Tyranny, Theory and Practice

Donald Trump gave a press conference yesterday in which he aggressively challenged the press, even calling one journalist a "sleaze." I'm not sure if the charge is accurate.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines:
"Just because you're a journalist you are not exempted from assassination if you're a son of a bitch."

"Most of those killed, to be frank, have done something," [President] Duterte said, according to AFP. "You won't be killed if you don't do anything wrong."

He also said journalists who defamed others weren't necessarily protected from violent attacks.

"That can't be just freedom of speech. The constitution can no longer help you if you disrespect a person."
Meanwhile, in Bangladesh:
“No one in this country has the right to speak in a way that hurts religious sentiment,” she said while exchanging greetings with Hindu leaders on Thursday.

“You won’t practise religion – no problem. But you can’t attack someone else’s religion. You’ll have to stop doing this.

“It won’t be tolerated if someone else’s religious sentiment is hurt,” the prime minister said.

After the murder of secular blogger Niladri Chatterjee Niloy at his house in Dhaka on Aug 7, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and police chief AKM Shahidul Haque issued similar warnings.
What we need to decide, and it's a decision to be taken seriously, is whether Trump is of the same kind and merely different in degree, or if he is of a different kind. There are arguments to be made in both directions. One could argue that the media has really deserved harsh criticism, and that bringing such criticism is fair play. One could argue that verbal criticism is only part of the free exchange of ideas, and that being subject to criticism makes the press more likely to do a better, more thorough job in proving their case.

On the other hand, one could argue that such language from a man seeking a position of great power is suggestive that he would suppress criticism forcefully once he had power. One could suggest that his restriction to verbal criticism is temporary, and that once he has the power of the presidency he will not feel so restricted.

Certainly the power of the presidency is great. Especially under Obama the ability to avoid the law, by using Presidential power to refuse to enforce it on one's self or one's operatives, has grown vast. Still, my sense is that Trump would have a lot less power as President than Obama has had, or than Clinton would have, because he will be subject to impeachment and removal. His lack of backing within the deep establishment of his own party means that he would be easy to constrain. The party seems to be lining up behind him for the duration of the election, as he has won the nomination fair and square. I don't think that their willingness to accept the will of the voters in terms of their nominee means that they have abandoned their objections to Trump in general.

That could be wrong, though. A lot depends on whether Trump is just a big talker, or whether he's the kind of man who would be turned by power into a tyrant. Is he challenging the free press in a way that will force it to do its job better -- recognizing that it has, in fact, done a pretty poor job lately? Or is he laying the ground for suppressing the free press after his election? It's an important question.


Ymar Sakar said...

The source of evil and of America's problem was never Trump, Bush II, Reagan, FDR, or even Clintons/socialists/amoral Hussein megalomaniacs.

The problem was a lot deeper than that.

Look to the people for the reason why a nation falls or why it rises.

To repost my previous analysis: Control of the GOP is split between 3 factions: the former/current Democrats, the Sarah Palin like betrayed conservative patriots, and the Alternative Right. Trump's investment is determined by the level of power those 3 factions are capable of harnessing and focusing on a single hierarchy.

To see the true nature of an organization or entity requires seeing the details for what they are.

On the other hand, one could argue that such language from a man seeking a position of great power is suggestive that he would suppress criticism forcefully once he had power.

Former and current Democrats love savaging Republicans and conservatives, or even Democrats who step off the plantation. They won't mind such suppression. Adherents to Palin's camp, will not mind it either, except for a few with pangs of conscience, given what the Leftist MSewerM propaganda arm has done to them, the conservatives and patriots of America. The Alternative Right won't mind either, but mostly because their methods of Communications or C1/2, are immune to the things the MSewerM needs to function. Out of all 3 factions, the ones most capable of resistance would appear to be the Alt Right, the ones people think are the most fascistic and the ones most in favor of media suppression. But that analysis and perception is wrong, and mostly spiked by Leftist agent provocateurs. The second faction most likely to resist are the conservatives, old guard, mainstream tax payers, who were brought up with a conscience. Democrats or Democrat voters, unless they converted from their religion before 2008 or 2012, are the most obedient and will often never resist their Orders, no matter what the cost.

Especially under Obama the ability to avoid the law, by using Presidential power to refuse to enforce it on one's self or one's operatives, has grown vast. St

Bush II had the same power. He was merely unwilling to use it. I've stated this before, but the usual refrain or counter is that Bush II, like Nixon, would have had cabinet resignations. And the usual counter to that is, find some Democrat/Republican traitors like the commies serving on FDR's payroll. The State can always find willing executioners, if they are willing to get their hands dirty. Bush II wanted to defend the Constitution, even if that meant treating traitors in Chicago and Detroit like American citizens.

Eric Blair said...

I would say get back to me when journolists start getting assassinated in the USA.

To paraphrase Jaques Chiraq, a lot of those journolists missed a good chance to shut up.

Tom said...

I don't know about Trump, but Obama is of that kind. If he could get away with killing his enemies, I'm not sure he wouldn't do it. He has perverted the DOJ and has shown no hesitation in ordering drone strikes. He certainly seems to think of his political opponents as enemies.

Joel Leggett said...

Certainly Trump is no Hitler. That said, I think he would continue Obama's practice of abusing executive orders in order to get around congressional obstacles. I certainly think he would abuse his powers to promote his political fortunes and damage his enemies.

As I said above, Trump is no Hitler. However, the belief that the Republican Party establishment can be relied upon to constrain Trump seems as naïve those that thought the powers within the Weimar Republic would contain Hitler, neither of the former were effective at stopping the rise of the latter.