the crowd. He was really really good at it. And that was a dialectic process; the crowd told him what he wanted to hear, and the crowd is a mob at that point. So I don’t have to take responsibility for the fact that I am screaming my approval while I am surrounded by a million people. So I can scream my approval for whatever I want, for whatever dark, revengeful fantasy might be playing out in my fantasy because I am not going to be held accountable for it.”
War means money; the army leaders and certainly those who invested in the industry of war didn’t have any interest to stop Hitler, especially since the big war was over and there were still war “goodies” left to sell. Slaves mean free labor; how many people actually benefited from exploiting free or very cheap work force under Hitler? People with disabilities and people in the correctional institutions mean a serious expense to a taxpayer, and the disposable character of this expense matters especially if the taxpayer is already hungry. Germans truly were hungry after the war. So getting writ of the responsibility to fill in the bill for the “idiots” and “feeble minded” was definitely a gain for any tax payer. Nazi Germany meant real human subjects to conduct medical experiments on, with no ethical bounds or legal consequences. Who would object to that? Certainly a nation that was trying to take the edge of medical science and achieve superiority in the medical field would have no objection to having human specimens to make experiments on. And certainly, doctors who had the opportunity to run genetic and medical tests that have never been ran before on humans (and score the opportunity to develop bio weapons in addition to medical research!) wouldn’t shrink back from supporting the man who makes this possible for them.
Everybody had something to gain. Everyone was allowed and encouraged to exploit the group of people who was, at best blocking the financial restoration of the country or at worse responsible for the financial issues in the country. So everybody supported and made room for the man who was creating and maintaining the context in which they were able, at least in theory, to regain financial prosperity. There was no one to make an appeal to against injustice, because everyone in the system benefited from the system; and everyone in the country voluntarily became the system.
No, Hitler didn’t give birth to the Third Reich by himself. The Third Reich was Hitler and Germany’s baby. Germany actually had an affair with Hitler, it wanted to be seduced by Hitler and when it was, their coming together gave birth to a monster called “genocide”; Germany trained Hitler to become Hitler, Hitler trained Germany to become the Third Reich, and when both Hitler and Germany were saturated with hate they killed each other.
There are modern recordings of a handful of old Germans who are still saying with cynicism that numbers wise, the genocide still makes sense because the sooner they were able to cut the expenses, the sooner they were able to recover financially. There are people who would do this again in the blink of an eye, and not only a few – and not only in Germany. If most scientists would have been in Mengele’s shoes, they would have done the same thing. Anyone who thinks they are not capable of harming another human being for their own benefit (and by “benefit”, I don’t mean self-defense) is lying to themselves or is completely unaware of what the combination of hunger, lack of accountability and the opportunity to profit of another human with no legal consequences can do to a human mind.
Back in Romania, I have not witnessed the ascent of Ceausescu, but I have witnessed his descent with a boom. There is one clip that I have watched over and over again – first, live, as it was happening, and many times after the revolution, as I was trying to process what happened in Romania and how we put up with tyranny for almost half century. This footage is still available out there. Video cameras were rare in Romania back then, but there is this clip that shows Ceausescu’s face in a close up, as he speaks to the crowd in Timisoara, my hometown. The revolution started in Timisoara, so when Ceausescu came to do damage control, he was talking to a mob that was angry already. He didn’t know that. No one told him that the crowd was angry, and you can see on his face how he freezes when he realizes that the crowd is not screaming with adoration but actually booing him. I am not sure if this happened in Germany, but in Romania, people were forced by their employers to go to “meetings”, which were basically long parades and adulation for the Ceausescu couple. If anyone was missing these meetings, they were going to be fired from the workplace. People cheered because they wanted Ceausescu, right at the beginning. They fell in love with Socialism just like the Germans. And when they didn’t want him anymore, they were forced by the middle men to want him. The middle men had too much to win by getting such cheap labor, and so they forced their employees to go cheer for Ceausescu. Ceausescu didn’t know the crowd was no longer with him. His wife, Elena, knew about it and she conducted on her own a number of mass kidnapping operations, among which the famous “Rose Operation”, or as we call it, “Operatia Trandafirul”, during which a group of protesters who were beat up by the secret police simply vanished from the hospitals with no trace. To this day they never found these protesters or their bodies. But Ceausescu had no idea that there was serious social unrest and that people were ready to burn down the town. He found out on the day the bloodshed started that people are no longer supporting him. The utter surprise on his face when he realizes that he is not loved and adored, as he genuinely thought he was, is something that cannot be expressed in words. He was standing on the Opera House balcony in Timisoara, from where he was always speaking to the cheering crowds, thinking that this is just another casual rally. When people started booing and throwing stones at him, he actually froze and his guards needed a few good seconds to convince him to take cover because he was shocked. He was completely clueless in regards to the deep hate that people felt for him. Hitler was pretty much aware that there have been assassination attempts against him, but Ceausescu has never been told that people hated him to that degree. He thought about himself, till the last second, that he is adored. That’s what those surrounding him did to him. I remember watching that clip over and over again, seeing that there is no trace of faking the surprise on his face (but it’s one of the most genuine expressions of utter surprise that I have ever seen) and asking myself: “Why is he *so* surprised? Did he *really* believe that he was loved? Did he really not see this coming? How could he have possibly not known that there are so many issues in the country?” And no, Ceausescu didn’t have a clue about what was happening in the country. He was, at the end, a puppet – although not an innocent one! – just like Hitler.
