Inside Every Liberal Is A Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out (III)

ObamaEditor’s note: The essay below by Daniel Greenfield won one of two runner-up $500 prizes for our essay contest launched on April 5, 2013: “Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out.” The winner of the $1,000 first-place prize was N. A. Halkides (see his essay here). The other runner-up prize went to Oleg Atbashian (see his essay here).

There is a characteristic feature to tyranny. It isn’t the scowling faces of armed guards or the rusting metal of barbed wire fences. It isn’t the black cars of the secret police or the prison camps surrounded by wastelands of snow.

The defining characteristic of tyranny is the diversion of power from the people to the unelected elite. The elite can claim to be inspired by Allah or Marx; it can act in the name of racial purity or universal workers compensation or both. The details don’t matter, because in all instances, tyranny derives its justification from the superiority of the rulers and the inferiority of the people.

The left launched two revolutions. One was the hard revolution of bombs and assassinations by those who did not have the time or patience to wait for the long march through the institutions of the state. This revolution was born quickly and died quickly. It killed millions and choking on their blood it died by stages, losing its ideas and then its power, until there were only a few old men and women in shawls clinging to red velvet portraits of Stalin.

But there was also the soft revolution that was slow and subtle. It was a revolution of laws, rather than bombs. It did not concern itself with 5-year-plans but with 50-year-plans. It proceeded by increments, raising the temperature so very gradually that the free world did not realize it was cooked until it could smell its own burning flesh.

The revolutions of the east failed. They rose quickly in fire and fury and only ashes and statues remain. But the revolutions of the west have been underway for generations in countries where millions of men and women go about their business without realizing what is taking place around them.

When H.G. Wells met with Lenin in 1920, he wrote, “Our essential difference, the difference of the Collectivist and Marxist, the question whether the social revolution is, in its extremity, necessary, whether it is necessary to overthrow one social and economic system completely before the new one can begin.”

Lenin demanded a revolution that would directly attack the capitalist system, but Wells believed that, “through a vast sustained educational campaign the existing Capitalist system could be civilized into a Collectivist world system.”

That educational campaign is the soft tyranny we see all around us. The educational campaign is a nanny state in which we are forever being educated by our betters for our own good.

The nanny state has a short term purpose and a long term purpose. Its short term purpose is to educate us out of our selfish freedom of choice. Its long term purpose is to incrementally “civilize” or “evolve” a free people into collectivism through smaller measures undertaken in the name of the public good.

Instead of a single explosive burst of revolution, instead of terrorists rushing in with guns in hand, instead of bombs exploding and assassins gunning down public officials, there is the slow creep of laws that remake attitudes and accomplish the same purpose not in a day or a year… but over the decades.

Instead of one great revolution, there are a million smaller revolutions stripped of overt ideology and pretending to serve the public good.

Health care is nationalized. Gun control is implemented. Education is centralized. Environmental panic is used to enforce rationing. The successful are taught to be ashamed of their success. They are taught that they didn’t build that. The state did.

The new bureaucratic collectivism sets out to control the most minor habits of every man, woman and child. People are told to spy on their neighbors. Children are taught to report the politically incorrect habits of their parents. The media asserts that all property and even children belong to the state.

Each of these is a miniature revolution. A string of these revolutions over time transforms the soft tyranny into a hard tyranny.

The nanny state is outwardly benevolent and inwardly ruthless. Instead of a Big Brother who must be feared and worshiped, it puts forward a Big Sister who shames and controls you for your own good. But the difference never goes deeper than the mask that tyranny wears. Like the difference between Lenin and H.G. Wells, it is only a matter of the speed at which tyranny arrives.

The hard tyranny of the red revolutions and the soft tyranny of the bureaucratic collectivists both agree on the fundamental premise of tyranny.

A century before Bloomberg’s soda war, Theodore Roosevelt stood in New York City’s Carnegie Hall and delivered one of his most famous speeches, which began with the words, “The great fundamental issue now before the Republican party and before our people can be stated briefly. It is: Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves?”

The answer of the liberal technocrats, the Bloombergs and Obamas, is a chorus of jeers. They make it clear with their policies that they believe that the American people are unfit to govern themselves in matters great or small.

If the American is unfit to be trusted with a soda cup or a gun or a lawn dart or any of a thousand other things taken away from him for his own good, then how can he be trusted with the ballot box?

