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Authoritarianism and American politics
(04-12-2018, 06:56 PM)Mikebert Wrote: Looks like Kinser has left.

Few remain.  I'm on and off myself, and you seem to be as well.  The lively discussion that used to exist on the old site is a faint memory.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
I began to run out of things to say well before the close of the old TFT site. Lately, I've noticed that I have started to run out of things to say to other, unrelated forums.
Guess what? Authoritarians love President Trump. Anti-authoritarians loathe him. 

The Contract With Authoritarianism

[Image: thomas-b-edsall-thumbLarge-v2.png]
By Thomas B. Edsall
Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C. on politics, demographics and inequality.

from the New York Times

[Image: merlin_111734600_04d4b97b-74b5-4fe9-b00f...&auto=webp]

In 1994, Newt Gingrich, brandishing his Contract with America, led a Republican revolution that swept aside Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate, initiating an epoch of conservative ascendancy that lingers on. Don Sipple, a Republican campaign consultant, declared at the time that the 1994 midterms pitted a Republican Party calling for “discipline” against a Democratic Party focused on “therapy.”

Two years later, George Lakoff, a professor of linguistics at Berkeley, published “Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think,” which argued that

Quote:Deeply embedded in conservative and liberal politics are two different models of the family. Conservatism is based on a Strict Father model, while liberalism is centered on a Nurturant Parent model. These two models of the family give rise to different moral systems.

Several approaches to contemporary politics echo the insights of Sipple and Lakoff. The crucial word now, however, is authoritarianism.

The election of Donald Trump — built as it was on several long-term trends that converged in 2016 — has created an authoritarian moment. This somewhat surprising development is the subject of “Remaking Partisan Politics through Authoritarian Sorting,” a forthcoming book by the political scientists Christopher Federico, Stanley Feldman and Christopher Weber, who argue that

Quote:Three trends — polarization, media change, and the rise of what many people see as threats to the traditional social order — have contributed to a growing divide within American politics. It is a divide between those who place heavy value on social order and cohesion relative to those who value personal autonomy and independence.

The three authors use a long-established authoritarian scale — based on four survey questions about which childhood traits parents would like to see in their offspring — that asks voters to choose between independence or respect for their elders; curiosity or good manners; self-reliance or obedience; and being considerate or well-behaved. Those respondents who choose respect for elders, good manners, obedience and being well-behaved are rated more authoritarian.

The authors found that in 1992, 62 percent of white voters who ranked highest on the authoritarian scale supported George H.W. Bush. In 2016, 86 percent of the most authoritarian white voters backed Trump, an increase of 24 percentage points.

my comment: Ouch!
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.

(04-19-2018, 11:38 AM)David Horn Wrote:
(04-12-2018, 06:56 PM)Mikebert Wrote: Looks like Kinser has left.

Few remain.  I'm on and off myself, and you seem to be as well.  The lively discussion that used to exist on the old site is a faint memory.

I rarely reply to two people in the same post but here I think it necessary.  The old forum had decades of content and was connected to the authors as well as high google traffic.  This forum lacks those features.  Furthermore many of those here from the old forum have grown tired debating the same topics with the same people with the same results.

I for one am enjoying the regenracy.  It is nice to actually be able to struggle to find people to work at a coffee shop because we are approaching full employment.  But again that points to my correct analysis that Trump was indeed the GC, reguardless of his questionable choices in hair dye and bronzer.

Meh I suppose Boomers just gotta do their Boomerishness ©.
It really is all mathematics.

Turn on to Daddy, Tune in to Nationalism, Drop out of UN/NATO/WTO/TPP/NAFTA/CAFTA Globalism.
(05-08-2018, 02:38 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: <snip> a bunch of bullshit </snip>

I find it hilarious that PBR uses an Answer Coalition protest outside of one o Daddy's buildings in his screed. I wonder if he even knows what the Answer Coalition is, or the fact that that they are a front group for the Avakianite faction of the Communists. As someone who was a Marxist-Leninist for over two decades I can assure you that the RCP is authoritarian, like are all other Communist Parties.

