One term of art among political philosophers who study Hitlerism is the ‘deformalization’ of the law – that is, the Leader simply waves away all the forms and processes of legislation, and rules directly, by decree. The Leader declares that the elements of ordinary lawmaking, the legislature, the courts, the bureaucracy, the regional authorities, the press, even elections, are all corrupted, captured by a shadowy conspiracy of monied elites representing an alien peope or a foreign ideology, and names himself the instrument of the suppressed authentic popular will. So doing, the Leader simultaneously claims the mantle of direct popular sovereignty and the actual power and methods of an unaccountable dictator.
Meanwhile the government – especially the military – is purged of the disloyal, meaning anyone who still insists on the prior forms, no matter whether that person has been politically an ally of the Leader or not.
What I’m saying is, while I don’t know where this ends for us, it’s the same process that wrecked Weimar, and it’s going much faster today.
It’s only been eleven days.
Do the courts, the legislature, the federal bureaucracy, the military, the states and municipalities, the press, have the awareness and wherewithal to refuse to be erased, or will conservatives accept what is happening to see a few pet projects enacted, while liberals do nothing in the name of preserving the very forms which are being cancelled, in the name of the ‘peaceful transfer of power’?
Will the people ‘wait and see’, refrain from mass protest, strikes, and direct action, until what they can see is that it is too late?
Because this isn’t a metaphor, this talk of a fascist coup the United States. This is the real thing, in all its particulars.
It is no longer a question, whether it can happen here. It already has.