FindLaw Forum: Could terrorism result in a constitutional dictator?
June 7, 2002 2:55 PM   Subscribe

FindLaw Forum: Could terrorism result in a constitutional dictator? Rather odd that so early into the "game" this sort of speculation by professionals is being considered. Heading for a change in the way we govern or are governed, or just a bump in the road that need not jar us?
posted by Postroad (19 comments total)

 
I should think that the identity of the author of the piece, one John Dean, would be worthy of note here.
posted by jjg at 3:00 PM on June 7, 2002


Ah, but in giving credence to his words, or in detracting from the credence of those words?
posted by dissent at 3:02 PM on June 7, 2002


Is Bush Palpatine?
posted by muckster at 3:11 PM on June 7, 2002


No, he's too damn wimpy, and not charismatic enough, for that.
posted by dissent at 3:14 PM on June 7, 2002


"How could Germans living under Hitler's National Socialism not have seen what it was? How did their lack of social and personal awareness make them blind to their reality? How could Americans now possibly be living under a creeping dictatorship and not know it? And how could we not only not see a police state condition but actually think we're living in complete freedom? Because most of us don't WANT to know what's going on. We've lost the ability to think critically about political, economic, and social dangers confronting us ..."

Better to consider these possibilities too early in the game than too late, no?
posted by sheauga at 3:17 PM on June 7, 2002


Heh. What about the creeping danger of the loss of collective will to take tough, unpopular, politically incorrect measures to solve very real problems?

Yeah, "we've" lost the ability to think critically... because "we're" continuously being programmed to think the ultimate sin is not to accept everyone else as is... unless they're conservative.
posted by dissent at 3:22 PM on June 7, 2002


because "we're" continuously being programmed to think the ultimate sin is not to accept everyone else as is... unless they're conservative.

I don't know where you live, but most people who actually vote and pay attention to elections seem to me to not be buying any 'programming' thrown at them.

I think it's totally natural and probably repeated many places all over the world that people become more conservative, bellicose, and scared after being attacked. Despite the fact that yes, the media is lame, and yes, politics is business as usual, I still think the ideas that are the most popular are going to win out. Just because you don't like those ideas doesn't mean that everyone around you is a mindless sheep.
posted by cell divide at 3:26 PM on June 7, 2002


...unless they're conservative

Gads. Has there ever been a bunch more perpetually aggrieved, more comfortable with siege mentality than neocons?
posted by nikzhowz at 3:33 PM on June 7, 2002


With good reason- has there ever been a more ill-considered, mind-numbing, will-sapping collection of claptrap than current liberal thought? That was straight-facedly, uncritically accepted by a vast majority of media?
posted by dissent at 3:38 PM on June 7, 2002


::: rolls eyes :::

Thanks for derailing THIS potentially interesting and informative discussion. Already.
posted by rushmc at 3:41 PM on June 7, 2002


You're right. Sorry rushmc, sorry dissent.
posted by nikzhowz at 3:42 PM on June 7, 2002


So, do you think the loss of that "ability to think critically about political, economic, and social dangers confronting us ..." has anything to do with the seemingly deliberate political neglect of our secondary education system?
posted by SpecialK at 3:46 PM on June 7, 2002


Don't be sorry... I'd just as likely take a dig when someone say something that annoys the hang out of me. I may disagree with you completely... I may scathingly respond... but I begrudge no one their right to gripe. I just reserve right to return fire...
posted by dissent at 3:48 PM on June 7, 2002


Finally. The need arises for a benevolent despot. I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:00 PM on June 7, 2002


i think there's way too many competing interests within the modern U.S. government to allow for an effective dictatorship. our modern system of government is so complicated that it simply could not run without tens of thousands of people empowered to exert authority somewhat independently from each other. courts, state governments, congress, administrative agencies, quasi-administrative agencies all wield significant power independent of the President and they are percieved as having legitimacy by the public. if the president tried to take them all over, he'd cause massive chaos both because people wouldn't recognize the legitimacy of his actions and he and his cronies could not possibly run the entire government apparatus by themselves.

that's not to say that Bush couldn't do a lot of damage to the Constitution in specific areas like civil liberties. but i think dictatorship is a bit far-fetched at this point in our history.
posted by boltman at 5:23 PM on June 7, 2002


My two cents... lessee...advertisers spend billions of dollars on media messages that we "ignore." Hmmm. They still spend the money, so the "media" has some kind of influence, eh? Whether purchased directly (ad dollars) or indirectly (lobbyist dollars). Some Mefi media critics persist in a liberal vs conservative framework which makes polarization the topic instead of the effect. Misdirection takes our eye off the ball.

What conditions are really necessary to "control" the country? Economic property ownership, have vs have nots? "Wartime (with no definable end point)? Emergency laws and actions taken under this cloak of "war?" Establishing a national cabinet level post of "Homeland Security?" A national ID card? A sycophantic, pack-mentality, national media that parrots a White House line without questioning it? Because now, we should "watch what we say?" Has independent, critical thinking become unpatriotic?

What Mr. Dean seems to be saying is we are already sliding down a slippery slope. God help us from being so "smart" we wind up doing stupid things...before the next 3 years is over. --Greg
posted by goodhelp at 7:55 PM on June 7, 2002


Please get your terms correct. A conservative (in the traditional -- as in original -- sense) believes in putting the power back in the state's hands and keeping the federal government with only the duties assigned to it under the Constitution. So, no, conservatives aren't in favor of a dictatorship in that it is the complete opposite of the definition of the term. The Republican Party represents the ideologies of the conservative as the DNC represents the ideologies of the liberal.

In fact, I find the whole thread absurd since it's the militias and the NRA who are so hard-core conservative. You think those guys are going to roll over and accept a dictator? Pull back from your conservative-hating long enough to see how stupid that sounds.
posted by billman at 1:35 AM on June 8, 2002


The Republican Party represents the ideologies of the conservative as the DNC represents the ideologies of the liberal.
Maybe for awhile this was true, although you could make a case for the opposite at the time of the Civil War. Today, the Republican Party represents the ideology of gathering as much power and money to themselves as possible. The Democratic Party represents the same. For the Republicans, two words: steel tariffs. For the Democrats: welfare reform. Other examples exist ad nauseam.

And why is it the entire party on the one hand and merely the national committee on the other?
posted by anewc2 at 7:05 AM on June 8, 2002


Maybe for awhile this was true

anewc2: I guess you didn't catch the fact that that statement was supposed to be sarcastic at best and at worst at least an illustration that political parties don't represent political ideologies (they represent the interests of whoever has the most cash).

There was no conspiracy. I should have said RNC and DNC and/or the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.
posted by billman at 9:11 AM on June 8, 2002


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