Congress’s latest retreat from even the barest pretense of being an equal branch of government, setting precedents that will make it impossible for any future Congress to re-establish its prerogatives (assuming any future Congress would even want to do so), has been weighing on me. I’m finding it harder to believe the US will ever climb out of the hole we’ve dug for ourselves. So I was in the perfect mood for this post from John Gruber today.

When I read William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich1 a year or so ago, I was struck by how open Hitler and the Nazi party were about rolling back democracy as they consolidated control in the 30s. I had a typical US education, in which the sweep of history is shown as an inevitable move toward democracy, and it was shocking to learn that the Nazis didn’t even bother to pay lip service to those pieties.

So far, our slide into autocracy hasn’t been as overt—partially because people like David Frum have, until recently at least, been smoothly telling us that everything was fine—but we’re getting there. I’m waiting for the GOP to drop the fig leaf of “voter fraud” and just come out and say they’re changing the laws because certain people shouldn’t be allowed to vote. I don’t know what they’re waiting for; most of their voters wouldn’t blink an eye.

  1. Yes, I know there are better histories, and I have another one lined up, but Shirer was there, and I wanted his perspective.