THE LIFE, WORKS AND ACTIVISM OF SCOTT BIDSTRUP

FRONT PAGE EDITORIAL - ESSAYS - OTHER CONTENT - EMAIL "NEWS ALERT LISTS"


- FRONT PAGE EDITORIAL -

Authoritarianism And The Death Of Democracy

Back in 1997, in fact even before then, it had become obvious to me that fascism was making a comeback, and it was happening in the United States, the nation with one of the oldest and supposedly most robust democracies in the world, and a grave danger existed for the degeneration of the democracy in the United States into a fascist dictatorship. I wrote an essay about it back then, one that is still on this web site, and which is still in its original, unedited and unchanged version. You can read it for yourself and decide how prescient I was.

For reasons I won't go into here, the trend is worldwide, and the insurgence of fascism (which is really a form of medieval feudalism in a modern incarnation) isn't unique to the United States, and we're seeing it in evidence around the world, from Australia to Austria, from the United Kingdom to Hungary. But only in the United States has it come to so thoroughly undermine the foundations of democracy, to the point where the underlying republic is unlikely to survive and arguably is beyond the possibility of rescue.

We have now arrived at the point where an undeniable personality cult has subsumed and come to completely control one of the two political parties in the United States, and that, we are warned, is classically how fascist movements come to power. Robert Paxton, a scholar who has made a career of the study of the histories of fascist movements, in his classic, "The Anatomy of Fascism," has given a list of 14 steps that fascist movements go through. And, he warns us, that the point at which a fascist movement takes control of a traditional major political party and purges it of its moderates, that is the point at which its taking power in that government becomes inevitable. Donald Trump and his movement have arrived at that point.

So, what is the fate of the American republic? Paxton describes what usually happens, and you can read that in his book, but that's beyond the scope of this editorial. All I will say is that you should enjoy the right to read opinions like this while you still can, because it won't last for long.

And it is why, all those years ago, I made the decision that I would live out my life in exile, not in the nation of my birth, but in the nation I could find still most free to which I could escape. After an experience with the Border Patrol, in which the rise of fascist law enforcement had become obvious to me, I moved to Costa Rica and have been here since 2003, and sadly, I can see evidence of the erosion of democracy and the slow rise of fascism even here, in what has been until now the most stable democracy in Latin America.

So you stand warned of the fate that awaits you. It's not just me. It's not just Robert Paxton and Martin Lee and Ruth Ben-Ghiat. It's also other scholars who have also studied the history of fascist movements and the governments they had controlled. It's no longer possible to avoid a full-blown fascist authoritarian autocracy in the United States. My advice to you now - if you value liberal democracy - is to get out now, while you can.

A full-blown paper Berlin Wall has been carefully created, over a number of years (beginning with Obama), which can be erected overnight with nothing more than an executive order. And it will be erected, sooner rather than later. When it goes up, it will be too late. You'll wish you'd listened, just like the Jews in Germany, who, on July 15, 1933, discovered to their horror that they were no longer able to leave Germany at will. I don't need to tell you what happened afterwards. And the same can, and likely will happen to Americans unwilling to swear their fealty to Our New Dear And Glorious Leader, Donald J. Trump.

Scott Bidstrup, Tobosi de El Guarco, Costa Rica, January 15, 2020

Click on your browser's RSS icon or put this link in your RSS reader for automatic updates of this editorial and other content on this site:

ESSAYS

Commentary on Politics and Culture

Are We There Yet? when ideological, treacherous Tea Party Republicans prove to be willing to put the nation's very future at risk to merely score a poltical point about raising taxes on the obscenely rich, we are tempted to ask if government has arrived at a a definition of fascism that is meaningful. The word has been wildly overused, but nevertheless, the experts warn us...

Why I Left America answers the question that a lot of the readers of my web journal have been asking about why I have gone into exile...

So You're Leaving The States An entire section of this web site, it offers information that those contemplating exile really need to know, from one who has gone through the process of voting with his feet. This section offers critically important information you won't find in the guide books...

Why Do They Hate Us So Much? explores the roots of the terrorism situation America faces, and what we will have to do to genuinely fix the problem, rather than just bandage it with an ineffectual and absurdly expensive "war on terrorism"...

The Great Awful Truths And What To Do About Them is an essay that explains in some detail five great awful truths that are so awful, most people live their entire lives in deep denial about them - and how the ruling elites use the denial about three of those truths to manipulate and control the population - but there are two others that can be used to counter the manipulation by the elites themselves...

Not With A Whimper, But A Bang - The Endpoints Of Capitalism was written before the current depression, but predicted it. It is an essay that explores the fact that capitalism contains the seeds within itself of its own destruction, and why those seeds seem to regularly sprout and grow, yielding a bitter harvest - and what we can do about it...

Free Market Fundamentalism: Neoliberalism, Friedman, and the "Chilean Miracle" discusses the failures of the "neoliberal" economic model, and why it not only has failed, but has increased in popularity since it was first expounded...

