In 3 years it will be the 80th anniversary
of the novel,
It Can’t Happen Here,
by Sinclair Lewis. A year later the book became a play that debuted in 21 theatres across America.
That book told of the surprisingly easy rise of a folksy, conservative, regional politician to become fascist dictator of the nation. He uses fear-mongering, bible-thumping, and prosperity-offering. Soon his Minute Men are shooting people in the name of God and Country.
The following excerpt is a General endorsing some slippery-slope ideas to an enthusiastic group of Rotarians:
“…And I’ve got good news for you! This gospel of clean and aggressive strength is spreading everywhere in this country among the finest type of youth. Why today, in 1936, there’s less than 7 per cent of collegiate institutions that don’t have military-training units under discipline as rigorous as the Nazis, and where once it was forced upon’em by the authorities, now it’s the strong young men and women who themselves demand the right to be trained in warlike virtues and skill…. And all the really thinking type of professors are right with ’em!”
A few years later Senator Joseph McCarthy rose to power on a wave of fear-mongering, demonizing anyone who disagreed with him. We ultimately realized the man was nuts, but for a window of time we believed he was a shining star that everyone should follow. Do you know why history repeats itself? Because we pay too little attention the first time. – Indy