The Drift to Totalitarianism

By Peter O’Brien

Senior Fellow, London Center for Policy Research

Sometimes you need fiction to fully grasp what is happening in the real world. This occurred to me the other day when I read a politician’s glaringly anti-Semitic remarks. A scene from Herman Wouk’s novel “Winds of War” came to mind, where the Nazi banker calmly comments to the US Naval Attache to Berlin, telling him that: ‘the Jews control your economy, your entertainment, your courts, the White House.’
The scene is subtly chilling in that it underscores that the Nazis had a perspective on the world that was disconnected from reality, whether on fairly simple ideas such as the operations of economies and nations, or their more disturbed rantings on race, used to justify truly evil behavior.

Fast forward…

There’s been a good deal written over the past week about Congresswoman Omar (from Minneapolis) and her comments about Israel. The Congresswoman, a democrat, made a series of statements that are clearly anti-Semitic. A certain degree of outrage followed, but strangely muted. In the end democrats didn’t censure or in any way condemn her specific comments. Rather, they passed a bland, milquetoast resolution that, for all intents and purposes said nothing more than “hatred is bad.”

Speaker Pelosi, by caving in to pressure against the original statement that specifically noted the anti-Semitic nature of the Congresswoman’s statements, sent the signal to the Progressives – the far left of her party – that they’re in the driver’s seat.

Though Congresswoman Omar has since issued an apology for offending Jewish Americans, the real story here is the one that isn’t really getting traction: the inherently anti-Semitic nature of Progressivism, even as it looks to take over the Democratic Party.

Progressivism is centered on a few key tenets, which leaves those who call themselves Progressive with a different world perspective. The central point is membership in a group, a tribe. That tribe can be defined by many things – not just race, but the essence of Progressive philosophy is that tribal membership is what we all seek, and tribes define how the world really functions. Such concepts as objective truth, individual rights and personal property are meaningless within the tribe. The only things that matter are what the tribe needs; and membership means accepting whatever the tribe wants and says. But with membership comes acceptance and security.

In the middle of this is the need to make the tribe more cohesive. And the path that has been used from time immemorial to build cohesion is to create an enemy. Hitler did it with the Jews and the Communists, the Soviets used capitalists – and others. If the modern Progressive movement remains consistent with those of the 20th century – and it shows every sign of doing so – it will need enemies. And as Congresswoman Omar demonstrated this past week, Jews will fit the bill for them.

What does this really mean? First, it means that Progressives are remaining consistent with similar progressive movements of the past. They’ll grow ever more doctrinaire, and ever more totalitarian. They will not stomach internal dissent – Speaker Pelosi learned that this week – and once they’ve consolidated their position controlling the democratic party, they’ll begin to identify other enemies; the easiest ones to identify will be religions. Jews and Catholics – probably in that order – are likely candidates. Then will follow other minorities.

Progressivism in the end reduces to totalitarianism; in that it has a 100% “success” rate. And the persecution of “others.” It’s happening in China; Emperor Xi has forced more than 1 million Uighurs into camps simply because they’re Uighurs. This past week the Democratic Party took a tiny step in that direction – by refusing to condemn anti-Semitic remarks. With their bland, non-specific statement on hatred, they have let the seed fall to the ground. That seed should never be allowed to grow… Never again…

Racial hatred in general, and anti-Semitism in particular, is a blight on history, a cancer. Like a cancer, we need to excise it from our politics. We can still do so at the voting booth by voting against the far left drift of the democratic party – but we need to act now.