That mistrust, more than any single abuse, reveals the scowling tyrant behind the smiling face, the Lenin in every H.G. Wells, the totalitarian face behind every liberal mask. The soft totalitarianism of the public interest technocracy is a tyranny that seeks to destroy the rule of the people and replace it with the rule of the left.

The creeping pace of the soft revolution forces the inner totalitarian to practice some discretion, mummifying his tyrannical aspirations in the embalming fluid of political correctness, but no flood of words can conceal the inner contempt behind the false benevolence of the tyrant who makes policies that deprive the people of their freedom for their own good.

“I believe the majority of the plain people of the United States will, day in and day out, make fewer mistakes in governing themselves than any smaller class or body of men, no matter what their training, will make in trying to govern them,” Theodore Roosevelt said.

The hard revolutions showed the truth of his words when the red kingdoms fell and the soft revolutions are showing us the truth of his words as the nanny cities and states falter economically and fall.

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  • HiPlainsDrifter

    Will any of these scandals stick to obama?, or will he continue to try to convince (buffalo) the 51% that he's trying to right all the wrongs, none of this he knew about until he read it in the paper, and if not for Rush Limbaugh, he could get a lot more done…
    Even if obama goes away, we still have these misinformed, leftist pinheads to contend with…

    • WilliamJamesWard

      How can we contend, allow people freedom that use it to destroy our's, some hard choices
      must be made and the future is going to be between unpleasant and horrific……….William

      • RandyAnn

        Seems we need an immigration shutdown…or just do away with the pretense of sovereignty …
        Seems a big joke at this point..

        • WilliamJamesWard

          Yes a shutdown of immigration is in order, a shutdown of the government and a special
          election to rid America of the current political enemies of the people seems to be needed.
          Damage control may become impossible and America's enemies without see the
          opportunity to do us great harm, we need real leaders as opposed to the theiving
          slime putrefying Washington our District of Criminals……………………..William

    • RandyAnn

      It seems to be about free stuff and the misplaced feeling that someone in government cares…think JuliaObama…

  • Naresh Krishnamoorti

    The Frankfurt School has been the most successful ideological program in the history of the world.

    • kasandra

      For what it is worth, Mr. Obama's mother was a big fan of "Critical Theory" which, as Wikipedia will tell you, was a creation of the Frankfurt School.

    • Lanie

      The Germans have done more damage to humanity than any other group in human history. And I say that with a heavy heart since my maternal grandparents were German.

    • Drakken

      Well the problem with that line of thinking is, for every action there is always an equal or greater reaction.

  • Cat K

    Thanks for this great article. You painted a clear picture of the threatening totalitarian behind a benign (to many) face. It continues to amaze me that so many do not feel threatened by the loss of liberty. In hearing about objections to Bloomberg's intended soda ban, one lady said to me "but, this is good for us because soda isn't healthy." Have so many people already abandoned their will to an authority? Any authority? What does the role of mayor have to do with dietary expertise? Perhaps, for some humans, being part of a herd is their highest fulfillment. And there is no more illogical, mindless herd than the left.

    • Lanie

      The last half century has been 50 years of conditioning of the American mind to not only question but dismiss all that is necessary for a nation to live free of tyranny. The propaganda used in taxpayer funded schools and in the media is a daily blast of conditioning the mind to accept a ruler. The wealthy elite in business, government, academia, politics and the media are of one mind and all have worked tirelessly to convince the people they aren't capable of making their own choices. They all have conspired to create the collectivist mind and their success is evident.

  • Robin

    Naresh is right about the Frankfurt School and its Marxist Humanist assault on the West. But without the M adjective too few recognize its fundamental tenets of creating Mindsets that believe in and seek social change away from individualism.

    Daniel is right that this is coming in through education since it can quietly drive the noetic revolution that changes prevailing values, attitudes, and beliefs. Today's Common Core and the Race to the Top, when you read the small print in the waivers and regs, are merely outcomes based education all over again. Gathering data on poorly understood student Growth until the changed mindsets are delivered.

    But as this post demonstrates there is a continuous linkage to this MH assault on the West.

    Wells is definitely proving prescient. But it is Lenin and Mao's favorite educator, John Dewey, whose work is providing the game plan for the transition. Just as it did for those hard revolutions.

