Monday, February 1, 2010


Chuck Colson had this article on Breakpoint today. I felt it worth posting here.  I certainly does give one pause to ponder as to just what is happening in this country. 

An Unexpected Totalitarianism
The Tyranny of Tolerance 
February 1, 2010
My wife Patty was reading a book about Chinese history and the rise of the Chinese nationalists under Chiang Kai-Shek. You may remember that the U.S. supported Chiang Kai-Shek during and after World War II. Unfortunately, Chiang was, well, a tyrant. This helped explain why Mao and his communists were able to win the support of the Chinese people.

So Chiang’s fascist tyranny was replaced by an even more virulent communist tyranny.

When Patty put the book down, she asked me a great question: Is totalitarianism the same as communism or fascism?

Well, any ideology can lead to totalitarianism. Totalitarianism simply means that the state—the government—exercises complete control of public and even private life.

So Hitler (a right-wing fanatic) and Stalin (a left-wing fanatic) were little different. One promised a master race, the other a worker’s paradise. But they both erected totalitarian dictatorships, where the state controlled the media, the economy, everything.

So I answered Patty that communism and fascism were simply economic and political disguises for the totalitarian impulse, which at some level has tempted every human ruler throughout history.

But as I have explained in my books, the West has mostly resisted the totalitarian impulse, thanks to our Christian heritage and the Protestant Reformation.

The Western experiment in liberal democracy, best embodied in the United States, achieved representative government, balance of powers, sphere sovereignty, the rule of law. These are bulwarks against totalitarianism.

But the very astute French observer of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, warned that even America could descend into soft despotism. That could happen, he warned, when the people expect their elected leaders to take care of them and their needs. Sound familiar?

But I’ve thought of another way democracy can slide into totalitarianism—the moral foundations of society erode so badly that the people become malleable. They embrace relativism, as we have in America today; they no longer believe in right and wrong. So popular culture, the educational and political elite, teach us that it’s wrong to judge other people. Tolerance becomes the supreme public virtue.

When that happens, however, somebody has to enforce the tolerance. So-called cultural arbiters—the media, the academics, political leaders—begin to prescribe which things are in bounds and which things are out of bounds for public discussion.

Look what happened with political commentator Brit Hume. He recommended that Tiger Woods consider Christianity. He was pilloried in the process.

Last week, I talked about Tim Tebow’s heartwarming TV ad scheduled for the Super Bowl. It tells how his mother, against medical advice, decided to give birth to him rather than abort. Pro-choice groups hit the roof, demanding that CBS pull the ad.

This is akin to the soft despotism de Tocqueville warned about, the tyranny of tolerance where the cultural elites seek to eliminate the free expression of moral views in American life.

And that, my friends, is totalitarianism of an unexpected kind. It’s the kind that can catch you by surprise, where you’ll wake up one day to find that you have lost your freedom.


Anonymous said...

You won’t get any arguments from me, Ticker … but I am also concerned about the tyranny of intolerance. Is there a happy medium?


Maggie M. Thornton said...

I love Chuck Colson. Love to read him. This is a spot-on look at our future, and the trouble really begins when whomever it is finds the power to "enforce" the tolerance...finds he/she likes the power, and is powerful enough to insist your tolerance and mine is the same as his/hers.

Thanks ticker. Great post.

Always On Watch said...

Excellent essay.

However, I take exception with this portion:

Hitler (a right-wing fanatic)

From this source:

"We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions." --Adolf Hitler

Speech of May 1, 1927. Quoted by Toland, 1976, p. 306)

More information at the above link.

Ticker said...

Perhaps the best (and simplest) way to classify Hitler as left-wing is to simply compare him to the definitive conservative tract - Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France.

Burke states that accumulated wisdom is a far better guide than some vague theory that has never been tested (Hitler subscribed to social Darwinism, and despised the old order of accumulated wisdom). He also states that the ideal government is a small government (Hitler was totalitarian - everything within the state, nothing outside the state).

In that light Hitler would be classified as leaning right rather than left. I believe that is where the idea of Hitler being right wing came from. His actual policies however were certainly left wing.

I find it similar to those who would describe Obama as a Centrist and only slightly to the left of center. His actions certainly show him to be very far left rather than just left of center.

So given those thoughts it would be in the definition of right and left wouldn't it?

Ticker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

Nice explanation. When the population is not well informed and active, things can slip up on them before they realize it. Hopefully folks in the US are awakening, as we see with the townhall meetings, Tea Parties, etc

Things like the Tebow commercial brought out the true goals of those who claim to be pro-choice. Very revealing.

Right Truth

Ticker said...

Yep Debbie, the left is always for "rights" as long as it is theirs and not others. Their agenda has absolutely nothing to do with a woman's "choice" but has everything to do with control.

EDGE said...

I agree with AOW; Hitler seemed to me to be a leftist. Good article though! Hope you are doing well!