It Can’t Happen Here. Right?

AmFascsubmitted by Gene Howington

At Vox, Matthew Yglesias has published an article titled “American democracy is doomed“. It is one of the best summations of both the problem of encroaching fascism and how we got to where we are now that I have ever read.  Yglesias comes to the only slightly hope tinged conclusion that:

“As dysfunctional as American government may seem today, we’ve actually been lucky. No other presidential system has gone as long as ours without a major breakdown of the constitutional order. But the factors underlying that stability — first non-ideological parties and then non-disciplined ones — are gone. And it’s worth considering the possibility that with them, so too has gone the American exception to the rule of presidential breakdown. If we seem to be unsustainably lurching from crisis to crisis, it’s because we are unsustainably lurching from crisis to crisis. The breakdown may not be next year or even in the next five years, but over the next 20 or 30 years, will we really be able to resolve every one of these high-stakes showdowns without making any major mistakes? Do you really trust Congress that much?

The best we can hope for is that when the crisis does come, Americans will have the wisdom to do for ourselves what we did in the past for Germany and Japan and put a better system in place.”

Read how he arrived at this conclusion here.

What do you think?

Source: Vox

About Gene Howington

I write and do other stuff.
This entry was posted in American History, Constitutional Law, Fascism, Legal Theory, Oligarchy, Political Science, Politics, United States. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to It Can’t Happen Here. Right?

  1. Elaine M. says:


    I bookmarked that article this morning.

  2. Anonymously Yours says:

    Like the post, but the question I ask is there a better system in place? Yes, it is broken but it can be fixed if partisans hacks can’t rig elections.

    I see the constitution interpretation somewhat as how the USSRs was. And if we can give all three branches a good enema and bleach the rest would should be good to go, but then the question is how do we do that with cases such as citizens….

  3. blouise17 says:

    What if highly partisan state legislatures start using their constitutional authority to rig the presidential contest? – article

    This process is already in place and on going. In fact, I sometimes think that the States are still the biggest threat to the Union and the underlying cause is race. I honestly don’t know how to fix that.

  4. Mike Spindell says:

    Saw the article too this AM. It certainly CAN happen here and maybe it IS happening here.

  5. bron98 says:

    “Maybe legislative compromise really has broken down in an alarming way. And maybe the reason these complaints persist across different administrations and congresses led by members of different parties is that American politics is breaking down.”

    What is going on is a the electorate is starting to understand the 2 choices we have, liberty and tyranny. They are unclear as to which politicians will provide the former and fight the latter. The people are in a state of uncertainty and are trying to figure out what is what.

    What is really scary is that with all the electronic capabilities there is no limit to state power.

  6. Julie says:

    I’ve read about a theory that a cataclysmic event (bigger than 9/11) coinciding with a skilled demagogue in high office would be the key to the destruction of the U.S. Personally, I’m afraid of some sort of reactionary fundamentalist take-over. We would not survive as an authoritarian theocracy.

  7. pete says:

    It is an inkblot, isn’t it? We see what we fear. Brown people crossing the border, taking over “our” country but conveniently not seeing that those brown people are first cousins to the red people we pushed out of the way.
    China refusing to take I O U’s for Playstation 4’s. Then McDonalds joins and wants metal for McNuggets. Taking my wheelbarrow full of dollars to Burgerking.
    Heat induced natural disasters bankrupting the country and flooding the coasts while the religious blame the disasters on a vengeful god punishing us for our wicked (sex) ways. Nehemiah Scudder to the rescue.
    The .01% hoarding dwindling natural resources while the rest of humanity starve in ever larger ghettos. Can’t have the masses kicking down the walls. Who was it that said he could pay half the population to kill the other half?
    Or repeat the history of another empire and throw out the senate and crown whichever General can give us the victories we crave. Because three people were decapitated.
    That’s the great thing about American Exceptionalism, we can’t be wrong because God Bless America.

  8. mespo727272 says:

    I’m struck by the almost religious fervor movies like American Sniper instill in people leading to jingoism then leading to fascist precursors. I read a wonderful blog post about Chris Kyle and the psyche behind apotheosis and truth blinders. I consign it to everyone:

  9. mespo727272 says:

    Btw, kudos, Gene.

