The Road to Tyranny: From Seized Passports to Politicized Justice—What’s Next?

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by Patrick Lawrence

It is not difficult to be astonished these days, given how many things going on around us warrant astonishment. To pull something out of a hat at random, the Democratic apparatus has openly, brazenly politicized the judicial system—weaponized it, if you prefer—in its determination to destroy Donald Trump and now has the temerity to warn in the gravest terms that a second Trump term would mean… the politicization of American justice.

Again at random, in The Washington Post’s June 7 editions George Will tells us President Biden “has provided the most progressive governance in U.S. history.” Yes, he wrote that. Give in to your astonishment.

It is interesting in this case to note that, during the reign of Ronald Reagan 40 years ago, our George thought big government was bad, bad, bad. Now it is a fine thing that Biden is “minimizing the market’s role by maximizing the government’s role in allocating society’s resources and opportunities.” Apart from turning his own argument hourglass upside-down, this assessment of our swiftly declining president is preposterously, right-before-your-eyes false.

You cannot tell the AC’s from the DC’s these days. But this is not the half of it in the way of astonishing events, things done, things said and such like.

Last week, as many readers will have noticed, Scott Ritter, the former weapons inspector and now a widely followed commentator, was about to board a plane bound for Turkey when armed police officers stopped him, confiscated his passport and escorted him out of Kennedy International Airport. Ritter was booked to transit through Istanbul for St. Petersburg, where he planned to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an annual gathering.

Here is Ritter recounting this incident in an interview with RT International:

I was boarding the flight. Three officers pulled me aside. They took my passport. When asked why, they said, “Orders of the State Department.” They had no further information for me. They pulled my bags off the plane, then escorted me out of the airport. They kept my passport.

No passport, no freedom to travel, no explanation. I have it on good authority that Ritter subsequently advised other Americans who were to attend the St. Petersburg events not to risk it.

I have had countless conversations over many years in which the question considered has been “Is this as bad as the 1950s?” The matter has been especially vital since the Russiagate fiasco began during the Clinton–Trump campaign season in 2016. It was in the ensuing years that the authoritarianism implicit in American liberalism from the first burst upon us like some weird grotesque out of a Dr. Seuss book.

I always urge caution when invoking comparisons between our corruptions and ideological extremes and those of the McCarthy era. Hyperbole and exaggeration never serve one’s understanding or one’s argument. But the confiscation of Scott Ritter’s passport on the instructions of Antony Blinken’s State Department seems to me a radical step too far. The liberal authoritarians now in command of the nation’s major institutions, the House of Representatives among the only exceptions, have just signaled they are quite prepared to act at least as undemocratically as the House Un–American Activities crowd, the FBI and the rest of the national-security state did during the 1950s to preserve their political hegemony.

When I think of confiscated passports I think of Paul Robeson, the gifted singer,  the courageous political dissenter, the civil rights advocate—here he is singing his famous Water Boy—whose documents were seized in 1950 because he refused to indulge in the Cold War paranoia that was already prevalent. His performing career collapsed and he nearly went broke before a Supreme Court decision restored them in 1958. Or I think of all the screenwriters, novelists, poets, painters and activists whose papers were canceled while they were in Mexico—or in France or in Sweden or in England—to avoid HUAC and expatriation turned into exile.

And when I am finished thinking of these people, about whom there is a rich, inspiring literature, I think of how far America descended into a derangement we tend to look back upon in some combination of wonder, derision and contempt.

We can no longer look back in this fashion. The revocation of Scott Ritter’s passport, along with the destruction of the judicial system, the myth-spinning about our purported leaders and all the rest  pushes this in our faces. Let us give this a moment’s thought to see if we can determine what is likely to be in store.

Why Scott Ritter, I have wondered these past few days. Of all the dissident commentators of too many stripes to count, why Scott? I reply to myself, “Because Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer, a former U.N. arms monitor in Iraq and he enjoys big-time credibility as a patriotic American.” His voice, in short, is the sort that can carry weight in sectors of the voting public that may well prove key in determining the outcome in the Trump–Biden election this Nov. 5.

