There is this article in the guardian: Fascist America, in 10 easy steps. It seems to stem from Naomi Wolf's The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, which will be published by Chelsea Green in September.
Naomi describes ten steps to turn any free society into a closed one. Most of them are reasonable and some of them are actually taken by the current administration of the USA.
But there is one issue which I consider to be among the most important to inflict fear in a society: 3. Develop a thug caste
When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.
I'll tell you why that won't work in the USA. Here is the reason: http://www.armedamerica.org. I'm not an NRA-guy and I see the tremendous disadvantages of owning guns but t'is sure a remedy against thugs and maybe against step "6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release" as well.
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