Jörg Baberowski, an East German specialist on Stalin’s Russia, produced a book in 2018 titled Räume der Gewalt (The Spaces of Violence), which seems particularly relevant for understanding contemporary America.
According to Baberowski, modern civilization appears to have overcome the perennial problem of violence, but this may be more illusion than reality. Beneath the surface of civility and lawfulness lurks the danger that violence may lay waste to our modern societies. What Tocqueville characterized as “soft despotism” may turn suddenly brutal, and states that once prided themselves on legality may turn to savage force to impose their will. Baberowski observes that such totalitarian regimes as Nazi Germany and Stalin’s regime did not flow out of comparably evil pasts. They were qualitatively different from the governments that preceded them and crossed the line between traditional rule to something much more sinister. Like Hannah Arendt, Baberowski stresses terror as the distinguishing element of modern totalitarian tyrannies.
Can It Happen Here?
Looking at our country, particularly since the pushback against Donald Trump’s election, it seems that we too may be entering the “space of violence.” For four years I watched as Democratic activists and politicians threatened the lives of our president and those who served under him. Last summer I saw how mobs, subsidized by the Democratic Party, and consisting of what Tucker Carlson correctly described as “Democratic voters,” burned down cities and shot policemen in what the media billed as “peaceful demonstrations.” Our current vice president justified this violence, and like then-candidate Biden’s staff, ran to bail out the perpetrators.
After the party of BLM violence gained the presidency and control of the Senate in what were disputable elections, it turned its surveillance against Trump’s supporters. The Democrats, with an assist from the media, blamed all 75 million Americans who voted for Trump for inciting the break-in to the Capitol building that took place on January 6.
Although that incident involved no physical violence by the trespassers, it was used to call for the National Guard’s occupation of Washington and for prosecuting anyone who could be linked, however tenuously, to the break-in.
Since Biden took office, the Democrats have opened our Southern border and abetted an invasion of illegals, in what seems to be an attempt to create a one-party Democratic dictatorship. These newly arrived illegals, together with the illegals who came earlier, will be whisked along the path to citizenship so they can vote for the party that facilitated their entry and showered them with social benefits. Even more ominously, drug cartels and gangs have been allowed to enter the country, and the Democrats may hope to integrate them into their electoral base.
Equally significant, the new president and his cabinet have rushed to racialize any available mishap. It was with utter disgust that I watched Biden and his (for the occasion) “Asian American” vice president collectively scold white Americans for the ethnic “hatred” that led to the murder of eight massage parlor workers in Atlanta. (For the record, two of the slain workers were white.) Because of the distributions of checks to American families (thanks to a bloated Covid Relief Bill) and because the mainstream media have mostly airbrushed the border crisis out of their news, the Democrats have not yet taken a hit for their mischief. But their actions will likely accelerate the violence they have already unleashed.
Given the Biden Administration’s control of the military, which is now indoctrinating soldiers in Critical Race Theory, the Left’s growing influence over secret surveillance operations—which may have begun during the Obama presidency—and an educational system and popular culture that tirelessly push the Left’s agenda, we on the other side may be in for a rocky ride. The Left and its Democratic enablers are also bringing bedlam to our cities by facilitating the entry into our country of criminal illegals. It will continue along this path while weakening the power of the police if such moves are thought to strengthen its hand. Biden and his advisors have already refused to send back illegals who have committed truly heinous crimes, and we may reasonably conclude that the Democrats and their media and woke capitalist allies hope to make the likely increase of violence work to their benefit. A further spike in urban violence would justify the need for more government intervention to fight “hate” and tear down “barriers of discrimination.” It would lead to the heightened surveillance of those “right-wing extremists” who are acting out their “systemic racism.”
Last summer’s paid mobs, subsidized by the Democratic Party, ushered in more than mayhem and chaos. In that moment, this country crossed the line from the government we used to have to the more sinister arrangement we suffer under now. Those who carried out the violence enjoyed the patronage of the party that subsequently won the presidential election and then the Georgia Senate runoff race (both in suspect circumstances). Violence is enhancing the power of those who can use it with total impunity.