The 15 Warnings Signs of Impending Tyranny

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The 15 Warnings Signs of Impending Tyranny

The warning signs are all there. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

As tyrants take control of democracies, they typically:

1.  Exaggerate their mandate to govern – claiming, for example, that they won an election by a landslide even after losing the popular vote.

2.  Repeatedly claim massive voter fraud in the absence of any evidence, in order to restrict voting in subsequent elections.

3.  Call anyone who opposes them “enemies.”

4.  Turn the public against journalists or media outlets that criticize them, calling them “deceitful” and “scum.” 

5.  Hold few if any press conferences, preferring to communicate with the public directly through mass rallies and unfiltered statements

6.  Tell the public big lies, causing them to doubt the truth and to believe fictions that support the tyrants’ goals.

7.  Blame economic stresses on immigrants or racial or religious minorities, and foment public bias and even violence against them.

8.  Attribute acts of domestic violence to “enemies within,” and use such events as excuses to beef up internal security and limit civil liberties.

9.  Threaten mass deportations, registries of religious minorities, and the banning of refugees.

10. Seek to eliminate or reduce the influence of competing centers of power, such as labor unions and opposition parties.

11. Appoint family members to high positions of authority

12. Surround themselves with their own personal security force rather than a security detail accountable to the public.

13. Put generals into top civilian posts                

14. Make personal alliances with foreign dictators.

15. Draw no distinction between personal property and public property, profiteering from their public office.

Consider yourself warned.

Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future; The Work of Nations; Locked in the Cabinet; Supercapitalism; and his newest, Beyond Outrage. His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org.

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