The Radical Center
Published in

The Radical Center

Here Comes the New Police State

The conservative The Federalist shows just how much conservative hate exceeds their fake support for liberty and individual rights. Editor John Davidson writes how America needs massive intrusion by the government because he is offended by drag performances and other freedoms. This sort of response makes one wonder what’s in Mr. Davidson’s closet. Whatever it is, chances are it’s not pretty.

Davidson wants conservatives to embrace the hate, languish in anger, and spit in the face of liberty, all while marching in lockstep.

Davidson writes, “Drag Queen Story Hour should be outlawed; …parents who take their kids to drag shows should be arrested and charged with child abuse; …doctors who perform so-called ‘gender-affirming’ interventions should be thrown in prison and have their medical licenses revoked; and …teachers who expose their students to sexually explicit material should not just be fired but be criminally prosecuted.” Of course, just mentioning the word gay these fragile individuals claim makes it “sexually explicit.”

Let’s be clear — that is a police state. Everyone who does anything John Davidson, the new Vicar of Christ on Earth and Supreme Dictator of the Globe, dislikes, should be made a criminal and incarcerated along with other sundry punishments for daring offend His Majestic Holiness. Of course, fragile snowflakes such as Davidson are so easily offended; breaking down in tears, hives and rapid breathing, it’s hard to take their outrage seriously. But the fascist solutions he proposes are a threat and must be taken seriously.

Davidson admits, “Wielding government power will mean a dramatic expansion of the criminal code.” All this means lots of police, lots of arrests, lots of prison sentences, and lots of prison. This is the “liberty” today’s Right advocates and this is what freedom looks like through theocratic lenses.

For many of these authoritarians it’s all a show because they didn’t get Daddy’s attention when children. Now they say and do outrageous things just to get a pat on the head from some sad purveyor of toxic masculinity with an Orange fake tan. For others it’s just the raw lust for power in the tradition of Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Castro, or Hitler.

Davidson says conservatives must stop “conserving” the past and the antiquated ideas of “individual rights, family values, religious freedom, and so on.” They need raw political power to smash those they dislike.

Davidson does get one thing right in his screed in support of fascism — technological change and markets undermine the sort of rigid social order yearned for by statists such as himself. The real threat, he says, is “technological change so swift and powerful it fundamentally reordered society, swept tradition aside, and unleashed a moral relativism that rendered the conservative project obsolete.”

The genuine market-liberal Sir Samuel Brittan noted years ago, “The breakdown of theological authority, the rise of scientific spirit and the growth of capitalism were inter-related phenomena.” The difference is Brittan thought the changes good, while Davidson falls to his knees weeping over them.

Social — or anti-social — conservatism is undermined by and inconsistent with free, or depoliticized markets. More specifically depoliticized markets undermine the sort of static social structure yearned for by conservatives. Thus social authoritarians must attack limited government and depoliticized markets if they wish to impose the moral order of their prophets. Their kind of morality is more Putinesque in nature than what Adam Smith proposed and it can only be achieved with arrests, attacks, and prison sentences all at the point of the gun. The Bill of Rights has to be trashed and replaced with some theological screed or another.

Milton Friedman wrote, “The characteristic feature of action through political channels is that it tends to require or enforce substantial conformity. The great advantage of the market, on the other hand, is that it permits wide diversity.” Davidson plan is to wipe out diversity and impose conformity — the very opposite of what Dr. Friedman advocated. In order to do that Davidson must wage war on markets.

Markets don’t just encourage diversity, they lead to technological change and change threatens the social authoritarian. They can’t wrap their tiny brains around the idea that change is needed or that it can be good. It is automatically deemed a threat.

To the idea of social conformity, with morality police patrolling the streets as they do in tyrannical Iran, it is a threat. Capitalism breeds technological change and technological change enhances individuals freedom; with more freedom diversity blossoms. It’s a chain reaction so the only alternative for the social fascist is waging war on markets and imposing some sort of top-down economic system based on central planning by priests, Pietists, and politicians.

Davidson notes technology must be centrally controlled by advocates of his kind of central planning, which “will require power — and the willingness to use it.” He praises the current populist right and says we need a conservatism “that is comfortable with big government.”

As for those naïve and foolish libertarians who thought there was some alliance possible with conservatives Davidson laughs in their faces. He says any “common cause with market-obsessed libertarians… is finished.” I say it never should have existed and, at the very least, should have ended November 9, 1989—the day the Berlin Wall came down

Davidson wants a fascist social war using Big Brother to impose his personal view of morality. He says non-conservatives have to be stopped and that means “conservatives will have to discard outdated and irrelevant notions about ‘small government.’ The government will have to become, in the hands of conservatives, an instrument of renewal in American life—and in some case a blunt instrument indeed.” The term blunt instrument clearly means one that is brutal and violent. It is private theology inflicted, not by persuasion or argument but by a fist.

Davidson also wants a regime using state power “to break up the largest Silicon Valley firms,” he says universities should be defunded, which effectively means closed down. He wants to make it illegal for couples to have “no-fault divorce” and wants massive subsidies “for families with small children.” Much as the Nazis did he wants to pay people to procreate and I bet he’ll invent regulations to limit the funds mostly to people of the “right” skin color.

The thing about Davidson’s “moral” police state is Republicans are already implementing it. They have already said a woman’s uterus belongs to the state and government may control what women do with it. They are now threatening to incarcerate librarians if they have any book disfavored by evangelical fanatics. They are driving parents out of Texas with threat of arrest and imprisonment if they give medical care to trans children — so much for “defending parental choice.”

The brown shirts who run the Republican asylum are openly saying these authoritarian measures are just the start and they will do far more and far worse when they have total control — control they have no intention of surrendering regardless of what future voters say.

Republican authoritarian Sen. Ron Johnson is promising federal legislation if the GOP take control, which will impose a version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law anywhere federal funds are used—which is pretty much everywhere.

The bill defines “sexually-oriented material” as “any depiction, description, or simulation of sexual activity, any lewd or lascivious depiction or description of human genitals, or any topic involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgenderism, sexual orientation, or related subjects.”

The sweeping legislation would affect all federally funded facilities and programs, which would include public libraries, federally funded schools, military bases and hospitals. It would prohibit schools, for example, from providing sex education or library books that include LGBTQ topics to children under 10. It would also bar public libraries from using funds to host Drag Story Hour events — a national program started in 2015 in which drag performers read children’s books to kids.

Davidson admits, “Wielding government power will mean a dramatic expansion of the criminal code.” Years ago Nobel Prize winner F.A. Hayek contrasted his own classical liberal values to those of the conservative. He warned conservatives don’t “object to coercion or arbitrary power so long as it is used for what he regards as the right purposes. He believes that if government is in the hands of decent men, it ought not be too much restricted by rigid rules.” Hayek issued that warning in 1960, today Davidson and the self-absorbed strutting fascists of the Republican Party are working overtime to prove him right.


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A blog for the Moorfield Storey Institute: a liberaltarian think tank.

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James Peron

James Peron is the president of the Moorfield Storey Institute, was the founding editor of Esteem a LGBT publication in South Africa under apartheid.