Of course then again he also still reads the New York Times. I've yet to find a use for it beyond it being more absorbent than Scotts tissue. But then again the same could have been said of Pravda back in the day before it became the Russian equivalent of the National Enquirer.
It really is all mathematics.

Turn on to Daddy, Tune in to Nationalism, Drop out of UN/NATO/WTO/TPP/NAFTA/CAFTA Globalism.
This editorial cartoon got a cartoonist fired. [Image: 25d78819740189362b662471afdccd1a72182205...=800&h=452]

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fires editorial cartoonist critical of President Trump

An award-winning editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette whose sketches have been critical of President Donald Trump was fired Thursday.

Rob Rogers, a Pulitzer Prize finalist who had been with the daily newspaper in Pittsburgh for 25 years, announced his own firing via Twitter. He tweeted, "Sad to report this update: Today, after 25 years as the editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I was fired."

In a statement emailed to ABC News on Friday, Rogers said he is "troubled" by management's decision and how the newspaper's leadership has "veered away from core journalistic values" in recent months.

"I am incredibly proud of the 34 years I have spent drawing editorial cartoons in Pittsburgh -- 25 of them at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I felt I was a valued and respected member of a quality newspaper staff. This situation changed dramatically and abruptly in recent months," Rogers said in the statement.

"The Post-Gazette’s leadership has veered away from core journalistic values that embrace diverse opinions and public discourse on important issues. I am especially troubled that management’s decision to fire me discounts the thousands of readers who turn to the Post-Gazette for editorials, columns, and cartoons that, while not always reflecting their own positions, challenge preconceived notions and invite thought, conversation, and keep the civic conversation going. I fear that today’s unjustified firing of a dissenting voice on the editorial pages will only serve to diminish an opinion section that was once one of America’s best."

"I love what I do and will continue to find ways to do it and get it out there. The world needs satire now more than ever," Rogers added.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto issued a statement about Rogers' termination, saying it is "disappointing" and "sets a low standard."
"The move today by the leadership of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to fire Rob Rogers after he drew a series of cartoons critical of President Trump is disappointing, and sends the wrong message about press freedoms in a time when they are under siege," Peduto, a Democrat, said in the statement Thursday. "This is precisely the time when the constitutionally-protected free press –- including critics like Rob Rogers -– should be celebrated and supported, and not fired for doing their jobs. This decision, just one day after the President of the United States said the news media is 'Our Country's biggest enemy,' sets a low standard in the 232-year history of the newspaper."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published its own article on Rogers' firing that included a statement from the newspaper's chief human resources officer, Stephen Spolar.

"The Post-Gazette does not provide details about employment matters, but in light of Mr. Rogers’ public comments today, we do want to acknowledge his long service to the newspaper and our community. Any further discussions will be conducted with Mr. Rogers as a private matter," Spolar said in the statement.

Spolar did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Friday.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also reported that its editorial director, Keith Burris, had nixed a number of Rogers' cartoons in recent weeks, including some depicting Trump.

In an interview with one of the newspaper's reporters, Burris said he didn't "suppress" Rogers' sketches but was trying to address the "tone and frequency" of his cartoons about the president.

"I asked for broader topics and could they be funnier?" Burris told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Burris did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Friday.

Earlier this month, Rogers posted a series of tweets explaining that he would be taking some vacation days until "issues" between him and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette were resolved.

"I love what I do. Now, more than ever, I believe in the power of satire and the public dialogue that it can create," he tweeted on June 6. "I can't get into specifics here, but I felt that it was best under the circumstances to take some vacation days until issues with the Post-Gazette are resolved."

[Image: Dfla5ZoXkAERmqC.jpg]

More here at ABC News.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.

Authoritarianism, ethical blindness, and cruelty go together, whether on the Left (Stalin, Mao), Right (Hitler, Pinochet), or ambiguous (Idi Amurderin', Satan Hussein).
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.

From one of our Polish friends.

Quote:What to Expect?

   They will come to power with a campaign based on fear, scaremongering and distorting the truth. Nevertheless, their victory will be achieved through a democratic electoral process. But beware, as this will be their argument every time you question the legitimacy of their actions. They will claim a mandate from the People to change the system.

