Here at the-Coaching Chronicle-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Naomi Wolf.
Wolf explains, “If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a
blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has
been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
Hitler invoked a communist threat to the nation’s security, he burned down
the Reichstag in 1933, and blamed it on ‘the communists’.
2. Create a gulag
There are jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba,
where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without
access to the due process of the law.
3. Develop a thug caste
The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the
Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary
force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug
violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
In every closed society – secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage
neighbours to spy on neighbours.
James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret
state program to wiretap citizens’ phones, read their emails and follow
international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans
that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.
In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about “national security”;
the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.
5. Harass citizens’ groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
“Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying
because of that,” asked the airline employee.
“I explained,” said Murphy, “that I had not so marched but had, in September
2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical
of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution.”
“That’ll do it,” the man said.
Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential terrorist.
History shows that the categories of “enemy of the people” tend to expand ever
deeper into civil life.
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
Cast dissent as “treason” and criticism as “espionage’. Every closing society
does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalise certain kinds
of speech and expand the definition of “spy” and “traitor”.
10. Suspend the rule of law
The president now has enhanced powers to declare martial law.
[…] In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating
harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies
in Berlin in 1931.”