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Let’s Dialogue

By Matthew Yglesias on February 19, 2007 at 9:56 pm

"Let’s Dialogue"

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J-Pod thinks it’s obviously absurd to worry that American democracy will collapse and the country will adopt an authoritarian mode of government. Meanwhile, his colleague Mark Steyn explains that though he doesn’t approve of fascism, he thinks Europe will probably turn fascist soon in response to the onrushing Muslim Hordes: “Indeed, Ralph Peters and I have already argued about this: the difference between us, as I explain here, is that I think any descent into neo-Fascism will be ineffectual and therefore merely a temporary blip in the remorseless transformation of the Continent.”

My take: You really never know what will happen. It is, however, striking that the contemporary right has widely committed itself to the view that (a) presidential war powers during an undeclared, semi-permament war are essentially without limit, (b) political efforts aimed at curtailing and rolling back presidential war policy are essentially treasonous (see, e.g., Don Young’s remarks about hanging members of congress), and (c) media reports that serve to undermine the popularity of presidential war policy are, similarly, treasonous. To discern the significance of all this in historical terms, I would need to know more about the history of the right-wing popular press. It’s worth noting that as recently as the 1960s, African-Americans certainly wouldn’t view the notion of an authoritarian form of government as outlandish.

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