For those history buffs out there, here’s a test. What country could be described by these conditions, which occurred over decade or so:
• Injured national pride;
• A new national leader who had not been elected by majority vote;
• An economic calamity that almost overnight destroyed the middle class standard of living;
• Long term unemployment/underemployment over 25%;
• A terrorist event, forewarned to the leaders, that set ablaze a symbol of the nation and resulted in laws passed allowing increased domestic security, monitoring of personal communications, arrest of suspicious people to be held without access to lawyers, military tribunals and an all out war on terrorism;
• Private army of over 400,000;
• Rise of a new minority political party that:
– is ultra right wing and fanatical;
– has a short and easy to remember name;
– funded by bankers and wealthy industrialists;
– panders to lower class white men with disciplined messages about Christian purity, anti-communism, free enterprise, the military, nationalism, freedom and the protection of the homeland;
– effective in propaganda, staged events and use of their own media;
– uncompromising in denying passage of emergency legislation needed during a crisis to undermine the sitting government;
– with leaders who make simplistic, often inflammatory rhetoric against well-educated elite in government and media.
Please use the comment box for your answer.
Authors note: For the last few weeks, I have been working on a story about the ethics of political hate. My intention was to discuss teachings of different religions and historic figures from political movements; examples of divided government and failed democracies; etc. Each time I began writing, I kept returning to stories of one particular failed democracy. I’ve stopped working on the piece, at least for now, until I can approach it with a fresher angle. In many ways, my story kept sounding way too much like this piece, which I hadn’t read at the time, written eight years ago: http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0316-08.htm – I encourage you to take a look at it. We are living in scary times. I not referring to war and terrorism, though they are scary, I am referring to us.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana, The Life of Reason The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905