View Full Version : "Hunger for Dictatorship"
Fri, 8th Apr '05, 7:14pm
This article is several weeks old so if it has already been discussed my apologies; however if not I would like to think the issues addressed are still pertinent.
I am a libertarian and I don't like the way things are going; seems to me governments are getting more authoritarian, which worries me; if anyone can explain why I need not be concerned that would be very good.
Seems to me people don't want to worry too much about civil liberties any more. What I see is more police, more crime, more troops, more foreign intervention, more moralising, more fear, more suspicion of other nations and races and more propaganda that everything is fine and that those who criticise are trouble-makers.
If I am seeing this trend correctly then it's a trend often common to the growth of dictatorship.
I have a lot to thank the establishment and governments of the west for; my life would not be as it is without the status quo; and I am happy about that. I do not however think that gives a government the right to start doing away with my civil liberties, which I am also very fond of, just because it suits them.
I think democracy is under threat. I hope it is either an illusion of mine or a temporary shift, and I welcome any views on this topic.
Fri, 8th Apr '05, 8:31pm
Don't you know? The terrorists hate us because of our freedom!
Destroying freedom at home looks like a good defense then, doesn't it?
We only haven't yet understood the hidden genius behind the Bush strategy.
I've read the article, good food for thought. The interesting question it raises is that for the mindset of the mindless "Go Bush, Go - whatever you do-h!" claqueurs shouting down doubt and dissent as treason - or one David Frum on National Review who thinks being anti-war is unpatriotic and anti-american.
Or just take Bill O'Reilly on his show (commenting on Martin Sheen's public anti-war stance): "Americans who actively working against our military once war is underway, will be considered enemies of the state - by me!" or that one: "Anyone who hurts this country in a time like this, will be spotlighted"
What 'working against the country' and 'hurt the country' means is, of course, to be determined by FOX News and condenses to disagreeing with Bush's line.
Shut up, get in line and obey.
Certainly you can recognise traits of facism in the behavior of these people, and as for groupthink and having an ideology and their methods that stop just short of beating up people, that is probably justified.
However, it certainly doesn't affect the whole nation. There's this saying about the hawk and the dove. The hawk doesn't win the fights because he is the better bird, but he has talons and is willing to use them to get what he wants.
The people talked about in that article are a minority, but a loud minority with friends in high places.
Bush's conservative supporters want no debate. And with that I mean the gung-ho, macho, muslim butt-kicking type of folks.
They want no facts, no analysis. They want to denounce and demonize the enemies that the Hannitys, Limbaughs, and Savages of talk radio assure them are everywhere at work destroying their great and noble country. Instead of news they want reaffirmation of their resentments. Well, FOX and talk radio happily serve that dish.
Or just think about these folks that can't wait for armageddon, who believe that Jesus is just about to come back to Israel and kill everybody, and that there will be a rapture, that they'll fly skyhigh naked, right out of their clothes, and that we sinners and doubters will be 'left behind' ... Anyone else who remembers that pic of that crackpot lady with that sign that said "Jesus is on George Bush's side!".
I mean, I've been called a 'pinko commie' by one for suggesting Bin Laden and Saddam may be *not* insane, which is, frankly, somewhat ... err ... surprising ... a summary of my position.
I think these 'brownshirts (http://antiwar.com/roberts/?articleid=3798)' are propagating an arrogant and chauvinist Nationalism (http://antiwar.com/lind/?articleid=4677), and have an authoritarian leaning. Facism is not that far away but something different still. Insofar, I don't look at it as gloomy as the libertarian writers in that article - but then, it's bad enough either way.
PS: For good libertarian views and an excellent news overview I can only recommend www.antiwar.com (http://www.antiwar.com) - also interesting are the interviews on the Weekend Interview Show with host Scott Horton (http://weekendinterviewshow.com/), very refreshing stuff considering that it generally focuses on foreign policy.
[ April 08, 2005, 20:51: Message edited by: Ragusa ]
Sat, 9th Apr '05, 10:14am
Seems to me people don't want to worry too much about civil liberties any more. What I see is more police, more crime, more troops, more foreign intervention, more moralising, more fear, more suspicion of other nations and races and more propaganda that everything is fine and that those who criticise are trouble-makers. I dunno. Sure, you've got a point, but there's reason for hope, too. That...eh, can't remember the name, but the Bushies proposed some sort of network where ye olde neighbors could become, essentially, informers. Was going to turn millions of citizens into spies. That was shot down real quick like. The more extreme version of the Patriot Act--the one that would allow the President to strip US citizenship from anyone suspected of "providing material aid to terrorists" or some such thing--was likewise shot down.
And, all things considered, the Patriot Act and its accompanying baggage is nowhere near as bad as the crap previous US adminstrations have done. Japanese internment? McCarthy? WWI, where you could be imprisoned (and some were for years) for, effectively, being anti-war? Suspension of Habeus Corpus during the Civil War? Alien and Sedition Acts, during the Adams Administration? All were worse than what we've got now. All, eventually, went away.
Don't get me wrong. I don't like what we've got now. I don't think it's acceptable. It does worry me.
But that said, things could be a lot worse. Things have been worse.