  • Cassandra

    Thank you for a great article again Mr. Greenfield. It is so clear and to the point. You have the gift of taming the chaos of ideas .

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Thank you Cassandra

  • onecornpone

    TR was right. To my amazement WE the unwashed masses get the individual issues right, time after time. It's our elite ruling class (mostly lawyers), who refuse to follow up to exert the will of the people, thus continue to drag us, kicking and screaming down the path toward tyranny.

    I am puzzled how we the people seem to lean consistently conservative on issues, but when it's time to vote for people we wander off the reservation into Liberalism/Collectivism, and worse. There is something miss-wired in the collective psyche for that to continue to happen.

    Can it really be only about the 'free' stuff?

    • Leauxryda

      Yes it can be about free stuff…you should know, Julia…

      • onecornpone

        Well hello there HiPlainsDrifter/OncCornPone/CowboyLogic/HPD et al… and now you have hijacked Leaux's name too? Mercy, is there any limit to your cowardice? Is there some reason you think this personal vendetta of yours is of interest to the readership at this blog?

        … you should know, Julia…

        If you have a point to make with your insinuation, perhaps you should provide evidence so that we can debate the topic.

        Otherwise, your reply is just more off topic heckling.

        BTW, HiPlainsDrifter, your comment at the top of this thread is an embarrassment. You clearly didn't read the article, but went for a homogenized version of all the comments you had skimmed over previously while doing your PinheadPatrol TD-ing everyone who's comments didn't meed your high standards for entertainment. I remember many instances at the Bigs when you bragged about that. In fact just yesterday someone named William mentioned a "silent troll going through the thread" dinging everyone down. I LMAO and knew YOU were in the "building". Some things never change, do they Mr Drifter?

  • Braveheart

    President George Washington, In his Farewell Address to the United States in 1796.)

    [T]he [federal] government . . . can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, and oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any other despotic or oppressive form so long as there shall remain any virtue in the body of the people.

    • Western Spirit

      This is my sentiments exactly. But, the Judea-Christian virtues Washington was referring to has been replaced with the pseudo virtues of the collective. Judea-Christian virtues had to be defeated first before tyranny could be advanced and it has been replaced with seemingly superior virtues that don't require individual restraint and sacrifice. Because the collective makes the effort of being "virtuous" for them with it's alleged "superior" virtues .

      Thus they can be "compassionate" through the state providing the compassion. What a good deal they can be "good" without having character or the spiritual weight lifting that makes them worthwhile human beings.

      What a good article I enjoyed it immensely.

  • pagegl

    I am beginning to believe that some people like being ruled. They might claim to be individuals but, when they are given the choice between true liberty with its possible dangers or a collective with its safety, they will choose the collective. In the collective, they are told, they will be cared for and protected from the harm of the world. I think we saw this in the last election. The problem with the collective and its safety is that the safety is safety in numbers, only the leaders, the totalitarians, like the queen bee, are really safe, the rest are expendable.

    There are no guarantees in life, even when you are part of a collective. So, I'll take my chances making my own decisions.

    • Western Spirit

      I think you are right. You can't go home again but some "children" still like the coddling of childhood.

  • TheWRXnFX
  • theccur

    For over a HUNDRED years the liberal, progressive, communists have play their INCREMENTAL game. In a effort to be REASONABLE, conservatives have thoughtlessly compromised. The RINO Party is now a LESSER reflection of the Democrat, liberal, progressive, Party. The U.S. is now a LESSER reflection of the U.S.S.R. Even China evinces MORE economic freedom than the U.S.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    While there may be enough conservative minded individuals who revere our Constitution and_the rule of law under it we may be at a great disadvantage in passing our values along. All of_our schools with a few exceptions are in the hands of leftists, our courts have leftist judges,_our politicians, both Democrat and Republican play us for fools and are running a game on_the tax payers to create controls out of false disagreements that have purposefull ends that_regulate us. Freedom is disappearing with each funeral and if lucky to be born children will_be under government control from cradle to grave. Judeo-Christian values are being diluted_to the point open persecution can be made through the courts and regulations. Think on it_a military chaplain may not pray in the name of Jesus Christ but Islamists may curse our_war dead in Arabic at thier funerals. Obama and his administration is the turning point in_America from freedom to the beginning of government domination through soft tyranny which will be followed by
    outright abuse as seen in the past just before WWII…………………..William

    • Danta

      I wish I could click like on your post more than once bc I would do it many times. You could not be more right if you tried. Thank You so much.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        Read all you can at FPM, go to the resources and devour everything in David Horowitz's
        archives for a valuable, truthful and rewarding education in political reality.

