Saturday, November 7, 2020

The US Political Order: Authoritarian?

The US Political Order: Authoritarian?

Peter Schultz


            Here are some quotes from Robert Parry’s Secrecy and Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, which raise an interesting question about the recently concluded 2020 elections and the Trump presidency.


            “Add the fear and the sense of victimization from the 9/11 attacks and a new political model suddenly lay open as a possibility for the United States. It would be a post-modern authoritarian system that would rely less on traditional repression of political opposition than on a sophisticated media to intimidate and marginalize dissidents.

            “The new system would be the sum of the parts gradually arising out the ruins of Watergate…. this new system would rely on ridicule to make those who get in the way objects of derision, outcasts who very names draw eye-rolling chuckles and knee-slapping guffaws. Think of Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore…’ [p. 359]


            The question is this: What in the “evolution” and then the defeat of the Trump presidency conflicts with what Parry describes as “a post-modern authoritarian system that…. [relies]…. on a sophisticated media to intimidate and marginalize dissidents?”


            Of course, just to be clear: To raise this question, it is not necessary to defend Trump or his presidency. It can be admitted that Trump and his presidency were indefensible. However, assessing Trump and assessing the political order as it now functions are two very different assessments. It could be that as bad as the Trump presidency was the American political order as described by Parry is just as bad, or even worse insofar as it is an order that not only trashes the likes of Trump but also trashes other dissidents. And if you need illustrations of such activity, just recall the names Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, while also recalling Obama’s attack on whistleblowers.  



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