“Despotism” (video)

Thanks to Twitter friend @PhoinixArt, I was pointed to this fascinating 1946 film from the Encyclopedia Britannica on “Despotism.”


There’s an obvious Hitler and Stalin connection, especially given the times, but if you look and listen carefully, the points are both general and valid. And some of the images and references are local (U.S.-based). This isn’t propaganda, not at the core anyway.

Watch; I found it fascinating.

You could actually measure today’s America by those standards and get a pretty accurate result — not a pretty one, but an accurate one.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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  • What Bill said!

  • Bill_Perdue

    Don’t worry about what Fox says and don’t compare the partisan opposition of the right to Obama to the opposition of the left.

  • mpeasee

    Talk about relevance;…that was probably the scariest short film that I have seen in a long time. Thanks for posting.

  • I have no respect for Obozo. Is that redundant enough?

  • emjayay

    The companion film isn’t bad either.


    There’s a section about Fox News, but they call it “Newspapers”.

  • Bill_Perdue

    What aspects of slashing Social Security and murdering American citizens demands respect.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The US has always been a plutocracy. That was true on the day the Constitution was ratified. In spite of the addition of the Bill of Rights the Constitution is was a law to protect the rich and slaveholders, and except for the formal abolition of slavery it remains the same today.

    The reason is fundamental and woven into the fabric of American politics and life. A tiny percentage of the population, less than .01% own the commanding heights of the economy and rake in vast profits. They’re rich enough to buy and sell politicians, the courts, including the Supremes and entire parties like the Democrats and the Republicans.

    The US was a very limited democracy, geographically and in terms of the suffrage before the Civil War but shortly after that the rich ran the Radicals out of the Republican party and divided power with the Democrats, ended Reconstruction and limited democracy became democracy in name only.

    Political democracy is moot without economic democracy. Economic democracy is socialism.

  • emjayay

    But I’ve been instructed that Obama is a despotic dictator like Hitler and I know we should believe whatever we’re told by Fox News without question.

  • emjayay

    OK, fine, but I already sent the Gentilhomme resort a deposit.

  • emjayay

    Perhaps you might want to rewatch the Respect Scale section.

  • emjayay

    He’s a bit old. Good thing he has an equally rational son to carry the flame.

  • UncleBucky

    And despotism has stood a good chance since 1975.

  • UncleBucky

    Hey, there’s still that valid list: 14 Points of Fascism.


  • DrDignity

    A quicker slide to inverted totalitarianism has occurred since the sad events of 11 September. A Faustian bargain was made for an ounce of security for basic freedoms and was given gladly with two hands. The themes of this documentary continue with Sheldon Wolin & Chris Hedges. Please read their excellent essays & see the slide downward to despotism. You may listen to Chris Hedges on YouTube & learn about inverted totalitarianism and see for yourself the brave, new world we are arrived at.

  • cole3244

    as our political center moves further to the right our path into fascism has already begun and imo that trend is unlikely to be stopped considering the hate and intolerance shown the left since at least 1980, our despot may be a dem but he or she will be right of center that is a certainty.

  • Well since Obozo is collecting all our conversation here, I will ask if he can detect a silent finger standing alone in the Internet(s).

  • Yep, and would have weighted that scale with anti-American, anti-democratic racist manure.

  • Some dark beast has slouched through Spain since the end of the Andalusian Renaissance by the Christian cultists.

  • “But it must be true, I saw it right here.” Santanya shouting from the grave.

  • Just finished watching the film… and um, wow? I guess this must’ve been the product of that brief post-war period of semi-enlightenment before anti-communist hysteria set in.

    I suspect there are now large segments of American society which would see many of the points made in that film as heretical and unAmerican. “Teaching critical thinking?! Blasephemy!” (That indoctrination-loving schoolteacher was scary…and I think I’ve run into her type once or twice. Fortunately most of my teachers were of the other sort, and who encouraged my independence.)

    I guess the one scene that kind of rocked me back on my heels was when the narrator remarked (paraphrasing) that racism and religious-based discrimination was bad. This, in an era where segregation was essentially still the law of the land. (And probably unconsciously, even the film wasn’t immune — there were no non-white people among any of the actors.)

  • Great find! Thanks for posting.

    BTW, in Spain, the right-wing Partido Popular is again attempting to whitewash the history and legacy of Franco:

    “Madrid’s dangerous attempt to distort the history of the Spanish civil war”


  • Yep, I remember reading about that. (My wife, on the other hand, lived through it.)

    If it wasn’t so sad, it’d almost be funny how often the people and our elected leaders have to know that something is blatantly illegal or unconstitutional but then collectively throw up their hands and say, “Meh, we want to do it anyway, so we’re gonna.”

    And it’s almost never for something that advances freedoms or justice.

  • Naja pallida

    Except, there has been eavesdropping on Americans for as long as there has been the capability of electronic communications. Each time they’re caught, they just move the goal posts for what is acceptable, and the American people shrug and go back to their television.

  • Naja pallida

    You can thank Eisenhower’s having been “born again” in 1953 for the extra push in Congress.

  • Only after several blows to the head or an intellect-crippling stroke.

  • That’s because it was added in 1954, after a long campaign of intense Congressional lobbying by the Knights of Columbus.

    The original Bellamy salute, which was essentially identical to the Nazi salute, was removed in 1942 in place of the hand over the heart.

    Personally, even in grade school, I found the pledge to be a disturbing thing and seemed even to my precocious little mind to be an obviously unconstitutional promotion of monotheism.

  • Naja pallida

    Because, I mean, Ron Paul only wants no public education – and making everyone dumber would definitely help the rampant ignorance problem we have. He also wants no EPA, no Dept. of the Interior and no Commerce Dept. because we all know that corporations just have the environment, and all our best interests at heart, and would only do right if they were given even more of a free hand. No to mention his desire for government to have direct access to your uterus.

    The only sane policy Ron Paul has is wanting less war, and reduce “defense” spending… but really, what good is that policy if he wants to tear down everything that we have domestically in the process?

  • jgcarter56

    Did you notice at the beginning of the video when the people were reciting the pledge of allegiance that the words “under God” were NOT said?

  • TheOriginalLiz

    well, that was depressing

  • medium lebowski

    Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. Self-toasting stupid.

  • medium lebowski

    But it goes without saying that we can trust private corporations and private security “services” with complete access to information regarding our communication, movements, purchases, medical condition, financial transactions, etc.

    We. Are. S.T.U.P.I.D.

  • nicho

    And putting a lunatic in charge helps how?

  • lynchie

    Afraid it may be too late. No one in Senate or House really wants to take power away from O. As long as he continues the GOP will have something to get their panties knotted and in the Dem count none of them really care. They all want to keep status quo. They believe it gives government power over the 99% and it does. A large number are convinced you find terrorists this way and they still believe the old Cheney/Rumsfeld/Bush horseshit that “if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to be afraid of”. Of course that depends on who is deciding what is wrong or against corporate america, or whatever. Next will be a shut down of certain parts of the Internet. These same assholes can’t/won’t do anything to really prevent cyber theft, hacking and the like. I believe a lot of viruses are created by the people who sell you anti-virus software it makes a lot of money and employes people to create and then fix said virus.

  • guest1

    Could have supported Ron Paul…

  • JayRandal

    Flagrant allowance of NSA eavesdropping on Americans’ phone calls and snooping on emails too
    becomes act of despotism. Entire US population are being abused of their constitutional rights. We
    the People have to demand NSA to be shut-down from spying on all of us. President Obama has to be
    told to pull plug on NSA or face impeachment by House and conviction for removal by Senate.

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