When They Come for the Smaller Groups. . . .
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller’s words delivered a painful sting to his fellow pastors in postwar Germany. These words clearly spoke the truth: the guilt for the desolation of Germany lied on their shoulders. From the very beginning of the Nazi movement, the pastors were silent, or complicit, or even openly collaborating with it. Very few of them stood up to the Nazis. If more did, Germany could have been spared the desolation.
What is often missed is that in this confession of his sin of silence in the face of injustice, Niemöller also indirectly described the tactics of the Nazi regime; in fact, not just of the Nazi regime, but of any totalitarian regime. And that tactics was clear:
The government never has the resources and the manpower to terrorize the whole society. State terrorism, therefore, is done by separating and marginalizing social groups: first smaller groups, then larger groups, until each group is subdued.
This is the old Roman principle of divide et impera: divide your enemies so that neither of them associate with the others. Thus, none of them will come to each other’s aid. Then your hand is free to conquer them one by one.
The Nazis, obviously, used the principle successfully. One by one, different groups were marginalized and demonized in the public opinion, until it was clear no one would come to their defense, because “we are not them.” Jews. Socialists. Trade Unions. Military personnel. Gypsies. Mentally ill people. Roman Catholic Priests. Protestant pastors. Step by step, the general population was divided in groups and subjugated through repressions and terror. By the time many people realized the murderous nature of the Nazi regime, no one was in a position to unite the remaining groups in opposition to the government.
The Soviet Communists did the same. They also started with a broad appeal to all the “classes,” marginalizing and demonizing only small groups. The “capitalists.” Then the priests. Then the “intellectuals.” Then the rival leftist parties, like the Mensheviks. Then certain ethnic groups were demonized: Ukrainians, Georgians, Chechens, the German Anabaptist rural communities along the Volga River. Then the kulaks (the wealthy Cossack peasants of Ukraine and South Russia) were singled out and exterminated. Then the category of “kulak” was expanded to include the not-so-wealthy peasants – until whole regions in Ukraine were starved to death (the Holodomor), while the rest of the country watched passively. Then came the military elite.
World War II put a temporary stop to it. But it also created a new class of men who were trained to fight and suppress their fear – the veterans. So the NKVD started targeting veterans even before the war ended. (Solzhenitsyn was taken from his artillery unit in February 1945, three months before the end of the war.) Thousands of veterans went to the GULags straight from the front lines, not even having the chance to see their families again. It was Solzhenitsyn who later realized that if the people didn’t remain passive but united to shoot at government agents when they came to do arrests, millions of lives would have been spared.
The Chinese Communists did the same with their minorities. In the Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge, people with glasses were singled out as enemies and shot or worked to death. I still remember the way the Bulgarian Communist government treated the ethnic Turkish minority in Bulgaria in the 1980s. (I was born and grew up in a predominantly Turkish part of my town, so I knew the truth about the Turkish minority, and I knew the propaganda was lies.)
Everywhere, totalitarian governments do the same: one group after another, singled out, marginalized, demonized, and then safely destroyed or brutalized. And the rest of the population remains silent. Why? Because “I am not a Jew, or a Ukrainian, or a Menshevik, or a kulak, or a person with glasses.”
The massacre in Waco of a few days ago bears all the marks of this tactics. A group is picked so small and marginal that most people won’t associate with them. The group is then marginalized and demonized, and all kinds of false accusations are said about them – violence, illegal drugs, illegal weapons, etc. Then, when the group is so marginalized that the majority of the population won’t trust them, and won’t take their word for anything, the government ambushes them and guns them down. The group is scared and subdued. The police are trained and conditioned to not question orders – they will need that conditioning for later, when the “enemy” is moms, or old people, or kids.
And the public? The public is conditioned to disengage. “I didn’t say anything because I was not a biker.”
It was that same Waco that saw an earlier version of the same tactics, with the Branch Davidians. Everyone disengaged, because no one was a Branch Davidian, and the government was able to demonize the small sect enough to cover its own crimes. If the people of Waco were awake to what was happening, and if they had a Solzhenitsyn to tell them what to do, the whole town would be there shooting at those FBI and ATF murderers. But when the government comes for the smaller groups, most people prefer to remain silent.
The same tactics has been going on for decades with the inner city black kids: another politically powerless, marginalized and demonized group. The cops know these black kids are just as easy prey as the white bikers: the group is just as demonized, and therefore can’t count on any public sympathy. “You know, young black males are the majority of the prison population.” Of course they are, given that the actions of the police almost never undergo any scrutiny, and that planting marijuana on a “suspect” is a regular practice for police. And, not to forget, the prisons are private and the prison-industrial complex makes money on every inmate. Could it be that the majority of young black males in prison are there on trumped-up charges? What resort do they have against police lies? How many people in the general population will take the word of an inner city young black male over the word of a cop?
In this Waco Massacre we can also see the future groups that will be targeted.
Veterans, for example. One media report mentioned that “many of the members of these motorcycle gangs [sic] are battle-trained veterans.” Stalin’s police feared the veterans, remember. American police seem to fear them too. (From personal experience, mentioning you are a former military only gets you more abuse from the cops. Cops hate veterans, for understandable reasons.)
Gun owners too. The Waco PD spokesman Patrick Swanton, after being caught lying that the fight started inside the restaurant, remained undisturbed and continued with his propaganda narrative: “The weapons found inside the restaurant prove violent intent.” Who believes that “weapons prove violent intent”? Gun control advocates, of course. Swanton is repeating the gun-control propaganda sales pitch. Why? Well, gun owners need to be marginalized and demonized too, and what better occasion than a bloody massacre? (Could it be that the presence of police with automatic weapons pointed at the public also proves criminal intent?)
The pattern is clear: Since the American public is too large an elephant to eat, it must be subdued in small bites: black inner city kids, bikers, off-the-gridders, Christian activists, gun-owners, etc. Every time, the group must be small enough and marginalized enough so that the general population find it easy and safe to disengage.
And the tactics is successful. Even with those people who are otherwise anti-statist. In a conversation, I asked a friend of mine the following questions:
Here’s my Eastern European question to you:
If tomorrow the politicians in DC decide to ship you and your family to the concentration camps, which one of the following people is most likely to be the one loading you on the train?
1) a biker;
2) a DC politician;
3) a local cop.
The question is very important, and you should have an answer. A denial in the form of it-can’t-happen-here is not an answer. And your answer will show how much you understand reality.
And, the other question is: If you decide that enough is enough and decide to resist the government, which one of the people above will be the first to join you?
The questions didn’t register with him. And he believes he is “anti-statist.” Government propaganda works.
As to me, I have enough experience to know: When the government comes for the smaller groups, it’s clearing its access to you. If you support the government – or even if you remain silent and passive, because you are not a biker, or a young black male, or a Branch Davidian, etc., you are digging your own grave.
When they come for you, others will remain silent and passive because they are not you. There will be no one to speak out for you. And yes, it can happen here.