  • bud

    The leftist butcher bill is becoming galactic.

    Anymore when I listen to a lefty spouting his utopian do-gooderism, I zoom back mentally and it's almost as if I see an overlay of that movie where the character says, 'I see dead people',
    except the leftist says 'I can't see dead people'.

    And then he just proceeds with his nonsense.

    What is it now, — a hundred million dead in the soviets, 80 in Mao's China, Pol pot, and now it will be the muslims. When will they sober up?

    Follow lefty and die, that's the message of the millennia.

    It's very clear that they will tolerate any quantity of blood to attain
    their goals. And when you face this really, you must also face
    what needs to be done to stop them.

    The leftist is like no other enemy, ever.

    I think this is what MacArthur was referring to in his West Point speech.

  • Beth Barnat

    Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

    C. S. Lewis

  • Eva

    Was reading some historic documents on Marx and Engels… both were from very well-to-do households, Marx never worked a day in his life (as an editor of the Rhine Daily he had others working instead), Engels channeled his father's funds to support his loser friend, both were Satan-worshippers hell-bent on destroying Christianity and replacing it with the elitist dark ideology designed to serve their breed. After Marx's death, Engels destroyed about 1,500 letters they wrote to one another. Historians believe that it was mostly satanic stuff. Lenin incidentally later picked up where the original duo left off… in one of his articles he wrote, foaming at the mouth, that the [Russian] clergy must be eradicated and exterminated. God help us.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Leftist leaders rarely work for a living and usually come from the upper classes or upper middle classes

    • Hmm.

      Just in case anyone doubts, here's one bit from one poem, The Fiddler, proudly presented at

      “Fiddler, why that frantic sound?
      Why do you gaze so wildly round?
      Why leaps your blood, like the surging sea?
      What drives your bow so desperately?”

      “Why do I fiddle? Or the wild waves roar?
      That they might pound the rocky shore,
      That eye be blinded, that bosom swell,
      That Soul’s cry carry down to Hell.”

      “Fiddler, with scorn you rend your heart.
      A radiant God lent you your art,
      To dazzle with waves of melody,
      To soar to the star-dance in the sky.”

      “How so! I plunge, plunge without fail
      My blood-black sabre into your soul.
      That art God neither wants nor wists,
      It leaps to the brain from Hell’s black mists.

      “Till heart’s bewitched, till senses reel:
      With Satan I have struck my deal.
      He chalks the signs, beats time for me,
      I play the death march fast and free.

      “I must play dark, I must play light,
      Till bowstrings break my heart outright."

  • UraFecalLiberal

    "Lenin demanded a revolution that would directly attack the capitalist system, but Wells believed that, “through a vast sustained educational campaign the existing Capitalist system could be civilized into a Collectivist world system.”

    That's who Obama, The Clintons, Kerry, and all Progressives are. Funding them are the Marxist Billionaires and Multi-millionaires, including Hollywood. They are for a One World State controlled by an elite. It's not only power, but money. This elite will control all of the World's resources and people from a top-down command central. Ameica will be a vassal state, reduced the level of the mean-which will be much lower, economically and culturally then now as a disapperaring self govening entity.

  • Sylvia Ashby

    This is all eerily consistent with the Obama administration. Freedom of speech is one of the first things to go in a totalitarian regime. Now there is a definite speech code on college campuses that punishes people for telling dirty jokes or making any kind of suggestive remark that somebody else finds offensive. This is all punishable by some shadowy board. Then there is all the political correctness which, if not adhered to, the guilty party is publicly criticized. After that comes the press and those who have been paying attention know what has been happening with that. Then religion comes under assault because the moral code in most religions (not all) challenges the aggressiveness of the state. Education is also involved. I'm convinced that American school children are softly being led to the left. I read my daughter's math book and the story problems mostly had to do with leftist issues such as womens' rights, environmentalism, etc. We need to wake up to these things and start pushing back….hard!

