With the passage of the NDAA and his use of executive orders, Obama has managed to bring about an inexorable slide to tyranny. On March 16, 2012, he signed executive order 13603 about “National Defense Resources Preparedness.” This act provides Obama with the authority to control food, water, production, material, and labor of almost unimaginable proportions. This, of course, is not the first time it has been done. Like it has been said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
In 1933, just shortly after his election, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a state of emergency. His actions were covered by the NIRA (National Industrial Recovery Act), which essentially gave him the same scope of power that Obama now has. In his inaugural address in January 1933, Roosevelt said, “If we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective. We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at a larger good. This I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us all as a scared obligation and with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife. With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.”
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In the same year, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. In many ways, Hitler and FDR faced similar problems with high unemployment, inflation, a lack of consumer confidence, a lack of industrial output, and a country in the depths of depression. Hitler also managed to unite his countrymen into one unified people under his total control, just as Roosevelt through executive order managed to command the entire nation’s economy. In Germany, this act was called “The Enabling Act”, another name but essentially the same function. For example, after the Enabling Act, Hitler declared public holidays for workers in all industries, while at the same time banning all workers’ unions.
Throughout much of the late 1920’s and into the late 1930’s, Mussolini in Italy enjoyed support and adulation from liberals and progressives in the USA. So great was his support that an image resembling him was contained within a sculpture representing Atlas in Rockefeller Plaza. He was being revered as having unified and put the labor force of Italy to work, creating a fast-growing Italian economy through collective means.
In January 2013, Obama in his second inaugural address said”But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people.”
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While Obama, when he signed the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), pledged he would never think about using the indefinite detention portion of the act upon American citizens, it would be legal under the provisions of the act. He also signed the executive order as stated in the opening of this article and has yet to activate it, although as it stands it would be legal. Remember, we are still under a state of emergency begun after Sept 11th by George W. Bush and extended by Obama. Are we to awaken one morning after another attack (another Boston perhaps) and find this act also activated?
Remember (as many historians have found), under German law as it stood at the time, everything Hitler did was legal. Are we also on that inexorable slide to tyranny? Do we wait for these acts to come into play before we respond even to their existence? Will it be too late if we do? Will we as a country who under the Constitution are the true rulers of our nation allow this to happen?
Spain has just announced that their unemployment rate is over twenty seven percent, and they are developing extraordinary measures to combat the situation. How long before the collapse of the dollar, or another oil embargo such as what happened in the 1970’s (or another war perhaps with Syria, Iraq, or North Korea) plunges the United States into such turmoil as Europe is now toiling against? No one know the fate of the European Union at the moment. But are the foundations of the United States any more sound than that of Europe? Or is it simply being held together by the perception of unity, the notion that our once-great nation could not be brought down by economic rules that have stood for all time? The Obama administration seems to eschew the notion that the United States is an exceptional country. Can a country that is not exceptional hope to avoid the rules that have applied to all other economies throughout all time?
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Personally, after watching the martial law (whether declared or not) in Boston and the calls by Bloomberg and others for “modifying” our rights under present conditions, I think we have started the inexorable slide into tyranny.
Photo credit: watchingfrogsboil (Creative Commons)
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