Author`s name David R. Hoffman

When tyranny masquerades as law and order

In my recent Pravda.Ru article, Tyranny Disguised As Patriotism (April 19, 2021), I discussed how proposed laws designed to compel sports teams to play the national anthem prior to their games was simply a way to deprive Americans of their rights to both Freedom of Speech and Freedom from Compulsory (government-mandated) Speech.

But tyrants are rarely satiated by denying their "subjects” one or two freedoms: They demand total subservience and control.

The world often views tyranny as power-crazed individuals successfully leading their followers in the violent overthrow of a government or established order.

But such tyranny is messy, and frequently requires constant demands to violently put down resistance movements, which, in turn, exposes the tyrant for what he/she truly is.

To overcome this problem, tyrants are frequently more subtle and can actually seduce otherwise well-meaning people into willingly sacrificing their rights and freedoms by camouflaging their tyranny in garments of "law and order,” which makes recognizing, speaking out against, and combatting it extremely difficult.

For example, years ago I was following the tactics of a group in a local community that was actively campaigning against pornography and adult businesses (i.e., "strip clubs”). This campaign enjoyed immense success: Politicians gave members of this group standing ovations at meetings, the local media fawned over them, and several ordinances were passed at their urging.

Most importantly, however, was the fact that it was difficult to criticize the overt motivations of this group, as even those who view or read pornography or patronize adult businesses are rarely willing to publicly advertise this fact.

But, having studied social movements, particularly the techniques of fascists, I recognized this group's true agenda, which was to force their cramped view of "morality” down everybody else's throats.

Sure enough, once this group's influence was securely ensconced in the local political scene, they began to demand that Broadway plays and art works be censored or outright banned, and they actively campaigned against laws designed to prevent discrimination against the LGBTQ communities.

Now I'm certain there are some readers who may have no quarrel with these goals; however, the point of this article is not to argue the virtues or vices of this group's efforts: It is to point out how this group obtained political power by concealing its true motivations.

Today we are seeing this same tactic being employed by fascist politicians (i.e., Trumpian Republicans), who are endeavoring to disguise their contempt for democracy, their desire to suppress the political freedoms of people they oppose, and their racism, in the benevolent platitudes of "protecting the integrity of the vote” and/or "promoting law and order.”

Fortunately, the efforts to hide behind these specious pontifications did not conceal the reality that, in states such as Georgia, fascist tyrants are, in actuality, seeking to suppress the ability of persons of color to exercise their right to vote. This, in turn, has led several prominent corporations and individuals to speak out, and some to even demand that Georgia, and businesses that either support its attack on democracy or remain silent in the face of it, be boycotted.

Seeing this backlash, the fascist lawmakers in the state directly below Georgia-Florida-recently decided to more deeply conceal their quest to suppress the Constitutional Rights of people of certain races, political beliefs, or ethnicities, by calling a tyrannical law they recently passed an "anti-riot” law.

Endorsed by Florida's wannabe dictator and Trumpian sycophant Ron DeSantis, this law will not only have a chilling effect on the right to freedom of speech and assembly, it will also provide police with the power to arbitrarily arrest protestors whose speech they disagree with, by simply claiming this speech was "threatening” (for example, the words of Black Lives Matter), while ignoring the same or similar speech uttered by people they agree with (for example, the words of white supremacists and Trumpian fascists).

Those who doubt this need only look at DeSantis's record. There have been allegations that DeSantis has not only minimized the number of deaths in Florida from COVID-19, he has even used law enforcement to silence those who sought to expose him.

But if that isn't enough, one need only look at the press conference that was held shortly after the passage of this "anti-riot” law. Critics were quick to note how this law was designed to protect Confederate monuments, which many in the African American community view as a demeaning and daily reminder of the army created to ensure they remained enslaved. Also, in defending their vague definition of "rioting,” supporters of this law said little or nothing about whether the Trump instigated insurrection on the United States Capitol would qualify.

But perhaps most telling, while a grinning DeSantis looked on, a County Sheriff told people thinking of moving to Florida, "Don't register to vote and vote the stupid way you did up north.”

DeSantis's alleged willingness to cause and ignore deaths for political gain and use of government resources to silence critics, his zeal to protect monuments to racism, and his finding it humorous when a law enforcement official opines that people he disagrees with should not vote, is sufficient evidence of the tyrannical motivations behind this innocuous sounding "anti-riot” law.

Former wannabe dictator, Donald Trump, by ignorance or by design, has set America on a slow, but certain, path to fascism, and, in places like Georgia and Florida, his lackeys are smoothing this path by promoting tyranny through laws having benevolent sounding names-laws that, when looking at them on a superficial level, are often difficult to criticize.

So, if you want a taste of what life was like in 1938 Germany, take a tour of the world's newest country: Florgia. Because, given this new nation's support for the perpetuation of racism and racist institutions, and its contempt for democracy, human rights, and the Constitution, you certainly can't call this region part of America.

But, if Trumpian fascists in other states also have their way, this tyranny could soon become America.

David R. Hoffman

Legal Editor of Pravda. Ru