From a discussion on Jos?off, about the morality of paying taxes:
And places like the US aren't totalitarian like the Soviets. Being an active citizen is possible, starting with meeting people who share your interests.
I do wonder if this is entirely true.
It's pretty much undeniable that the US has been becoming ever more totalitarian in the last half a decade. Of course, it's nowhere near Soviet level, but is it really possible to combat something like this? By being an active citizen?
The last election was many things, but to me, most of all it was scary. It showed that the American people were, in fact, entirely prepared to give away their liberty for a little temporary safety. Even worse than that - they could be manipulated, and would love it. The scary thing wasn't that Bush won again - but that he did it fairly.
Totalitarianism doesn't appear out of nothing. The Soviet Union came about because the ideology made a lot of sense in those days. Not just in Russia, but all around Europe (and even in the US) communism was in fashion. Despite the fact that many parts of the Russian Empire became and stayed independent - some permanently, some were occupied after a time - and Soviet Russia didn't become the Soviet Union until years after the revolution, and years after the end of the civil war, this totalitarian state was formed with the full support of the people.
It's not scary that fifty million Americans actively wanted the Bush administration to be in charge of their country. It's scary that two hundred million Americans didn't actively oppose it.
In 1991, the Soviet Union fell. Not because of the war in Afghanistan, nor because of the Arms Race, nor because of an inefficient economy. It fell because the people who lived on 1/6th of all the dry surface of the Earth suddenly didn't want it to exist - and did something about it.
All the might of the KGB and the Communist Party could not save the Soviet Union. A totalitarian state cannot exist on fear and terror alone; it will only exist as long as the majority of the people support it. The Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the goddamn Secret Service won't be able to do a single thing about it if the American people got off their asses and took charge of their own lives.
For now, you deserve what you got.
Sad as it is to say, this isn't the first time in U.S. history that we've sacrificed liberty for safety, nor will it be the last. Japanese internment camps, McCarthyism, etc. We're on somewhat of a pendulum swing, but I'm not convinced that we've hit some sort of tipping point for totalitarianism. As long as we continue working against it, life will remain (somewhat) reasonable.
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