   Remember – gaining power through a democratic system does not give them permission to cross legal boundaries and undermine said democracy.

   They will divide and rule. Their strength lies in unity, in one voice and one ideology, and so should yours. They will call their supporters Patriots, the only “true Americans”. You will be labelled as traitors, enemies of the state, unpatriotic, the corrupt elite, the old regime trying to regain power. Their supporters will be the “People”, the “sovereign” who chose their leaders.

   Don’t let them divide you – remember you’re one People, one Nation, with one common good.

   Through convoluted laws and threats they will try to control mainstream media and limit press freedom. They will ban critical press from their briefings, calling them “liars”, “fake news”. They will brand those media as “unpatriotic”, acting against the People (see point 2).

   Fight for every media outlet, every journalist that is being banned, censored, sacked or labelled an “enemy of the state” – there’s no hope for freedom where there is no free press.

   They will create chaos, maintain a constant sense of conflict and danger. It will be their argument to enact new authoritarian laws, each one further limiting your freedoms and civil liberties. They will disguise them as being for your protection, for the good of the People.

   See through the chaos, the fake danger, expose it before you wake up in a totalitarian, fascist state.

   They will distort the truth, deny facts and blatantly lie. They will try to make you forget what facts are, sedate your need to find the truth. They will feed “post-truths” and “alternative facts”, replace knowledge and logic with emotions and fiction.

   Always think critically, fact-check and point out the truth, fight ignorance with facts.

   They will incite and then leak fake, superficial “scandals”. They will smear opposition with trivial accusations, blowing them out of proportion and then feeding the flame. This is just smokescreen for the legal steps they will be taking towards totalitarianism.

   See through superficial topics in mainstream media (see point 3) and focus on what they are actually doing.

   They will propose shocking laws to provoke your outrage. You will focus your efforts on fighting them, so they will seemingly back off, giving you a false sense of victory. In the meantime they will push through less “flashy” legislation, slowly dismantling democracy (see points 4 and 6).

   Focus your fight on what really matters.

   When invading your liberal sensibilities they will focus on what hurts the most – women and minorities. They will act as if democracy was majority rule without respect for the minority. They will paint foreigners and immigrants as potential threats. Racial, religious, sexual and other minorities will become enemies to the order and security they are supposedly providing. They will challenge women’s social status, undermine gender equality and interfere with reproductive rights (see point 7). But it means they are aware of the threat women and minorities pose to their rule, so make it your strength.

   Women and minorities should fight the hardest, reminding the majority what true democracy is about.

   They will try to take control of the judiciary. They will assault your highest court. They need to remove the checks and balances to be able to push through unconstitutional legislation. Controlling the judiciary they can also threat anyone that defies them with prosecution, including the press (see point 3).

   Preserve the independence of your courts at all cost, they are your safety valve, the safeguard of the rule of law and the democratic system.

   They will try to limit freedom of assembly, calling it a necessity for your security. They will enact laws prioritizing state events and rallies, or those of a certain type or ideology. If they can choose who can demonstrate legally, they have a legal basis to forcefully disperse or prosecute the rest.

   Oppose any legislation attempting to interfere with freedom of assembly, for whatever reason.

   They will distort the language, coin new terms and labels, repeat shocking phrases until you accept them as normal and subconsciously associate them with whom they like. A “thief”, “liar” or “traitor” will automatically mean the opposition, while a “patriot” or a “true American” will mean their follower (see point 2). Their slogans will have double meaning, giving strength to their supporters and instilling angst in their opponents.

   Fight changes in language in the public sphere, remind and preserve the true meaning of words.

   They will take over your national symbols, associate them with their regime, remake them into attributes of their power. They want you to forget that your flag, your anthem and your symbols belong to you, the People, to everyone equally. Don’t let them be hijacked. Use and expose them in your fight as much as they do.

   Show your national symbols with pride, let them give you strength, not associate you with the tyranny they brought onto your country.

   They will try to rewrite history to suit their needs and use the education system to support their agenda. They will smear any historical or living figure who wouldn’t approve of their actions, or distort their image to make you think they would. They will place emphasis on historical education in schools, feeding young minds with the “only correct” version of history and philosophy. They will raise a new generation of voters on their ideology, backing it with a distorted interpretation of history and view of the world.

