The totalitarian temptation is not confined to Nazis and communists; it can rear its head in any society and gradually destroy it. And as the Soviet dissident joke notes, one quick way to identify totalitarian threats to liberty is to identify those who falsify the historical record on behalf of their cause.
In America today, two groups are most actively engaged in falsifying history: the ACLU and the anti-smoking movement.
The ACLU is suing cities and counties to remove crosses from their city and county seals. One of the ACLU's greatest victories was getting the Board of Supervisors in a 3-2 vote (the three were the three leftist supervisors) to remove the tiny cross from the seal of Los Angeles County. Of course, this was done in the name of separation of church and state; no one falsifies history without some higher motive. But falsifying Los Angeles County's history was the issue. The cross was on the seal because Los Angeles was founded by Catholics. That is why it is named "Los Angeles," "the angels." (Once the ACLU successfully removes all crosses from cities and counties, will it move on to changing religious names such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and St. Louis, not to mention Corpus Christi?)
The attempts by the ACLU -- and the Left in general -- to expunge the Judeo-Christian roots of America from American history are mirrored by the attempts of America's anti-smoking organizations to expunge the history they object to -- images of Americans smoking.
Examples of anti-smoking fanatics doctoring photographs are so legion that I can only offer a few examples in the space of a column.
It is always interesting to me as a psychiatrist how the left side of the political spectrum (and I use the term "left" the way ShrinkWrapped so excellently defined it) continually employs the psychological defense mechanism of projection. Projection is an elegantly simple defense mechanism. You simply take your own unacceptable thoughts, feelings, behaviors and impulses and put them into some other individual or group. That way, you don't have to take responsibility for those thoughts, feelings etc.. Another payoff for the defense is that by eliminating these unacceptable items from your own psyche, you magically begin to feel morally superior to the object(s) of your projection. You become their victim, even as you victimize them!
This defense is not limited to the left side of the political spectrum, of course. Back in the 40's and 50's it was the right that almost exclusively employed it (when they were out of power). But unquestionably, today's world is rampant with the political paranoia of the left. And it is just as destructive now as it was in the past.
At the extreme of this psychological strategy, are the depths of paranoia and delusion, which can always be tapped when the stress of daily projection becomes too much. Complex delusional systems and conspiracies will serve to help you keep your distance from reality and maintain a crumbling worldview. The worldview that is falling apart today happens to be the one of the totalitarian left--and they are hard-pressed to keep it together.
These days, the ACLU--which still envisions itself as some sort of champion of freedom--has become the sacred keeper of the leftist totalitarian flame in America. In the name of the left's secular religious ideology; multiculturalism; and political correctness (i.e., in the name of the Mother, the daughter, and the holy ghost) they repeatedly seek to root out and destroy all competition for the hearts and minds of the masses. Even if it means rewriting history and destroying the religious roots of this country--their moral fervor in spreading their ideology is unbounded. No breach of their dogma is too small or minor to pursue and condemn.
The left is so obsessed with things like the imminent imposition of a Christian theocracy; the imminent imposition of fascism; and the imminent loss of freedom of speech etc. etc., they have failed to notice that THEY are the ones who are imposing their religion; THEY are the ones who want to control all aspects of society; and THEY are the ones who have shut down free speech in the name of cultural sensitivity and political correctness.
I was struck the other day when I saw an editorial cartoon (which are almost 100% hostile to Republicans) where a person at the voting booth says, "Now I'm the decider!". The person who drew this cartoon seems to have conveniently "forgot" that the people actually did decide not that long ago in a national election who would be president. But those foolish people decided WRONG--so it doesn't count, and their choice must be undermined until they choose according to the proper ideological script.
We can alsways depend on the left to lead us away from the sin and error in our evil thoughts and actions; to the worship of the one true faith that will guide us to the promised land of eternal peace and justice.
This totalitarian impulse so characteristic of the left, is done with the best of intentions--for our own good, you know--and with the complete and utter blindness of the true [paranoid] believer.