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Old 03-30-2020, 08:19 PM
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What's the last stage before full-blown authoritarianism?


What's the last event that would happen before you hit the big red button on living in the United States. Like what's the last actual step before there's a full-blown authoritarian state?
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Old 03-30-2020, 08:54 PM
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I think the trigger is usually when the unwashed proletariat start rioting in the streets.

The peasants are revolting...
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Tatterdemalion View Post
The peasants are revolting...
They were always revolting. Now they're rebelling. [Dragonheart]
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:16 PM
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They certainly are.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:33 PM
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Um it occurs to me that the bit about the revolting peasants was unnecessarily flippant.

I think you can point to several historical examples from the French revolution through the Russian revolution to Venezuela just recently where street protests and rioting were the trigger for an authoritarian crackdown.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:48 PM
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:56 PM
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How do Democracies transition to dictatorships?

I don't know if there is a pattern, but it seems to involve things like:

Using emergencies, domestic or foreign threats to clamp down on civil rights.
Stacking or neutering the courts
Turning congress into an advisory body rather than a legislative one
Controlling the media
Abolishing independent labor unions, or co-opting them
Getting rid of student organizations

Historically, the US is probably less authoritarian than its been.

Jim Crow was an actual dictatorship for black people in the south. No voting rights, no protections from police brutality, domestic terrorism or crime, no right to protest or organize, (there were laws against black people organizing outside of church services), no right to serve on juries,

theres been a resurgence but we're still more free than we were in the 1940s. I don't think we go to full authoritarianism anytime soon. I think the republicans will keep declaring all out war on democracy and their voters will love it, but I think/hope the courts and constitution hold them back until their voting base dies off from old age. Thats my hope at least.
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Old 03-31-2020, 10:16 AM
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The Clash has something to say about this.

Quote:
They put up a poster saying: "We earn more than you
We're working for the clampdown
We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
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Old 03-31-2020, 11:47 AM
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We're in that "stage" now, I think. If you're looking for a tell-tale sign where we can say "zomg! authoritarianism!" we're probably gonna miss it.

Keep in mind, authoritarianism has different degrees. I have doubted that we would ever become like Nazi Germany, all living under a strict totalitarian rule from border to border. Power in the US is highly decentralized and it would be extremely difficult to pull off that kind of authoritarianism.

But we're already dealing with authoritarianism. We're living in an era in which a political minority (republicans realistically represent less than a quarter of the eligible voting population) rules the remaining majority.

As an example, the majority of people want universal access to healthcare and has wanted it for a long time, but have they gotten it? Nope. Not only that, but according to the official "elections" of 2016, we voted against the expansion of healthcare that took place in 2010.

A majority of people were against the 2017 tax cuts. Didn't matter. Couldn't stop it. Wealth and income inequality march on.

The stimulus isn't a sign of progress; it's a sign that even the plutocrats occasionally have moments of clarity and realize what they need to do to prevent the masses from rioting in the streets.

Trump will probably get re-elected, and with it, he and his supporters will continue to deconstruct the democratic republican form of government that we now have. Even if he fails to effectively nullify the Constitution, he will likely succeed in reversing more than a century of expanding democratic influence on American government.
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Old 03-31-2020, 11:50 AM
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It's happening in Hungary right now.

Quote:
The Hungarian parliament approved a bill Monday that allows Orban to rule the country by decree, meaning that he does not need to consult with other lawmakers to make decisions. The legislation, which came into force Tuesday, has been justified as an emergency response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, the bill criminalizes any attempts to stop the Hungarian government fighting the outbreak, including the spreading of false information, which could be punishable with a prison sentence of up to five years.
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/31/coro...efinitely.html
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Old 03-31-2020, 11:59 AM
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The last stage before authoritarianism is usually a big threat (domestic or foreign,) coupled with the perception that there are internal actors/traitors within the nation who are supporting that threat. That then enables a strong-handed crackdown on those internal threats.
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Old 03-31-2020, 01:44 PM
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The last stage before authoritarianism is usually a big threat (domestic or foreign,) coupled with the perception that there are internal actors/traitors within the nation who are supporting that threat. That then enables a strong-handed crackdown on those internal threats.
Some common denominators are polarization, economic inequality, and political dysfunction. Authoritarians will often use democratic technicalities to engage in political obstruction, with the intent on causing people to become disillusioned with democracy.

