Shannon: The left’s do-it-yourself authoritarianism
There is a new meme circulating that Trumpistas have found very pertinent. It’s a stark black-and-white photo of a seated Trump. One elbow is on his left knee and his other hand is gesturing toward the viewer as he leans forward.
The president has an expression on his face not unlike the famous ‘Uncle Sam Wants You’ recruiting poster. The headline is: “In Reality They’re Not After Me. They’re After You. I’m Just in the Way.”
The meme’s is popular because Trump supporters know who’s in the on-deck circle if Trump strikes out.
Claremont Review of Books editor Charles Kesler observed the anti-Trump position boils down to two mutually exclusive alternatives. One “he’s a buffoon, a clown … who is, by temperament and experience, unfit to be president.” The alternate attack is “he’s a monster, racist and tyrant in waiting.”
Kesler’s wry judgment is “the two arguments are, however, in some tension.”
The intrinsic self-contradiction of the attacks hasn’t forced the left to settle on one or the other. An unholy tag-team of Bob Woodward, sage of the Eastern establishment, and Omarosa, the buffoon of Walmart shoppers, is accusing the president of being too senile or unstable to have access to the White House Christmas Party guest list to say nothing of the nuclear attack codes.
The Hitler-in-waiting argument doesn’t resonate with Kesler or me. I think Trump is simply too old. The fact he decided to throttle back on the likes of Stormy Daniels is an indication his stamina isn’t what it used to be. And becoming a dictator takes a lot of energy.
Kesler’s skepticism has its origin in Trump’s philosophy. “There are not many similarities between ‘Mein Kampf’ and ‘The Art of the Deal,’” Kesler explains. Trump doesn’t think the government is run by Jews, he thinks it’s run by idiots.
Running an authoritarian regime requires an authoritarian government. Trump can’t even prevent shoplifters from making off with government documents in the Oval Office, to say nothing of rounding up dissenters.
Operating a ‘papers-please’ police state at a minimum means you have the power to demand people show their papers, and Trump can’t even make illegals do that.
China is what a genuine 21st century authoritarian state looks like and a Trump government that’s divided against itself doesn’t compare. What’s ironic here is the left has begun an ad hoc system of social control that resembles China’s, but it’s being run by the private sector.
China assigns its subjects a “social credit” score. The score is calculated based on observations from the state’s 200 million surveillance cameras, a person’s bill paying habits, web browsing history, political soundness and observance of even the most minor of laws.
ABC reports the score is “dependent on the person’s behavior but they can also be affected by people they associate with.”
We don’t have this level of granular government control in our lives yet, but that doesn’t mean citizens who fail to adhere to the left’s thought standards or associate with the wrong people, don’t face consequences.
In China, people with low scores can’t get a government job. Here people with Trump administration ties are rejected by universities.
In China, journalist Liu Hu can’t get a job because his stories angered the government. Here a conservative hired by The Atlantic was fired less than a week after being hired because his Twitter feed angered a leftist reporter.
In China, a low score gets social media accounts suspended. Here conservatives are shadow-banned by Twitter and Facebook if their posts offend some backroom pencil-neck.
In China, corporations toe the party line or they lose access to loans. Here Citibank and Bank of America unilaterally decide if gun manufacturers don’t toe the gun-grabbers line on the 2nd Amendment, the manufacturers can use the barter system for transactions.
In China, associating with the wrong people means you are shunned. Here you can ask Sarah Huckabee Sanders how hard it is to find a good restaurant.
In China, the power of the state causes the majority of the people to fall in line. Here leftists control the culture and currently only 48 percent of the people are still willing to even feebly
And these victories come while the left is out of power. Where life gets really serious for Trump supporters, and the meme comes true, is if the left takes power again. Already our overlords in the Opposition Media are starting to claim that “Trump is only the symptom.” This means citizens who voted for Trump are the disease.
And in the long run, you know what the government does to diseases.
Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of “A Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.