Thursday, January 24, 2008

When Darkness Falls

As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such a twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.

~Justice William O. Douglas


Today I had a chance to browse through a book called, “The End of America – Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot,” by Naomi Wolf. Like I said, browsed, so I can’t give you a full synopsis, but what I read, was disturbing, to say the very least. This book is a wake-up call that brings to light issues of tyranny, democracy, and survival. It is a call to arms…compelling us to face the way the freedom in America is under assault. She draws parallels to the Bush administrations post 9-11 policies and events that took place during the early years leading up to the rise of Nazi Germany, Pinochet’s Chile and Stalinist Russia. She explains how Americans have the wrong idea of what a closed society looks like, how in the initial shut down, for the most part, for most people, life goes on as usual.

She takes one through the steps that dictators in the past who have taken over democracies or crushed prodemocracy uprisings by invoking emergency decrees to close down civil liberties, creating military tribunals, and criminalizing dissent have used and brings to light echoes of these events in America today. She calls to our attention important lessons from history about how fragile civil liberties are and how quickly freedom can be lost. Our fundamental rights and freedoms are being eroded as we apathetically sit back unaware. She clearly outlines the same ten steps that have shut down democracies all over the world at different times: invoke an external threat; develop a paramilitary force; create a secret prison system; surveil ordinary citizens; arbitrarily detain and release them; harass citizens’ groups; target writers, entertainers, and other key individuals for dissenting; intimidate the press; recast dissent as “treason” and criticism as “espionage”; and eventually subvert the rule of law. She then warns and illustrates how the United States is moving towards becoming a more closed society.

Naomi makes us aware of the urgency to become informed, act, and protect our rights and liberties. Although I am not American, being a close neighbour, and looking at the US’s place in the world, any movement the US might make towards a more closed society would have immense implications internationally. To quote one paragraph: “If a democratic America, with working checks and balances, often exempts itself from international agreements when its strategic interests don’t coincide with international goals, would a United States led by a dictatorial regime be likely to subdue in itself any level of aggression internationally or restrain itself from any plunder of resources that it seeks, simply because it was upsetting the rest of the world?

If you don't have time to read the book, I encourage you to watch the video below of Naomi speaking at a university campus. It's a little long, but she goes through most of the points covered in her book.

23 comments:

Carrie said...

Oh good lord... that does sound interesting though. I may have to pick it up when the summer comes along!

Carla said...

Carrie, It's pretty short but packed with info. It probably wouldn't take you more than a couple hours to read.

Pink said...

i agree with you sister!

And Canada, its closest neighbour, has an abundance of natural resources - including oil and water - two items of scarcity in this world.

Oh. But Canada has no military to speak of. Why? Oh, well, that cuz the USA will protect us.

errr...think again...

xx
pinks

Carla said...

Pink, It's not always easy living in the shadow of a giant. And yes, there is worry. Talks about a North American union are making some of us very uneasy. A union would mean giving up a lot of rights on our side.

coloursofdawn said...

I have heard things about this before and am aware also, that home school families are considered terrorists. It is written in some of the American literature about terrorists. Anyone who does something different, is not going with the flow, is considered treasonous including not being part of the public system. It is a scary thing and the quote at the beginning of your post is very revealing in the vigilance we must keep, in this matter.

Carla said...

Dawn, I think the fear of home schooling is in that it is more difficult to shape the way children think...what they are "fed" in terms of knowledge. I found the video very interesting when Naomi talks about when she discovered that she was on "the List" at airport security meaning that she's considered a threat because of her research and voicing her opinions. Very sad commentary on what is happening.

sirdar said...

I've hear about this before..but wouldn't mind reading the book. Freedoms are being eroded and fear is the reason...imagined and real. Thanks for the heads up.

Carla said...

Sirdar, It's a good read and not too long. I think we all need to be aware of the steps would be dictators take to dismantle democracies and be vigilant in keeping watch. Just because we have freedoms does not guarantee that we will always have them.

The Fool said...

Thank you, Nomad. We often forget that "democracy" is a notion, something yet to be achieved. We've gotten about as far as a MacRepublic ruled by unsavory despots. Democracy is not something we can "give" to another...not our own children, or a foreign country. Democracy must be claimed...it must be taken...it is something always being created. There will always be a need for patriots. I will certainly check this book out. Thanks again.

Carla said...

Fool, So true. The freedoms we enjoy are fragile and can evaporate in a heartbeat. Do check out the book or listen to Naomi's speech. She makes it very clear what we should be watching for, the steps tyrants have used repeatedly in the dismantling of open societies throughout history.

TK Kerouac said...

Great Post.

i was wondering if you'd make a comment on my relationship post

Carla said...

Tracey, Of course I will. Will be my pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, thank you!...and welcome to my world. As a US citizen one of the most troubling aspects of our current state of affairs is that I was having very similar conversations with my peers as a university undergraduate in the early 1970's. Unfortunately, the passions roused by Vietnam and Watergate quickly faded into a culture of "Conspicuous Consumption" and those of us that held on to the old values were considered crackpots. I fear complacency may be our biggest enemy. They will keep us well fed until the prison doors slam shut behind us.
One area she didn't seem to make reference too is the coopting of the religious establishment as defenders of the regime. Not only is there a threat but it's an "Evil" threat and one who questions the regime is not only disorderly but is also immoral. Much easier to dispatch a sinner, yes?
No doubt a "North American Union" with Mexico, Canada and USA is in the works.
I'll see you in the streets.

Randy Johnson dreamersdo97@dtccom.net

Carla said...

Randy, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I must agree with your assessment about complacency. We have the same problem in Canada, it seems that the majority of people just can't be bothered to get informed about various issues. I think they are simply too comfortable and they take their freedoms for granted. It's beyond their comprehension that things could easily turn far worse if they don't pay attention, however, most are simply too busy with the happenings in their daily life to pay attention to quiet whispers in the wind.

VE said...

That's it then...I'm moving to Greenland and get a jump start on the timeshares that will be coming with global warming...

Mark said...

Carla,
I love the quote at the beginning. Sounds like a very interesting book. I look forward to watching the video when I have more time. THanks for sharing.

paris parfait said...

Thanks for the info about this book. It hurts my heart that so many Americans have been sleeping or apathetic and paid no attention while all these things have been happening. When Bush won a second term (I still don't believe he actually won the first one), I thought warning bells would sound, but no, too many people were too busy focusing on the latest celebrity melt-down, rather than what actually affected their own lives. It's outrageous and I really hope people wake up and vote for change in November.

Carla said...

This books is a short POWERFUL read. To coin an old phrase, ' If you only read one book this year, read "The End of America" '. It truly is life changing, I'm going to our state Caucus on the 9th. I want some change and I can only affect change if I participate.

Carla said...

VE, You better hop right onto it. I hear prices are going up...weather's been good there.

Mark, That quote at the beginning really spoke to me as well. I hope you do find a chance to watch the video. It's very informative.

Carla said...

Tara, It's not only in the US that people are sleeping at the switch. I see the same thing happening here as well. All we can do is keep informed and inform those that we can. Little efforts do make a difference.

Carla said...

Carla, Those words about participating are so powerful. We all need to do our part, we are all responsible. Thank you.

Steffi said...

Thank you Carla to show us your book!It sounds interesting but unfortunately I never heard here about this book!

Carla said...

Steffi, The book is fairly new, so I'm not surprised you have never heard about it. I've only just discovered it myself.