It Can't Happen Here: Pride, Power, Exceptionalism, and the Smoking Chimney

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Published : May 08th, 2017
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Category : Crisis Watch

"Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow.

The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness...

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.

The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil."

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism



"It seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances.

The fact that the foolish person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him.

He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the foolish person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers From Prison



"One of the primary characteristics of narcissists is their exaggerated sense of entitlement. It's hardly surprising then that so many politicians somehow think they 'deserve' to game the system. After all, from their self-interested perspective, isn't that what the system is for?

In their heavily self-biased opinion, if they want something, by rights it should be their's. So, nothing if not opportunistic, they take from public and private coffers alike whatever they think they can get away with. And given their grandiose sense of self, they're inclined to believe they can get away with most anything.

Exploiting their privileged position in such a manner hardly leaves them plagued with guilt. In general, guilt isn't an emotion they're prone to. How could they be if they feel entitled to the objects of their desire? In their minds their very ability to attain something must certainly mean it was merited."

Leon F. Seltzer




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