The Existential Threat to Our Democracy

 

From a friend who happens to be a particularly shrewd observer:

I find it telling that is the past couple of weeks two of the so-called “moderate” Democrats (Bloomberg and Buttigieg) have referred to Donald Trump as an “existential threat” to democracy. Well, consider that. Trump has been in office for 3 years. The country held perfectly free and open elections a year ago, which Trump opponents largely won. Ditto, on a much smaller scale, a few weeks ago. If Trump attempted to use the apparatus of the Federal government to interfere in any of those elections, or to prevent any of his opponents from being seated, I must have missed those stories. Print, broadcast, and electronic media in this country have been overwhelmingly critical of Trump every day of the past 3 years. To the best of my knowledge, Rachel Maddow, Jim Acosta, Chuck Todd, and hundreds and hundreds like them are still free as birds, and still writing and speaking whatever they want. Every single week, even the briefest scan of Apple News reveals scores of entertainers, business leaders, elected officials, academics, and other high-status individuals offering everything from sharp criticism to unhinged invective against Trump. If any of those individuals have suffered any measurable personal or professional harm as a result, I am unaware of it. Jack Dorsey still runs Twitter; Robert De Niro is still a mega-celebrity; Ilhan Omar is still in Congress. And on and on.

(I am reminded of an anecdote Tom Wolfe wrote about many years ago. He was part of a panel discussion at, I think, Princeton in the 1960s, on some topic I’ve forgotten. The gist of the discussion was essentially, “America is becoming a fascist state!” and most of the panelists seemed to accept this as self-evident. But at one point, one of the panelists, Gunter Grass, a German left-wing writer who had actually grown up under Hitler, stood up and said, in effect, “What on earth are you talking about? Where are the Gestapo? Where are the men with the machine guns? In a real fascist state, the guards would have come through those doors long before now, and we would all be sitting in prison cells. Or shot.”)

But…. Heather MacDonald and scores and scores of others who do not toe the so-called “social justice” line have been prevented from speaking or removed from Twitter or YouTube. Brendan Eich, James Damore, Kevin Williamson, and others have been fired from jobs for having the “wrong” opinions or saying the “wrong” thing. Journalists and elected officials have been harassed in public. A prominent black Harvard Law professor was removed from one of his positions at the university for having the courage to assist in the defense of the “wrong” client. The list goes on, and on, and on. And these visible, high-profile examples — long as the list is — are not even the worst of it. The worst of it is the unknowable but much longer list of speakers who are not invited in the first place, people who are not hired, opinions that are not voiced, all out of fear of retribution on the part of the “social justice” bullies.

Unfortunately, most well-meaning people (especially including well-meaning liberals) are inclined to dismiss all of this as pretty much just a well-yeah-there-are-some-kooky-folks-at-the-universities thing. But it’s not. “Social justice” bullying is a cancer that has spread well beyond the universities. Never mind the arts and philanthropy, which are basically just extensions of the universities. Mainstream journalism has become riddled with it. The entire tech sector is riddled with it. The HR departments — and increasingly marketing departments — of a huge number of traditional corporations are riddled with it. Local school boards — mainly through the influence of teachers unions — even in otherwise “centrist” districts are riddled with it. Wall Street may (we will see) stand up to a Liz Warren or a Bernie Sanders, but if you dare to suggest openly that there’s something not right about a “trans woman” with biologically male levels of testosterone, lung capacity, and muscle mass competing in athletic events against women without those things, I’m pretty sure there’s no opening for you at Goldman Sachs.

There is indeed an “existential threat” to the freedom of thought, conscience, and expression which are indispensable to our democracy, but it does not come from Donald Trump, however much of an obnoxious, egotistical ass he may be.

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  1. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Peter Robinson: “America is becoming a fascist state!” and most of the panelists seemed to accept this as self-evident. But at one point, one of the panelists, Gunter Grass, a German left-wing writer who had actually grown up under Hitler, stood up and said, in effect, “What on earth are you talking about? Where are the Gestapo? Where are the men with the machine guns? In a real fascist state, the guards would have come through those doors long before now, and we would all be sitting in prison cells. Or shot.”) [Tom Wolfe 1960’s]

    What, he didn’t say this yesterday? Well…its as true today as it was then. The only people rolling us deep into fascism are the leftists. 

    Thank you for this post. 

    • #1
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Peter Robinson: Unfortunately, most well-meaning people (especially including well-meaning liberals)…

    I wish I could agree with this. But I’m not sure they’re “well-meaning.” 