The Dubya and Dick Scandal Chart is a downloadable chart, showing all the interconnected unsavory relationships, excessive campaign contributions, insider trading, conflicts of interests, fraud, influence peddling, etc., that characterize the previous administration. It is the document whose publication ultimately ended in my exile...

Conflict In The Middle East: The Untold History Of The Israeli-Palestinian Confict as seen from the Palestinian perspective, but minus the propaganda, explains why the Palestinians have become as radicalized as they are...

The Gathering Darkness: America In The 21st. Century is a discussion of the trends in American culture and politics -- and some of the alarming directions in which America is headed. Written in 1997, it is interesting to see how the predictions in this almost-decade-old essay have been borne out...

The Darkness Arrives: America in the 21st. Century includes some thoroughly shocking examples of the degree to which the Bill of Rights is ignored when the rich and powerful are in jeopardy of being embarrassed. Powerful evidence of the above essay's contentions...

Causes of the Culture Wars explains why the argument between conservatives and liberals is vastly more significant than just a disagreement about politics...

Gay Marriage: The Arguments and the Motives looks at gay marriage and the arguments against legalizing it -- and neatly demolishes them, one by one...

Homophobia: The Fear Behind The Hatred looks at how homophobia has come to be, why homophobia is the right word to describe the hatred, and the terrible price all of American culture pays for its homophobia...

Stranger in Your Own Home Town is an autobiographical essay on the experience of growing up gay in America, and how it is different from the heterosexual experience in some really surprising ways...

The Politics of Ignorance and Self-Interest explores how conservatism is borne of personal inexperience and self interest rather than broad education and a sense of egalitarianism, and therefore has fundamental flaws that prevent it from being a philosophy of politics consistent with cherished American values...

"The Sovereign Individual" - Prescription Or Propaganda? explores how a brilliant propaganda piece has ended up as an influential cult classic, believed in and followed by hundreds of thousands, who have been influenced by it, to work against their own best interests, and against the best interests of society as a whole...

Just What Is A "Secular Humanist Liberal," Anyway? answers the question of just who are those people that "religious right" so loves to hate...

A Shameful Legacy The results of what I've seen from living on the public lands, this essay explains why we have vast forests but don't have enough timber for our needs, why our rangelands are degrading and our cultivated acreage is shrinking every year and why we're ruining the legacy we're leaving for our children...

The Natural "Crime Against Nature" talks about the commonality of homosexuality among animals, and shows how those who refer to sodomy as "the crime against nature" are actually exposing their ignorance...

Saint Aelred The Queer: The Surprising History of Homophobia is a brief survey of homosexuality in pre-contact Africa, native America and Europe - and the surprising reasons that homophobia has arisen in the Christian church...

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme discusses the fact that the fierce new debate about RU-486 and other abortifacients is actually quite irrelevant in the light of the historical options available to women...

Living to Work or Working to Live is a discussion of the increasing work week, why the length of the work week is rapidly increasing, and why the "Dotcom Generation" should be gravely concerned about it...

Commentary on Religion

Why Fundamentalism is Wrong talks about the logical errors of fundamentalist religion, Christian and otherwise...

Creationism: An Argument Against Reason is a discussion of the current debate over the nature of Creationism and why it is dangerous to teach it in the public schools...

Mormonism: Legitimate Religion Or Cult? discusses that church's unsettling resemblance to the Cult Awareness Network's, and the Freedom Of Mind Organization's definition of a cult...

LDS Finances - A Serious Breach Of Trust Looks at the how the Mormon church has accumulated wealth on a scale similar to some of the largest hedge funds in the world - and has come to resemble an enormous hedge fund with a little church attached...

So How Much Do The Leaders Of The Mormon Church REALLY Make? An examination of the compensation received by the supposedly lay leaders of the Mormon church, and their generous forms of compensation, even as they claim to not be salaried. Here's what's known and unknown...

How To Resign Your Membership In The Mormon Church A list and explanation - and how-to - of the several processes by which a member can remove his name from the membership rolls of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...

The Bible and Christianity: The True Origins demystifies the real origins of Christianity and the Bible, and brings a dramatic new perspective to the origins of traditional Christian values...

The Mind Virus is an exploration of how ideas in society can behave like viruses in the body, and a look at the most successful mind virus in world history...

Experiencing God: The Neurology of the Spiritual Experience discusses the recent discoveries of neurophysiology about how the brain produces such experiences as the out-of-body experience, the near-death experience, the visions of religious figures and more...

What the Christian Fundamentalist Doesn't Want You To Know: a Brief Survey of Biblical Errancy is a discussion of some of the more glaring problems with the Bible, and why they are insoluble from a rational perspective...

Towards A New World Religious Philosophy explores the failures of existing religions, the need for a new world religion, and the characteristics that religion should have...

Why Am I Me? discusses the deep significance of that simple question from childhood, and why its answer is deeply important to an understanding of religion and even modern physics...