  10. Mike Spindell says:


    I just finished the article you linked and frankly I am blown away by its message and its depth, so much so that I’ve bookmarked it for further reading and reference. I urge anyone who has ever wondered why it seems many people are unable to mentally process the reality of issues that seem clear. One of the examples he mentioned of the George H.W. Bush supporter who saw Bush as a “self made” man despite the privilege of Bush’s birth was telling. I will give two quotes below from the article that I think are quite telling. I hope everyone who reads this will click on your link because the article is very valuable.

    “What has been interesting in the aftermath of the verdict against Chris Kyle is that the media has gone into hyper-drive in attacking Jesse Ventura, and not Chris Kyle. Kyle is a proven liar, yet no one talks about that. They all talk about how could Jesse Ventura sue a poor widow. I find this baffling. What is even more baffling, and frankly appalling, is how they so thoroughly misrepresent the facts of the case and misinform the populace.

    Anderson Cooper, of CNN, proved once again there is no depth so low that his journalistic integrity won’t sink to it, when he said of Ventura, “Has he no shame?” Cooper had nothing at all to say about Chris Kyle and his lying, and made no mention of the very public and provable other lies Kyle told besides his Ventura lie. Shouldn’t the question be, “Chris Kyle, have you no shame?”, but it isn’t. Proving once more, that truth has no meaning for Anderson Cooper.”

    When you have the “news media” unable to objectively present a story how can we expect those relying on that media for information to understand the reality?

    “Truth has become the enemy in America. It is hated and despised. The people who hate the truth the most are the ones who are in power. That is why the media is so quick to heap vitriol upon Ventura and not question the legacy of Kyle. Lies are celebrated. Lies are tonic for the ills that truth reveals. You never saw anyone taken to task for lying about the Iraq war. No one, not a government official, or a pundit or a journalist or a media personality, lost their job over lying about or being wrong about Iraq.

    The lies that the media has wrapped itself in for the sake of ingratiating itself to power are easily observed. In regards to the Iraq war alone, the fellating of power by the media, and by the public, is amazing and easy to see. First we had the march to war…the lies Bush and company told about WMDs and Iraq’s involvement in 9-11. Then we had the farce of the Jessica Lynch story, which Chris Kyle repeats in his book without the slightest regard to the truth. Then we have the charade of the death of Pat Tillman, a true American hero, who is violated and desecrated in death by the same government and media that duped him into serving in the first place.

    This is why the media hates Jesse Ventura in particular. Ventura was vociferously against the Iraq war. He was right, and the corporate media, and most of the public, were wrong. They were either duped or complicit, but Ventura saw through the smokescreens. He is also a 9-11 Truther. This drives the corporate media and establishment types batty. It is a direct assault on their authority. It is sort of amusing and ironic that the term “Truther” has become derogatory in the media and in America. Telling the truth, or asking questions looking for it, is a sure fire way to get on the wrong side of the corporate media, Jesse Ventura is living proof of that.”

    These two quotes are but a small, yet pithy, part of this brilliant piece. Please do yourself a favor and read it. I’ve already subscribed to the blog it was written on because if this is an example of the thought there, I want to savor more.

  11. rafflaw says:

    Great article and interesting discussion. I do believe that fascism is on the rise, with no stoppage in sight. Our only hope is an Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders type candidate(s) that can bring integrity and truth back into politics.

  12. Anonymously Yours says:

    Excellent article Mespo…. Saying Bush is self made is like saying Turley is honorable….

  13. eniobob says:

    I go back to my old stand by:

    ” The Dumbing Down of America

    By Manuel Valenzuela

    10/12/06 “Information Clearing House” — — Something is amiss in the great nation called America. Ominous sirens warning this reality can be heard emanating loudly through invisible winds of change circulating our towns and cities. The American people are being strangulated; unbeknownst to the masses they are being transformed and conditioned, becoming the entity the elite have long sought, the culmination of decades of social engineering designed to make of hundreds of millions the slaves of times past and the automatons of the future.

    Yet in this present day we find ourselves in, struggling to comprehend a world gone mad, unable to discern neither the direction we are headed nor the inevitable course time is guiding us on. It is because of what has been done to us, and is presently being done to our children, that we fail to comprehend the severity of the road that lies ahead. Quite successful have the elite become in shifting the balance of power from the masses to themselves. How, one might wonder, has this been accomplished, especially when we are the many and they the few?

