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Tue Jan 24, 2023, 04:31 PM

America's gun culture is priming us for authoritarianism


Perspective by Ruth Ben-Ghiat
Ruth Ben-Ghiat is professor of history at New York University and author of "Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present."
October 26, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

What is driving democratic decline in America? Disinformation, election subversion, Donald Trump’s authoritarian leader cult and institutionalized racism leap out at you. But there’s another factor that is all the more dangerous because it’s part of our everyday reality: civilian access to lethal weapons, and the mass death that enables.

The scale and scope of gun violence in America doesn’t just desensitize us to violence. It also cheapens the value of life. It fosters political, social and psychological conditions that are propitious for autocracy. The omission of gun law reform from discussions of democracy protection is symptomatic of our normalization of this tragic situation. The Jan. 6 insurrection shows us how dangerous that blind spot has become.

For decades we have shot each other, with Americans causing fellow Americans more harm than any foreign enemy. More than 1.5 million died of gunshots in the past 50 years vs. 1.2 million in all the wars in the country’s history. This year alone, mass shootings have killed or injured more than 1,800.

Yet no amount of loss seems enough to deter the supporters of a brutal gun rights culture that factors in harm to some so that the freedoms and privilege of others can continue, and accepts mass death and trauma in the name of “liberty.” Add in an uptick of activity by extremists that preach violence and extralegal action as a way of changing history, and you have a high potential for political destabilization. Guns were prominent at the storming of the Michigan Capitol in May 2020 by militia members. They also featured at the Jan. 6 insurrection, which brought many strains of armed political extremism together: militia members, retired and active-duty law enforcement and military and radicalized civilians.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/10/26/gun-violence-authoritarianism-normalization/

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Reply America's gun culture is priming us for authoritarianism (Original post)
LymphocyteLover Jan 24 OP
Irish_Dem Jan 24 #1
LymphocyteLover Jan 24 #2
Skittles Jan 24 #3
GenThePerservering Jan 24 #4
phoenix75 Jan 24 #5
LymphocyteLover Thursday #7
intheflow Jan 25 #6
LymphocyteLover Thursday #8

Response to LymphocyteLover (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2023, 04:36 PM

1. I keep saying it is a GOP goal to produce a numb, apathetic, powerless populace.

And one that is a disgrace to the rest of the world.

Who benefits?

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 24, 2023, 04:51 PM

2. Yes, and that is Putin's goal too

what a coincidence!

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Response to LymphocyteLover (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2023, 07:51 PM

3. NO SHIT

grill any pathetic gun humper and you'll find an obedient fascist underneath

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Response to LymphocyteLover (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2023, 10:10 PM

4. They can lose all of their civil rights

and freedoms, but as long as the have their gunz, MAGAs will think they're free.

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Response to GenThePerservering (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 24, 2023, 10:23 PM

5. Exactly! 👍

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Response to GenThePerservering (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 26, 2023, 07:49 AM

7. seems that way!

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Response to LymphocyteLover (Original post)

Wed Jan 25, 2023, 02:46 PM

6. Priming? I think the word the author was looking for was "grooming." n/t

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Response to intheflow (Reply #6)

Thu Jan 26, 2023, 07:49 AM

8. haha, true!

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