In the last few years, there’s been some discussion of how an increasingly progressive statist government can exercise massive authority over citizens. Something that comes up every so often, especially when discussing FDR and/or liberal fascists in general is the internment of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. Over this summer, I visited one of the remaining camp sites, which was a rather surreal experience. I called a few friends from the site of an American concentration camp and mentioned how wholly bizarre of a feeling it was to be standing where once around 11,000 people were imprisoned by their own government on suspicions based almost exclusively on ethnic background, deprived of rights and property solely because the government said so.
The Heart Mountain internment camp is located in northwestern Wyoming, and in 1942 would’ve been much more the middle of nowhere than it is now. It’s far, far off the beaten path, and now out of sight and out of mind for most people. And then there’s that saying about those who forget history…
Note that construction began in June 1942 and by August 1942 the first citizens were interned in the camp.
Try rereading that last sentence again.
It’s important to note that it is a concentration camp. It’s often referred to as an “internment” or “relocation” camp because the historical meaning of concentration camp has been almost completely dominated by those used by America’s enemies in WWII, and is considered interchangeable with death camp.
It is quite eerie how the structures that remain standing look very similar to those vastly more lethal camps on the other side of the planet, except these camps in the US are almost totally forgotten.
During the last week or so, SiriusXM Patriot Channel host Andrew Wilkow has been using internment of Japanese Americans as historical example of what a democracy that overrides the rules of a republic can do; of how a majority of 51% can be a tyranny of 51%. I’d been planning a post for a while, but hearing it mentioned a few times in the last week finally got me to dig up the pictures.
The Heart Mountain Foundation has a website and museum about the camp. They were closed when I got there, but it was a lot more haunting to walk around empty grounds of a camp as the sun was going down than it would’ve been to just visit a museum.