   Guard the education of your children, teach them critical thinking, ensure their open-mindedness and protect your real history and heritage.

   They will alienate foreign allies and partners, convincing you don’t need them. They won’t care for the rest of the world, with their focus on “making your country great again”. While ruining your economy to fulfil their populist promises, they will omit the fact that you’re part of a bigger world whose development depends on cooperation, on sharing and on trade.

   Don’t let them build walls promising you security instead of bridges giving you prosperity.

   They will eventually manipulate the electoral system. They might say it’s to correct flaws, to make it more fair, more similar to the rest of the world, or just to make it better. Don’t believe it. They wouldn’t be messing with it at all if it wasn’t to benefit them in some way.

   Oppose any changes to electoral law that an authoritarian regime wants to enact – rest assured it’s only to help them remain in power longer.

And above all, be strong, fight, endure, and remember you’re on the good side of history.
EVERY authoritarian, totalitarian and fascist regime in history eventually failed, thanks to the PEOPLE.

– With love, your Eastern European friends

Does this sound familiar?
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.

Yes, Poles are among most tribalistic groups, together with the Jews and the Japanese.
...but I could make the case that among religious groups in America, white Protestant fundamentalists have shown by their voting (with comparatively few exceptions) that they are extremely tribal. They do not trust anything that looks or acts exotic -- even in having any obvious ties to any European culture. To them, Beethoven is suspect. They have been divorced from the UK of their origins.

We may be going back to a split of four distinct regional waves of American settlement in pre-Revolutionary times as shown in David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed. The largely middle-class settlers of early New England were largely from southeastern England, and they brought with them the Congregational (Puritan) churches. Settling a part of the New World that had few of the things that get-rich-quick settlers wanted (the climate was too harsh for subtropical crops that could be grown cheaply and sold profitably in Europe, no precious metals, and no practically First Peoples to exploit, they created a largely-self-sufficient world in which commerce as capitalist enterprise would be necessary. The rocky soils made expansive agriculture impossible. Institutions developed under those conditions, and violence was low. The criminal justice system was rigid, and people were expected to take their disputes to courts of laws instead of settling them in duels or drunken brawls.  Slavery? Attempts failed because the Africans died in the harsh winters.

Southeastern Pennsylvania and most of New Jersey were different in being settled by more idealistic Quakers who were more working-class in origin from the English Midlands and Wales and by German and Swiss Pietists (like Mennonites) who had much the same religious values. They had less trust in outward shows of success, and thus little use for ornamentation that showed worldly gain, than the Quakers and Pietists. They put little value in front yards. They were more humanitarian in their ideals than other settlers. Although southeastern Pennsylvania is almost as warm as slave-holding northern Virginia, the Quakers and Pietists thought slavery an abomination because it implied people living slothfully upon the toil of others. 

The Tidewater region (southeastern Virginia, the Carolinas, and much of Maryland) attracted Cavaliers, heavily second-and-third sons of aristocrats of the English Southwest, who came to the American Southeast to set up their own aristocratic domain. All that was lacking was the peasantry -- and nobody was going to take the dangerous overseas journey to a disease-ridden, rough colony when they could remain similarly oppressed on some aristocratic plantation in southwestern England. The Cavaliers brought over indentured servants who were highly likely to die before their indentures expired and could get a piece of land on which to be somewhat like an aristocrat. The First Peoples would never fit the highly-subordinate roles of near-slaves, and were likely to escape and bring back uninvited guests (their tribes who would put an end to such subjection in the most forcible way possible). The Cavaliers found a solution: slavery. That made all the difference in the world.

