How Authoritarianism Spread And The U.S. Faltered As A Model For Democracy 1

How Authoritarianism Spread And The U.S. Faltered As A Model For Democracy


Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security advisor to President Obama, talks with Rachel Maddow about his new book, "After the Fall, Being American in the World We've Made," and why the U.S. and other democracies have seen a drift toward authoritarianism, and what can be done about it. 
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  1. “If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon’s, but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.”
    — General Ulysses S Grant

    1. “Superstition, ambition and ignorance ” – sums up Trump perfectly. Stephen Miller added Projection. Projection learnt from Putin. Projection , the Republican insurrectionists way .

    2. @daniel banks Remember you told @Vincent Ramirez to: “now fact check”? My response to *you* was and still is why shouldn’t *you* fact check yourself? Do you know how to research if not I’ll help you with that.

    3. @daniel banks name them. With actual facts and charges by law enforcement. Republicans have been charged and yet you still pretend they aren’t accusing Democrats of the very crimes they commit.
      Get help. You must be very lonely.

    1. Donnie is just the obese repellent flower showing it’s orange face…pull out the weed to the Republican roots.

    2. It’s time for Joe Biden to _”lead an effective strategy to mobilize truitinerashuvudupresher”_

  2. Correct. We need the U.S. and it is failing us. The EU, plus their regional partners, is not perfect (breaking away one member allows to veto almost everything important and Russia has Orban, parts of Poland’s government are insane [not as much as the U.S. but…]) and therefore can not defend modern democracy alone (all others are to small to stand alone for sure).

    1. @Napoleon III OK Napoleon, calm down and while you’re at it stop playing with your nipple on the quiet.

    2. Why would anyone want to be associated with America? That’s the same country that profits from the genocide in Yemen and invaded the middle east to control its oil. Anyone with half a brain will dump the hypocrites. Americans make all democracies look like dictators.

    3. @Tristan Bennett I feel you. Their hypocrisy is damaging to the entire free world. Literally the bane of freedom. All Americans prove everyday is democratic nations are willing to invade, sanction or attack anyone for profit. That’s what dictators do and I never signed up to be a part of their giant for profit dictatorship alliance.

    4. @Tristan Bennett there’s plenty of people who support America throughout the western democracies. Most of them don’t care about genocide when one of their allies commits it. It’s only a big deal when other nations do it, because suddenly it becomes a war crime.

    5. We don’t need the US, we need a country that lives up to the hype US has been yelling at the world but has yet to live up to

  3. Wasn’t there a bunch of Republican senators and others who went to Russia on the Fourth of July many years ago? They were planning all of this weren’t they… It’s time for a Hollywood blacklist type of list for communist Republicans. Yes?

    1. @TheRealDeal Please look up the definition of Communism – Republicans are demonstrably not Communist.
      Suppressing votes has nothing to do with Communism per se.
      Why to Americans label everything they don’t like ‘Communist’?
      Republicans are ironing towards the Authoritarian Right – not Left.
      Read a book.

    2. @Riku Koskela Today’s Russia has all the morality of the Communists without the crippling ideology. That makes them worse.

    3. Trump had no problem telling these companies to pay the ransom. You can’t ever pay ransom to criminals or terrorist. Once you do they will continually hold you hostage. I was happy to hear the USA was launching a investigation into these Russian hackers.

  4. Oh gosh. Ben Rhodes asks an incredibly important question: ‘how can we not do more, whether in America or anywhere in the world where there is some semblance of freedom?’. I can only hope that all these self-serving, war-mongering leaders are being exposed and sooner rather than later, replaced by leaders with democratic ideals.

    1. @Jen Jen It is indeed one third, which is quite sufficient to go down that road. As a foreigner, i’m actually getting more and more scared by what is going on in your country, which used to be the cradle of democracy.

    2. And yet you denigrate the person trying to alert people? In the words of the Moody Blues, “if you can see exactly what to do, please tell me”. Please. Tell us.

    3. It’s not happening. Peaceful protesters anywhere in the world have got to be willing to die for freedom as they did in the past. Journalists had better leave their plush social clubs and be willing to die in order to cover the peaceful protests. That is what we’ve got left in an ever shrinking horizon of opportunity.

