12 Nov 2008

Essays on Closing Societies

Events of recent history are an exercise lesson in the meaning of an ancient Chinese Curse:  “May you live in interesting times.”  Events in the world, technological, social and political, are leading us towards an unprecedented string of closing societies.  Closing societies are characterized by increasingly harsh penal institutions, dramatic curtailment of social and political rights, a rapid decline in governmental accountability, and deliberate programs to quell any protests against these changes.


We have seen many closing societies over the past century come and go, but never without serious and lingering consequences.  In the 1920s to 1940s, we saw three such examples of closing societies unfold:  Nazi Germany, Hirohito’s Japan, and Mussolini’s Italy.  The closing of these societies and their subsequent imperialistic motivations were the primary cornerstone that led the world into the horrors of World War II.


We saw this process of closing societies repeat itself with the birth of the Soviet Union and Communist China, events that sparked decades of cold war spying, covert political plots, and both economic and militaristic sabotage efforts by both sides.  The consequence of these closing societies has been perpetual distrust between Eastern and Western developed societies.


Today, we stand at the threshold of a new round of closing societies.  This time, the main driving forces behind the closing societies is technology.  As governmental entities incorporate new computer and video surveillance technologies, the potential for a police-state to develop and misuse these technologies is growing rapidly.  The lessons of history are all we have standing between us and fulfillment of the Orwellian prophecy.


  • Given the current state of affairs in the world, identify the most likely candidates for closure and present your arguments for their inclusion on the list.  What sociopolitical environment seems most conducive to such closure?  What technologies and/or policies currently “on the books” might contribute to such closure and what available technologies might assist or hamper such closure?
  • The White Rose Society was a group of college students in Nazi Germany who dared speak out against Hitler and his leadership.  For this, they were found by the Gestapo and executed for sedition and treason.  Compare and contrast these events with reported events involving the Department of Homeland Security.  Are there reasons for concern by the American citizenry?
  • In the 1930s, Hitler had numerous “detainment” camps established throughout Germany into which various groups were exiled from society for “retraining.”  This practice was again seen in Lenin’s and Stalin’s Soviet Union.  With reports of the United States having similar facilities constructed that purportedly will hold up to a half-million people, are we seeing similar events unfold in the United States and if so, what should we do to stop it?

The closing of societies is a scary prospect, particularly when, as with Italy and Germany, those who close societies are often elected by democratic processes.  Thomas Jefferson warned us that the price of remaining a free society was eternal diligence.  The empowerment of diligence is knowledge and communication.


Research and analysis of issues such as closing societies requires skill as many of the clues revealing the closure process are hidden in numerous news stories and half-truth press releases.  Writers like ours are use to working in such environments, frequently having to draw facts together from sources corrupted by governmental and corporate propagandists.


For assistance with your article on closing societies, contact us today.

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