America’s government isn’t fighting in its own defense

The Republican Party is at this point very literally a cabal hostile to the American state, and actively warring against representative democratic government. Yet rigid cultural taboos prevent the state from acting in its own defense, and suppress even discussion or recognition of this ongoing assault.

None of that is an exaggeration.

Republicans have been quite openly talking about the American state as their enemy for four decades, and I suppose people initially interpreted this as mere campaign rhetoric, then learned to tune it out entirely because Republicans’ practical activity diverged from the rhetoric for a while. Into the early years of this century, Republicans still made some attempt at maintaining a functioning state at the national level.

We are now a dozen years into a sustained campaign of sabotage, and only sabotage, however.

This is not just Trump. This is not just Trump and McConnell. Republicans spent the entire Obama presidency engaged in reckless, toxic sabotage. Government shutdowns; taking America’s credit rating hostage; actively and openly attempting a parallel foreign policy to undercut a sitting president halfway through his term. There has been no controversy among Republicans about any of this.

Republicans have also embraced as allies hostile foreign powers, criminals, and hate groups, and have done everything possible to neuter the state’s defense against these allies as well. Don’t report on election interference efforts by the Russian government, don’t reveal the financial dealings of known Russian assets, don’t investigate white supremacist terrorism, do busy the apparatus of the state with nonsensical and baseless investigations instead, have become Republicans’ consistent demands. This is not controversial among Republicans, either.

If this were a James Bond movie, the state would be in no doubt whatsoever that this organization is the greatest threat it faces, and that it must be defeated and dismantled.

But in this horrible reality, it’s unthinkable that America officially recognize this threat for what it is—let alone apply official resources to defeating it—because the threat’s threadbare pretense that it’s a political party goes unchallenged by our institutions.

There are reasons why our culture and institutions insist on seeing a cabal, hostile to representative democracy and the state itself, as just another political difference. I don’t really feel like going into them right now, and I think they mostly come down to reluctance to believe upsetting things, and plain habit.

The result, however, seems much like Karl Popper’s “paradox of tolerance.”

A fair, inclusive society must defend itself against the enemies of its very existence, not just with arguments and trying to win “fairly” in “the battle of ideas,” but by using the muscle of society against such enemies when they organize. Even more fundamentally, any state must actively defend itself against projects to sabotage that state, or else its eventual doom is assured.

America has not made active efforts in its defense, against the Republican sabotage project, and the result is that America is a failed state. I see no evidence that America is even moving toward recognition of the real danger, even now.

Presuming that doesn’t change, and representative democratic government is eventually sabotaged completely, upon its memorial history should engrave the words “when they go low, we go high.”

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