Sat, 9th Apr '05, 1:47pm
I'm somewhat more sceptical here.
Japanese internment? Well, what about rounding up and detaining muslims preventively for possibly having terror connections, incommunicado? Preventive it is, because if they had anything against them, they'd have tried to charge them with something - but that barely ever happened yet - despite the relatively large number of detentions.
As internment of japanese was aimed on preventing japanese espionage, the patriot act amphacises a lot of the same rationales, they only look prettier because they are somewhat out of sight. Instead of a visible new concentration camp they locked the folks up in existing jails, Gitmo being the only really visible exeption.
Thanks to the patriot act a good deal of habeas corpus is down the drain - just think about the right of the gvt to search houses in secret, or the remarkable cases of outsourcing punishment and torture overseas.
So, I do agree that times have been worse - surely some libertarian writers see it much gloomier than it is. That happens after a while of frustrating yourself with watching these developments impotently, I can tell :shake:
The concerns of libertarians, especially concerning the erosion of civil liberties, are justified. That's why they have in that part joined the more left ACLU in their effort to counter this.
I see that as an encouraging development, the emerging on fact based policies that bridge partisan differences. Being united against infringement of civil liberties, they'll most certainly continue to disagree on affirmative action.
So yes, cheer up: Facism is sure not right around the corner, it's pretty far away even. America is far away from a 'Gleichschaltung' even if that's what the christian right might be dreaming of.
The remaining "Boo-Yah" patriots are in their way about as rabid, but they make more typos. I guesstimate they are much stronger in numbers than the actual religious right. Both, however, *are* a minority, a strong and very vocal minority, but nevertheless a minority.
America does, however, have an imperial presidency that refuses congressional oversight. Bush now has the right to declare war on whatver (it's always nouns) and whoever he likes. How again was that with Article I Section 8 "The Congress shall have power ... To declare war"?
Then you have a partisan, gullible and spineless congress derelicting its duties. There is barely anyone influential in the GOP asking the tough questions publicly. Party and attack politics still trump principles.
As Joseph Sobran said so well: "When a politician struggles with his conscience, he usually wins"
In the end, times are not all that good to make you lean back comfortably and say: "Alas, it's been worse!" It's always been worse.
[ April 11, 2005, 00:00: Message edited by: Ragusa ]
Sun, 10th Apr '05, 11:06am
It's always been worse.See? That's a sign of improvement, right there :p
Chandos the Red
Sun, 10th Apr '05, 9:47pm
Then you have a partisan, gullible and spineless congress derelicting its duties. Absolutely. King George has set the agenda for almost all policy matters, and the rest of government is just playing along, or against, if it is the opposition. Some may consider what I am about to say off-topic, but it is not. That is because George sees himself as an imperial prez. Hence, there is good reason to see that policy making coming from Washington these days is largely crafted by the White House.
As a result, watch closely at the developing tension between the Bushies and Tom Delay and his conservative political machine in congress. They never have really gotten along all that well anyway. But Delay may end up taking the fall here if he attempts to muscle in too much on George's hold on power over the policy agenda of the Republican controled government. Delay got a pretty swift rebuke from the White House over his comments on holding judges accountable for the Terry Schiavo issue. Of course, this is also smart politics on the part of the White House, since Delay continues to have his political problems, which may put him out of power in the long run. And the farther, the Bushies are from Delay, the less damage they will take from any political fallout.
And this is really a game of politics with little real substance. Nevertheless, he continues his reign as imperial prez, with little real opposition except for the good sense of the American people who are willing not to put all their faith in turning the system completely over to King George and his minions.
[ April 11, 2005, 03:02: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]
Mon, 11th Apr '05, 12:35pm
Well, good luck trying to rein him in if still possible. For good or bad, the U.S. president has more effect over my home country than the ones I can vote in office... sigh.
But, you know, I'm still a bit resentful for him pushing for Wolfowitz for the World Bank. Even though it means U2 won't disband anytime soon...
Mon, 13th Jun '05, 6:45am
People want to be told what to do, its a lot easier to live when all that difficult decision making is handled by someone else. People should just accept that and move on, after all most people are not mentally capable of run their own lives and therefore should not be aloud to.
Tue, 14th Jun '05, 12:48am
I have no problem with people being opposed to the War in Iraq, or any of King George's policies. Being able to freely criticize the government is important. That said . . .
People who blanketly villify ALL the soldiers overseas, or who advocate ANY policy that endangers the lives of the average G.I. Joe, these people are traitors who deserve punishment of the most severe sort. It's one thing to disagree, sign petitions, write articles and papers, campaign vociferously and satirize the living snot out of the decision makers, but insulting or endangering the regular troops who are just doing their job is reprehensible and deserves censure.
Note I do not include those individual soldiers guilty of vile behaviour -- they are fair game for individual criticism.
Tue, 14th Jun '05, 7:20am
There are only two real threats to civil liberties:
Abuse and intellectual laziness.
Abuse as in where people commit crimes and hide behind these civil liberties to get away with it, or who use them to harrass others for excercising their civil liberties.
Intelectual laziness as in being too lazy to get the facta to make an informed decision. An example is where a couple soldier get out of line with prisoners, therefore all the soldiers are bullies who are beneath contempt...