This week at the Chautauqua Institution I have plenty of sources for discussion. But let me begin with the words of Maria Popova:
“’Under conditions of terror,’ Hannah Arendt wrote in her classic treatise on the normalization of evil, ‘most people will comply but some people will not… No more is required, and no more can reasonably be asked, for this planet to remain a place fit for human habitation.’ Under such conditions, counting ourselves among the few who refuse to comply has less to do with whether we believe ourselves to be good than it does with the deliberate protections we must place between unrelenting evil and our own sanity and goodness, for among the most insaning aspects of tyrannical regimes is the Stockholm syndrome of the psyche they inflict upon us — upon ordinary people, not-evil people, people who consider themselves decent and good, but who slowly, through a cascade of countless small concessions, lose sight of the North Star of their native moral compass.”
In today’s troubling times, I worry for my children, my grandchildren, and even myself. God gives each of us that native moral compass called a conscience, but that conscience is under constant attack by those who would ask in the name of “getting along,” “compromise,” or “it won’t make a difference” encourage us to turn a deaf ear to conscience.
Pay attention to the small attacks on conscience. The path to tyranny begins with small steps not giant leaps.
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