Editor's Note: This column is co-authored by Loyd Pettegrew.
Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s trusted Minister of Propaganda and certainly no friend to democracy, stated, “It will always remain one of the best jokes of democracy, that it gives its deadly enemies the means by which to destroy it.” What Goebbels was pointing out was that a democracy, by its very nature, must give voice to its critics, whose real agendas may be cleverly disguised or not revealed at all, as well as to its proponents. John Keane in the Griffith Review reminds us of the often overlooked truth that democracies contain within themselves the very seeds needed to destroy them. Citizens of a democratic nation, by electing through democratic means individuals who clandestinely seek to institute other forms of government once in office, can actually become unwitting accessories in the murder of the democracy they love. Keane believes this thinking is confirmed by democracy's historical decline and the view that democracy may well be its own campfire on ice. When voting in the coming 2020 election, Americans should understand this. They must be wary of candidates who promise almost everything, before completing their ballots and voting for the democracy-destroying Harris-Biden ticket with among other prescriptions, killing the Senate filibuster and packing the Supreme Court.
Fears for the world's democracies are well founded. When Goebbels began mocking democracy as a form of government, he had just played a major role in bringing down the Weimar Republic. The Weimar Republic had been a noble attempt at creating a true democracy in Europe in the second decade of the 20th century. Attempts to create such a democratic form of government following World War I came during an especially challenging time for the defeated German nation. War reparations, massive national debt, and economic controls on targeted areas of production caused frequent civil unrest. Nonetheless, with financial assistance from the United States under the Dawes Plan, this fledgling attempt at democracy in Europe experienced some noticeable success from 1923-1929. The Great Depression, however, would soon spell doom to the new Republic. Hitler and Goebbels used the very democratic institutions and laws of the Republic to destroy it. In the midst of ubiquitous poverty, unemployment and social unrest during the Great Depression, Hitler and Goebbels discovered that the core tenets of a democracy would allow a path for them to legally come to power. The freedom given to a nation's citizens, when combined with certain extrinsic conditions, could quickly provide the tools to create revolution and wholesale government change.
As with the Weimar Republic, we are now facing the potential death of our American democracy. This, the oldest and most successful democracy in the world, has brought the highest standard of living and individual freedom to its citizens that the world has ever known.
With the election of Barack Obama in 2008, an unforeseen cancer to democracy in America, marginalized since WWII, began to reemerge and metastasize. The education domain and the Democrat Party took hard turns to the left and began supporting socialism and neo-Marxist causes. The mainstream media in the U.S. also aligned itself squarely with the liberal and left-leaning movement of the Democrat Party. No longer was the press free and objective; it became the propaganda arm of the Left, adopting a role similar to Goebbels’ propaganda machine in Germany.
Democrats and the MSM found a ready scapegoat in the non-politician president, Donald J. Trump, an easy target to vilify. Because of his strong opposition to the left, the Democrats were obsessed with removing him from office and moving the nation in a more socialistic direction.
Never before in the history of the United States has a president been attacked so viciously and resolutely by the opposing party in confederation with the MSM. Then came the big lie, in fact, two big lies. The first lie was that “Trump colluded with the Russians” to gain the presidency. After three years of unceasing attacks by the Democrat/MSM confederation, that lie was invalidated. Lee Smith now details how President Obama despotically used FBI and CIA executives to overthrow the Trump administration. Both dollar and opportunity costs to this nation are significant.
This was followed by the Chinese world pandemic and along with it, the opportunity for the second big lie—"it was all President Trump’s fault.” The pandemic offered a new opening for the left to push allegations of systematic racism with corresponding rioting and protests. Democrat and MSM hatred for President Trump blinds them to their position’s tyranny.
Again, Democrats/MSM pointed fingers at Trump, using the 2020 election to make their end run to replace this noble experiment in governance with the shiny new object of socialism masked by social justice recriminations and an occasional dose of neo-Marxism. The democratic processes that made this country so unique and its citizens so endowed, are now being used to kill it. As Mark Chou explains, "when incapable of redressing the political crises they have manufactured themselves, whether because of individual freedom, bureaucratic morass, or the sluggishness of democratic politics, the claim is, democracies can die by their own hand." We see an example of the democratic process being used against itself in the Portland Mayoral race. Sarah Innarone, a leader in the Portland Antifa movement and candidate for mayor, acknowledged: “Peaceful protests, in my opinion, might not necessarily be moving the conversation forward."
Democracy may quickly become only a faint echo in America just as it was in the Weimar Republic—the result of internal democide. What is democide you may ask? Chu concludes: “Democracy is a precarious thing. It’s precarity, more to the point, emanates from itself. Democracy is the very thing, if we take Goebbels seriously, that can bring democracy to its knees." Or as the Australian historian Robert Moss wrote in The Collapse of Democracy, “where else but in a democracy can the system be destroyed through its own institutions?” Although his book was written in 1977, it beckons poignantly from the past to America’s political situation today. The Wall Street Journal’s Gerard Baker identifies such MSM threats as, “a media ever more eager to peddle unsubstantiated information of the most negative sort in pursuit of an ideological agenda, and a political class feeding dishonesty to its own partisans—is the larger allegory of modern [and fragile] democracy on display.”