    • Danta

      Honey you could not have put that any better.
      You Go Girl!!!!!!

  • Lanie

    Daniel, congratulations on your win. You are one of the most intelligent and thorough thinkers and writers today. I pray that more people would avail themselves of your writings and open their minds to the truths you brilliantly brings to light day after day.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      thank you Lanie

  • Alan

    Conservatives are such cowards: they are afraid of gay people getting married or serving in the military; they are afraid of bringing terrorists to super max prisons in the US from which no one has ever escaped;they are afraid of the boy scouts letting gay kids in; they are afraid of everyone voting and are constantly suppressing the vote under some bogus voter fraud theory; they are afraid of letting students vote at their universities; they are afraid of women having the right to choose; they even are afraid of women getting contraception [the real issue actually is a women’s agency and control over their bodies]; they are afraid of immigration reform leading to citizenship because they are afraid of– name whatever reason; they are afraid of mandating gun purchasers to undergo background checks for crazy people and terrorists; they are afraid of people smoking pot; they are afraid of climate change being real and contradicting their beloved Bible; they are afraid of legitimate campaign reform; they are afraid of Muslims; they are afraid of blacks; they are afraid of atheists; they are afraid of hippies; they are afraid of socialists; they are probably still afraid of monsters under their beds; they are just rank cowards and keep making things up to be afraid of.

  • Ellman

    Soft revolutions act like a death by a thousand cuts. Each individual cut is minor but the cumulative effect is that you bleed to death eventually, just like the frog in tepid water gets cooked eventually without realizing what is happening. The people who resist the totalitarian left are the people who cherish their freedoms and liberties the most. They feel the cuts and they feel the warmth of the totalitarian cauldron before they succumb to them.

  • carlwk3c

    The tyrants in the Obama regime and their bankster, globalist cronies are getting ready for the collapse that they’ve deliberately created as an excuse to try to grab total control. It won’t work. There is a growing push towards resistance, and it is not constrained to the fringes – the first mistake the tyrants in DC make is to assume that.
    Practically every militarily significant weapon made in the last 100 years has sold. 4.6 million weapon sales in 30 days and empty ammo shelves is not a panic – it’s battlespace preparation.
    The second mistake they make is to try to assert that this trend is about racism because Obama is half-black. That’s a cop-out used to demonize and divide – It’s an easy excuse to ignore another person’s points, and justify doing bad things to them; it's an attempt to convince people that those who oppose the regime's policies and actions are evil or deranged.
    Their final mistake is to assume that the military and law enforcement agencies will follow orders to disarm their fellow Americans. The military and police are a sub-section of the total population, and will break along the same ideological lines.
    Some police and military members will follow orders. Many, probably most, will disobey, desert, and rebel against orders to attack, imprison, or murder their families, neighbors, and fellow patriots to prop up a corrupt and tyrannical regime.
    This has been played out time and time again in human history.
    Statist politicians should not assume an insurrection will end easily, nor that those they've demonized will go quietly into the dark night, nor that they personally will not suffer if it blows up.
    Never let your government disarm you and render you defenseless against their excesses.
    It will be up to the American people to solve the problems the tyrants and banksters have created as a means to steal our wealth and strip us of our liberty.
    After the tyrants are removed from power, they and their partners in crimes against the Constitution and the American people need to be tried in a modern day version of the Nuremberg Trials, here on American soil, by American citizens who are loyal to the Constitution, then punished according to their crimes. Treason is punishable by death. Keep the faith, justice will ultimately be served.

  • davedavis256

    The military is the real power and danger of big government. The conservatives are the ones who usually want more spending on unjust military power and more Americans in jail for crimes that have no victim. The police and military are what we should fear, not foreign terrorists that have a paltry few victims in the last decade.

    • Allen Grim

      There is a reason there have been “paltry few victims” in the last decade. We are fighting them on their turf and the U.S. Marines and Army are a hell of a lot harder targets then some stockbrokers in a couple sky scrapers, or average joes flying in a 747 or running a marathon. George W. Bush and our armed forces reduced the greatest terrorist in the world to living in caves and then hding in his little compound locked away from the world before our boys finally caught up to him.

  • Babylonandon

    The man who started it all – George Fitzhugh.