On Tyranny Or How to Tell If You’re Living in an Authoritarian Regime and What to do about It

If you’re social media feeds are anything like mine you’ve been seeing the terms fascism, authoritarian, and dictator being thrown around with increasing frequency and vitriol since the Ol’Pussy Grabber took office. if you’ve read Ye Olde Blogge over the years, you’ve seen me build a case for the fascist authoritarian bend the Repubes have taken. Now, it seems like the Ol’Pussy Grabber and his little friends are busting a real authoritarian move going straight past Go, not collecting $200.00 dollars, and going straight to jack-booted tyranny. With paramilitary forces in Portland and Kansas City and 60,000 more coming to a Democrat -led city near you, we’re staring tyranny in the eye and we dare not blink.

I caught The Rachel Maddow Show on Friday 24 July when she interviewed Tim Snyder, history professor at Yale. He specializes in modern East European history which makes him an expert on the historical rise of authoritarianism. His opinion on the current state of affairs in the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid is one we need right now because he’s a walking talking gauge of authoritarian tyrannical regimes.

Here’s what he had to say both in the interview and in his book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.

Lesson Six

In lesson six, he advises us to beware paramilitary forces. The use of paramilitary forces in budding authoritarian regimes generally runs the course from ruffians roughing up political opponents at political rallies — the Ol’Pussy Grabber’s 2016 rallies anyone — to the use of private law enforcement groups or at least extrajudicial groups like, I dunno mercenaries used to fight wars — we’re looking at you Erik Prince and Blackwater USA — or private companies used to run prisons and concentration camps like those used to torture children separated from their parents.

Each step along the authoritarian-tyranny paramilitary pathway erodes the state monopoly on violence. And, let’s face it with our whacky interpretation of the Second Amendment and proliferation of guns, we’ve been eroding the state monopoly on violence for a while now — I’m guessing feature, not flaw. The monopoly on violence constrains the use of violence by law, which, ask #BLM, ain’t really ever been construct no law.

WOW! So you get the impression that the USA has always teetered on the edge of authoritarian tyranny of been a secret tyrannical autocracy in Democratic disguise? Not convinced? Consider this point:

Limiting violence in society allows (1) voting and democracy to occur, (2) our judicial system to pass judgement in criminal and civil cases, (3) passing and enforcing laws, and (4) carry out any of the other multitudinous functions of government that we’ve become so accustomed to that we don’t even recognize them as functions of government any longer.

The TRMS Interview

Here’s the YouTube video that I feel compel compelled to include that no one will watch:

The Interview on Friday 24 July

During the interview Maddow asks him to expand upon the points he made about the use of paramilitary forces that he had made in his book because Portland.

Are We Living in Tyranny?

When paramilitary forces are deployed by the government, then you’re on the road to authoritarian tyranny. When those forces are faceless, nameless, insignia-less forces snatching people off the streets in the middle of the night, then you’ve arrived. We should all be sitting up and taking notice. If none of the other authoritarian tyranny moves that the Ol’Pussy Grabber has pulled haven’t gotten your attention or alarmed you, this one should. As Snyder explains, we are moving into the ubiquitous Martin Niemöller poem, “First They Came For…” territory.

One of the most alarming aspects of the operations use of ICE and CBP officers that they were trained on the border and in the concentration camps housing immigrants and asylum seekers to violate our laws and their human rights. It is one small step to transfer this willingness to brutalize and dehumanize immigrants to brutalizing and dehumanizing real live American moms and their families who are real live American citizens with real live Constitutional and human rights.

Snyder makes this most excellent and important point: this is why we imbue immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees, and non-citizens with the exact same rights as real live American citizens so that at no time when our law enforcement officers are discharging their state monopoly on violence do so in violation of our laws and rights. By creating lawless zones in concentration camps and on the border and making promises to pay legal fees and grant pardons for those who are prosecuted, we are.training jack-booted thugs to oppress American citizens.

What Do We Do About It?

Historically, the most effective response to fledgling authoritarian tyranny is MASS PEACEFUL protest. The first step is to identify with the protesters. Recognize that they have a legitimate grievance to petition our government for redress for as guaranteed in the First Amendment. You don’t have to agree one hundred percent with their grievance, you just need to recognize that their First and Fourth Amendment rights need to be preserved. And step two is to be like the Wall o’ Moms and the Dad Pod and hit the streets in protest. Of course, it never hurts to give your MoC a little ringy -dingy to tell them to protect the protesters and our democracy from the paramilitary forces and maybe legislate against their deployment.

