Elitists Don't Learn From History
By Jon Dougherty
I don't recall who it was, but someone much wiser than the average politician or media pundit once said that "history is the greatest teacher." It's absolutely true; the rise and fall of the world's greatest societies resemble those which preceded them. Each was born, arose to great power and wealth, only to fall in on itself some generations later because of similar devolutions in societal dysfunction.
Some have compared the evolution of the United States, for example, with the rise and fall of the once great Roman empire, and a short dive into the history lessons of human existence will convince you that that perception is valid.
So it should not be any great surprise that the Washington Post ran a story last week praising expanded federal law enforcement efforts aimed at "reaping a harvest of convictions and guilty pleas from right-wing militia members and other government opponents," hailing "the result of a far more aggressive approach to preventing domestic terrorist attacks."
Next, the Post article went on to warn readers that the worst is yet to come by saying, "But even with the crackdown succeeding in court, groups that monitor anti-government organizations say that while there has been a "winnowing" process in the movement, the most committed and potentially dangerous of its adherents remain active."
"`The hard core has not gone away,' said Mike Reynolds, who studies extremist groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center, `and the more sophisticated and more intelligent of those who are committed to this may not have surfaced yet.'"
A closer examination of these "aggressive approaches" and the typical allies who support a larger "police state" presence from the federal government will do nicely for a modern-day look at what has happened to liberty in this country, and why we're well into the decline of the American experiment in democracy.
First of all, let's get all the facts on the table. The Southern Poverty Law Center, headed by socialist attorney Morris Dees, has been doing very well in the collections aspect of the organization's operations by bringing in some $60 million annually using the same kinds of scare tactics described above by mouthpiece-of-the-week Mike Reynolds.
The SPLC's 'research', which has consistently been proven fallacious and irresponsible, is in no way unbiased and in fact depends heavily on the creation of an environment of fear for the group's budget. The 'right-wing militia' mantra they are currently using has been a favorite of theirs for about five years now, even though most of the high-profile domestic terrorism cases were either government police agency botches or had no relationship to "militia" groups whatsoever. Morris Dees is nothing more than a fearmongering lunatic who claims to see militia bogeymen under every rock, and he uses the SPLC -- a very inappropriately named organization -- as a cover for his support of government expansion.
In the 'old days', groups like the SPLC were similarly demonized as being "left-wing nuts" by the mainstream elite media as well as by the government. They too were often infiltrated by the FBI and CIA, and were found doing "anti-government" things like protesting the Vietnam war, using violence and yes, terrorism, against the government and its supporters, and distributing anti-government literature.
Among these left-wing faithful were the likes of Dees, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and most of the '60's 'love-in' rejects in their cabinets and agencies. It's just that today, the 'new enemy' is on the right, and we are being demonized for exactly the same things these left-wingers used to be guilty of. In many cases, people of this ilk were targeted for reprisal and surveillance only because of their rhetoric or writings. It wasn't fair then, and brother, it isn't fair now, either.
Every time anyone remotely questions the behavior of the federal government, we are immediately labeled as 'hate-filled anti-government' types, even though most of us have very legitimate constitutional questions about what the government is calling its domain. All through history, the most tyrannical governments have demonized huge portions of their population using these tricks of propaganda. And in every case, most of the citizenry -- normally decent people -- are duped into believing these scare tactics. But by the time everyone realizes they've been lied to by "legitimate watchdog organizations" like the SPLC and the government itself, it's too late; Mr. Tyranny has taken office and taken control of their lives.
All throughout our government's forays into limited tyranny, facts are either left out of 'official' accounts or ignored completely, attempts to discover and disseminate the truth are stifled, and the establishment press has echoed official government 'explanations' -- no matter how outrageous or obviously false -- as if they were Gospel. And each time, entire generations of Americans have allowed the government to violate their constitutional rights because they were misled into believing that allowing the government to do so was some sort of trade-off for safety against some sort of vague -- but impending -- threat to our survival.
The nonsensical logic behind these usurpations is wholly demonstrated in the rapid ideological shift the government has taken in swinging from the extreme Left 30 years ago to the extreme Right today. It reminds me of the 'global warming vs. the global cooling' debate that has raged for over a quarter century.
Why do we keep falling for these absurdities?
It's easy to understand if you know your history. The formula for decay is: one part civic apathy and one part tyranny. The people are unconcerned -- when they are not fearful -- and as a result begin to focus their attention instead on unimportant trivialities and immediate pleasures as an escape, because in order to maintain the original concepts of freedom and liberty, a people must be constantly vigilant and that becomes a task too difficult for many to conceive.
Meanwhile the vicious circle of deceit continues. For instance, in every elitist media account I've read regarding the Waco and Ruby Ridge, Idaho debacles, there is nothing but praise for big government police efforts and resentment and demonization of those who dared to oppose the unconstitutionality of the government's behavior. This lauding of praise, in spite of the fact that federal agents wielding assault rifles stormed a peaceful religious compound, and even though an FBI agent shot an unarmed woman to death while she clutched an infant. It makes you wonder how loudly the mainstream media would scream if that kind of government action were directed towards, say, newspaper editorial offices or radio and television stations. But that won't happen, because big government needs the support of big media in order to propagate the big lie[s].
These are symptoms of a nation in decline. There are other examples, but the point is to arm yourself with the proper knowledge needed to combat the decline.
One lesson of history the elite of every society refuse to learn is that the more tyrannical they become towards the people, the more the people's will to resist grows. While socialists in groups like the SPLC help the encroaching federal leviathan crush our liberties by increasing their authoritarianism, those who will resist do indeed 'go underground' in order to avoid detection. There they wait until resistance to that tyranny becomes necessary. So while the Clintons and Renos of the country are busy patting themselves on the back for silencing all dissenting opinion, they miss the massive rumbling of revolution that grows from below the societal surface. It is this destructive pattern of behavior from within that crumbles powerful nations.
It can and will happen here too, if we don't learn our history lessons.
(c)1997 USA Features Media Co./USA Journal Online.