Friday, February 25, 2022

Or Would They?


Obviously, or so we think, most Republicans would not take violent actions to secure permanent control over America. But maybe they would not need to. All they would have to do is sigh, look the other way, and let the extremists within their Party take violent actions.

After all, it is unlikely that most Germans actually shared Hitler’s passion for eradicating the Jews. But especially after Hitler became dictator in 1933, nobody would openly say so. Since there were so many domestic spies, they would not say so privately either. Most, but not all, youth were Hitler Youth. There were 22 assassination attempts on Hitler, not counting the “several” in early World War II. This culture of terror continued in East Germany, as part of the Soviet bloc. A Soviet bloc which, in the last couple of days, it seems that Vladimir Putin wants to re-establish.

During the War, many Germans wished they could get away from Hitler’s command, but by then they were trapped. I read Paul Brickhill’s The Great Escape, which was made into a fantastic movie in the 1960s. The Allied prisoners were constantly digging escape tunnels, and the Nazis were constantly searching for them. But I got the impression that the Nazi commanders weren’t searching very hard. They wanted to look to their superiors as if they were working hard to catch escapees. They tried to crush tunnels, they inserted rods, they implanted microphones, they hired spies to slip into the rafters or under the huts. If they did catch an escapee, this would make them look good to their superiors. But that is all they really wanted. When they did catch an escape tunnel, they just shut it down. The only punishment they gave to the would-be escapee was to put him in the “cooler” for a couple of weeks. One of the Nazi commanders actually told Brickhill, in prison, to not blame them for what the Gestapo did. Brickhill clearly communicated the idea that the Nazi commanders of prison camps didn’t want to do this job.

My uncle was in the European theatre of World War II and told us all a war story which, in retrospect, seems a little embellished. But not completely. He was guarding a group of prisoners at the end of the war. Most of the German soldiers seemed relieved that they had been captured. All except the SS officers. They were absolutely crazy. My uncle could tell that there was one SS officer among the prisoners. He was the one who attacked and tried to kill my uncle in what sounded to me like a kabuki drama. My uncle shot him eight times. When asked to explain to his superior why he had done this, he said, “Seven wasn’t quite enough, and I didn’t have nine bullets.” Anyway, the point was clear: only the crazy SS troops really believed in the Third Reich.

Most Republicans can, when the dictatorship is established, say that we should not blame them for what the extremists have done. And if there is a Judgment at Nuremberg style inquiry after the fall of the Republican dictatorship, only the leaders will be convicted.

Most Republicans do not worship Trump, at least anymore. But would they go along with those who do?

Natural selection favors the fitness of genes in their environments. In humans, natural selection also occurs on the level of ideas within society. Fitness is not an intrinsic value, with either genes or ideas, but have value relative to their environments. This explains some of the literally crazy ideas that people have had under social conditions that legitimized them. Examples include mass acts of violence during religious wars, such as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. So far, right-wing acts of extreme violence in America have been small and sporadic, like the cashier being shot for asking a customer to wear a mask in Georgia earlier this year.

I believe that Republicans, as a whole, would not take up arms against fellow Americans. But they would not stand up against their powerful Party leaders.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Would Single-Party Republican Rulership Be So Bad?

Happy Washington’s Birthday, everybody. I continue my series about the inevitability of a permanent Republican takeover of America. The previous essays were about how the Republicans will institute their permanent rule, and how the military will not stop it. In this third essay: would it be so bad? I think Republicans are evil, but could I live with them as our dictators? Many Americans would hate it but go along with it.