    In the last four years I’ve read some awful stuff from people I used to admire. I began my journey to supporting Donald Trump by first becoming a supporter of Donald Trump supporters. The commentariat on both the right and the left has written stuff I never thought possible about large sections of their fellow Americans. The vitriol has been downright depressing. They hate the President but they hate their fellow Americans even more for foisting “that bastard” onto them. The exposure of this hatred is more destructive than anything.

    All of which is unfortunate since it isn’t like Trump won’t ever give you cause to disagree with him. 

    • #2
  3. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Peter Robinson: There is indeed an “existential threat” to the freedom of thought, conscience, and expression which are indispensable to our democracy, but it does not come from Donald Trump, however much of an obnoxious, egotistical ass he may be.

    Peter,

    There appear to be real live concentration camps in Western China as we speak. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Thomas L. Friedman had something to say about this? Should we emulate China’s behavior in this too? Meanwhile, Iran has been murdering demonstrators and then hiding the bodies removing them from the morgues. This and attacking all of the other nations in the middle east plus extorting world shipping going through the Strait of Hormuz.

    The media appears to believe in the magical theory of Trump causation. Anything from hurricanes to global warming can be caused by a single Trump tweet. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the American people have finally caught on to this lunatic media act and realize that however crude Trump might be he isn’t a tyrant and has a rather decent record in defending the average person’s interests?

    Stay tuned. Don’t touch that dial. There is more in store.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    • #3
  4. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Peter, let me explain this to you. As it happens, I have been engaged in a long argument on social media today about this very topic, the “dictatorial” nature of this President. Here’s how it works.

    Trump is a dictator. The only reason he doesn’t do any of the things dictators do is because America is not a dictatorship. We have the Constitution, and courts, and institutions, and checks and balances, and those things keep the President from acting like the dictator he clearly is. But rest assured: if those institutions didn’t exist, he would absolutely be behaving like the dictator he is.

    Of course, so would I.


    Seriously, this is the level of deep analysis I’m encountering.

    • #4
  5. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    The lack of self-awareness on the Left is mind-blowing. They say Trump is a fascist, while they are the ones who silence any opposition. They say he’s an “authoritarian,” when they’re the ones posting on Reddit and elsewhere that his supporters should “have their throats slit” and “be executed in the public square.”

    As I commented elsewhere, do they think if they lived in an actual fascist regime they’d still be sitting at the computer posting disgusting personal comments about the president and his family, and crude drawings on Reddit and Twitter of him naked? Well they wouldn’t. They’d be sitting in a jail cell awaiting a firing squad.

    • #5
  6. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chris Cam… Coolidge
    MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chris Cam…
    @ChrisCampion

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Peter Robinson: “America is becoming a fascist state!” and most of the panelists seemed to accept this as self-evident. But at one point, one of the panelists, Gunter Grass, a German left-wing writer who had actually grown up under Hitler, stood up and said, in effect, “What on earth are you talking about? Where are the Gestapo? Where are the men with the machine guns? In a real fascist state, the guards would have come through those doors long before now, and we would all be sitting in prison cells. Or shot.”) [Tom Wolfe 1960’s]

    What, he didn’t say this yesterday? Well…its as true today as it was then. The only people rolling us deep into fascism are the leftists.

    Thank you for this post.

     

    Accurate.

    I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about how to convince the inconvincible about something, even something specific to their own line of work. Let’s just say we’ve reached some roadblocks at work, with our “leadership”, where I’m trying to point them to the enormous hole in the road we’re about to drive into, with their feet firmly stamped on the accelerator, but all I get back are pinched looks and the batting-away motion.

    That type of asininity is what makes me seek out popcorn, a lawn chair, and a cool, refreshing place to relax, and watch it all burn down. “I told you so’s” are extremely unsatisfying. I want to see the look of stunned realization cross their faces, when the stupid is thrust upon them, of their own creation, they realize it, but now it’s too late to stop it, and the negative repercussions it has for them.

    Some things look bad if you’re in charge and you either didn’t know, or didn’t even bother to ask. The same type of dissonance applies to those who repeatedly stomp on the fascism accelerator, are advised that they are doing so, and they bat it aside, casually, dismissively. Because they, of course, know better.

    In the case of the republic, though, some kind of tipping point exists, where you can’t fix it. I’ve often thought that we’re already there, financially, with the debt overhang and unfunded liabilities. But that’s only part of it. I’m not sure we’re capable of self-correcting.

