The authors of this article write: “the reversal we have in mind is the movement from late twentieth-century liberal democracy to seventeenth-century autocracy.”
Mention Thucydides all you want, fellas, but your take on the Trump era is somewhere between sub-mental and wholly detached from reality.
In what parallel universe did we have a “liberal democracy” in the late twentieth century? After Dulles and company murdered President Kennedy and effected their deep state coup, followed by a dizzying lurch to the right and away from the rule of law (which no longer exists, when it comes to elites)?
The next few decades saw the continuation of U.S. imperialism, butchering millions of human beings in the name of corporate profits – overthrowing stable nations and democracies, alike, in favor of torturing autocrats, secret police, and terrorists on the CIA’s payroll.
The CIA infiltrated the “free press” long ago, and today – following Reagan’s ending of the Fairness Doctrine, Bill Clinton’s catastrophic Telecom Act, and President Obama’s nullification of the Smith-Mundt Act – there’s no semblance of an American free press and the government openly propagandizes the American people.
As Noam Chomsky observed years before Trump hit the scene, “any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.”
As Mike Pompeo has openly boasted, “I was the CIA director – we lied, we cheated, we stole.”
And another CIA director outlined the reality we’re presently living: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
That prescient phrase was uttered with impunity (the impunity of a neo-fascist official in a neo-fascist nation) by William Casey, CIA director under Ronald Reagan (you know, back in the good old “liberal democracy” days – back when the U.S. was training and coordinating murderous Contras, downing civilian airliners, selling arms to Iran and chemical weapons to Iraq, so the two nations could reduce each other to rubble).
By the end of the 20th century, following decades of neoliberalism, following the Powell Memo and the ascent of the Third Way, the U.S. had no remaining liberal institutions.
The “free press” took its marching orders from the national security state, demonizing foreign leaders – democratic and autocratic, alike – to the point that Bill Clinton could butcher “well over a million” innocents in Iraq, and his holocaust went largely uncovered and ignored: https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2000/mar/04/weekend7.weekend9
According to career U.N. development worker, Denis Halliday, who resigned in protest of the policy, U.S. sanctions met “the definition of genocide.”
And George W. Bush, following a stolen presidential election in 2000, would go on to butcher over a million more Iraqis – again, a modern holocaust, only with the vast majority of those targeted being Muslim rather than Jewish.
(Some “liberal democracy!”)
A peer-reviewed 2014 University of Princeton study demonstrates that the U.S. in no longer a democracy, but an oligarchy: https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746 3
A peer-reviewed 2016 study from Harvard and the University of Sydney, Australia, ranked the U.S. dead last in election integrity – the most corrupt, opaque, unreliable elections in the West, also trailing several nations from one continent to the next: https://www.electoralintegrityproject.com/eip-blogs/2017/1/7/its-even-worse-than-the-news-about-north-carolina-american-elections-rank-last-among-all-western-democracies 2
And anyone who doesn’t know that the 2016 Democratic Primary was a rigged farce simply wasn’t paying attention.
None of this has anything to do with Trump, repugnant, dangerous, corrupt though he is.
Because it was Bush, Jr, and President Obama who drove the last nails into the coffin of “liberal democracy” in the U.S., in the post-9/11 era. By the time #44 was done, Nixon’s proclamation that “if the President does it, then it’s not illegal,” had been effectively realized:
Torture, assassination of citizens uncharged with any crime, persecution of journalists and whistleblowers, indefinite detention, caging children at the border by the thousands, crushing peaceful protest (OWS) with brutal police state tactics, total surveillance of society, free-flowing propaganda, the deeply racist prison industrial complex, endless genocide, wholly undemocratic elections, and the destruction of the biosphere… all had been normalized.
We need Trump gone. But I’m sick to tears of all of the imbeciles pretending we had a “liberal democracy” before he moved into the White House.
If we, as a society, don’t reckon with the rot in the system – if we continue making all of our political battles about partisan rancor and tearing ourselves to pieces over trifling differences between two monstrously corrupt and immoral parties – then we are truly fucked.