How to tell if your community or country is sliding towards despotism – a useful guide both then and now.
I ran across these two videos, created by Encyclopedia Britannica back in the 1940s, and I can’t share them enough as they seem perfectly (and terrifyingly) appropriate for today’s political and social climate:
In 1945 and 1946, immediately following the end of World War II, Encyclopedia Britannica’s films division produced two educational short films, one on democracy and one on despotism, exploring how societies and nations rank on the spectrum from democracy to despotism by measuring the degree to which power is concentrated and respect for individuals restricted.
A community is low on a respect scale if common courtesy is withheld from large groups of people on account of their political attitudes, if people are rude to others because they think their wealth and position gives them that right, or because they don’t like a man’s race or his religion. Equal opportunity for all citizens to develop equal skills is one basis for rating a community on a respect scale.
I highly recommend watching both of these videos – being from the era they are, I think they know better than we do what they’re talking about.
How quickly a country can fall…
If you’ve ever wondered how a democratic country can become a dictatorship, just look around you right now. The current “president” of the United States has:
- Tried to ban immigration
- Arrested journalists for covering events unflattering to him
- Tried to silence the media
- Told people to ignore the media and only listen to him
- Fired people for daring to challenge him
- Uses his own private security force, loyal only to him personally
- Trying to concentrate power in a small group of people and bypass the legislative branch
- Removed military leaders from decision making about national security
- Describes people who disagree with him as having “betrayed” their country
These are not the actions of a free and democratic society, they are the actions of a despot.
We do not have a president anymore; we have a tyrant, and he deserves to be deposed as one.
I never thought this’d become real…
I wrote this as satire a few months ago, and had it saved as a draft – but I never thought it would become the literal truth.
“Give me your tired – but not your poor (we don’t want any more moochers) – your huddles masses (as long as they aren’t from Mexico or Muslim countries) yearning to be free (as long as they aren’t here to take our jobs).”
I honestly don’t know how much further this country can fall, or how much more it’s going to take before we realize how wrong we are and the hurt we’re directly causing to ourselves, our country, and our reputation.
Denial has somehow become the political strategy of the Republican Party in the United States, and somehow… it’s working?
The Republican Party in the United States is a party in denial, both literally in its stances and in regards to what it is. It still claims to be the party of small government, state & individual rights, and the idea of a strong military with a leadership role in the world. But this is all patently false, and as of the recent election it’s become even more clear.
The Republican Party has created some of the largest, most invasive, most pervasive federal government agencies ever; it has overruled state rights, it has clamped down on individual rights, and it has been less of a leader in the world and more of a bully.
Now that the Republican Party controls 2/3rds of the federal government, it’s doubling down on these same things and driving itself so far from what it claims to be that it is basically unrecognizable.
Further, the Republican Party is simply a party of denials:
- Denying that climate change is happening
- Denying that climate change is caused by humans
- Denying women control over their own bodies
- Denying people control over their own identity
- Denying that police are at fault for shootings
- Denying that there is any problem with race in this country
- Denying refugees aid and comfort
The list goes on and on – and many of the denials contradict one another (e.g., climate change – you can’t say “it isn’t happening” and then turn around and say “it’s happening but it isn’t caused by us!”) or contradict the supposed backbone ideals of the party itself (e.g., championing individual rights but then taking them away from people).
There is no denying it: the Republican Party is a party in denial; though it would almost be more appropriate to say the Republic Party is a party of doublethink. Or maybe they’d just prefer to be called “The Party?” Hmmm…
Disturbing dystopian similarities.
I was making a list of the way things are going around here and I suddenly realized I’ve seen this before…
- Mass surveillance of citizens
- Small, wealthy ruling party
- No speaking out against the ruler
- “Truth” defined by what the party says
- Prosecution of those who speak against the party/leader
- Figurehead larger-than-life leader
Maybe George Orwell got it wrong – it’s not English Socialism in Oceana, it’s American Socialism.