With the Donald Trump-inspired resurgence in nationalism there is the renewed campaign of suppression of dissent and “If You See Something, Say Something,” in which the gubmint is encouraging the sheeple to spy on their neighbors, and turn in those they don’t like or whose views they don’t like, or whose religion the newly recruited stasi look down upon. Parents will be encouraged to spy on their kids and report possible “radicalization,” and kids encouraged to turn their parents in to police for owning guns or for criticizing the Regime. In post-9/11 Amerika, Gladys Kravitz is alive and well, and there are millions of her just waiting to rat on someone — anyone — to make themselves feel self-important. I have written before that in an America without due process and common sense, there will be more than just stasi neighbors merely turning in other neighbors.
I have included this quote on historian Robert Gellately, author of Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany, in his research on the people of Nazi Germany before, and wanted to include that here again.
“There were relatively few secret police, and most were just processing the information coming in. I had found a shocking fact. It wasn’t the secret police who were doing this wide-scale surveillance and hiding on every street corner. It was the ordinary German people who were informing on their neighbors.”
. . .
As he was uncovering who was acting as the Gestapo’s unsolicited agents, (Gellately) also began to discern what motivated neighbor to inform on neighbor. The surviving myth told the story of informers who were motivated either by a commitment to the Third Reich or by a fear of authority.
But the motives Gellately found were banal—greed, jealousy, and petty differences.
He found cases of partners in business turning in associates to gain full ownership; jealous boyfriends informing on rival suitors; neighbors betraying entire families who chronically left shared bathrooms unclean or who occupied desirable apartments.
And then there were those who informed because for the first time in their lives someone in authority would listen to them and value what they said.