End of Democracy

TimeWatch Editorial
September 04,, 2017

On August 6, 2009, Josh Levin published an article on the SLATE Website. According to Mr. Levin’s person biography, before he came to Slate he was an intern at Washington City Paper. He also freelanced for the Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, GQMen’s Health, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Play: The New York Times Sports Magazine. He graduated from Brown University with degrees in computer science and history and was born and raised in New Orleans.  He has lived in Washington, D.C. since 2002. The title of his article is “How is America Going To End?” In one of the early paragraphs of his article, Mr. Levin says:


“There are as many scenarios for a totalitarian America as there are paranoiacs. We could become corporate slaves, cannon fodder for a mercenary army, or the pawns of a tech-savvy surveillance state. In American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Chris Hedges argues that today's religious conservatives are akin to the European fascists of the 1920s and 1930s. If you're on the lookout for lefty totalitarians, there are those who contend that environmentalists also have the stench of totalitarianism.” Josh Levin, “How is America Going To End?” SLATE Website, August 6, 2009

Notice that Levin’s article was written in the year 2009, and yet is seems introductory to the events that are occurring today. Chris Hedges, in his book, has revealed one of the most carefully hidden facts of the present transformation of the United States. One might, at first glance apply the present totalitarian trend to Donald Trump, but in actual fact, the source of the agenda is The Evangelical Right, the Theocratic Reconstructionists Dominionists. These are the ones who are seeking covertly, to transform the United States into a theocracy, governed by Old Testament Law, of course Old Testament Law as THEY interpret it. In fact, Levin makes the point that the process began during the Presidency of George W. Bush.

“The most feverish thinking along these lines in recent years was sparked by the presidency of George W. Bush. It Can Happen Here, Joe Conason's 2007 answer to Sinclair Lewis, argues that "Americans have ... reason to doubt the future of democracy and the rule of law in our own country." That same year, Naomi Wolf reported that America had taken 10 steps toward fascism: "Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy," "create a gulag," and "control the press" were all among the top 10.” Josh Levin, “How is America Going To End?” SLATE Website, August 6, 2009.

Levin makes the point that Bush was not successful in his attempt to establish an authoritarian Presidency; however that did not change the direction that was begun in the country.

“No matter what your political beliefs, it is clear that Bush and Cheney pushed to consolidate authority in the executive branch more strongly than any president since Nixon, or perhaps even Roosevelt. But the nation eventually rejected this power play—Bush, Cheney, and their Republican Party have lost credibility and clout. Once you acknowledge that the Bush administration didn't end America as we know it, the more-interesting question vis-à-vis the end of America becomes: How might a wannabe dictator go much further than Roosevelt or Bush?” Josh Levin, “How is America Going To End?” SLATE Website, August 6, 2009.

Levin continues to make the point that there was much to be learned from the Bush period.

“A clever aspiring dictator would learn from the Bush administration's mistakes. Rather than bundle the country's potential enemies into an Axis of Evil, the enemy of the state would need to be singular and more clearly defined. The Bushes also provide a clear public relations lesson: Be open about your intentions. As Dahlia Lithwick and Julia Turner explained in Slate's 2003 guide to the Patriot Act, Americans might have found the substance of the law less discomfiting if Bush and his functionaries were more forthcoming about how it would be implemented. Rather than keep his questionable policies under wraps, a demagogic ruler would spell out why it's necessary to spy on your fellow citizens and water-board the evildoers.” Josh Levin, “How is America Going To End?” SLATE Website, August 6, 2009.

Today, the so-called enemies are clearly being defined: illegal immigrants, especially from the south, Muslims, from the east, and of course, the press. Even though the level of unemployment is presently low, there is an argument being put forward by the President and his administration that America is failing. This argument has been accepted by those who support the president. But this argument prepares the way for a serious assault upon the structure of the nation, allowing for an authoritarian administration. Note how Germany and Russia introduced their governments.

“The Nazis came to the fore in Germany after the country's defeat in World War I and the subsequent economic weakness of the Weimar period. The decline of Russia after the breakup of the USSR has fed the rise of Vladimir Putin's increasingly undemocratic government. This overlap between geopolitical humiliation and moral turpitude is no coincidence. In The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, Benjamin M. Friedman argues that growth "more often than not fosters greater opportunity, tolerance of diversity … and dedication to democracy." On the flip side, "when living standards stagnate or decline, most societies make little if any progress toward any of these goals, and in all too many instances they plainly retrogress. Economic catastrophe isn't always a harbinger of authoritarian doom—see America during the Great Depression. But a sharp fall in relative wealth and power does seem like a necessary step toward trashing American democracy. The unquestioned global kingpin since World War II, modern America isn't used to being second—or third, or 18th—to anyone."” Josh Levin, “How is America Going To End?” SLATE Website, August 6, 2009.

Perhaps very soon, we will experience the economic challenges that will provide the means for total authoritarian control. We are reminded of the text found in Revelation 13 verse 17 which says, “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

Let us be ready.

Cameron A. Bowen

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