The entrenchment of eroding civil liberties is best accomplished in slow, incremental and imperceptible ways while few notice. First, we can begin to strip down civics classes and learning as has been done for the past fifty years or so.
We still teach history as if it is a solid, certain thing, not a subjective subject that requires interpretation and critical thinking thereof. We teach children to memorize dates and historical titles as if they are fixed entities. We do not teach that there are other ways to perceive and interpret our history. We do not teach the actuality that there are vast discrepancies and contradictory evidences, or that many people, including scholars, dispute the history that we are teaching. We do not allow the students to know that history is actually not fixed at all and that there are raging debates and controversies regarding the history we teach them. This is a good beginning to inhibit students from thinking.
As for civics education, the actual student experience of participating in say the self-government of their school, which is a micro-experience of participating in the larger arenas of city, state and national self-government as put forth by the founders, has been eroding so much so that most students pass through schools knowing more about social media than their role as a citizen. Keeping the citizenry dumbed down is a real help to the cause of authoritarian governing.
The utter ignorance of civic liberty can be shown in recent events. These events would have seemed simply unimaginable by most Americans only a generation or two ago. Or these events would have seemed part of the evil empires of communism and totalitarian governments.
The arrest of an American citizen for whistle blowing on the criminality of our government was unthinkable to most Americans not so long ago. That whistle blower would be regarded as heroic and courageous. But just last week we watched Julian Assange, who gave American citizens evidence of government criminality, get arrested. Few cared and fewer still objected. In our daily rituals of great importance like watching March Madness or the next episode of our favorite Netflix series, or simply watching what we say so we do not upset the status quo and lose our jobs, we consider the arrest of such an historical and significant whistle blower as way down on our list of priorities. It doesn’t directly affect us so who cares?
Another dictatorial action by our governing bodies that would shake our earlier generations to the core is the criminalizing of unvaccinated people. We now allow, without much objection, our government to force us (remember that governments only rule by the force of a gun, we must always remember that, just like we must always remember that a government has no assets except for what it takes by force from its citizens- hence limited government was so loudly advocated by the founders) to inject poisons into our bodies. It would still be a direct assault on our civil liberties to force citizens to inject Vitamin C into bodies, even though there is no poison in the injection and the healthful benefits could be dramatic. No matter, once we allow government to force us to inject our bodies with ANY substance, we have lost the foundation of liberty – ownership of one’s body. And even though there is an argument to be made that the poisonous injection is worth the risk, one’s body ought to be the sovereign domain of its rightful owner. We have turned the ownership now over to the government, and few object. It doesn’t directly affect us (as most folks are vaccinated) so who cares?
These two examples offer enough evidence to see that America is on a path to authoritarian, totalitarian, barbaric rule over its citizenship. There are many more examples we could consider but let’s keep it simple and stay with the inherent destruction of the foundation of individual liberty that these two provide. How did this happen?
Had either of these backward actions been pushed on the majority of American citizens there would have been a fierce backlash that would stop it. Imagine all journalists being arrested that wrote something the government did not like based on the information Assange provided. That would not get through. But arrest one, and then another later, and then another later, and soon we get the same result. They didn’t come for me, so I get to keep my job and I write more PC and say nothing about the abuse of power of arresting Assange.
Again here, if instead of the unvaccinated, all vaccinated people were criminalized because some say that herd immunity is more effective and safer for our communities if no one is vaccinated (as some do because of the logical lifelong immunity and strengthening of our immune systems that living through a disease offers, and a bonus is that the newborn infant gets the antibodies from Mama, especially when breastfeeding.), it would never get through. The uproar would stop the abuse of power. But since we attack the minority group, we can get away with liberty stripping actions of criminalizing people who have a different opinion.
See how this works? Divide the people into factions and attack one faction at a time. The other factions will not stand up for the one faction being attacked. And when they come for your faction no one will stand for you.
But most folks have lost the understanding of how abuse of power grows and how significant it is in principle to have any liberty taken away from us. The American truism Patrick Henry put forth stating no matter what people think they have a right to think it, whether I agree or not and I will defend to my death your right to say it – is buried in the trash heap of consumer plastics which pollute our home.
Factions such as gay/trans/straight, Democratic/Republican, pro Vaccine/anti Vaccine, pro-life/pro-choice, rich/poor, immigrant/non-immigrant, Black/White/Asian/Latino, gender/nongender, man/woman, etc, – all serve the power base that wants to control the people.
But until the people realize how this works, they will be played, bamboozled, and deceived in their holding fast to defending their faction. Few objected when the government put Americans into internment camps, stripped of their rights, relocated them and took their possessions. Why? Because it didn’t affect them. It only affected Americans of Japanese descent.
What ought to be a terrible warning and a wake-up call to American citizens is being taken in stride. We are doomed to the long, slow road of liberty stripping that will come for you one day when you least expect it. Beware your passivity.