The Case Against "The Case For Christ" is a look at one of the more popular Christian apologetic propaganda pieces, which attempts to open the minds of skeptics to the Christian meme complex...

Crazy Ideas

Saving The Planet While Saving The Farm shows how an interesting archaeological discovery in the Amazon made a few years ago, could end up revolutionizing tropical agriculture while it saves the planet from the scourge of global warming...

Making The Desert Blossom As The Rose offers a novel way of solving the climate problems of the arid lands of the American west - showing how the desert really can be made to "blossom as the rose"...

Why The SETI Project Is Doomed To Fail A Radio Engineer's Perspective On The Project And Its Prospects - shows how the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is extremely unlikely to succeed - based on simple, well-proven principles of radio communications engineering...

Thoughts On My Experiences In Africa

Scott's Excellent Adventure In Nigeria is a travelogue/essay about some of my truly incredible experiences living in that country and the conclusions I reached about Africa's message for the West...

Africa's Agony: A Plan For Action is my ideas of how Africa can overcome the terrible plight in which it finds itself...

So You're Planning A Trip To Africa is a page of advice for those planning a trip to Nigeria or anywhere else in sub-Saharan Africa. It's sobering reading...

Personal Adventures and What They Mean To Me

Playing In The Backyard is the story of my living in the motorhome I built myself, on the road full-time with no permanent address for six years...

RV Fulltiming: Is It Right For You? is my advice and a few tips for people considering full-time life in an RV...

My Biography surprises me with the amount of mail it generates, compared to the number of hits it gets. Seems everyone who reads it comments on it...

Let's Rodeo! is the story of gay rodeo, and why I am so passionately in love with it...

Humor

"Remove Me From Your Rooster" is a fun little collection of the best of the hate mail received by myself and a few others in response to gay rights activism on the Internet and elsewhere...

OTHER CONTENT

"The Cool Page for Queer Teens" is my effort at helping gay teens avoid some of the misery I faced growing up gay...

"My Child is GAY! Now What Do I Do?" is a page that is designed to help parents cope with the unsettling discovery that their child is gay. It's also available in Spanish...

W7RI in Costa Rica is a section of this web site devoted to my ham radio activities. If you have recently worked me and are looking for QSL information, or you are searching for the "Scott's Tools" freebie calculator software, or just curious about what it is like being a ham in a DX country, you can find it all here...

Wallpaper Images From The U.S. Southwest I've been having a lot of fun with my digital camera over the last couple of years. Here are some nice pictures of the Southwest (and a couple from Africa), suitable for your desktop wallpaper image...

Wallpaper Images From Costa Rica I did what every landscape photographer dreams of - I took a trip to Costa Rica, and in just two weeks got more and better wallpaper images than I had before...

The News: Finding Out What's Going On is a brief compilation of resources, both print and electronic, that can help you become and stay informed about what's going on - news and information that the powerful in Washington or the corporate media have neglected, or worse, actually suppressed...

Putting A Stop To Telemarketing offers a simple, easy way to deal with the problem, and some practical advice for serious telemarketing abuse problems...

"Cool Stuff" is a collection of fun things I've found on the web over the years...

My Professional Resume (in Word format) in case you're here to offer me the big bucks...


Citizens and Residents Of The United States and U.S Persons - USA PATRIOT Act Notice:
You are hereby notified that under the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, you may be placed under electronic surveillance while viewing this or any other similar web site by intelligence or law enforcement agencies at any time or for any purpose for which they may deem fit, without your knowledge or permission and without the order or supervision of any court of law. As the provisions of the Act strictly prohibit, with fines and imprisonment, the managers of this site from disclosing such surveillance should it become known to us, you should assume that you are under surveillance while viewing this or any other similar web site, electronic mail or any other form of electronic communication related thereto.
Copyright Rights Notice:
This document and all documents maintained at this site are copyrighted under the laws of the United States of America and the Republic of Costa Rica. Use of email addresses included in this document or any other documents maintained at this site or within this domain, whether displayed or contained within the document source code, for any purpose without the written permission of the copyright holder is expressly forbidden and may subject the violator to criminal and/or civil penalties. The display, reproduction or use of documents or portions of documents contained on this site elsewhere on the Internet or in print, whether for educational or commercial purposes, without the written permission of the copyright holder is also expressly forbidden, with the following sole exception: Permission is granted to reproduce documents on this site solely within the confines of fully accredited and functioning educational institutions including public schools and public and private universities for educational purposes only, for a maximum of one hundred copies, provided that the source URL and copyright notice at the end of the document being reproduced, appear on each page on which the reproduced material appears. Persons desirous of obtaining other permissions are required to seek authorization from the copyright holder.

Source URL: http://www.bidstrup.com/index.htm

Copyright © 1997 - 2015, Scott Bidstrup, todos derechos reservados
Email:
Scott Bidstrup