A Hundred Little Steps

People always think they wouldn’t have taken part in the unjust and evil deeds of totalitarian rule. But most of them are wrong, the Corona crisis proved this to me. Most people either cheer for unjust and evil or stay silent. Only a few see the creeping loss of freedom, one step at a time until it is a hundred little steps.

You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow […] But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds of thousands will join with you, never comes. […] If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes millions would have been sufficiently shocked […] But of course, this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next.

Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free