What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: agitprop
The 20th century will be remembered throughout history for many things, such as the creation of the automobile, the computer revolution, and the globalization of industry. But while many important advancements and circumstances may compete for a spot in the history books, one simple word leaves all other considerations in the dust: death.
Death, of course, is a part of life. However, while tens of millions of individuals were sent to an early grave as a result of the many wars throughout the twentieth century, far more were likewise extinguished as a result of democide—government-sanctioned murder.
You wouldn’t know it from modern-day culture, though. Mass murderers today are referred to by top-ranking government officials as a favorite political philosopher, or are turned into fashionable iconography. Sure, we feign some amount of disgust in our general condemnation of all things Nazi, but how genuine are our protests when we ignore, downplay, or dismiss the much larger atrocities committed by those who are for some strange reason less known?
After World War II, many Nazis were prosecuted, executed, and run out of Germany. To this day, it remains illegal to display the swastika in Germany for any non-academic purpose. One can only wonder why a similar reaction has not been found in regards to the failed fascist, socialist, and communist nations which, throughout the twentieth century, murdered roughly a quarter of a billion people.
Let that marinate for a minute. Governments in one single century were the direct and intentional cause of killing around 250,000,000 individuals—men, women, and children whose very existence was deemed either illegal or illegitimate. This staggering number is about six times larger than the number of people who died in combat warfare during the same period of time. People refer to the 20th century as a century of war, but it would be better labeled a century of death, or more specifically, democide.
How will this century fare? Things appear to be better so far, despite the existence and power of several socialist/communist nations, but the flirtatiousness of many with the basic political tenets of these self-cannibalizing systems does not bode well for an attempt to prevent a recurrence of government-sponsored murder. That the President of the United States now claims the authority to order the assassination of American citizens without any trial or due process whatsoever suggests that democide is not reserved for the history books, but will be an ever-present reality of governments grown too large and powerful.