I don’t want anyone to say, when we look back at this moment, that they didn’t see the signs. I don’t want anyone to feign surprise. I don’t want people to say that they didn’t take it all seriously because they had faith that their fellow citizens would somehow see the light and not allow this candidate to rise.
Demagogue for President - NYTimes.com. Thank you to bardcat for calling attention to this article, and for your heartfelt commentary on Supertuesday.
We know that facts and logic matter little when they challenge the identity of a person. If people don't know how fearful, angry and bigotted they are, trying to call it to their attention will only get you labeled a liar and, perhaps, a traitor. Unless a person already loves me more than they love their image of themselves as good, patriatic, right, etc. my talking to them will only alienate me more than i already am.
Bonhoffer warned of the dangers of not speaking out. But suppose he and others had spoken out sooner? Would that have made a difference? Or would it have meant that he and many others would have been executed sooner rather than later. The time to stop Hitler was not 1945 (the nazi virus had already metastasized through humanity) or 1940, or 1938, or 1933, or even 1924. There was a time when he wanted to be an architect rather than a destroyer of people. Why couldn't he have recieved more encouragement then and less encouragement to become a monster. Richard Wagner was as much a monster as Hitler, but he ended up composing music the world regards as great while doing relatively little damage to his few friends and lovers (at least when compared to Hitler).
By our neglect and abuse of chjldren, our species is mass producing future monsters. I won't say "Hitler's" for that would be too "politically correct" or incorrect or whatever it is that people object to in the truthful speech of others. The only way to stop monsters without becoming monsters ourselves is to nurture them to become otherwise; by rendering their monstrosity powerless by encouraging them toward productive livelihoods..
Jefferson was wrong about truth winning out over lies in free discussion. I think he was correct, however, in the assumption that underlay that statement. We were made to be good, and given the chance, we would rather express our goodness than our evil. Just how to make that manifest is something we still need to work on.