    It is through the dumbing down of America, the methodical destruction and purposeful elimination of the means by which a society educates and enlightens itself. The evisceration of a system that extols accountability and dialogue, opens up the gates of opportunity with the keys of ability, questions authority and seeks debate, creates a wealth of knowledge and illuminates talent and that births an informed citizenry and creates free thinking, analytical minds has been slowly implemented for the last several decades. The dumbing down of America continues into the present, unrelenting and unhindered, squashing the masses for the benefit of the elite.

    A giant threat to the system is being disposed of, systematically and without remorse, making of America and its citizens yet one more cog in the engine called capitalistic exploitation of humanity.”

  14. eniobob says:

    “In the immediate aftermath of World War II, a wide range of thinkers, both secular and religious, struggled to make sense of the profound evil of war, particularly Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. One such effort, “The Authoritarian Personality” by Theodore Adorno and three co-authors, opened up a whole new field of political psychology—initially a small niche within the broader field of social psychology—which developed fitfully over the years, but became an increasingly robust subject area in 1980s and 90s, fleshing out a number of distinct areas of cognitive processing in which liberals and conservatives differed from one another. Liberal/conservative differences were not the sole concern of this field, but they did appear repeatedly across a growing range of different sorts of measures, including the inclination to justify the existing social order, whatever it might be, an insight developed by John Jost, starting in the 1990s, under the rubric of “system justification theory.”

  15. mespo727272 says:

    Glad you all enjoyed those posts. They were exceptional.

  16. Anonymously Yours says:


    The only person missing now is Mike A…. The only thing missing or maybe not…. Is the personal insults and attacks on the guest bloggers….

  17. Trolls will be beaten.
    The particularly odious will get to meet “the other guy”.
    Survivors will be fed to the wood chipper.

  18. Anonymously Yours says:

    Oh come on…. Some get used to the abuse….. Except for Turley everyone else was supposed to suck it up…. Must admit gene it made you laugh …

  19. AY,

    I’m pretty adept at handing a troll their ass. Some might say expert. There was only two things I didn’t laugh at over there. Disloyalty and double standards. I don’t recall ever having a troll to shred I couldn’t handle . . . until my hands were tied and the rules unbalanced. Even then, my problem wasn’t with the troll. It was with Jon.

  20. Anonymously Yours says:

    Yep.. And if you’ll notice the only original ones leftis raff…. So much for loyalty….

  21. mespo727272 says:

    Amen, Gene. Civility as shackle.

  22. Mike Spindell says:


    I read that Salon article and I’m thinking of turning it into a post. It is fascinating.

  23. I have had a few thoughts about Kyle. One of the things rolling over in my mind is the fact I actually know several snipers. From more than one war, I might add. I have yet to meet a real sniper who wanted to talk about what they did, much less brag about it.

    A few years ago, I was having a quiet conversation with a former O-2 pilot who served as a FAC in Vietnam. He got a faraway look as we talked about what it was like to fire on another human being. He said the first time he laid a salvo of “Willy Pete” on a ground target changed him forever. Took him to a place from which he could never come back.

    Given what we now know about Chris Kyle’s proclivity to be creative with the truth, what did he really do? If anything? Was he an all hat and no horse cowboy?

    I was in a doctor’s office waiting room earlier this week. Picked up a Men’s Health magazine. There was an article in it about Jessie Ventura. He comes across as both puzzled and hurt by the fact he defended his name and won his case against a proven serial liar. He pointed out that he did not take a single dime from Chris Kyle’s widow and kids. He sued the publisher’s insurance company.

  24. mespo727272 says:


    No official source in the Navy has ever confirmed Kyle’s 160 “confirmed” kills. Only “passing acquaintence with the truth” Kyle has.

  25. Mike Spindell says:

    You know among the Kyle ironies is he and his pal were gunned down at the gun range while both were armed and we can assume lethal shots. His widow had said that he had called her from the car on the way to the range and told them that the guy was talking crazy and he was concerned about him. How did Kyle let the guy get the drop on him and doesn’t it show that even packing a weapon is no true assurance of ones safety.?

  26. mespo727272 says:

    Live by the sword; die by the sword.

  27. Pingback: Understanding the Conservative Mindset: Limits of the Authoritarian Personality | Flowers For Socrates

  28. Technically, the United States is a Constitutional Republic.

Comments are closed.