“If the last and worst…”

“If the last and worst act of the regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions, would have been sufficiently shocked–if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. 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 step. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to step D.”

— Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free: the Germans, 1933-45

This quote brings to mind the old story about the frog who sits in the pot as the water gets hotter and hotter, until it boils and the frog is dead.  It also illustrates how important it is to communicate with our leaders, especially those of us lucky enough to live in a society where such communication is open and encouraged.