I Just finished reading “They thought they were free:  The Germans 1933-45.”  Milton Mayer was an American professor who lived in postwar Germany.  He wrote this book in 1955.

There were several parallels I found between the individuals living in Nazi Germany and the people in modern day America.  But most prominent in my highlighting was the following:

Mayer asked a German professor why he did not resist the Nazis, and he replied:




One does not see exactly when to [take a stand]…Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse.  You wait for the next and the next.  You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow.

Tyranny does not happen overnight.  It is not an event as so conveniently illustrated in history books.  Tyranny comes step-by-step, in gradual form.  Like the boiling frog, continually accustomed to warmer water, good people give in to tyranny for expediency, for personal interests, and for the good of the many.

But what is your “line in the sand?”  Do you have one?  When does the state go too far?

I posit that most people do not have a line in the sand.  In today’s terms, those who object to the next level of government control over health care will lose the battle with congress (already done) and will, over time, stop arguing about it.  In several years, they’ll be arguing within the realm of that current reality, when health care gets worse, and arguing for more state intervention to make it better.  The question as to whether the state should be involved at all will be bygone.

Good people settled bit by bit, day by day, with the tyranny that overtook Germany because it was gradual and incremental.  No one wanted to stand outside the norm and be a radical, scorned by public opinion.   The best thinkers could see where it was going, but were certain that the consequences would be visible to all in some event.  They were wrong.

That, my friends, is the slippery slope defined.