    Why? Because we just know better.

     

     

     

    • #6
  7. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    As I commented elsewhere, do they think if they lived in an actual fascist regime they’d still be sitting at the computer posting disgusting personal comments about the president and his family, and crude drawings on Reddit and Twitter of him naked? Well they wouldn’t. They’d be sitting in a jail cell awaiting a firing squad.

    They also drive around freely with “Resist” bumper stickers, when they’re not busy posting and protesting. It constantly reminds me that those behaviors are virtue signals. I’m sure they believe they’re acting in important ways, but those signals can also be inoculation against the mob that might otherwise come for them.

    • #7
  8. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Peter Robinson: But at one point, one of the panelists, Gunter Grass, a German left-wing writer who had actually grown up under Hitler, stood up and said, in effect, “What on earth are you talking about? Where are the Gestapo? Where are the men with the machine guns? In a real fascist state, the guards would have come through those doors long before now, and we would all be sitting in prison cells. Or shot.”

    Perhaps we are seeing a soft facism first, to be followed by hard facism later . . .

    • #8
  9. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Peter Robinson: But at one point, one of the panelists, Gunter Grass, a German left-wing writer who had actually grown up under Hitler, stood up and said, in effect, “What on earth are you talking about? Where are the Gestapo? Where are the men with the machine guns? In a real fascist state, the guards would have come through those doors long before now, and we would all be sitting in prison cells. Or shot.”

    Perhaps we are seeing a soft facism first, to be followed by hard facism later . . .

    • #9
  10. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Peter Robinson:

    The worst of it is the unknowable but much longer list of speakers who are not invited in the first place, people who are not hired, opinions that are not voiced, all out of fear of retribution on the part of the “social justice” bullies.

    I think this is such a crucial point, which calls to mind the Hans Christian Andersen tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In that story, no one wanted to speak the truth for fear of losing their jobs because the invisible cloth was supposed to have the power to reveal who was bad at their jobs. Meanwhile, the “weavers” were grafters taking advantage of the emperor’s vanity. 

    • #10
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    MACHO GRANDE' (aka – Chri… (View Comment):
    I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about how to convince the inconvincible about something, even something specific to their own line of work. Let’s just say we’ve reached some roadblocks at work, with our “leadership”, where I’m trying to point them to the enormous hole in the road we’re about to drive into, with their feet firmly stamped on the accelerator, but all I get back are pinched looks and the batting-away motion.

    I just want to comment on the wonderful term “inconvincible,” though I don’t think that it’s actually a word.

    For a moment, I misread it as “inconceivable” and had a Princess Bride flashback:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSSW3YNgzNQ

    • #11
  12. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Mr. Robinson, thanks for the great OP.

    Your friend’s comment demonstrates the deranged nature of the current Democratic party, as even the so-called moderate candidates are absolutely hysterical and unhinged. They are joined by a number of former conservatives, unfortunately.

    I think that this phenomenon is a demonstration of President Trump’s strange super-power. His unusual and sometimes objectionable style (to put it mildly) has the astonishing effect of ripping the mask off the Left. He is somehow able to troll his opposition into revealing themselves as radical Lefty loons.

    It’s a strange thing, because one would not typically expect mudslinging to act as a cleaning agent. Perhaps mud is not the proper analogy. Perhaps vitriol is the correct term. One meaning of vitriol is sulfuric acid, and while it is dangerous stuff, I think that it can be a useful solvent in extreme circumstances.

    • #12
  13. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Peter Robinson: There is indeed an “existential threat” to the freedom of thought, conscience, and expression which are indispensable to our democracy, but it does not come from Donald Trump, however much of an obnoxious, egotistical ass he may be.

    I think this is what the Never Trumpers don’t seem to understand. Donald Trump isn’t hurting American prosperity or freedom. His jerkiness is unpleasant but not fatal.

    Also, Trump is a reaction to fifty years of people calling regular Americans small-minded bigots and that America is essentially fascist. How can you insult the regular folks in America and condemn every part of American history as totally corrupt without expecting some pushback. 

    • #13
  14. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Of course, so would I.

    I wouldn’t.

    • #14
  15. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chris Cam… Coolidge
    MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chris Cam…
    @ChrisCampion

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    MACHO GRANDE’ (aka – Chri… (View Comment):
    I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about how to convince the inconvincible about something, even something specific to their own line of work. Let’s just say we’ve reached some roadblocks at work, with our “leadership”, where I’m trying to point them to the enormous hole in the road we’re about to drive into, with their feet firmly stamped on the accelerator, but all I get back are pinched looks and the batting-away motion.

