Long Live The King

It’s just the only way to reach my home again, the only way I’ll fall and break.

Laura Smith


Come hell or high water there will be a new episode of the podcast tonight. Look for more of my conversation and music by the lovely Laura Smith, who has been featured on the show several times.   I expect to be posting my podcasts more frequently in the next little while because I have a bunch of ideas and plans to hatch. Kern and I touch on some interesting topics and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Exciting news today out of North Korea. The ruling party swept the recent election in which they ran unopposed! Despite my willingness to weigh in on the taboo topic of religion on this blog, I have generally avoided making too many statements abut the economy or politics.  You can search around WordPress to find people who are far more qualified and far more interested in these issues.  Watching political leaders practice the art of the possible while yelling, arguing, and making ridiculous claims generally bores me to death. But one thing that does get me excited is any talk of facism, dictators, and authoritarian government.  It’s just such a fascinating topic.  Often the cult of the leader takes on religious-like qualities, and that is likely the source of my interest (remember I’m also fascinated by “traditional cults” and new religious movements).

I should start by saying there is no redeeming feature  of mass-murder, torture, assassinations, or any of the other absolutely atrocious activities of most dictators. That aside, I’m fascinated by how willing we are to allow ourselves to be dominated by other people.  This isn’t some rant about conformity, claiming we are all “sheep,” but rather an observation that history has shown that people don’t care that much about their leadership if they are happy or feel that they can’t do anything about the situation.  I mention this because I want to recommend a great book: What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder, and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany. This lengthy tome was put together by a sociologist and a historian. They surveyed and interviewed German Jews and other Germans to discover what they knew about the holocaust during the 1930’s and 40’s.  It is absolutely amazing.  One quick caution: the book is written by two academics and contains raw survey data, commentary, and interviews.  It’s style is not that of a popular history because the others are more interested in presenting the facts than jazzing it up. This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in learning about WWII, the holocaust, Nazism, or genocide.

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