You won’t spot today’s Nazi goosestepping in formation in uniform and jackboots; Nazi tendencies today are subtle; they are words and actions employed by a family member, friend, workmate, employer, bureaucrat, journalist or politician. When challenged, these “scientifically” based, logical Nazi zealots are affronted.

Today’s zealots pressure dissidents about the effectiveness of mask-wearing and lockdown, assuring us that they have our best interests at heart. Invariably their assumed power comes from a personal or professional relationship and they are motivated by fear rather than science.

A comment on Backchat this week reminded me about WWII because there are parallels in the extreme behaviour that exemplifies both heroes and villains.

On 24 February 1943, 77 years ago, Sophie Scholl was guillotined by Nazis. She was 21 years old, a protestor advocating for Jewish rights during Hitler’s extermination programme. Sophie recounted German poet, Friedrich Schiller, “But what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”

Sophie was a member of the German White Rose resistance advocating nonviolent resistance to the Nazi regime. She was compelled into action by the following words:

“Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible crimes — crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure — reach light of day?”

But Sophie’s journey to full blown resistance began much earlier.

“As a child, Sophie had been a member of the girl’s branch of the Hitler Youth, but had been troubled when her Jewish friend was prohibited from joining.”

Timeline

Sophie’s journey was similar to Hitler’s own path which began in obscurity and progressed in small incremental steps to dictatorship and cruel oppression.

Hitler was an academic failure, dropping out of school to pursue an artist career, financed by an inheritance from his father. He moved to Munich in 1913 to avoid compulsory Austrian military service and was rejected by Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts. When he could not avoid military service he became a soldier which provided him with the opportunity to excel.

“Deployed in October 1914 to Belgium, Hitler served throughout the Great War and won two decorations for bravery, including the rare Iron Cross First Class, which he wore to the end of his life.”

History.com

Hitler’s war commendations are likely the incentive that propelled him into politics; his sole success in life to date, as a soldier, had bolstered his confidence. The pursuit of war bolstered his confidence and political power.

Hitler’s progression into depravity was reflected in the behaviour of some German soldiers. Kenneth D Evans writes about his father in Missing when the American fighter pilot was shot down behind enemy lines in 1942. He feared being killed if captured after receiving reports of German soldiers ignoring the Geneva Convention and lining up prisoners, removing their dog tags to kill and bury them in unmarked trenches.

Both resisters and oppressors arrive at their extreme behaviour by degrees.

Stepping back a year to the outset of COVID-19, the PM pretty effectively shut down discussion on her decision to lock the whole country down. Free speech was a threat to control so she shut that down using “science”. “Dismiss everything else,” she said firmly, “We will continue to be your single source of truth.”

Compliance wasn’t difficult to achieve when the “experts” predicted tens of thousands of deaths if we didn’t. The deaths never eventuated but the fear remains today.

Fear creates the apathy that exists today and apathy is an essential element of control.

Apathetic people make it easy to implement change.

When your changes are based on the “science” and you control the science, you control the people.

“Philosophers have wrestled with questions of free will—that is, whether we are active drivers or passive observers of our decisions—for millennia. Neuroscientists tap-dance around it, asking instead why most of us feel like we have free will.”

Science Mag

Taking control of us and making us believe that we still have choices is a COVID-19 sleight of hand.

Our brains can trick us into believing stuff that isn’t true, optical illusions for example, making us easy targets for manipulation. The importance of dissenting voices should not be underestimated. (Perhaps someone should let the Speaker of the House know this important truth?)

Without challenges, the most powerful voices inch their way forward to a destination we may never have chosen of our own free will. Fear and apathy regarding the “science” makes it difficult to find our way back to sanity but there is hope that maintaining small steps in the right direction will produce the desired resistance and result.

If we do not examine the conditioning giving the government latitude to control us, we risk waking up one morning and wondering how we got here.

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Suze is an avid reader and writer after a career in accounting starting in the farming industry. 10 years working in the NZ mining industry made her passionate about accessing our resource potential whilst...