    I just want to comment on the wonderful term “inconvincible,” though I don’t think that it’s actually a word.

    For a moment, I misread it as “inconceivable” and had a Princess Bride flashback:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSSW3YNgzNQ

    I had the same moment, too – but we were both wrong.

     

     

    • #15
  16. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Overlooked is the most overtly fascist institution in the United States – the Federal Reserve. Here we have an unelected board of private bankers central planning the most important prices in the market, interest rates. They held interest rates near zero for seven years, effectively transferring middle class savings to stock speculators, and enabling massive increases in debt both in the public and private sectors. Our fate is in their hands now more than it ever was. They need only raise rates a few points to bring the whole shaky edifice crashing down, as nearly happened last December after they raised interest rates to a paltry 2.4%. We are now totally hooked on an ever increasing deluge of cheap money from the Fed. 

    More than anyone else, Trump’s future is in the hands of the Federal Reserve. Should they desire to torpedo his election, an interest rate rise of 2% would cause a stock market crash and doom him. He seems to understand this, what with his regular tweets demanding that the Fed keep interest rates low or even lower them. He knows we are hooked, but doesn’t want the meltdown on his watch.

    The fascist state won’t come first by restrictions on free speech. It will happen when the massive debt and economic dislocations that the Fed enabled are finally too much to bear, and we have a Depression-like economic crisis (or worse). We don’t have the civil structures (church, family, communities) to fall back on like we did in the Depression. Instead, we will have riots and burning cars as the population demands the government do something. And it will, lead by the Federal Reserve.

     As has always happened in history, people will not tolerate chaos and will embrace a fascist-style government that will restore order. Which it will, at the cost of individual liberty. Restricting speech will seem like a small price to pay.

    • #16
  17. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Strangely, I wrote about the end of the world within an hour of Peter Robinson’s post. It’s awfully short and the comments are very funny so feel free to check it out.

    • #17
  18. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    It’s all projection by Progressives. It’s how they really see democracy. As Erdogan of Turkey said, “Democracy is like a bus. When it gets to my station I get off”.

    The best example is how the Right and Left criticize the high tech companies. Both are critical but the Right’s criticism is, “hey, we have a right to be heard along with everyone else” while the Left’s is, “why are you allowing the Right to be heard?“.

    During the 2016 campaign we heard about the violence of Trump supporters but the only opposition rallies disrupted were Trump rallies by Democrats, including here in Phoenix, and in San Jose, California where the police were ordered to stand down so that Progressives could beat up Trump supporters leaving a rally.

    And after the election we were told that Trump’s neo-nazi supporters would be out on the streets crushing any opposition. But what happened? On college campuses and elsewhere Progressives disrupted attempts to speak by anyone not fully aligned with the Progressive agenda.

    And we know Progressives would like to extend nationwide the new California tradition of only allowing Democrats on the ballot.

    And the final proof of Trump’s existential threat to democracy is how the NY Times, WaPo, CNN, academia and the entertainment industry are terrified to criticize him because of their fear of retribution.

    • #18
  19. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    We had a nice, perfect run of peacefully handing off power between administrations until it was time for Team Obama to hand off to Team Trump. That is an existential threat to our voting process.

    • #19
  20. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    MACHO GRANDE' (aka – Chri… (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    MACHO GRANDE’ (aka – Chri… (View Comment):
    I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about how to convince the inconvincible about something, even something specific to their own line of work. Let’s just say we’ve reached some roadblocks at work, with our “leadership”, where I’m trying to point them to the enormous hole in the road we’re about to drive into, with their feet firmly stamped on the accelerator, but all I get back are pinched looks and the batting-away motion.

    I just want to comment on the wonderful term “inconvincible,” though I don’t think that it’s actually a word.

    For a moment, I misread it as “inconceivable” and had a Princess Bride flashback:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSSW3YNgzNQ

    I had the same moment, too – but we were both wrong.

    I stand corrected! Thanks, Macho.

    In my defense, I relied on Google. I should know better. The first search didn’t even respond to the term “inconvincible,” and returned results for “inconceivable.”

    These could be funny additions to a list of Royal Navy ships, which included an HMS Invincible, Indomitable, Inflexible, and Indefatigable. Some of the names were re-used — the first three were WWI-era battle cruisers, but the names Invincible and Inflexible had been used before. The first Indefatigable was Horatio Hornblower’s ship in the early part of C.S. Forester’s book series.

