Fascism in America won’t come with jackboots, book burnings, mass rallies, and fevered harangues, nor will it come with black helicopters or tanks on the street. It won’t come like a storm, but as a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: Everything is the same, but everything has changed. Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality will have taken its place. All the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns, plenty of bread and circuses. But ‘consent of the governed’ will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small and privileged group who rule for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons.
To be sure, there will be factional conflicts among the elite, and a degree of debate will be permitted; but no one outside the privileged circle will be allowed to influence state policy. Dissidents will be marginalized, usually by ‘the people’ themselves. Deprived of historical knowledge by a thoroughly impoverished educational system designed to produce complacent consumers, left ignorant of current events by a corporate media devoted solely to profit, many will internalize the force-fed values of the ruling elite, and act accordingly. There will be little need for overt methods of control.
The rulers will act in secret, for reasons of ‘national security’ and the people will not be permitted to know what goes on in their name. Actions once unthinkable will be accepted as routine: government by executive fiat, state murder of ‘enemies’ selected by the leader, undeclared wars, torture, mass detentions without charge, the looting of the national treasury, the creation of huge new ‘security structures’ targeted at the populace. In time, this will be seen as ‘normal’, as the chill of autumn feels normal when summer is gone. It will all seem normal.
— Chris Floyd, November 10, 2001, Moscow Times