Viewed in this context, I take the full-frontal suppression of Ritter’s rights last week as very likely tied to the liberals’ political prospects, other than brilliant as they are at this point. Censorship, suppression of various kinds taking various forms, “canceling”—these are nothing new, of course. But I sense things may get a great deal worse from here on out.

This is a year of global elections, as has often been remarked. The Associated Press counted 25 major national elections in a piece published at the start of the year. Taiwan, El Salvador, Indonesia, Russia, Slovakia, India, Mexico: These are among the big ones that have already taken place. The European Union is holding parliamentary elections June 6–9, cited in liberal quarters as the most important in decades. When Americans vote Nov. 5, it will be in this context.

In many of these elections—not all but many—the core issues are variants on a theme. The liberal order, such as we have it, is cast as defending itself against the onslaughts of—take your pick—populists, authoritarians, here and there a dictator. This is certainly how liberal media encourage American voters to view the Biden–Trump contest. And it is for this reason I think we must all brace ourselves for what may turn out to be a very major disaster for what remains of American democracy—and by extension the West’s.

Cast your mind back to 1992, when the Soviet Union was no more, an incipient triumphalism was taking hold in the U.S. and Francis Fukuyama published his famous (or infamous) The End of History and the Last Man (Free Press). Fukuyama, then a middling bureaucrat at the State Department, made the case that liberal democracy had won out and would stand as the ultimate, unchallenged achievement of humankind. A sort of happy political monoculture was destined to prevail eternally across the planet.

However sophomoric you may find this thesis, and I find it almost juvenile in its silliness, it came to define the expectations of all righteous American liberals.

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Voted Ronny 9 times.

Had Pat read Will closely when Ronny was President he’d known George was doing Marc Anthony JS A3S2 ” …for conservatives are “honorable” men …. for conservatives are “honorable” men. … for conservatives are “honorable” men. ….

62 years ago ROAD TOSERFDOM was retired reading for “advanced Macro”. Hayek would have said Will was a “collectivist” not a conservative.

At best liberal Will was “a fair weather friend”>. AT BEST!

Voted Ronny 9 times.

Had Pat read Will closely when Ronny was President he’d known George was doing Marc Anthony JC A3S2 ” …for conservatives are “honorable” men …. for conservatives are “honorable” men. … for conservatives are “honorable” men. ….

62 years ago ROAD TO SERFDOM was retired reading for “advanced Macro”. Hayek would have said Will was a “collectivist” not a conservative.

At best liberal Will was “a fair weather friend”>. AT BEST!

We keep hearing that “Trump is an enemy of democracy.”
joe’s tyranny of the mob is proof democracy is more dangerous than Trump.
Democracy is rule by mob, majority.

What black (at 13% of the population) wants to be ruled over by the majority?
What LBGTQ (at 2%) wants to be ruled over by the majority?
What homeless person (at less than 1% of the population) wants to be ruled over by the majority?
Back in the 1950’s and 60’s the majority made mixed race marriage illegal.
Back in the 1950’s and 60’s the majority made sexual differences criminalized or a mental condition.
Back in the 1950’s and 60’s the majority made vagrancy a crime punishable by jail time.

The USA was set up as a Representative Republic.
It was that representational republicanism that OVERTURNED all those discriminatory things.

joe is a tyrant who wants to set up new standards for who are the favored crowd and who belong on the outskirts.

All tyrants and dictators have claimed they want peace while everyone else were threatening, even as they were preparing for aggressive war. Democrats are no different.

All t he leftists in the M.S. Media bottom Feeders were Jubilant over this phony Trial and Conviction of fake charges against Trump but since Bidens little boy Hunter was Convicted their standing around like trees rooted to the spot and swaying with the wind