What living in a dictatorship feels like, and why it may be too late by the time you notice it


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/31/2020-uh-oh.html


#2

Aren’t we already there? IIRC, it’s been mathematically proven that the US is a plutocratic oligarchy with only the window dressing of democracy.


#3

A plutocratic oligarchy is not a dictatorship, which requires the existence of a dictator. I think the main visible sign will be the emergence of a President who ignores or reforms the Presidential term limit.


#4

And that won’t happen unless the plutocratic oligarchs want it to happen. Presumably what they want is a situation where the putative dictator has the power to keep the rabble suppressed, but doesn’t threaten their own interests.


#5

The defining quality of a dictator isn’t how long they stay around, it’s the manner in which they govern as long as they hold the office. FDR was elected to four consecutive terms in office but only his harshest, most partisan critics would seriously consider him a “dictator” because he still largely respected the division of powers.


#6

“A dictator is never without supporters.”

The operative term.


#7

I don’t think he was a dictator, but FDR’s respect for the division of powers was somewhat spotty:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_Procedures_Reform_Bill_of_1937

E.T.A.: also, some of those individuals of Japanese descent who were locked up due to his executive order might well consider him to be a dictator.


#8

To be more accurate, a tyrant instead of a dictator.


#9

In tRumpland its what’s for breakfast.


#10

You’re fooling yourself. We’re living in a dictatorship!

A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes …


#11

The hilarious thing about this tragedy is that since “dictatorship” is now a pejorative term frowned on by dictators, we can never reach a point where we publicly acknowledge that we’re in a dictatorship. Until we reach a state of clear dictatorship the term would be dismissed as alarmist and untrue. After we reach a state of clear dictatorship the term would be suppressed.


#12

It’s not a simple question. They called Lincoln a dictator, which is why he was shot. They called Obama a dictator too, and while we call them racist crackpots, there are enough of them to make a lot of noise. I think it’s time to re-read Hannah Arendt.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Origins_of_Totalitarianism


#13

Or workaround by getting wife or kids elected, as happened in some countries.


#14

Replace “jews” with illegal immigrants, replace brown shirts with white polos, replace the SS with ICE…

Replace Hitler with Trump.


#15

Speaking of which…

Click through for an informative thread.


#16

Fair point.


#17

We’re not living in a dictatorship until you/re told we’re living in a dictatorship! And I don’t mean perhaps!


#18

So are we (USA) one of those countries? Because I recall seeing a story here in the last couple of days about a congress-creep who (almost literally) inherited his seat from his father…


#19

As Otherbrother pointed out, FDR notoriously did NOT respect the division of powers and attempted to stack the Supreme Court. His term of office was extraordinary, and while he is now revered by history many people (by definition his critics) feared his over-reach. But also note that before FDR, the 2-term limit was merely convention, not law - it was only after FDR that it became codified (precisely to avoid someone like FDR happening again).

The length in office is not what I think would mark this sign, it would be the removal of the bar to power - Presidential term limits exist, abolishing them would be a sign of a shift in governance.


#20

…can be removed by elections* when the dictator gets beyond their control. A real dictator who cannot be permanently controlled is a threat.

(* as in, popular votes whose outcome is determined by their money.)