It’s a book club day again. We talked about Among the Hidden, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, the first of a series of youth novels. In this world, similar to our own, but after a great worldwide famine that disrupted societies and allowed totalitarian governments to take over, families are limited to no more than two children. Any additional children will be executed, and their families might be either killed, imprisoned, or severely fined, depending on the whim of the population police. It’s from the view of a 12-year-old boy, who is a third child, born at the time the law was put into place; his mother very much wanted him and wanted to believe such a law couldn’t possibly stand. So they keep him hidden in the house. There’s a lot of paranoia among his whole family, and it turns out to be justified.
We’ve read a number of these totalitarian world themes lately. Early in the year we did The Hunger Games series, also disturbing youth novels. And we’ve also looked a little at Atlas Shrugged, which is about the process of a society turning toward socialist control. One of the questions we talked about today was, could it really happen here? And the answer is a scary yes, because China today has a one-child only policy, and many many children are aborted or killed or abandoned, resulting in a disturbing gender imbalance. They have lost concepts like brother, sister, aunt, uncle, and cousin. And then you look at the killing fields of
, very nearly in the lifetime of my children. Anne Frank’s diary, from only decades ago, revealed a “hidden” scenario similar to the limitations on the young boy in Among the Hidden. Could some of these things happen? They have. Cambodia
We’d all rather talk about other things. We’d rather be cheerful and read frothy things. But there probably is some benefit to raising our awareness of totalitarian worlds—so that we never find ourselves saying, “We’re willing to tolerate that.” Then the question is, where and when do you stand up?
If we stand up with small things, while we can, that seems like a good practice. And then we can hope things don’t get so despotic that the freedom to speak up is lost. It seems odd enough to be living in times when we can even consider the possibility of loss of our freedoms. But it has been more typical for people in this world to live under despots than in freedom.
Our freedom experience has been anomalous.
In the Spherical Model view, tyranny is below the center equator of the sphere, on down to the southern polar area as things get worse. The two faces of it are chaos and state control. Almost always tyranny comes about as a reaction to the fear caused by chaos. The diabolical power hungry even create chaos in order to have an opportunity to step in and offer relief from it, so people are willing to give up their freedoms to avoid the insecurity of chaos. That is what it looks like is happening, in the street protests currently going on. The people have a litany of complaints, but no idea what to protest. They just think it’s exciting to go against the status quo and create some chaos.
But then you find out the protests are organized and paid for (one protestor on video admitted he wasn’t in search of a full-time job, because he was getting paid $22 an hour tot hold his protest sign). That means some power seeker is doing the old Lenin/Stalin/Alinsky/Piven practice of creating chaos for the purpose of creating opportunity to seize power.
What they don’t know is that we have the choice to reject both chaos and tyranny, by following the rules of freedom and civilization that allow us to thrive in the northern idea hemisphere. The choice requires adhering to the freedom-protecting laws in our Constitution, while adhering to God’s laws for civilization. Not easy, but we can do it.