Wednesday, February 15, 2017

When you don’t oppose, you support

I wrote yesterday that Timothy Snyder wrote an article for Slate that compared the rise of Hitler to the rise of Trump. I’ve now read that article. What Snyder did was to describe the period from the time Hitler seized power until he killed himself, but without using Hitler’s name. And, indeed, the first parts of the article sound like they could have been written about the nasty guy.

We know the article isn’t about the nasty guy at this paragraph, though this and what follows could be seen as a prediction.
The terrorist attack came as a surprise. It was unclear whether he planned this himself, but it hardly mattered. He blamed the left, banned its parties, and had its leaders put in camps. A state of emergency was declared and never lifted. A one-party state emerged. The division of powers vanished. The parliament became a rubber stamp. The bureaucracy proved loyal to him. Bright and ambitious men with law degrees were found. For many lawyers and judges, professional ethics were somehow submerged in an understanding of the greater good of the nation, state, or race. Intelligent people found ways to place their own intellectual and moral evolution within this or that philosophical or legal tradition. The legal stigmatization of a chosen minority had the political consequence of binding everyone else closer to the state. The moment citizens did not oppose this measure, they were in effect supporting it. The moment they took advantage of it (by enrolling their children in schools that suddenly had empty places, for example), they were co-opted by it.

I see four possibilities in America’s future. I can’t tell which is more likely.

1. The nasty guy shows himself to be so incompetent Americans protest with enough strength that the GOP held Congress pays attention and he and his lieutenant are removed from office.

2. Americans recognize the nasty guy’s attempts at authoritarian rule and protest with enough strength that he and his lieutenant are removed from office.

3. We muddle through the next couple years, managing to resist the nasty guy’s authoritarian ways until we can elect a Senate controlled by Democrats in 2018 and boot him out in 2020.

4. The nasty guy is able to implement authoritarian rule.

Note that in scenarios 1 and 2 it isn’t enough to boot the nasty guy. His lieutenant is just as much of an authoritarian and isn’t held back by incompetence.

No comments:

Post a Comment