Left-wing hysterics with major media platforms have for years been shrieking that President Trump is about to install a fascist dictatorship any minute. Meanwhile, unheard immigrants from the Soviet bloc warn that totalitarian tyranny is actually emerging from the left — and Americans are too naive to see it coming.
Sounds crazy, right? I thought so when I first heard it from an elderly woman who spent six years as a political prisoner under Czechoslovakia’s Marxist regime. But the more I talked to people like her, the more I came to see them as canaries in a coal mine. Their message is the same: What’s happening in America today reminds me of life under Communism.
It’s hard for Americans to see it, in part because our idea of totalitarianism comes from Orwell’s “1984” and Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago.” But Stalinism 2.0 is not what the old dissidents predict. They point out that the left in power is achieving totalitarian goals — not simply obedience, but the internalization of left-wing ideology by much softer means.
Who needs the gulag when you can compel obedience by threatening someone’s job or destroy her reputation on social media? Why bother with the secret police when the masses already hand over detailed personal information to Google and other woke capitalist behemoths via smartphones and laptops?
The coming soft totalitarianism may well unify the government, major corporations, the media and leading institutions of civil society, which will collaborate to suppress dissent and coerce conformity. The United States could one day have its own version of China’s high-tech social credit system. Those who resisted Soviet Communism urge us to prepare now for resistance, while we still can.
The shocking truth is, we Americans are living in a pre-totalitarian situation. In 1951, Hannah Arendt published her landmark study “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” in which she studied the conditions that led both Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany to embrace totalitarianism. It makes for sobering reading in our present circumstances. Among the signs:
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