Originally posted by segovius
You cant be talking about me Immanuel - I'm officially a grumpy old man.
It was a general observation based upon life experience in the time between 1950 and 2000, rather than a judgement of individuals.
You individually could as well be a grumpy old man or among the young at heart for all I know, but I take your word for it.
You're right though, what we are seeing is a proto-totalitarianism. It's not the finished article.
There are several trends which could lead to worrying consequences, but it's not even comparable to the Weimar republic atmosphere circa 1925.
All the ingredients are in place:
unquestioning and unthinking brainwashed sheep-like populace
What I mostly note is apathy, and there is much questioning and even discrediting of the model of representative democracy and mixed-economy (which has been the common stapel of the developed world, to varying degrees sicne 1945), whether in favour of some wild vaguye revolutionary utopia, a return to some factice industrial-age laissez-faire dystopia, or to some fundamentalist mirage; with the occasional apologia for strong leadership be it the kind of the now gone stranglehold of Mexico's PRI, or of Malaysia's Asian values paternalism.
establishing the 'fact' of the 'demon-foreigner' who is to be blamed for all woes
It seems to me the identity of the demon varies according to how one identifies one's own affiliation, which is why those comfortable in the company of a televangelist like Pat Robertson would not be in the company of a Telequranist like Yusuf al-Qardawi. Needless to say (but I do, for the sake of the innocents and the perplexed) I would be very uncomfortable around both characters as well as their comparses from other creeds.
Some would see the demon in whatever ethnic/religious/national group they identify with themselves, just to to be safe from being racist, making them no better than those seeing the demon in whatever ethnic/religious/national group they don't identify with.
So we have not one major hysteria directed against one single group, but multiple hysterias each with its own demon of choice.
gradual systematic erosion of rights of the citizens
Having lived through the nineteen-fifties and sixties I found developed democracies have mostly progressed in that department (and I look like a foreigner in most of them).
placement of apparatus to quell dissent should it be necessary
For an opinion diverging from that of the government to be dissent and for an apparatus to quell it, there first needs to be a prohibition of all such opinions.
While the existing state of affairs is not liberal enogh to my taste at some times, and rather too tolerant of actual incitement at others (but then my own opinon on the matter is not a relevant yardstick), it is, all in all quite reasonable.
a granted blank-cheque for our 'leaders' to lie on the grandiose scale without fear of any recourse
Forgive me if I find blank-cheque and grandiose a little to vague to comment on.
It just needs fine tuning. Maybe another grand-stand 'terrorist outrage' and we're ready to roll.
As long as the majority of the populations in your kind of countries keep enjoying peace-time prosperity and a relative public order, such outcome remains unlikely. But should said populations experience a deep long-term upheaval that would shatter their everyday existence (whether a war or some other kind of acute crisis), then you should start worrying.
Experience from the twentieth century also shows that in most countries where totalitarian dictatorship took hold, it was immedialtely preceded by a weakening of the state leading to violent chaos.
So I won't be joining in any such hysteria for the time being, despite my cultural predisposition toward that.