Here’s a Democratic candidate for Congress who tweeted:

Fox News does nothing but tell lies and mistruths. They have unqualified political analysts. We need FCC to monitor and regulate them.

The vast majority of the traditional media, of course, fervently supports the Democrats. Evidently this candidate cannot stand the presence of any source of diverse reporting and opinion.

With this tweet, Mike Dickenson  declared war on American free speech.

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is by no means rare among Democrats and “progressives.” For example, this story is about  threats of legal action and potential loss of license against a TV station that dared to broadcast ads critical of Democratic candidate Gary Peters. (The lawyers who sent the letter work for the law firm of Bob Bauer, who was general counsel of the Obama campaign.)

The hostility to free expression and discussion of ideas is especially strong in many universities. For example, here’s a Swarthmore student who was appalled that conservative Princeton professor Robert George was allowed to debate against leftist Princeton prof Cornell West:  ““What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion,” Ching told the Daily Gazette, the school’s newspaper. “I don’t think we should be tolerating [George’s] conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society.” The same link mentions an article by a Harvard student, who calls for replacing academic freedom with something she calls “academic justice.”

Gleichschaltung is a German word which means “coordination,” “making the same,” “bringing into line.” It was a term much favored by the Nazis, who used it in the sense of “forcible coordination.” Under the Nazi regime, all aspects of society–all organizations ranging from major professional associations such as those representing the country’s legal profession, down to to folk-singing groups and small local hiking clubs–were subjected to Gleichschaltung. Not only was there to be no criticism of National Socialism in the explicitly political sphere, there was to be no truly non-political sphere at all. Everything had to be about the propagation and strengthening of the ideology of National Socialism.

The Democratic Party, the “progressive” Left, and the Obama administration are clearly attempting to establish more and more control over public discourse about political and social matters, and also about anything that could relate to these matters.

And what is “political correctness,” after all, other than a contemporary American form of Gleichschaltung?


10 thoughts on “Gleichschaltung”

  1. America’s slow-motion cultural revolution continues.

    I would rejoice if our Ivy League universities would create a NKVDiversity Office and appoint commisars to oversee full, associate, and ajunct professor’s opinions. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

    As to Uncle Mike (parallel to Uncle Joe): for several years I have had trouble distinguishing the goals of the Communist Party from the goals of the Democrat Party. There is no reason to believe any Democrat in any office at any level loves AmeriKKKa (as they would spell it).

  2. Neo: “It turns out that most people aren’t that concerned with their own liberty, until they really and truly lose it. Even then, not enough are concerned.

    Obama has a long, long history—in fact, his entire political history—of using legal means to destroy and/or discourage his opponents. By “legal” I don’t just mean “not against the law;” I mean using the legal system and the law itself, as in lawsuits or challenges to petition signatures … I also mean legal proceedings initiated by others, which Obama can use to harm his opponents by making sure that hidden and private information that is potentially embarrassing (for example, sealed divorce proceedings) becomes public.

    Obama has always been dangerous in just this fashion. Too bad Americans haven’t paid much attention to his history.”


  3. Here is a report, with video, of a panel discussion in which it is proposed that doubters of climate-change theory should be prosecuted under RICO statutes. As the blogger who reported this says, none of the panelists seems to blink an eye at the proposal—which is basically a proposal for heresy prosecutions.

    Note the presence of three Harvard people and a journalist for the Guardian.

  4. 110,000 people have signed a petition demanding that The Washington Post censor Charles Krauthammer’s column because it dissents from climate-change orthodoxy.

    Jacques Barzun wrote about the kind of minds that engage in this sort of heretic-hunting:

    “The smallest divergence from the absolute is grave error and wickedness. From there it is a short step to declaring war on the misbelievers. When faith is both intellectual and visceral, the overwhelming justification is that heresy imperils other souls. If the erring sheep will not recant, he or she becomes a source of error in others….[P]ersecution is a health measure that stops the spread of an infectious disease—all the more necessary that souls matter more than bodies.”

  5. Arthur Koestler’s protagonist, Rubashov, in Darkness at Noon:

    “A short time ago, our leading agriculturist, B., was shot with thirty of his collaborators because he maintained the opinion that nitrate artificial manure was superior to potash. No. 1 is all for potash; therefore B. and the thirty had to be liquidated as saboteurs. In a NATIONALLY CENTRALIZED AGRICULTURE, the alternative of nitrate or potash is of enormous importance: it can decide the issue of the next war. If No. I was in the right, history will absolve him, and the execution of the thirty-one men will be a mere bagatelle. If he was wrong …”


    “We know that virtue does not matter to history, and that crimes remain unpunished; but that every error had its consequences and venges itself unto the seventh generation. Therefore we concentrated all our efforts on preventing error and destroying the very seeds of it. Never in history has so much power over the future of humanity been concentrated in so few hands as in our case. Each wrong idea we follow is a crime committed against future generations. Therefore we have to punish wrong ideas as others punish crimes: with death. We were held for madmen because we followed every thought down to its final consequence and acted accordingly. We were compared to the inquisition because, like them, we constantly felt in ourselves the whole weight of responsibility for the super-individual life to come. We resembled the great Inquisitors in that we persecuted the seeds of evil not only in men’s deeds, but in their thoughts. We admitted no private sphere, not even inside a man’s skull. We lived under the compulsion of working things out to their final conclusions. Our minds were so tensely charged that the slightest collision caused a mortal short-circuit. Thus we were fated to mutual destruction.” (emphasis added)

    Great centralization of power–especially when the power is in the hands of people who consider themselves intellectuals and visionaries–leads inevitablly to this kind of thinking.

  6. “We were compared to the inquisition because, like them, we constantly felt in ourselves the whole weight of responsibility for the super-individual life to come. We resembled the great Inquisitors in that we persecuted the seeds of evil not only in men’s deeds, but in their thoughts. ”

    Global warming would adopt this reasoning.

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