Kansas Progress Institute

Ad Astra Per Aspera ~ To the Stars Through Difficulties

A Kleptocracy Too Short of Neofascist Tyranny?

Posted on December 20, 2016

By David Burress

Many on the left issue confident predictions that Trumpism either is, or is not, a temporary American derangement. I am not confident of my ability to be sure either way.


One of the unnerving things about Trump’s election is the fear that he might try to establish an enduring neofascist tyranny.  I am somewhat reassured by his appointments. Most of them are kleptocrats. Their main goal is to rip off and destroy government rather than to use it as an instrument of repression. They will tend to lead towards the Koch brothers ideal of minarchical corporate feudalism, in which power mainly resolves to the workplace to which one owes allegiance, rather than to one’s government. To that end, they will continue gradual right-wing efforts to dismantle or corrupt all of the mediating institutions that make democracy work. 


However I am not seeing strong signs of a fusion of Trumpism with the national security deep state, which is what I think would be required for a sudden, directly repressive tyranny. Normally it is hard for a President to impose his will on the bureaucracy, and that may be even harder in the case of President who many bureaucrats hold in contempt and who is attempting to control a national security bureaucracy still stinging from the Bush II errors they had been forced to participate in.


If Trumpism does turn violently tyrannical, a key question for many people will be: how will I know when it is time to flee the country? It is important to realize that, just as in Nazi Germany, the window of opportunity to flee closes at different times depending on your social position. Among those who are outspoken in criticizing Trump, people who receive some degree of national attention but are not especially powerful will be the first to be repressed. (To some extent that is already happening.)


Therefore your early warning system will consist in relatively public information about the intensity of open repression. If you are an outspoken critic, and if the time comes when you are not actually sure what is happening to Trump’s critics, then it is time for you to either leave, go underground, or plan on being arrested or disappeared. In any case, Trump opponents should plan on getting an up-to-date passport well in advance of any such signals.

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