In June, rightwing academic Kevin Slack published a book-length polemic claiming that ideas that had emerged from what he called the radical left were now so dominant that the US republic its founders envisioned was effectively at an end.
Slack, a politics professor at the conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan, made conspiratorial and extreme arguments now common on the antidemocratic right, that “transgenderism, anti-white racism, censorship, cronyism … are now the policies of an entire cosmopolitan class that includes much of the entrenched bureaucracy, the military, the media, and government-sponsored corporations”.
In a discussion of possible responses to this conspiracy theory, he wrote that the “New Right now often discusses a Red Caesar, by which it means a leader whose post-Constitutional rule will restore the strength of his people”.
For the last three years, parts of the American right have advocated a theory called Caesarism as an authoritarian solution to the claimed collapse of the US republic in conference rooms, podcasts and the house organs of the extreme right, especially those associated with the Claremont Institute thinktank.
Though on the surface this discussion might seem esoteric, experts who track extremism in the US say that due to their influence on the Republican party, the rightwing intellectuals who espouse these ideas about the attractions of autocracy present a profound threat to American democracy. [Continue reading…]