The trend toward totalitarianism
by Richard Sellers July 1, 2003
I remember standing with my hand over my heart, reciting the pledge of allegiance along with all of my classmates in elementary school, as well as the steady diet of bone- dry history books that were force-fed to us each day.
Then there was the mandatory church attendance. Presented as spiritual instruction, it was in reality just another form of mind control. Another authority figure imposing power from "above." I did not feel any genuine desire to close my eyes and bow my head in church, any more than I had any real interest in reciting the pledge or reading some sanitized account of American history. But I did.
Conditioning begins early for us Americans, and continues for the duration. The pursuit of some level of financial security keeps us rushing through life. And, of course, the hand that signs the paycheck is the hand that writes the rules for us. Once we have that check in hand we become aware of all of the many wonders available to us as citizens of this, ahem, "Great Experiment in Democracy."
We need transportation to work, and for many of us in the west there is little in the way of public transportation available. We buy a car, and the auto-motive industry, which was founded largely by a fascist sympathizer, Henry Ford, sets its hook, pulling us deeper into this miraculous American Dream.
As fledgling motorists, there are many more rules to be followed. Many of these are justifiably concerned with public safety. But then there are those others laws that seem to be designed to keep us in a stranglehold - the one's dictating to us the substances we may ingest, or the nature of the relationships we may enter into.
Now that we carry those driver's licenses, we are subject to being summoned for jury duty. As is always the case with the government, the notification arrives laden with numerous threats of penalties for non- compliance. Fines, jail time. Men with guns and clubs are just waiting for us to make that first wrong move, to channel us into another traditional American enterprise: the prison industry.
Totalitarianism? By the time we reach adulthood we are already well on our way there — but perhaps there is nothing so unseen as that which surrounds us at each waking moment.
Still, we do retain at least the potential for independent thought, somewhere deep inside. We can choose to quietly utter some dirty limerick while those around us are reciting the words of the pledge of allegiance; we can keep our heads up and our eyes open while the forced prayer is being said, knowing that no-one will witness our transgression unless his eyes, too, are open. Or we can choose to find some comfort in our veal-calf American lifestyle, distracted by our colorful toys. Thinking for ourselves may simply be an act that falls below the level of convenience we have become accustomed to as consumers.
I wrote this as an answer to the question, "Why aren't my friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family as concerned about the trend toward totalitarianism as I am?" in the Unknown News dialogue section. Your site has helped me work some of these issues out for myself, for which I thank you.
? 2003, by the author.