The oft-quoted words of Martin Niemöller about the sequential suppression of groups deemed undesirable by the Nazis stir no anxiety in the Nazis themselves. Granted, in a paranoid, authoritarian regime there will be internal strains from time to time. You want to watch your back and try to be sensitive to shifts in power, but that's upper echelon stuff. Down in the middle and lower ranks, you'll be fine if you just don't think for yourself.
Here in America, the happy followers of rising authoritarianism still talk about freedom, but they've actually given up on the idea of personal advancement. They know that the game has been rigged against them. Now they're just begging for sustenance in return for obedience, and protection in return for nationalism.
What changes as history is added? The population of humans steadily rises. Technology becomes more sophisticated. These should not be brushed off. They're critical variables. Denser populations mean we are forced into contact with each other. Technological advancements mean that people in power can exert control far more easily than control can be wrested from them. You can neither run nor hide. Back in the 1930s, you could still do both.
Because technology can't be rolled back without a pretty widespread catastrophe, our only check on its power is our own will to control it. It can't be made idiot proof. You can't set it and forget it.
I can see why hardworking people are ready to let go of democracy. I learned a few months ago that you have to contact your legislators all the time, even if you are confident that they will vote your way on an upcoming issue, because they need to be able to show supporting numbers when they're arguing for their point of view. So a voter really needs to follow every issue and ring in for or against, just to be sure that representative government is as accurately representative as possible. All this is on top of your virtuous toil in service to the economy. Day off? No such thing. You're either part of the problem or you're part of the solution. The issues never rest. Nor should you.
The realization that the work never ends feeds the desire for Utopian solutions. If everyone believed the same thing, we could all relax, because the natural flow of decision making would support the greater good. Now listen to my beliefs...
Reality is always messier than even our most chaotic imagination. Everything could be destroyed in the competition between Utopian visions. But if it doesn't feel Utopian to you, then it isn't really The One. When, oh lord, will we ever truly be able to set it and forget it?
If freedom isn't free, but nothing else is free either, what's worth the trouble at all? Freedom requires such constant maintenance that it becomes a kind of enslavement all its own. Someone sneaky or overbearing will always try to bend things for personal gain or factional advancement. It's mentally and emotionally exhausting. The simple pressure of tyranny feels like a relief. Then you know who's stepping on you, and you can focus on building up your tolerance to it. As a citizen, you no longer have the constant pressure to make the right decision. You're free to devote yourself to simple survival and pointless griping. You're absolved of guilt.