The Washington Post published an opinion piece by Robert Kagan that opened with this:

Let’s stop the wishful thinking and face the stark reality: There is a clear path to dictatorship in the United States, and it is getting shorter every day.

Pretty bracing, no?

It should be.

Democracy's fatal weakness is human nature. In any population, there is a significant minority of people who welcome authoritarian government, especially if it promises to look after them.

You can't tell me that a parliamentary style of government would work any better. Nazi Germany was a parliamentary model. Britain got Brexit and Boris Johnson. Israel has Netanyahu.

There will always be a significant number of people, of any ideological persuasion, who will welcome a "strong leader" to provide simple answers to complex questions. To give the illusion of creating order amidst the chaos.

The people opposing them will be divided, disagreeing about what is to be done, and therefore weak.

Or disinclined to oppose the authoritarian because they don't perceive themselves as among the groups that would suffer under authoritarian rule; and unenthusiastic about the opposition because there's nothing in it for them.

That's what happened in Germany in 1933.

In the aftermath of the catastrophe that followed, most of the survivors persuaded themselves that they were among the "good Germans." They had nothing to do with the atrocities. They didn't support the policies. They were just "little people."

It will be the same way in America.

And while we're not kidding ourselves, we might get around to recognizing that we will never make the necessary effort to arrest climate change. That global warming will bring about the collapse of this civilization.

Extreme wealth inequality leads to political revolutions. Climate change leads to a collapse of civilizations.

Today we live in a global civilization with extreme wealth inequality and global climate change.

The only question is the velocity, and the degree of violence. If we can avoid a nuclear exchange, that would be a wonderful outcome.

In any case, I think it's going to happen much sooner than anyone thinks.

Originally posted at Notes From the Underground 11:27 Saturday, 2 December 2023