We are now engaged in a real physical struggle for.our democracy. This fight will not only occur at the ballot box, but will, increasingly, be played out in the streets between mass peaceful protesters and ultra-violent paramilitary forces in the service of authoritarian tyranny.

Keep an eye out for upcoming posts on non-violent resistance and protest as well as more from “On Tyranny.”

Image Attribution

The image was making the rounds on Twitter. It was taken from @lttlwmnbigmth. It is an image from a #BLM protest in Oakland in May.

14 replies »

    • Howdy Dan!
      We here at Ye Olde Blogge appreciate every comment, like, and star receive. It is our policy to correct and acknowledge any error we make. In this case, had we made the error you suggest, I would gladly correct it. However, had you read the post or even done any more than just gone straight to the comments, you would have found the Image Attribution section in which I state that the image was from a woman in Oakland showing injuries from a #BLM protest in May.

      The point of showing the image is to show the injuries that people suffer in protest and the injuries that we will all have to endure to take our democracy back from the forces of authoritarianism. It is going to take real pain and suffering for us to succeed. For example, Trump just suggested that we postpone the November election. Luckily, the GOP has rejected the idea. Let’s hope their resistance to such blatant authoritarian suggestions continue.

      Thank you for your suggestion, but you are wrong.



  1. Another marker of the process took place in the past week. Somebody (as yet unidentified) did a very through job of arson on the headquarters of the Arizona Democratic Party in Phoenix. Voter contact records important in the get-out-the vote effort were completely destroyed. They must have used plenty of accelerent. Expect more of this sort of thing, if only from copy cats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!
      I was surprised that I hadn’t heard about the arson, so I looked it up. Apparently, the arsonist was a disgruntled former employee or volunteer who had been asked not to come back. He burned the building in the middle of the night (1:00 AM-ish) and no one there. Most people working there were working from home, so most of their electronic records were dispersed to their computers at home. The building was heavily damaged but little harm to operations.

      I am concerned, though, about people taking action against the other side, especially, of increased violence around the protests. Last weekend several people were shot at the protests around the country and cars driven into protesters. I really fear that we’ll see another Kent State, though, in which the police end up killing several protesters at one time.


      Liked by 1 person

      • “Fear”, as the famous saying goes, “is the mind killer.” And, with the fear that the other side will win steadily being stoked, on top of existing racism and such, knee-jerk stupidity will try to rule the day. The stakes are so high. Rage and hate are the masks people wear so as not to see their fear when they look in the mirror. The report is that since the pandemic started, Americans have bought 3 Million more guns than normal for the period. Many of those buyers were new gun owners – i.e., untrained and clueless. [sigh]

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!
          My biggest fear is that we are one errant gun shot away from a mass casualty event. There have already been accidental weapons discharges at protests and deliberate shootings.

          When you buy something new, you want to use it. With so many people owning new guns, they are bound to want to use them. And, what happens when you have a hammer? Everything becomes a nail.

          Unfortunately, the powder keg we’re sitting on is a feature, not a flaw.


          Liked by 1 person

          • As a soldier, I had occasion to carry a loaded rifle, luckily not in combat, just guard duty, but I learned that the fact of the thing in your hands sends the message that it is necessary and sets a context of danger. Selective attention kicks in, sorting perception for threats, or, in the case of hunting, for game, in either case, for targets. The untrained, who have no well defined rules of engagement are prone to error. The fight-or-flight system is already partially engaged leading to impaired judgement. People buy guns out of fear and the gun itself then confirms the fear.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Howdy Bob!

              I had a similar revelation when I was in the Coast Guard and needing to be on boarding parties. Guns were symbolic until they weren’t. Then, they were the muscle you needed to force your will on someone. Luckily, we never needed anything more than the symbolism of the gun. Also, having an M60 backing you up helped.

              My biggest fear arrived when I realized that we were all scared and cocky 18 year olds. If we had ever run into any real opposition, we probably would’ve been the ones reacting very badly our training being scant.


              Liked by 1 person

              • This is why the special forces go through such continuous training, including operating with sleep deprivation, hunger, and extreme fatigue – everything that would impair critical thinking and situational judgement. And, they still make mistakes and behave badly, and few if any avoid some degree of PTSD. Essentially, nobody is really adequately trained for using firearms in a combat situation, or one perceived as combat. Unless somebody is a full-blown sociopath, it is not the Prefrontal Cortex that pulls the trigger. All that part of the brain can do is rationalize the act after the fact.

                Liked by 1 person

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