As for the Romanian nation allowing itself to be seduced and making itself guilty of promoting the propaganda, yes, we are guilty. I am not talking about a collective, “can’t point the finger at someone” type of abstract guilt that is dissipated in the crowd. I am talking about the fact that every single Romanian who allowed the system to grow instead stranding in its way – and certainly paying the price for doing so! – is guilty either of practically supporting its growth or guilty for the lack of making efforts to stop the spread of the ideology.
In Romania, at every single step, every single person in the system made a choice not to inform Ceausescu that there were serious issues. At every single step, there were hands that did something pro-socialism or hands that did nothing against socialism. People found ways of cohabitating with the increasingly poor life conditions instead disagreeing with enslavement. For instance, yes, there were sanctions for the stores that were not properly supplied and stocked up with produce for when Ceausesu was visiting them with the purpose to record his propaganda videos; but at the same time people were over-zealous in making sure the stores look full on the day of, and were willing to lie about the level of prosperity in the community. In reality, the stores were always empty, and after the videos were recorded, all produce or items were packed up and shipped away under the eyes of a starving nation. Ceausescu didn’t do that. Store managers did that; every single one of them. No one forced these store managers to lie about the amount of food that was available to people, other than their own cowardice. The problem is that we want freedom to cost nothing or at least to be cheap enough that the cost wouldn’t inconvenience us, but there is no such thing. Freedom is probably the most expensive asset a human has. So instead risking their jobs and speaking the truth, people bowed their heads and conserved their lives at the cost of losing their freedom, only to find out during the 1989 Revolution that for fifty years they compromised everything that was sacred to them and every single value they had in order to save something that was not worth saving: a life under ever worse tyranny. We weren’t able to take back our freedom without bloodshed.
Every single cameraman who recorded footage of stores full of produce and used that footage to show the glory of Romanian Socialism is equally guilty for the propaganda as Ceausescu himself, because they knew that what they were recording was simply not true.
Every single flyer that was printed was printed by *someone*. That someone shares the guilt for what happened in Romania; they knew they were lying.
Every single person in their right could have sabotaged with greater or lesser impact – but certainly with some impact – the growth of the socialist movement. And most people did nothing and then hid behind the “I did nothing.” or “I only did what I was told.” excuse. We soon found out that doing nothing is not an excuse, it’s actually a sin: we knew we were lying and we knew we were lied to, and we did NOTHING about it. And if we do *nothing* to stop socialism from spreading in America, this is what we are guilty of: We are guilty of doing nothing – and we deserve everything that is coming. We know what is to come, yet we do nothing about it and we allow it to happen. The Romanian history only reinforces Dr. Peterson’s point: any tyranny is a mutual seduction between a nation and its leader. Evil people don’t become leaders without the crowds’ approval, and there is always a dialogue between people and their leaders that can encourage or discourage ideas from developing in a society.
The Conspiracy Between Socialists and The American Crowd
The only context in which a society can function in a healthy manner is if people have the internal fortitude to auto-correct themselves when they become corrupted and the government is involved minimally in people’s lives. This obviously didn’t happen in Germany. Obviously didn’t happen in Romania; didn’t happen in Japan; didn’t happen in Rwanda; it never happened in any religious cult. Most people nowadays (regardless of geographical position, gender, age or race) lack this internal moral compass or have learned to ignore it. And in America, this internal moral compass was systematically destroyed as part of the propaganda, in an unprecedented effort to prepare the way for a leader that people would want to be seduced by. All that’s missing now from the American political landscape for a full blown tyranny to become reality is a charismatic leader for people to fall in love with. Biden is nowhere near being charismatic; Obama was, but he came a bit too early – thank God!; Trump was appealing to some, but not charismatic – although he could have been, if polished a little bit. So who’s next?… America doesn’t seem to be the kind of country in which people’s moral compass is so prevalent in their lives and is such a strong authority that it guides people’s decision making process. And the Government is definitely over reaching. America is ripe and ready to make way to the next tyrant. America’s mentality had shifted a lot in the last 50 years, and by choosing socialism America says that it genuinely believes that any politically-viable and politically-minded person in this country has a moral compass that would prohibit them from exercising any kind of unjustly rule; hence, there’s nothing to worry about when creating positions on unchecked power, because we trust people’s internal moral compass to be accurate and compelling enough for people to refrain themselves from using the opportunity to exploit others. This mere statement is ridiculous but it is part of what is necessary for the gestation that will produce a tyrant. America is not better than Germany was; nobody is. If Germans were capable of doing what they did, so is America. Human nature has the capacity of being good and it has the capacity to be evil, and people can be influenced easily. People are influenceable and ambivalent, not firm in their convictions and univalent. In our today’s America, where obesity had reached epidemic proportions (so people are nowhere near understanding what starvation means), we all think that we are civilized and peaceful and we raise our kids to be kind; but when food will ever become an issue, we will learn just how awful and horrible we can be and just how close savagery is from our civilized society. All that is missing is a spark for the whole country to start burning.