    4. @jabbermocky With you, friend and feel your frustration as I go to call CONGRESS: 202-224-3121 (at least) Best wishes 🙂

  5. What’s really terrifying, is with modern surveillance technology, social media, and the dismantling of free & fair elections, if a totalitarian party ever does get in power and takes over control of the military, we will probably never be able to turn it around again. As crazy as it sounds, the dystopian future of 1984 is suddenly a very real possibility.

    1. @Michael Shaw I will personally gut you if I ever get the chance…me and what army? How about THE army? Unlike you keyboard warriors, I’ve been a REAL soldier for over 20 years kiddo…we will be seeing you soon

  6. I listen to Ben Rhodes every week on “Pod Save the World”. A sliver of sanity in an insane world.

    1. @Brett Barnes You don’t have to take my word for it. This is a result of a study done by the University of Chicago. Unless they are also a part of the corporate interests burrowing into and infecting the collective American brain, in which case it appears that only you are in the enviable position of parsing fact from fiction.

  7. It’s all about accumulation of wealth. These countries saw how the Saudi royalty and Putin have accumulated so much wealth and power in such as short time that they had to follow. Brazil, India, Turkey, former Warsaw Pact countries, and then Trump

    1. I see that as the real cause DT ever ran to start with. Monarchy money is what drives mr loose screw. Apparently the other enablers are bought, blackmailed or threatened to cooperate. The base is mind controlled by black magic. Read Henry Makou’s article….the world is run by black magic’ on Veterans Today site.

    2. Trump had plenty of authoritarian leaders to mimic. In 2016, many Americans got fooled by his rhetoric. In 2020, many Americans embraced his rhetoric. If we fall, it will be our own fault.

  8. It looks to me like we are 90% down the road to the fall, and I don’t see anyone fighting hard enough for it to be stopped.

    1. @George B pushing the debate towards civil war is aiding the fascist agenda. We need to focus on steps to restore democracy, such as getting HR1 / S1 passed.

    2. @George B your brain doesn’t work at all if you think you can or should take on the military with your pea shooters. Protests make change, not murders.

    3. @Terry Fulds Protests don’t make change. *Investigations* make change. *Facts* make change. *The truth* makes change. That’s the problem with Democrats. They try to solve everything via protests, which do next to nothing.

    4. @Graphic design for Free I’m not holding my breath. I’m old enough that I’ve grabbed the popcorn and am enjoying watching America destroy itself with so much hate and division. The American dream has turned into a nightmare.
      I’m sure that may take the rest of the world with it, but it may also make the rest of the world more resolved to democracy.
      America needs an intervention, but the only countries powerful enough to do it have no desire to intervene and have grabbed the popcorn too.
      Good luck. It’ll make good viewing.

    5. @Tal Moore I think education also makes change. Without an educated populace investigations, facts and truth mean nothing.

  9. “We have met the enemy and he is us!” ~ Walt Kelly
    “The secret of freedom is educating the people, whereas the secret of tyranny is keeping them ignorant.” ~ Robespierre
    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” ~ Voltaire
    “There can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet.” ~Abraham Lincoln
    “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” ~ Charles Bukowski
    “Everybody has a right to their opinion, but nobody has a right to be wrong in their facts.” ~ Bernard Baruch, quoted in 1946 AP article.
    “It’s easier to fool people than it is to convince them that they have been fooled.”
    ~ Mark Twain
    “It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” ~ James A. Baldwin
    “When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent.” ~ Isaac Asimov
    “If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon’s but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.” ~ Ulysses S. Grant, 1875
    “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” ~ Typically misattributed to Sinclair Lewis, the original source of this quote is unknown, but likely derived from labor activist Eugene V. Debs 1917 quote, “Every robber or oppressor in history has wrapped himself in a cloak of patriotism or religion, or both.”

    Before World War II, Charles Lindbergh typified American heroism with his daring flights, including the first solo transatlantic flight, and his celebration of new technology. He parlayed his fame and heroic stature into a leading role in the America First movement, which opposed America’s entrance into the war against Nazi Germany. In 1939, in an essay entitled “Aviation, Geography, and Race,” published in that most American of journals, Reader’s Digest, Lindbergh embraced something close to Nazism for America:

    “It is time to turn from our quarrels and to build our White ramparts again. This alliance with foreign races means nothing but death to us. It is our turn to guard our heritage from Mongol and Persian and Moor, before we become engulfed in a limitless foreign sea.”

