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  • Nicely Put

    Posted by David Foster on June 1st, 2018 (All posts by )

    Dictators don’t getting into power by saying “Hey give ME power.”  Dictators get into power by saying “Let me give you power over your neighbor.”

    Defending Civil Society

    Not 100% true, but a useful thought.

    Click Here To Save $15 at

    9 Responses to “Nicely Put”

    1. Brian Says:

      “We are the Ones We Have Been Waiting for”

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      I’m not even sure that is 50% true. Look at the Bolsheviks.

    3. David Foster Says:

      Both the Communists and the Nazis were pretty clear about their intent to establish a dictatorship (although this was theoretically softened somewhat in the case of the Communists by the assertion that the State would ‘wither away’ at some unspecified future time)

      But I’m guessing that most people who supported the takeover, in both cases, were motivated by the promise of using the State against their neighbors (Kulaks, Jews) rather than being ruled themselves.

    4. Bill Brandt Says:

      A great book on the Nazi takeover is by Eric Larson – In The Garden of Beasts. You could be right David but given the horrible economy of the Weimar Republic I think most people who supported Hitler just saw him as one who could bring order. But anti-Semitism seems always just beneath or above the surface in Europe.

      I recently reposted a great Lex post that dealt with the protesters at OWS:

      It’s come to this, then: There are people out there who believe that more government will actually make them free. Or, if not that, then that there are American citizens willing to sacrifice their hard-won freedoms to ensure that no one anywhere is more successful than everyone, everywhere. Apart from the governing class, of course. Who will have earned their dachas.

    5. Bilwick Says:

      “But it’s for the children” ranks right up there, too.

    6. Ginny Says:

      I suspect dictators would have little attraction to a people who don’t feel aggrieved.

    7. Rich Rostrom Says:

      Dictators get or (initially) keep power by promising to use that power for the benefit of a sufficiently large body of supporters, often against perceived enemies or oppressors of those supporters. Hitler, for instance, promised to smite Jewish exploiters and Communist troublemakers, and stand up to foreign domination.

      (I say “initially keep power” because many dictators vaulted into power by a momentary advantage of force, and survived the first few years by promising or delivering actions supporters wanted. They continued in power by systematic repression.)

    8. David Foster Says:

      Rich—what is a government is systematically giving a pass on crimes committed by a certain group?…say George is letting crimes committed by obviously-guilty KKK members off with wrist slaps, or Weimar Germany is letting Nazis get away with beating up people on the street? Your argument would seem to suggest that people must refrain from objecting, because of the danger of mobbing.

    9. Brian Says:

      “people must refrain from objecting, because of the danger of mobbing.”
      Well, people should object vociferously, but be cautious about moving towards overt action. Of course, the problem is that in most of the West at this point objection gets you socially destroyed, and in everywhere but the US (yet) you can get thrown in prison. Which people see and the barriers to overt action get lower and lower. People still think voting can turn the tide, but with the attempts to crush Trump, stop Brexit, prevent the Italian populists from gaining the power, etc., the establishment is playing with fire.

      Unfortunately, the First American Revolution is pretty much unique in my knowledge as an armed struggle actually resulting in more freedom, not less, which I attribute to the singular character of George Washington. A Revolution led by the likes of Jefferson, Paine, etc., without his moderating influence, quite likely would have ended in terror. And today’s world is entirely incapable of producing another Washington.

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