Way back in 2010, I predicted the TEA party would fail, and why. I was right (pat, pat). The same year, I posted an article called “Five Truths Republicans Hate.” The basic thread running through each of these wake-up calls is this: Republicans shout “socialism” when the left does its thing, but too many of them shout “more” when their own side does the same type of things. This, friends, is not only why we can’t have nice things—like freedom—it’s also how we get a dictator.
So, for example, when Obama brags about his “pen and phone,” Republicans shout “dictator!” “Tyrant!” But when Trump rules by fiat, too many of them beat their chests and shout, “hoorah!”
The move toward dictatorship creeps slowly. One side has power for a while, and gradually ratchets up power, gradually pushes the envelope of extraconstitutional powers, gradually accrues to the Executive greater breadth of power, gradually sets new precedents of tyranny. During this time, those who are partisan to the side in power work diligently to excuse, justify, and uphold all such actions as necessary, just, and right. They may even take the time to manufacture reasons why the extraconstitutional is actually constitutional—such has been the “wax nose” version of constitutional interpretation since Marshall and Hamilton.
During the same span, those opposed to the party in power will protest and flame the airwaves with shouts of “socialism,” “tyranny,” “dictator,” “out of control,” “Tenth Amendment,” “Constitution,” and maybe even an insincere flirt with “secession!”
But this will only last so long. When the sides flip at the next election, the roles almost immediately reverse. Two years ago, it would have been unimaginable to think that average liberals would have the words “Tenth Amendment,” “nullify,” and “secession” on their lips, but behold, “Calexit” is a real thing. Simultaneously, the Alt-Right emerged from the ashes of the TEA Party—and many more inglorious places—and is now playing the role of cheerleader to the new Demander in Chief. The new one, by the way, always has as his starting point the extraconstitutional precedents set by the old one—and he will springboard from them for his own agenda. If and when it is suggested he may be acting like the last dictator, or even worse, his actions are justified as “within the bounds of the law,” “law and order,” and “necessary to restore order.”
During his campaign, Trump famously bragged that his supporters were so loyal, he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and gun someone down in cold blood—and they would still support him.
Many people accepted this as a joke. It was not a joke. And while I don’t think we have to worry about finding out whether they would actually support a Trump who committed murder (although every new president will now still be supported after their extra-judicial drone strikes), we will see this mind-numbingly irrational loyalty as they justify every step he will take trampling the Constitution in the name of “necessity” and “law and order.”
In fact, you don’t have to wait. After I wrote about Trump’s mindless, uninformed encouragement of police to ramp up civil asset forfeiture, I was utterly shocked by the people falling over each other not only to support him, but shrugging at the constitution, and even openly supporting the idea of having a dictator to “restore the republic.”
I am sorry that I do not have the time to sit here and type out the infinite number of exclamation points appropriate to punctuate that last sentence—but it needs them.
Here are a few examples of the sentiments expressed by such people who now feel empowered behind the wheel:
The problem is, sir, that this country has gotten SO bad, that the ONLY way to correct it, would [be] to get a dictator in there to do the job. Never again… I hope. But we are still going in the right direct now.
That sentiment is obvious: the leftists ruined the country so badly that we now need and should want a dictator to fix it! Of course, he’ll be a good dictator and just restore everything to the way the Founding Fathers wanted it. And since he’s so good, we shouldn’t mind letting him suspend the Constitution for the time being in order to get back to the Constitution.
I’d rather be gunned down by Trump in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
I have many times criticized the Right for its implicit practice of “My socialism is OK.” Now it has progressed to, “My dictator is OK.”
Another commenter made the same point, if only by implication:
It seems that the Soros financed thugs are doing everything to necessitate a police state. How on earth do you deal with drugged up incoherent violent protestors who never stop? Combined that with the eight year push for open boarders and refugee invasion from Muslim countries to the western world, BLM calling for violence against police and white people, and a growing population of mind controlled youth, how is a conservative president expected to uphold the law and insure the protection of law abiding CITIZENS and legal residents?
So we can excuse our dictator’s actions by blaming the resulting police state on a necessity created by the other side. “Don’t blame me for ramming Trump down your throat. You made it necessary.”
Similar justifications roll:
[E]verything he’s doing/done has been for the benefit of law-abiding Americans, not butt-hurt snowflakes, perverts, degenerates, illegals and the like.
Got that, a major justification comes in whom the president’s actions help. If it’s my side—only the “law abiding,” of course!—it’s good!
Such polarized mindsets can often sound well-justified, but sometimes the racialism and racial phobias peak through:
[T]he only person of about 22 possible people who could have been the next president in summer 2015 who was willing to even talk about how whites are being civilly genocided via immigration got elected. . . . If the liberals’ “changing demographics” keeps up, you’ll be worried about a hell of a lot more than asset forfeiture.
Get that: this person is convinced whites are being “civilly genocided.” In order to counteract this freak tactic of the left, we must be ready to submit to tyrannies like civil asset forfeiture, for the alternative is so much worse!
Folks, do you want a dictator? Because that’s how you get a dictator.
This is a form of government called “The end justifies the means.” While this phrase is often associated with Machiavelli—rightfully, even though he never said it in those terms—it has been on the lips of every tyrant from ancient times unto today. Were its proponents candid on the front end—as some of our commenters above have been—they would say,
Who cares about the rule of law, as long as I get my way in the end?
This is how dictators think. It is also how criminals think. Both usually think they can get away with it, but dictators usually have more help from the public.
This is the path to tyranny and totalitarianism, because it will willingly sets aside the rule of law in order to achieve the points of a partisan agenda. If you think the path to restoring the Constitutional rule of law is the set aside the Constitutional rule of law, I cannot imagine a more fitting conclusion.