The fourth wave of Backwoodsmen was people from the rough-and-tumble world of the people of the wild English North, southern Scotland (which really is English), and Northern Ireland, an area of herdsmen whose capital was their livestock. Not so tied to land ownership as a measure of wealth, they ended up with quite possibly the least-valuable terrain of eastern North America, the Appalachians. They did not get along with any of the other waves of settlers -- too organized, to repressive, or with a slave institution. They could live on less (which explains why Appalachia is still a poor area).  Where they lived were practically no slaves -- and they were hostile to the Confederacy. They hated the planter class of the South, and their presence in eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia explains why the Union could gain ground in mountainous terrain usually unsuited to military maneuvers. (Tennessee voted on whether to secede or stay with the Union, and the vote was nearly 50-50 with planters in western Tennessee wishing to go with the Confederacy having the bare majority. Slaves were not asked). Western parts of Virginia did their own secession in 1863, the Backwoodsmen seceding from Virginia. Virginia and West Virginia have typically been very dissimilar in voting, Virginia being Democratic as a piece of the former Confederacy until 1948 with West Virginia being Republican until the coal miners got political power -- and more recently, as the coal miners lost their political power and Virginia became full of government employees and contractors, Virginia has become more Democratic than the American average (descendants of slaves have a role in that) while West Virginia has become very Republican.

So, you say, that is not the whole story. Sure. It neglects the outflow of French-Canadians into Maine and New Hampshire; the Dutch settlement of what is now Greater New York City and the Hudson Valley, the Spanish settlements in Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Florida; and some later immigrant waves from Ireland, southern Europe (especially Italy but also Greece and Portugal); later waves of Germans, west Slavs, and Scandinavians; Asian groups; the more recent Hispanic influx; and above all the huge early Irish influx.

Let's start with the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam; it wasn't particularly Dutch, with the Dutch as the minority in the short time of its existence.  New Amsterdam, northeastern New Jersey, and the Hudson Valley attracted a huge contingent of Huguenots, French and Belgian Calvinists whose religion was identical to the Dutch Reformed Church except for having its services in French. The Dutch assimilated them. Also, New Amsterdam had large numbers of Calvinist Germans from a time in which the distinction between Germany and Holland was not so clear as it is today. The Dutch attracted Scandinavian sailors who decided to stay. As is so today there even were people with Spanish surnames -- but those were not Puerto Ricans and Dominicans as one might expect today. They were Jews, Sephardic Jews who had fled the Inquisition and its consequences. The Dutch also had African slaves to do the dirtiest work available. New York City has been a multi-ethnic community from when it was New Amsterdam.

The small and short-lived Swedish settlement in Delaware did not last long, The Dutch took it over, and turned it over to the British with New Netherland in return for Suriname and what are now the Dutch Antilles. The Dutch still have the Dutch Antilles, and it too is a multi-ethnic community not particularly Dutch.

The Irish? That is the biggest early wave of immigration in the time after American independence. They are not to be confused with the Protestant Scots-Irish who largely settled (?) the Backwoods of Appalachia and the Ozarks . Their Catholic religion set them apart from all prior waves of settlement. But they took over institutions as people from New England, New York, New Jersey, and southeastern Pennsylvania moved west. Irish Catholics took over political and cultural institutions as descendants of Puritans and Quakesr abandoned their original places of settlement for richer lands in the Midwest. Irish Catholics also settled in the Midwest. German Catholics, and largely-Catholic Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Italians, and Portuguese did much the same around 1900. More recently, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans have done much the same more recently.

Southern Louisiana? The French influence remains. Cajun (white) and Creole (black) populations are very good at assimilating those who come into their communities. These are distinct communities in America.

Florida? Florida has never fit well into any region of America, not being an attractive area for people from the rest of America until the invention of air conditioning until about the middle of the 20th century.

Now for the Wild West. Some parts, like Nebraska and Utah, never were wild. Have you ever noticed how few violent Westerns are set in Nebraska? It was settled by people from Puritan and Quaker stock, so it never was the sort of place in which one could be thoroughly wild. Utah was settled by Mormons, whose origins are largely in New England. A Wild West outlaw would find Utah a fatal mistake, as a noose awaited him. Scandinavians fit the English pattern in the parts of the Midwest west of Lake Michigan.

The wildness of the Wild West was heavily associate with the Backwoods types who saw quick bucks from either mining (gold and silver were much more lucrative than coal if one was lucky) or cattle-driving. These were the ones most likely to get their pay, get drunk, and get violent. They were also likely to stir up trouble with First Peoples and the descendants of Spanish settlers or settled and assimilated First Peoples. The West could be as easily Little House on the Prairie as Gunsmoke, with Bonanza as an intermediate.

