Sinclair Lewis was so 20th Century.
Progressives have effectively burnt the cross and the flag already. Thus, old-style patriotism and religiosity can’t even win elections in heartland states- just ask Senators Akin and Mourdoch.
No, that’s not where the threat festers. When tyranny comes to America, it will be advanced by earnest public officials, enforcing intrusive rules declared necessary to stamp out social problems and purify us of bad consumer choices. The oppression generally will be applauded by elites and educated people. Whether or not it prevails and becomes the new normal depends on the rest of us, our outrage, and the effectiveness and staying power of our response.
But, those folks who are anxiously monitoring Washington and a president who ill-conceals that, to him, the Constitution presents more of an obstacle than a genius bulwark for freedom, might be missing an important point. Yes, Washington is out of control. For liberty to prevail, it must be confronted, restrained, and redirected. But, so too, our local authorities and institutions can trample our liberties, our privacy, and our domestic tranquility.
Law students learn an aphorism about the development of law: Hard cases make bad law. An incident or two last year in my home state of Colorado illustrate the point: hard circumstances invite bad decisions and establish bad precedents. Citizens can be almost powerless to respond.
First incident: a bank robbery in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, caused a gunpoint lockdown, hand cuffing, and mass detention of dozens of commuters yanked from 40 vehicles, based only on a phone tip that the robber might be at a particular intersection. There was no description of the robber or the vehicle, so police drew their weapons and detained the occupants of 40 vehicles stopped at the light. Police held the detainees for two hours.
In the last vehicle they searched, police found loaded guns and apprehended their man.
Second, in a horrific abduction-slaying, a middle school girl vanished on her way to school in a western suburb of Denver. The local news and news-watching public were consumed with her disappearance and unknown fate. The state and nation mourned when an arrest was made, confession obtained, and the victim’s body recovered.
What was less reported was that police had canvassed door to door and with zero basis, they pressured homeowners to submit to aggressive searches. A friend liv