Saturday, November 24, 2007

Soft Totalitarianism

By Cernig

TPM Muckraker: "Bush Admin: What You Don't Know Can't Hurt Us, 2007 Version. Another year has almost passed under the Bush Administration, and so it's time to review how much less we know."

It's a very big list. Go read.

It's often said that information is power. It's just as true that a lack of information is disempowering. By withholding every fact it can, the Bush administration is depriving the American people of their ability to make informed decisions - in a very real way depriving them of freedom and democratic choices. As Unbossed's Smintheus puts it:
What Republicans have been doing, and too many Dems colluding in, is the gradual erosion of long-accepted modes and principles of governance. Simultaneously, we have the diminishment of the very systems that are supposed to block such erosion--the free press in particular.

The ultimate goal, whether or not it is clearly enunciated in those circles, is to alter the way Americans think about the nature of the State. Too many Republicans reject the Enlightenment view of government, and are trying to replace it gradually with something like a national-security state.

The danger we need to confront is incremental erosion of the consensus on government, the gradual acceptance of ideas that ought to be anathema to a free people.
I think that hits the nail on the head exactly. One might term it "soft totalitarianism" to distinguish it from the kind that dispenses entirely with any pretense at democracy. Musharaff and Chavez, Brown's Labour, Bush's GOP and Clinton's Dems - in my opinion all lie on a spectrum of soft totalitarianism where those who seek power have irremediably confused their own power with the "good of the people".

I'm not the first to note that seekers for power are interested in their own power first and foremost or to say that government and law provide only the flimsiest of real checks and balances against such seekers - only a populace, an electorate, who insist on being informed and active can provide a meaningful check.

And I'd also like a pony.

No comments: