Milton Mayer: “Peoria über Alles

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“Take Germany as a city cut off from the outside world by a fire or flood advancing from every direction. The mayor proclaims martial law, suspending council debate. He mobilizes the populace, assigning each section its tasks. Half the citizens are at once engaged directly in the public business. Every private act – a telephone call, the use of an electric light, the service of a physician – become a public act. Every private right – to take a walk, to attend a meeting, to operate a printing press – becomes a public right. Every private institution – the hospital, the church, the club – becomes a public institution. Here, although we never think to call it by any name but the pressure of necessity, we have the whole formula of totalitarianism.

“The individual surrenders his individuality without a murmur, without, indeed,   a second thought – and not just his individual hobbies and tastes but his individual occupation, his individual family concerns, his individual needs. The primordial community, the tribe, re-emerges, its preservation the first function of all its members. Every normal personality of the day becomes an “authoritarian personality.” A few recalcitrants have to be disciplined (vigorously, under the circumstances) for neglect or betrayal of their duty. A few groups have to be watched or, if necessary, taken in hand – the antisocial elements, the liberty-howlers, the agitators among the poor, and the known criminal gangs. For the rest of the citizens – 95 percent or so of the population –duty is now the central fact of life. They obey, at first awkwardly but, surprisingly soon, spontaneously.

“The community is suddenly a single organism, a single soul, consuming its members for its own purposes. For the duration of the emergency, the city does not exist for the citizens but the citizens for the city. The harder the city is pressed, the harder its citizens work for it and the more productive and efficient they become in its interest. Civic pride becomes the highest pride, for the end purpose of all one’s efforts is the preservation of the city. Conscientiousness is the highest virtue now, the common good the highest good…”

Watch for Obama to declare emergencies that he created…

Barabasi  and Csermely  talk about the cycling of groups from chaos through collapse…so did Toynbee…the sequence is consistent for atomic particles and for liberals and so is the math regardless of the size of the participants or the gods they consult…

Barabási, A-L (2002) Linked: The New Science of Networks. NY: Perseus. (an easy read!)

Csermely, Peter (2006) Weak Links: Stabilizers of Complex Systems from Proteins to Social Networks. NY: Springer. (a little quirkier … take it in sections!)

Mayer, Milton (1955) “Peoria über Alles” They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45. Chicago, IL: Univ. of Chicago Press, 254-258. (Thanks Michael Savage!)

Also at Tea Party Nation: http://www.teapartynation.com/profiles/blogs/peoria-ber-alles


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