Hunger for Dictatorship

The American Conservative's Scott McConnell, who like your blogger endorsed John Kerry for president, now offers us "Hunger for Dictatorship":
...there are foreshadowings well worth noting. The last weeks of 2004 saw several explicit warnings from the antiwar Right about the coming of an American fascism. Paul Craig Roberts in these pages wrote of the 'brownshirting' of American conservatism - a word that might not have surprised had it come from Michael Moore or Michael Lerner. But from a Hoover Institution senior fellow, former assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, and one-time Wall Street Journal editor, it was striking.

Several weeks later, Justin Raimondo, editor of the popular website, wrote a column headlined, 'Today's Conservatives are Fascists.' Pointing to the justification of torture by conservative legal theorists, widespread support for a militaristic foreign policy, and a retrospective backing of Japanese internment during World War II, Raimondo raised the prospect of 'fascism with a democratic face.' His fellow libertarian, Mises Institute president Lew Rockwell, wrote a year-end piece called 'The Reality of Red State Fascism,' which claimed that "the most significant socio-political shift in our time has gone almost completely unremarked, and even unnoticed. It is the dramatic shift of the red-state bourgeoisie from leave-us-alone libertarianism, manifested in the Congressional elections of 1994, to almost totalitarian statist nationalism. Whereas the conservative middle class once cheered the circumscribing of the federal government, it now celebrates power and adores the central state, particularly its military wing..."

...Secondly, it is necessary to distinguish between a sudden proliferation of fascist tendencies and an imminent danger. There may be, among some neocons and some more populist right-wingers, unmistakable antidemocratic tendencies. But America hasn't yet experienced organized street violence against dissenters or a state that is willing - in an unambiguous fashion - to jail its critics. The administration certainly has its far Right ideologues - the Washington Post's recent profile of Alberto Gonzales, whose memos are literally written for him by Cheney aide David Addington, provides striking evidence. But the Bush administration still seems more embarrassed than proud of its most authoritarian aspects. Gonzales takes some pains to present himself as an opponent of torture; hypocrisy in this realm is perhaps preferable to open contempt for international law and the Bill of Rights.

And yet the very fact that the f-word can be seriously raised in an American context is evidence enough that we have moved into a new period...
Two days before the election, your blogger waded into the fray with "Trick or Treat", listing five curious incidents relating to Bush and civil liberties. The next day - the day before the election - your blogger posted "Should conservatives support Kerry?" (More comments on the cross-posts here and here:



It would seem to most people that an electorate willing to hold a sitting government accountable, i.e. by voting it out of office, is necessary for democracy to be credible. In this vein, there is reason to be concerned about America, since as reported a majority of the (voting) electorate did not think starting a war on convincingly disproven grounds was reason enough to give the Bush administration the boot.