Study their behaviors. Observe their territorial boundaries. Leave their habitat as you found it. Report any signs of intelligence.

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Friday, March 05, 2021

Little Risk Of Authoritarian Socialism in U.S.

Some freedom-lovers fear that America is on a path toward a socialist police state -- a path already followed by the most murderous regimes in human history:

  • French Reign Of Terror
  • Soviet Russia
  • Fascist Italy
  • Nazi Germany
  • Communist China
  • Cuba
  • Nicaragua
  • Venezuela
In all these cases, an authoritarian socialist police state arose without foreign conquest. However, there were many risk factors in play:

  • Strong tradition of aristocracy
  • Historic ethnic hierarchy/grievance
  • Weak tradition of democracy
  • Weak tradition of free speech
  • Weak tradition of gun rights
  • Severe land/resource inequality
  • Agrarian economy
  • Poorer than developed nations
  • Recent war and/or depression
  • Foreign military support for revolution
If you score these cases by the risk factors, you get:
  • 7 French Reign Of Terror
  • 9 Soviet Russia
  • 8 Fascist Italy
  • 6 Nazi Germany
  • 9 Communist China
  • 8 Cuba
  • 8 Nicaragua
  • 7 Venezuela
By contrast, the U.S. has only one risk factor: our distant history of slavery and our recent history of generous immigration has afflicted us with ethnic grievance. The U.S. is largely exempt from the other 9 risk factors. This suggests that alarmism about a U.S. police state is misguided, whether the alarmists are from the Left or from the Right. There was never any risk of Trump making America fascist.
Do the Internet and social media constitute a risk factor, or a mitigator? They allow activists and extremists to organize and to be amplified and to be canceled and to be de-platformed. But current concerns over cancellation and de-platforming need some historical perspective. The authoritative history Radicals For Freedom tells us that up until the late 1960s, the freedom movement was a remnant, a tiny flickering candle.  Even in the early 1970s, the freedom movement ran on shared postal mailing lists of at best a few tens of thousands of people. Now, the freedom movement is many millions of people, entrenched in every corner of the Internet. Some people may be canceled from enjoying the widest audiences, but what freedom-lover can honestly say that he cannot find enough pro-freedom content to read? What semi-diligent freedom-lover can say that he's successfully being kept ignorant about current events?
The sky is not falling. Our main risk is our continued slide toward some flavor of Western European nanny-state socialism. Preventing that slide is less sexy than LARPing about a revolution, but it is the hard work that freedom-lovers should not shirk.

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