Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Is it just yet one more compound German word or does it have much greater significance? Actually it is both. The language is famous for jamming multiple words into one unwieldy (at least for those who are not familiar with Deutsch) monster of a word complete with implication and subtlety and a hyper-specific nature. One of these is “gleischaltung.”

It basically means “bringing into line” or “making the same” or basically “conditional alteration.” It became general in use during the early thirties as a means for the Nazi party to eliminate the concept of individualism in favor of thinking and action for the common support for the party. Typical of socialist doctrine the importance of each person was downplayed to elevate the Nazis as an organization and their goals. The word described the movement toward “group think.”

One of the anticipated aims was the marshaling and coordination of the youth in separate groups arranged by age and gender in progressively older units. Each group passed the fundamentals up the line as the children aged. The emphasis became more serious with each and the end product was either a worker or a soldier.

Knowledge of this propaganda structure has contributed to my outrage at the attempts so popularized on YouTube to play mind games with innocent children. To watch kindergartners (another German compound word--child’s garden) being inculcated with a praise song for an incompetent president is a step too far. Our educators have too many failures in the teaching of the basics for them to be wasting time on acting as the propaganda arm for the White House.

During my two years in Europe, I attended many parades. Each community celebrated local events and nationally recognized holidays with marching citizens. What set them apart was that as each occupational group came by they wore identical uniforms related to their organization. The coal miners wore black with shiny brass buttons and buckles, the medical types wore the traditional whites, the postal workers wore green and on it went.. The conclusion came to mind that they were uniform happy. In the passing years I have come to recognize that they were simply reluctant to give up the old habits of maintaining their group identity.

As I joined the gazillion marchers in the 9/12 parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. I made a note that no two people were identically attired. Each person chose his own outfit and in so doing, expressed his individualism quite firmly. Some better than others I might add. There were no “boiler plate” signs advertising a specific grievance. Even the chants were largely unsuccessful because they had not practiced a uniform message in advance. Each person came in protest to an individual grievance accompanied by the insistence to do it his way. By so doing, this eclectic mass of humanity very effectively gained unanimity of purpose that they could have achieved no other way. In contrast, observe ACORN or SEIU in a public demonstration with easily identified T-shirts and signage.

Although not rare in other countries there is no place in the world which celebrates individualism universally like the United States. If you doubt this I suggest you attend a school board meeting, a church building committee meeting, or just about any occasion where two or more are gathered for just about any purpose. We want to be heard and have our ideas considered. Miraculously, we manage to function like this and often obtain superior results. As Americans, we are quite accustomed to listening to others, drawing our own conclusions, making our case, participating in the decision making process, and implementing what the group decides. It all started in the first town hall meeting and continues to this day.

We do not require a 14 letter word which describes brain washing our youth and others to reach successful goals and worthwhile ends. If we are wrong-headed, someone will point it out. We still retain the right to be mistaken. I am grateful that somebody remembered it and brought it to the fore. It epitomizes everything which most of us find so offensive about the current administration. We are not and never will be robots shuffling along waiting to do our masters bidding. 1984 came and went without the predicted consequences. Let’s keep it that way.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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