The individual solution to avoiding totalitarianism

Shortly after the turn of this century, I found myself standing in one of the halls of political power in former Czechoslovakia, after hearing the umpteenth horror story from communism, and saying to myself “I wish I could live through a little bit of communism to see how normal people allowed it to all happen.” You see, I just couldn’t believe how this stable and prosperous interwar democracy could find itself in the throes of Stalinist communism and its psychological turmoil. It was shortly after World War II though, in 1948, that the communists came to power and there was a lot of “new normal” to deal with after the horrors of war. Akin to our current era, there was even a period of Czechoslovak communism called “normalizacia” or normalization. What was this thing called normalization? It was the “second wave” of Stalinism led by the old guard, a return after the liberalization of the 1968 Prague Spring to the most oppressive communism, a “new normal.” Normalization lasted from…