Most nations in the world have, officially or unofficially, single-party rulership. In China, it is official; the Communist Party. In Russia, it is unofficial; whatever Vladimir Putin wants. The Chinese people don’t like it, but they don’t want to incite civil unrest that would jeopardize their already unstable economic situation. The average Chinese citizen might say, let Xi Jinping do whatever he wants, let the Party leadership proclaim Him to be God or pretty close to it, an equal in the Celestial Kingdom to Mao Himself as of December 2021, just don’t hurt me. In Russia, it is literally a joke. Vladimir Putin was term-limited, but he traded off his rulership with Dmitry Medvedev, who did whatever Putin told him. Thus Putin was the ruler and yet still fit within the Russian constitution. Here is an actual joke overheard in Moscow: Putin and Medvedev were in a restaurant...

  • Waiter (to Putin): What will it be?
  • Putin: I’ll have the steak.
  • Waiter: And what about the vegetable?
  • Putin: He’ll have the steak too.

Russians snickered and got on with the business of hacking our computer systems. Of course, since they have utterly no hope of emerging from the rule of the Putin clique, they then go home and drink vodka.

So long as you don’t pull a Navalny in Russia or a Hong Kong in China, then the government doesn’t want to bother you. They have bigger fish to fry. When faced with the choice of whether to give up their lives for democracy or to let dictators swagger around, they choose the easy route. Patrick Henry has been dead a long time, folks. The only people who suffer much are the Uyghurs in China, and the ethnic minorities in Afghanistan, and…okay, it’s quite a list.

Occasionally, single-party rule can get out of hand. This happened most famously in World War II, in Germany, Italy, and Japan. Today, most people have heard of the murderous troops in Myanmar. But of the scores of undemocratic countries in the world, very few have become hell on Earth.

What this means is that if the Republicans establish a permanent dictatorship in America, most Americans will find some way of continuing their lives. If the Rulers won’t let you have off time to vote, they certainly won’t let you have enough time off to protest or revolt. After the Republicans have run the education system for a couple of decades, nobody will remember that life was any different. Already, Republicans have (by law in Oklahoma) prevented teachers from telling students about Native American genocide and the Tulsa Race Massacre. The sponsor of the law, who represents the city I work in, told a gathering at our university that he intended his law to prevent some people [read, white people] from feeling bad about what their race has done in the past. Before taking questions, he ran off. After a few years of Republican rule, white people will settle smugly into a benign cloud of satisfaction, and minorities will be working too hard to bother with trying to change the system. They won’t remember a time when votes actually mattered.

To me, personally, the most significant loss would be the death of patriotism. I was so enthusiastic about America when I was a kid. But now that the American flag has been taken over by the Republicans, and even Confederates consider themselves American patriots, I have become totally cynical about my country. I did not plan for this to happen.


Thursday, February 10, 2022

American Single-Party Rulership and the Military: More Evolutionary Perspective

As established in the Constitution, the American military serves a civilian government. But that could quickly change, as I describe below.

Most of us Americans have faith that the armed forces will not serve as the enforcement arm of a dictatorship. What this means is: (1) The military as a whole will not support an attempted Republican dictatorship. The current military leadership took steps to restrain the possible abuse of military power, including nuclear weapons, by former president Trump in his final, unstable days in office. (2) Not all military personnel will support a Republican dictatorship. In fact, it is likely that most will not. We all know of individual members of the military who serve America, not a political party.

But there could still be a military coup not acting on its own but supporting the civilian attempt to establish Republican single-party rule. There will be enough military personnel who will support Trump to make the coup successful. They, the extremists, are well organized; when they act, they will leave the freedom-loving members of the military reeling with confusion and unable to prevent the coup.

We have known for months that the internal security of the US military has been weak, leaving it open to infiltration by criminals or extremists. This article describes the disappearance of thousands of weapons from the US military.

While most military personnel are not extremists, there are enough of them that, in late December, the Pentagon announced an initiative to investigate right-wing extremism in the military.

This military coup will leave America vulnerable to Russian and/or Chinese aggression.

This is the evolutionary perspective: Throughout human history and prehistory, the organized forces of power have predominated over the less-organized forces of peace. Except for brief moments in world history, as exemplified by the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union. I fear we are about to lose the first.