As for the Hispanic world -- it has been part of America since before there was a United States of America. The oldest European settlement in the New World is Saint Augustine, Florida. Cities on or near the California coastline from Santa Rosa to San Diego show their Spanish heritage from their names as cities on El Camino Real or the Cabrillo Highway, both mission trails. Tucson, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, El Paso, San Antonio, Laredo, Corpus Christi, and Galveston (Galvez' Town) were also all Spanish settlements.  Whether it assimilates 'Anglo ways' or assimilates Anglos is a huge ambiguity.  When  the break-away republic of Texas was in its earliest stages, there was some question of whether it would be the Republic of Texas or la Republica de Tejas.  


[Image: albion_gene.jpg]
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.

Good summary, pbrower, and that's such a great map. It is from a genetics research company ad, isn't it? I remember seeing it on my feeds and thinking of how it confirms David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed, as well as Kevin Phillips' The Cousins' Wars.
Steve Barrera

[A]lthough one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation. - Hagakure

Saecular Pages
(04-12-2018, 06:56 PM)Mikebert Wrote: Looks like Kinser has left.

Good riddance, I say.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Tyranny always allows people the illusion that strange as things are, they will be reversed when the danger fades. Some new danger always emerges. (Yes. I have been watching The Dictator's Playbook on PBS. Do you despise Kim il-Sung, Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, and Idi Amin? (It is a six-part series, and Hitler was mentioned -- mostly for learning his tricks of his demonic trade from Mussolini). Producers of the short series saw no need to mention Hitler because his story is all-too-well-known. No living current or former dictator is mentioned, and no royals were mentioned.

Remember well -- Donald Trump is not the cause, but instead the symptom of the debasement of the American way of life. We got lulled into believing that if we acceded to the will of people who recognize responsibility toward them but none of their own toward the masses we would get unparalleled prosperity. We are seeing all that used to be good in America disintegrating because America is in thrall to people who see their own gain, indulgence, and power as the definitive good no matter how much misery such imposes.

Things used to be good -- really good -- for a lot of us. Many of us react to the decay by living in the past, enjoying our old memories and our old stores of experiential wealth like books, videos, and music while our world begins to look like an aristocratic society with the sick bonus of a Soviet-style nomenklatura determining who gets what. Survival becomes a privilege and life gets dreary.

Many of us hate the work that has devolved upon us, the communities in which we are stranded, and perhaps even worse the directive to smile to show love for our masters.

Trump is the symptom. The people who really rule us will play some legerdemain upon us. If Trump is unpopular enough he will be off the scene so that we get some election that brings someone who slows and even slightly undoes the rot. But don't worry. Those elites still have the means for buying the system in the next elections because things aren't quite perfect. There will be another Trump-like figure -- maybe someone who better knows how to gut democracy because he is less ignorant of the vulnerabilities of our political system. One step back and two steps forward is sometimes more effective than the blatant coup. Maybe it is not as swift as a coup, but it is as effective.

So that beast creates fear, finds a visible enemy against whom 'Americans' can see as an enemy. crushes dissent with violence, We wallow deeper in nostalgia, perhaps taking out the good china for dining upon coarser foods -- beans and potatoes instead of steak and seafood, trying to delude ourselves into believing that because we eat ultra-cheap food upon once-precious things that we cannot sell that we are doing better than we might. That dictator will blame some current model minority far better than the dictatorial clique for causing great pain and suffering.

Meanwhile, people start disappearing into the night. Kids know that it is wise to join a politicized youth league that praises the Leader but has little to offer (as do all fascist causes) suffering and death in return for vague promises of national greatness. Our masters, consummately ruthless, rapacious, and unfeeling, are no better than similar people who destroyed democracy elsewhere.

This may seem like tin-foil rhetoric, and I wish that I felt something different. I have been around long enough to know that if something does not feel good and cannot be explained with some compelling evidence of its necessity, it probably is bad.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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