Phantom Menace, Part II

Recently, I wrote:

We also have the threat of right-wing terrorism, or should I say the virtual certainty of it. The American Right is an overall fascist political movement. Fascists believe in seizing power ruthlessly, and that nobody but themselves have any business being in power (or even are fully proper members of the nations they reside in). (One only has to consider the trope, long present amongst right-wingers, particularly rural ones, that they are the “real Americans” and theirs is the “real America.”) They also have guns, and lots of them. There is really only one logical takeaway from all this, and that is that they will start using those guns to fight those whom they believe unworthy of ruling the nation.

Right-wing domestic terrorism is already the dominant variety in the USA. Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

At that point, we will have a national domestic security crisis. The logical response to that will be to enact new measures aimed at targeting and suppressing the violent subversives.

So as to avoid cluttering up that article with a digression, I left out the point that the menace from those domestic-security measures will not be merely a future one, when a fascist takes power. Far from it: the temptation will be nearly as great for Biden to use them against the radical left as it will be against the far right.

This is the case, even in the absence of any equivalent proclivity towards political violence on the part of the American left. That is merely a fact, and facts and logic often prove little or no obstacle to the exercise of political power. Authoritarianism is, at its core, both illogical and highly destructive, yet this has done little to prevent it from being exercised throughout history.

The Democratic Party has plenty of centrists in it, Biden is himself one of those centrists, and he is likely to appoint many centrists as his advisers. Targeting both ends of the political spectrum is just the sort of thing that a centrist (who believes both sides to be approximately equally off-base as a core part of his or her weltanschauung) would find inherently appealing.

So the centrists, self-professed enemies of authoritarian extremism, might themselves get suckered into becoming precisely the sort of enemies of liberty they believe to be defending against.

They are, in fact, uniquely vulnerable to it.

As a left-wing anarchist, I have had to contend with the unpleasant fact that anti-capitalist revolutions have a sad record of creating, not greater liberty and equality, but greater tyranny. As a person opposed to both capitalism and authoritarianism, I have been compelled by my beliefs and my knowledge of history to explore the pitfalls that led revolutionaries astray. I am hardly unique; such interests are common amongst anarchists.

They are not nearly so common amongst centrists, securely ensconced in their firm and deeply-held emotional attachment to both-sides-ism. Most centrists are well aware of the Terreur (and will eagerly base sermons to radicals around it), yet blissfully ignorant of the Semaine Sanglante (where in a week at least as many were slaughtered in the name of keeping society safe from radicalism as the former did in ten months).

In the application of the security measures, therefore, there is every reason to be concerned that centrists will be smug, cocksure, and ignorant. That is a dangerous combination of characteristics, to say the least.

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