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Ever mindful of what happened during the first half of the 20th century, for the last six decades Europe has mounted a vigil against any rebirth of totalitarian ideology. For the first four of those six decades Soviet-led Communism stood as the model of totalitarianism to be avoided. Like its brother socialist ideologies, Nazism and Fascism, Communism exerted its political control through military force, mass imprisonment and execution of dissidents, and brutal state repression. The three totalitarian socialisms provided the template for what was to be prevented. Europe was — and remains — determined to avoid the return of the jackboot. However, while the sentinels of Social Democracy peered tirelessly over the parapets, guarding against the return of the storm troopers, another form of totalitarianism tiptoed in behind the walls and settled stealthily into place within European democratic structures. ...There is no need for the jackboot or the firing squad or the gulag to suppress dissent and enforce the doctrines of the new EUSSR. State-controlled media and academic consensus stand in absolute solidarity against heterodoxy. Social pressure and professional ostracism make an outcast of anyone who holds deviant opinions, and if such soft measures are not enough to discourage him, his employer — often an agency or affiliate of the State itself — can be relied upon to let him go. His access to state social benefits may also be curtailed. So it’s easier just to go along with the program. Enjoy your short working hours and early retirement. Relish your six or eight weeks of paid vacation every year. Be glad that you don’t have to pay for your medical care. Be content with your subsidized apartment and state-sanctioned entertainment channels on TV. Let the wonks in Brussels take care of all those complicated political questions! Why should you bother? Going against their program will only bring trouble and heartache upon you. It’s not your father’s totalitarianism. It’s a kinder, gentler jackboot. Call it the velvet jackboot — that’s what Europeans are forced to live under.