How to destroy a republic

By Loretta Molitor

Dear Editor:

How to destroy a republic:

Method A -- Take command of the armed forces and stage a military coup. It works if the citizens are already accustomed to dictatorship. It helps if the people are terrorized by what those in power do to dissidents. If the new dictator is protected and supported by an outside country, it becomes even more difficult to move from an autocracy to government by the people.

This rarely works in a country with a long successful history of democratic elections and a literate, informed populace willing to accept the responsibilities of citizenship.

Method B -- 1. Gain power through legitimate electoral process. This can be achieved by appealing to two groups of "outliers." First legitimize feelings of being left out by the current governing process. Second appeal to "fear" be it fear of "the other" or fear of the government or any or all excuses people use to feed their paranoia.

2. Develop the financial and "power base" backing of those who feel entitled to run a government by evidence of their success in business or politics

3. Involve military leaders who may fit categories described for individuals in steps 1 and 2 above.

4. Distract the public with meaningless verbiage, announcements, pronouncements and proclamations that are sure to capture the attention of the concerned public.

5. Co-opt and undermine any potential controls of your behavior on the part of the elected representatives of the people. This may be easily accomplished by monetary or political rewards.

6. Co-opt the means by which the public receives information. This activity is encouraged by the public relying only on the one source approved by the potential autocrat and so, become, wittingly or not, supporters of the regime.

It works. Do a little research on the rise of the Third Reich.

Loretta Molitor