I was looking at a G+ conversation initiated by Eric Raymond when someone of libertarian, nevertrump bent started utterly going off the rails about Trump being a fascist bent on taking over the USA, and his moves just being preparation for a coup.
A bit of background. Eric is a libertarian who *explicitly changed his registration to Republican to vote for someone other than Trump in the primaries, but since the election, has found himself defending Trump more and more as the left has become increasingly more unhinged. This has resulted in a contentious series of G+ postings.
An interesting question came up though – what were the warning signs of a tyrant? Eric’s answer:
What’s your personal canary in the coal mine?
That’s finally a constructive question.
I have several: attempts at prior censorship, attempts to restrict the possession of weapons by political opponents, attempts to coerce the legislature, attempts to amend the constitution to vest more power in El Maximum Lider.
I didn’t pick these out of a hat. I’ve studied the history of fascism and totalitarian revolutions in detail. This was formative of my politics.
We’e not even seeing state-centralist rhetoric from Trump, let alone any of these moves.
Here’s one to watch for that generally precedes all of them: the formation of a Sturmabteilung- or baseej-like paramilitary that answers only to the leader.
Let’s take a look at these in light of the two major US parties.
**Attempts at prior censorship: **
None. Nada. Threatening to sue after something untrue gets published doesn’t count. If calling the news fake counts – see Obama – but I disagree that it’s censorship, or necessarily a bad thing. Even under Obama, I considered it to be an example of who he considered his enemies, and found it more of a concern when he’d work to block certain outlets from having the same access as the rest of the press, whereas Trump is reducing access to the White House grounds by the press in general, yet, despite mocking outlets that have admitted to carrying water for the Democrats, gives them the same access to press conferences.
Given that even the very uniformly liberal press that carried water for Hillary ended up complaining about how far more secretive the “most transparent administration ever” was, my sympathies for “less access to white house grounds” without having to set appointments, etc. is limited.
Hell, Trump wants them to step on their dick. It’s easier to do that when he gives them the rope to hang themselves.
Attempts to restrict the possession of weapons by political opponents:
I would tell my daughter that those who want to control you do not want you to be able to resist.
One side wants all of the citizens to be disarmed – and thus, no longer free citizens. The other is pushing for concealed carry reciprocity, and appears friendly to constitutional carry.
Attempts to coerce the legislature:
Define “coerce”. Everything is a negotiation. The entire point of our governmental structure is that they are supposed to be at odds with each other, and through the means built into the constitution, and by appealing to the voters, convince each other it’s in their own, and the country’s, best interest, to help promote a certain policy.
I have to take coerce to mean not just threatening a politicians re-electability with the public, but 9mm (or higher caliber) lobotomies, threats to murder or kidnap family, etc.
In that context, neither party has crossed the line. That said, the de facto cover provided by the media and leftist politicians for black lives matter, radical muslims, and protestors as they loot, break, and burn, and assault people is troubling. Nice shopping district you’ve got there, be a shame if anything happened to it.
Attempts to amend the constitution to vest more power in El Maximum Lider:
All sides have pushed the boundaries of executive authority in the last few decades, but one has informed us that he won, he has a pen and a phone.
It seems that Trump is far more affective at using them.
I’ll gladly push for reductions in executive power – once previous EO’s are repealed – but I’m not going to cry that Trump is playing the game by the same de-facto rules that the left have been.
That said, nothing in the Trump campaign promises or actions now show that he is attempting to get the constitution changed to give the government in general, much less him more power.
No, keeping a private security firm doesn’t count, as they’re not being sent out to crack heads, but, given that various SS people have publicly proclaimed they wouldn’t do their jobs, necessary extra precautions.
Even under Obama the closest we came was the massive up-arming of various agencies that, frankly, don’t need all the weapons, much less armored riot vehicles. Is this a full blown guard of the true believers? No – but it certainly is out of place with the needs of the respective agencies, and leads to why are we providing more deadly force to the state, in the hands of bureaucracies who’s baseline assumptions are more liberal and socialist/progressive?
**State Centralist Rhetoric: **
There is a difference between nationalist rhetoric and state-centralist rhetoric. The nation and its people are not the government. One deals with preserving a shared set of assumptions and population groups, the other with gathering power to the state.
Trump is trying to destroy or hamstring agencies, and massively cut regulations. This is the diametric opposite of “state centralist”.
The Democrats, on the other hand…..
Update: * I added this in to make clearer that Eric’s politics were not Democrat/Republican aligned.