    The America First movement was the public face of pro-fascist sentiment in the United States at that time. In the twenties and thirties, many Americans shared Lindbergh’s views against immigration, especially by non-Europeans. The Immigration Act of 1924 strictly limited immigration into the country, and it was specifically intended to restrict the immigration of both nonwhites and Jews.

    Once again, nationalism, aka fascism, has risen its ugly head in America, in European nations, and in some other countries around the world. The fight of good people against ignorance, the fears that sprout from it, the hate which then blossoms, culminating in the bitter toxic fruit of evil, senseless brutalities and deaths, is a constant, never-ending battle we fear, but it is a battle from which we must never shrink.

    In this era, the likes of Toxic Trump and Marginalized Greene have become the face of the new “America First” fascist movement built up over the last four decades by the GOP, Reich-wing plutocrats, demagogues, and media. But, as with Lindbergh, the American people gradually come to recognize their dysfunctional poison and reject it. Most Americans understand, accept, and appreciate that the enduring strength of America is that we are a nation of immigrants and multiculturalism, a “melting pot” where the best ideas rise to the top, and superficial differences are meaningless in the face of our common humanity and purpose. Most Americans want competent leaders who speak truth, who strive to unite, who are not corrupt, who care about them. So, it should come as no surprise that President Biden is already receiving high marks from the public, while Toxic Trump never managed to rise above even a 50% approval rating. To conclude where begun, the following quotes are submitted for further reflection:

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~ George Santayana
    “History doesn’t repeat itself. But it does rhyme. ~ Mark Twain
    “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” ~ Aldous Huxley
    “If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.” ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    1. There is no doubt about majoritarian support for liberal democracy in the long-term. The profound risk is sufficient support in the medium term for institutional capture that leads to institutional failure. By capturing the media, courts, legislatures, executive, universities, administrative and defence architecture etc, and either undermining their role as beachhead or inverting their function to subvert, distort, diminish, or denying democratic practice they amplify and extend their reach while limiting opponents. The weakness is that so much relies on norms that are fragile, as people can be swayed when vulnerable. Whatever moves might be made against democracy, don’t look away, don’t assume it’s an exception, call it what it is, always defend those weaker and different from yourself, don’t give an inch, don’t be afraid, and don’t forget you always have an army of regular people behind you who will never give up.

    2. @Joe Liedin The point you have to prove is , do you feel lucky? Do you really feel lucky?

    1. @Tom Sawyer; It’s more like a quarter, they are just louder and more annoying than the rest.

    2. Yes you were. Obsession over russian and orange man has made you completely insane. Now, we have TWO political parties who have gone off the deep end

    3. @John Clarke Guess you missed the recent revelations about Manafort’s Russian involvement. Seems we were right all along.

    4. @Tom Sawyer And even if you were wrong, you’d call me a russian for pointing it out. Go ahead. Leave a comment where you disagree with someone and you’ll instantly be called a russian and a putin supporter

  10. The US has never been a great model for democracy. Your electoral system makes sure of that. But the behaviour of American policies for years has always had been steered by a moral compass. But that is no longer the case. Corporate donations are no longer a crime. Legalised bribery.

    1. The electoral college makes a lot more sense when you look at the U.S. as a united “federation” of small independent states. I’m not arguing whether that’s a better or worse way to run the country, but the reality is that the federal government is more powerful than ever which enables the nation to compete more effectively at a global level. And while I disagree with the Citizens United argument that money = free speech, the unfortunate reality is that there will always be illicit “dark money” especially with the evolution of new technology and cryptocurrency.

    2. Our rhetoric has been, I don’t think our actions have been. Time and Time again are actions have been governed by what is best for American corporations, just wrapped in a warm and fuzzy message.

  11. Just look at other countries once. This has risen through years of fox News hate speech and bad education…

    1. ~~MSNBC is Satan’s propaganda machine. The Peacock is Satan’s symbol.
      Satan is known as the Peacock Angel Melek Taus/Shamash/Utu.
      The castrated Crown Prince of Allah/Nanna Sin.

    1. What’s funny is authoritarians also use Rome’s fall as a warning, and why people should embrace their ideals. They blame barbarians (migrants) and a decadent upper class (Hollywood elites). Personally I think people should stop looking to Rome as an example for the present.

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