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JAN JEKIELEK

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Jan 25, 2022
“Our idea of totalitarianism is based on the Cold War. We think of the Soviet gulags. We think of the secret police. We think of breadlines … The problem is, we don't really understand what totalitarianism is.” A soft totalitarianism is gripping the Western world, and it’s our fear of suffering and sacrifice that’s allowing it to take hold, says Rod Dreher. He’s the author of “Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents.” In the face of growing tyranny, how do we stand our ground and hold onto our values, our conscience, or our faith? "This is the source of tyranny. We are so afraid to be poor. We are so afraid to be anxious, to be unhappy that so many of us will do just about anything to avoid trouble and to protect our middle-class comfort."   Below is a rush transcript of this American Thought Leaders episode from Jan 25, 2022. This transcript may not be in its final form and may be updated.   Jan Jekielek: Rod Dreher such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders. Rob Dreher: Thanks for having me. It's great to be here. Mr. Jekielek: I've been reading “Live Not by Lies.” I've been meaning to read it for a while, I've had an incredibly powerful, frankly, experience of reading it. I'll just say it straight up. But you can tend something in this book that's very foundational to the whole, I guess, concept of what you're talking about, that a soft totalitarianism as you call it is here and ever expanding. And there's some people who would agree, but I think there's a lot of people who would wonder what you're talking about. Mr. Dreher: Well, it sounds crazy to North Americans to think that our society, our liberal democracies could be turning totalitarian. I thought it was crazy too, when I first had this proposed to me by a physician here in the United States, who called me one day back in 2015, I think it was. And we had a mutual friend, and he was very anxious. He said, "Look, my elderly mother lives with me and my wife here in America. She was born and raised in Czechoslovakia and spent four years at a communist prison being tortured for her Catholic faith, before she came to America." And she said to me, "Son, the things I see happening in America today, remind me of what things were like in my homeland, when the communist first came to power." And this is what the doctor told me, and I thought, "Well, my mom is old too. She watches a lot of cable news, maybe this old lady's just being an alarmist." But I made a habit of whenever I would travel to conferences and things like that, if I would meet someone who had immigrated to America from a communist country, I would simply ask them, "Are the things you're seeing happen in America today in ...
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      About the show
      At a time when our nation is becoming increasingly polarized, media often ignore viewpoints and stories that are worthy of attention. American Thought Leaders, hosted by The Epoch Times Senior Editor Jan Jekielek and his reporting team, features in-depth discussions with some of America’s most influential thought leaders on pertinent issues facing our nation today.
      About Jan Jekielek
      Jan Jekielek is a Senior Editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show, “American Thought Leaders.” Jan’s career has spanned academia, media, & international human rights work. In 2009 he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as Website Chief Editor. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film “Finding Manny.“
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