    Now I want to write a spoof version of a Royal Navy adventure, along the lines of Hornblower or the Aubrey-Maturin series, with ship names like HMS Inconvincable, Inconceivable, Incorrigible, and Incontinent.

    • #20
  21. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    I’m so old I remember when Democrats were telling me George W Bush was literally Hitler though I must admit it was a relief when Obama was elected and the Dixie Chicks were released from Gitmo, and Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 was finally allowed to be shown in movie theaters.

    Hey, anyone remember when, in 2006, The Path To 9-11 was shown by ABC/Disney? It made the mistake of showing both the Bush and the Clinton administrations making mistakes in the years before the 9-11 attack. 19 Democrat Senators, led by Harry Reid, wrote a letter to the CEO of ABC/Disney admonishing them for broadcasting the movie and warning about the possible FCC licensing consequences. The Path To 9-11 was never reshown on TV and has never been released on DVD or on any other type of media.  Now that’s the way you do government control!

    • #21
  22. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    I suspect a lot of people who use the word ‘existential threat’ really like the sound of it, but don’t quite understand that it means ‘threat to existence’. Like bellwether, sea-change, gravitas, and synergy, it’s more about mouth-feel and street cred than judgement and consideration. 

    A word is dropped from the lips of a few professional newsreaders and suddenly normal non-nabobs cannot wait to natter it, because it gives them gravitas or possibly synergywether. 

    • #22
  23. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Let’s see now. Just who is it that throws death threats around like candy? Mobs the homes of newscasters, shouting and yelling and scaring their children? Riots in the streets, roughing up reporters and breaking windows of businesses? Immediately files lawsuits to stop any new regulation they don’t like? Ignores the proven murders by illegal aliens, and releases them from detention without notifying authorities?

    That would be Progressives and “Antifa”, not us conservatives. We are too busy earning a living and supporting our families.

    • #23
  24. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Of course, so would I.

    I wouldn’t.

    Yeah you would. Don’t even try it…we all would.

    • #24
  25. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Peter Robinson: Unfortunately, most well-meaning people (especially including well-meaning liberals)…

    I wish I could agree with this. But I’m not sure they’re “well-meaning.”

    In the last four years I’ve read some awful stuff from people I used to admire. I began my journey to supporting Donald Trump by first becoming a supporter of Donald Trump supporters. The commentariat on both the right and the left has written stuff I never thought possible about large sections of their fellow Americans. The vitriol has been downright depressing. They hate the President but they hate their fellow Americans even more for foisting “that bastard” onto them. The exposure of this hatred is more destructive than anything.

    All of which is unfortunate since it isn’t like Trump won’t ever give you cause to disagree with him.

    But, but, , , they only mean to elevate us to thier level, by force if necessary. It’s for our own good you see 😁😁

    • #25
  26. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I just want to comment on the wonderful term “inconvincible,” though I don’t think that it’s actually a word

    And yet it looks and sounds very much like a word 🤔🤔

    • #26
  27. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    TBA (View Comment):

    I suspect a lot of people who use the word ‘existential threat’ really like the sound of it, but don’t quite understand that it means ‘threat to existence’. Like bellwether, sea-change, gravitas, and synergy, it’s more about mouth-feel and street cred than judgement and consideration.

    A word is dropped from the lips of a few professional newsreaders and suddenly normal non-nabobs cannot wait to natter it, because it gives them gravitas or possibly synergywether.

     

    Wow. That was nicely said.

    (especially to the portion of your readership who remember Agnew.)

     

    • #27
  28. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):
    Harry Reid

    A despicable human being (no offense to human beings) . . .

    • #28
  29. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Peter Robinson: The gist of the discussion was essentially, “America is becoming a fascist state!” and most of the panelists seemed to accept this as self-evident.

    “The word fascism now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’.”
    –George Orwell, Politics and the English Language, 1945

    The Left demonizes innocent people as “fascists” and “racists” because the Left needs existential threats to justify their own real thuggery. What’s more, it gives meaning to their lives and affords them the pleasure of being cruel under the cloak of a false morality.

    Someone much older than me, who served during WWII, remarked that at that time Communists were sometimes called “red fascists.”

    • #29
  30. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    It makes perfect sense as long as you understand how they define “Democracy” – their personal ( and collective) right to rule as Progressive Globalists and squash any and all dissenting opinions.

     

     

     

    • #30

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