In the case of Orban, Hungarians don't seem to have rejected democracy outright. They still have elections, but they have made it difficult for opposition parties to challenge "Orbanism" if you will.

Don't assume that economic crises will necessarily result in change; it could lead to more desperation and an intensification of political crackdowns, as we saw in Venezuela.

Many of the precursors of authoritarianism are already very, very present in America's political system:

* intensifying polarization: cities versus rural areas, polarization among racial and cultural lines, Christians vs. non-Christians, political parties, educated versus not educated.

* economic inequality: an elite class increasingly viewed with suspicion by other classes, and they're very much aware of this, which motivates them to strip away democratic influence. As the tension between classes grows, foisting attempts to rein in their power becomes an obsession.

* obstruction: one way to drive down democratic influence is to destroy confidence in institutions. Obstruction is one way to do that. They can achieve this in numerous ways.

But as others have pointed out, a national emergency is the ultimate power grab opportunity, and I suspect we'll see it happen this year. Expect to see COVID exploited in an attempt to drive down voting in urban centers, which will give disproportionate representation to the GOP voters.
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Old 03-31-2020, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by asahi View Post
We're in that "stage" now, I think. If you're looking for a tell-tale sign where we can say "zomg! authoritarianism!" we're probably gonna miss it.

Keep in mind, authoritarianism has different degrees. I have doubted that we would ever become like Nazi Germany, all living under a strict totalitarian rule from border to border. Power in the US is highly decentralized and it would be extremely difficult to pull off that kind of authoritarianism.

But we're already dealing with authoritarianism. We're living in an era in which a political minority (republicans realistically represent less than a quarter of the eligible voting population) rules the remaining majority.

As an example, the majority of people want universal access to healthcare and has wanted it for a long time, but have they gotten it? Nope. Not only that, but according to the official "elections" of 2016, we voted against the expansion of healthcare that took place in 2010.

A majority of people were against the 2017 tax cuts. Didn't matter. Couldn't stop it. Wealth and income inequality march on.

The stimulus isn't a sign of progress; it's a sign that even the plutocrats occasionally have moments of clarity and realize what they need to do to prevent the masses from rioting in the streets.

Trump will probably get re-elected, and with it, he and his supporters will continue to deconstruct the democratic republican form of government that we now have. Even if he fails to effectively nullify the Constitution, he will likely succeed in reversing more than a century of expanding democratic influence on American government.
The United States was never a democracy. Its a Republic where individuals vote to select people to represent them (Congress). Individual States vote through the Electoral College to select the President. It doesn't matter if the majority of the American people want this or that. They must vote and elect people who represent their views and desires and hope that these views and desires become law. And they must learn to live with laws that Congress passes and the President signs even if they don't like the laws. If one doesn't like the Electoral College, the Constitution can be changed if enough people vote in representatives who want that change.

Can you give some examples of how President Trump " and his supporters will continue to deconstruct the democratic republican form of government that we now have"? (And please document your evidence.) And how President Trump could "nullify the Constitution"? Has President Trump tried to dissolve Congress, ignored a Supreme Court decision? Some examples please of what your fears are and how you think he could possibly get away with it.
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Old 04-01-2020, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Oedipus View Post
What's the last event that would happen before you hit the big red button on living in the United States. Like what's the last actual step before there's a full-blown authoritarian state?
Martial law is usually declared at some point before full blown authoritarianism.

You can't really do it without military support.
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