May 17, 2004
Big plots that fizzle...
Let me start by saying that I never said there weren't any conspiracies. Any time two or more people agree to do something, there's a conspiracy. It's just that the big, grand, magical conspiracies, if they exist, tend not to work.
I just read Megan McArdle's piece on doom and gloom, and here's an excerpt I like:
The shape of liberty has changed over the 200 years of our existence, expanding in some places and contracting in others. There is no libertarian eden, located somewhere in the American past, from which we are now fallen, or falling.Are we all victims of a big plot? Is the sky falling? If only life were so simple!
I want to address an idea which has gained quite a bit of traction lately, and which I touched on in the last post: that George W. Bush is an evil would-be dictator who was behind 9-11 so that the Neocons could launch a giant war and end up ruling the world while destroying what's left of freedom in the United States.
I recall similar thinking about Richard Nixon. A massive wave of hysteria swept the country, with many people saying that Nixon had "shredded the Constitution" (if the bungled Watergate burglary, an "enemies list," and a special unit dedicated to stopping wartime leaks of classified material was that), and that he was going to suspend the elections, etc.
Nixon certainly had his chance to seize all power and do these terrible things, and guess what? He resigned rather than be impeached. Didn't go out with a bang; just a whimper.
Same reason he didn't demand a recount in 1960 despite the Daley shenanigans; he thought it would be bad for the country.
Bush is being demonized much the same way Nixon was, and even assuming for the sake of argument that he wants to institute a totalitarian government (something I doubt), history shows that he couldn't do it if he wanted. He watches the polls, worries about his numbers, and of course wants to win the November election. But if he loses, there won't be a military takeover. He'll just exit the White House, and Kerry will enter!
I could be wrong of course, but I've lived long enough and seen enough of politics to doubt it.
If Bush wins, guess what! He'll have a second term, and then who knows? If he even attempted a totalitarian takeover, he'd be impeached so fast it would make everyone's head spin. Bush has to deal with the Supreme Court, Congress, the mainstream media, the blogosphere, and even public opinion.
Just like any other president.
(Hey, and maybe even the military might not take kindly to a president canceling elections and seizing power....)
Which is why I am not terribly impressed by claims that 9-11 was a big plot to seize power by the Neocons. I don't think they'd get away with it. There are too many other spheres of influence and power.
Sorry it's not a more exciting post, but I think the doom and gloom, sky-is-falling stuff is quite misguided. And highly overrated. And (in this country at least) not well grounded in history.
Bear in mind that this is coming from a pretty gloomy, ultimately doomed person. We're all doomed, too.
Well? Does anyone expect to get out of life alive?
posted by Eric on 05.17.04 at 12:24 AM
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