Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When democracy leads to darkness

Eighty years ago today, the erstwhile "Thousand-year Reich" began its fateful 12-year run:
On this day in 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg names Adolf Hitler, leader or fuhrer of the National Socialist German Workers Party (or Nazi Party), as chancellor of Germany.

The year 1932 had seen Hitler's meteoric rise to prominence in Germany, spurred largely by the German people's frustration with dismal economic conditions and the still-festering wounds inflicted by defeat in the Great War and the harsh peace terms of the Versailles treaty.

Hitler's emergence as chancellor on January 30, 1933, marked a crucial turning point for Germany and, ultimately, for the world. His plan, embraced by much of the German population, was to do away with politics and make Germany a powerful, unified one-party state. He began immediately, ordering a rapid expansion of the state police, the Gestapo, and putting Hermann Goering in charge of a new security force, composed entirely of Nazis and dedicated to stamping out whatever opposition to his party might arise.

The contemporaneous rise of both Communism and National Socialism represented the ideals of Statism run amok.  Far from being polar opposites as so many still try to portray them, the two ideologies were different manifestations of the same tendencies toward centralization and technocratic tinkering with society.

Such collectivist thinking didn't perish in Berlin in 1945 or in Eastern Europe in 1989.  There are still many today who seek to subordinate individuals to some supposed 'greater good' that somehow only they can envision.  There are still those who see themselves as √úbermensch, with both the right and the obligation to rule over the more mundane masses.

No government, no demographic, no party is immune from such a will to power -- it is the culmination of man's fallen nature and desire to play god.  That is why the dispersal of power, in all its forms, as widely across society as possible is imperative for individual freedoms.  No human being, or cabal of human beings, can ever be entrusted with the power to shape humanity as an artist sculpts clay. 

As the folly of past excesses catches up with our nation and many others, we may well see a return of the blight that led so many to ignore their doubts and empower the opportunists in Russia, Italy, and Germany.  Hunger and poverty do not a shrewd voter make.  But instead of casting adoring eyes at telegenic leaders with catchy slogans, what we need is more local and individual problem-solving -- without interference from those who claim to be the all-seeing and powerful Oz.

So strong were the individual identities of the Colonies that they rallied under the banner "Unite or Die" in the Revolution.  Today the pendulum is at the opposite end.  We need to decentralize... or many more may yet die.

No comments:

Site Meter