It is now becoming possible for us to glimpse the dim outlines of the totalitarian Farce/Fascist regime preparing to take power in America, starting with the anticipated sweep of this November’s elections by the MAGA-tized “Republican” Party, and culminating no later than January 20, 2025, with a new MAGA president. However, it is entirely possible they will not be willing or able to wait out the official calendar and will seize the White House sooner through some quasi-legal maneuver, with or without a bloody coup, which would be much better organized than last year’s Freak Show Sack of the Capitol.
Not surprisingly, the new regime will have many major differences with Benito Mussolini’s original Fascist regime of one hundred years ago, and its later imitators from Romania to Argentina, although the essential features of extreme, aggressive, völkisch nationalism, crushing of all political opposition, systematic persecution of designated minorities, concentration camps, etc., will be quite familiar to the student of twentieth-century European history.
Will it be a top-down regime of the dictator ordering the mob about, or a bottom-up structure where the mob is actually running the show? Here is where the MAGA regime will make its unique mark on history: It will be both. More precisely, persecution policy will be set from the top, by the dictator in collaboration with the Murdoch family, the Kochs, Elon Musk, etc., but with essential support from vigilantes. It will be like a dark caricature of Alexis de Tocqueville’s celebrated observations on American democratic voluntarism in the mid-nineteenth century.
What really puts the “total” in “totalitarian” is of course total surveillance of the entire population, with the aim of total control. This bad dream is closer than ever to fulfillment, thanks to twenty-first century social media, smartphone and other Internet technology, and, on a political level, the abortion wars. The saviors of the unborn have shown the way to get Americans to snitch on each other through the Texas and Idaho laws encouraging any idle asshole anywhere to sue those who help a woman get an abortion: dangle the chimera of big legal winnings before the masses. In this way, what the spooks call “sigint,” obtained from everybody’s wholly voluntary espionage on themselves through their smartphones and Internet-enabled computers, will soon be joined in holy matrimony with “humint” in a surveillance state so perfect it will make Xi Jinping green with envy.
Naturally, only certain kinds of carefully controlled “bottom-up” activity will be allowed. For another current example, see Virginia, where new MAGA Governor Glenn Youngkin is fulfilling his promise to “take back parental control” of the public schools. Not just any parents’ views are welcome, of course—only those who wish to help stamp out any discussion of the state’s four-century-long history of racism. Those parents are encouraged to snitch on offending teachers to the governor’s private e-mail hotline, with the aim of terminating them. Though not “with extreme prejudice,” ho ho! Not yet, anyway. Or consider this heartwarming little story, about how the principal of an elementary school in Ohio called up a children’s book author to cancel the planned reading of his book, which he wrote to help children who feel singled out accept and celebrate their differences. The reason being, the book had a UNICORN, and one parent had complained, because everyone knows that unicorns are GAY. Many other local parents wanted their kids to read this book, but they don’t count—only MAGA fascist parents’ views are valid, or, more precisely where the likes of cowardly school administrators are concerned, they only fear the MAGAs and Q-Anons. Down the road, if the MAGA regime is successful in stabilizing its grip, the dictator may feel he has to get the mob under control through his own version of Hitler’s Night of the Long Knives, the 1934 purge of the “brownshirt” S.A. thugs. But that’s a long way off.
In the meantime, expect truly stupefying levels of public corruption. All fascist regimes display corruption as “a feature, not a bug,” as the cant phrase has it, for the right sort of people. But the orgy of private greed that will ruin America starting in the mid-Twenties will quickly grow to legendary proportions, far exceeding anything in the prior history of this nation or any other. Partly, it will be the influence of Trump, even if he himself is no longer around to lead the festivities. But, let’s be honest here: get-rich-quick schemes are central to the American soul, and have been from the beginning, when royally chartered English companies undertook to rape a continent and work millions of kidnapped Africans to death, all in the hopes of rapid wealth for a few shareholders. Four hundred years on, we live in an age of plutocracy—rule for the benefit of the very rich. The MAGA regime, having come to power in large part due to the rage of the newly impoverished White middle class, will do absolutely nothing to alleviate their plight, because today’s billionaire class demands that all new wealth shall flow to it, and MAGA-tized Republican politicians are past masters at deflecting the lower orders’ anger onto more suitable targets. They will therefore find no need (and no money) to institute programs like the Nazi German authorities’ “Strength Through Joy” athletic and cultural programs for ordinary Germans. Those chumps recalled the subsidized vacations they got through that program quite fondly, even after their country was bombed flat in World War II. If the current crop of chumps eventually start to show signs of restlessness, the MAGA regime can always kill two birds with one stone by scapegoating someone like Jeff Bezos, a billionaire who shows signs of political unreliability, and ship him to some Supermax gulag like the MAGA hero Vladimir Putin did to his “oligarch” political opponent, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The Very Stable Genius already previewed this strategy back in 2016 and later, during his term in office.
A related, possibly unique feature of the MAGA regime will be its punishment of certain geographic regions, namely the “blue states” that regularly vote Democratic. This move, too, was already previewed during the dress-rehearsal of the (first) Trump administration, when a complaint, MAGA-tized Congressional Republican Party helped him impose tax penalties on residents of New York, California, and other states. Expect such moves to be revived and supercharged, because they will be extremely popular in “red states,” whose residents will, as we have already noted, get sweet nothing in absolute material terms from the MAGA federals. The MAGA masses will therefore have to be “rewarded” in relative terms by the deliberate impoverishment of the “blue states.” Take that, “liberal snowflakes”!
What can stop this juggernaut? If you ask O’Brien, the regime torturer in Orwell’s 1984, the answer is nothing. The state controls all the levers of social power, and it knows exactly what it is doing with them; hence, it can never be dislodged. Unfortunately for MAGA, it is taking power at a time when nature has taken everything she can take from man, and then some. The rising seas, the mega droughts and deadly heatwaves and monster storms: they can’t be waved away for very much longer with feeble cries of “fake news.” If the opposition to MAGA can’t get its act together, nature will act, slowly but relentlessly, and without any care for human rights, or democracy.