Today’s America, who is trusting by default, had forgotten that a society is healthy and trustworthy not when people don’t trick each other (which is what people seem to believe), but when people know that if they trick someone, they will be caught. It is vigilance that gives birth to a trustworthy society, and a trustworthy society is not maintained by people offering each other trust by default, but by people carefully and politely – but vigilantly! – double checking the information they are receiving. This doesn’t happen today in America. On the contrary, what we see happening today in America is cult-like thinking – or, as others call it, ideological possession – which is caused by blind trust; blind trust gives birth to cult-like thinking and eventually to oppression, not to peaceful societies. Americans know that America is not invaded by foreign armies because the foreign leaders know that “there’s a rifle behind every blade of grass”. Foreign forces know that if they break the social norm of living in peace with their neighbor (America in this case), they will be confronted. Foreigners know that Americans have guns, that Americans know how to use their guns and that Americans are not afraid to use them. But immigrants who now reside in America and work as cashiers know that you can shortchange an American because he will never check his change (true fact), so they will never be confronted for stealing because no one will even notice! So why are the enemies of this country who infiltrate inside our borders (through birth (!!!) or immigration) not aware that Americans double-check every piece of information they get and their change at the store? Why have we allowed the internal enemies of this country – including the weaponized media – learn that they can say whatever they want and will not have to be confronted or face any consequences? Why don’t we check our change at the store?
This is yet another historical fact that has been proven over and over again by every single empire that reached climax and collapsed: people became too fat and happy to stay vigilant. Historically speaking, in every single society or group of people in which individuals and their words were not seen as sacred and in which immoral acts against individuals were not sanctioned, people ended up becoming immoral and their own immorality killed them, be it through political tyranny, religious tyranny, economical corruption or utter sexual depravity. In this sense, America is flirting with socialism for quite a while now: people are definitely not seen as sacred anymore, their right to speak is not seen as sacred, their immorality is not only ignored but invoked – all while the justice system is lost in corruption.
In the last years prior to the War of Independence and during the war, America went through a serious moral purge. Everything that the Founding Fathers were able to address in politics was addressed through this war. The Constitution was born as a consequence of people understanding the sacred character of freedom and the value of human individuals. The Constitution was born of American people who possessed a moral code; it was not a set of new game rules that a few came up with and imposed on the masses. The Constitution was going to last just as long as the people were going to adhere to the values it represents and to the spirit it was written in.
A society that had gone through a moral purge and ended up in a place where the population is trustworthy, as soon as it stops being vigilant it will be invaded by predators. A society that lives by a Constitution will soon depart from the Constitutional ways unless it makes intentional, concentrated efforts to live by the same spirit that animated the writing of the Constitution to begin with. I believe American people wrongly assumed that all people prefer freedom over slavery. That is really not the case, because sometimes giving up freedom means that your path towards accomplishing your goal becomes a lot easier – like in Mengele’s case. As I was pointing out above, Mengele’s interest in supporting Hitler was way greater than his interest in supporting freedom. Freedom meant no scientific experiments on human subjects, whilst the man wanted to conduct experiments on human subjects. The math was very simple. Just because the Constitution is animated by the desire to pursue happiness as free individuals, it doesn’t mean that everyone wants to be free – hence responsible for their own mess – or that everyone wants everyone else to be free. Some people prefer slavery over freedom. Other people prefer power over freedom. Not everyone wants freedom. Freedom comes with a great dose of responsibility and accountability. Most people run away from what freedom comes with.
The Conservative America is mistaking if it believes that all Americans prefer freedom over anything else. Freedom can easily be bought out with a promised financial security, for instance, especially in a society where people have not taught their kids why freedom is important. American kids have no understanding of the value of freedom – and I state this as a fact, as someone who had worked with American teens for over four years now. Young Americans don’t understand what freedom is because they have never lived without it and those who lived without it (or saw others living without it) never bothered to teach them.
People only choose and value freedom if, firstly, they understand the cost of freedom, and secondly, if they come to the personal conviction that freedom is the most precious possession to have and they take the personal decision to never give up freedom, no matter what the cost. The Western world hasn’t taught in over 50 years what freedom is, nevertheless the value of it.
And who is to blame?
What made – and still makes, to this very serious time in our history – Constitutional Americans not to have a very serious talk about the spirit of the Constitution with their kids (grown-up or not)? What seduces Conservative Americans into silence? What does Socialism really offers us in exchange for our silence? Because if Socialism had nothing to offer that seduced us, we would talk.