Let's recap the last few months. We have a new President. Highlights of his promises include guarantees that he will legalize the killing of children at any age up to and even shortly after birth, create a "civilian security force" equal in power to the armed forces, will start the conscription of women, increase taxes (and therefore increase unemployment and drive businesses out of the country or out of business), and will censor most news outlets via the Fairness Doctrine.
He was swept into power by an ongoing economic debacle even though questions about his American citizenship have never been answered. He got into power by laundering campaign contributions through untraceable donations, in direct violation of US law. He is known to show concern for his impoverished brother in a theoretical sense, but his actual relatives continue to live in slums.
In short, he is the quintessential socialist.
Historically, what kinds of precedents are there?
Well, we can look at the French Revolution. It began due to the machinations of Neckar. Appointed to be Director-General of finance by King Louis XVI in the middle of a financial crisis, Neckar was not actually qualified to be director because he was (1) a Protestant and (2) not a native Frenchman. Neckar proposed new taxes on the clergy and the nobles, and was dismissed, but had to be recalled due to popular outrage and massive support from the newspapers and pamphleteers of the day.
Though popular with the people, he believed he had Messiah-like ability and could solve every problem himself. He subsequently fomented a rebellion which drove the nobles it didn't kill out of the country, along with their wealth. As the entire structure of government changed from monarchy to oligarchy, the French Revolution killed hundreds of priests and hundreds of thousands of Catholics, including the legendary massacre of Catholics in the Vendee region, a genocide which wiped out roughly one-third of the population. An official state church was established which took its orders from the government, not from Rome.
The French Revolution created a society built on informants, in which children were expected to inform the authorities if their parents expressed anti-revolutionary ideas. The atrocities of the French Revolution did not end until a dictator, Napoleon Bonoparte, appeared on the scene. The subsequent Napoleanic wars rocked all of Europe for years to come.
The government of France changed frmo monarchy to oligarchy to dictatorship in the space of a decade.
Then we can look to the Germans. Again, we have a socialist born not in Germany but in Austria, a foreigner who became a fervent German nationalist. After receiving enormous support from the media through moguls like Alfred Hugenberg, he was legally appointed Chancellor of Germany by Hindenburg during yet another period of intense economic turmoil.
He also had a Messiah-complex and likewise proposed crushing laws and taxes on the people he felt were unfairly benefiting from the industry of German citizens. These people, the Jews, were either killed or forced to flee. Shortly after taking power, he used a convenient crisis event - the burning of the Reichstag - to fundamentally change the nature of Germany's government so that he could become a dictator. He killed thousands of Catholic priests, sent hundreds of thousands of Catholics to death camps (six million Jews died in the Holocaust, but so did three million Cahtolics), and committed genocide on a massive scale. Again, an official state church was established that took its orders from the government.
The German government created a society built on informants, in which children were expected to inform the authorities if their parents expressed anti-revolutionary ideas. It took a world war to unseat him.
The government of Germany changed from constitutional monarchy and limited democracy to dictatorship in the space of a decade.
Now, consider the Russians. Here, we have a Russian, Lenin, who took care to associate himself with radicals throughout his youth (his older brother was an anarchist executed for attempting to kill the Tsar). He was a first-class lawyer with a command of several languages, including Latin, Greek, German, French and English. His plan involved subverting the government by taking over the newspapers. Although exiled by the Tsar, he was smuggled into the country by the Germans in order to foment a revolution, which he promptly did.
Although Lenin himself was no small thing as a dictator, his death cut short many of his plans. His successor, Stalin, a foreigner who managed to weasel his way into the heart of the party, taught the world what a really effective dictator could do. Again, he placed crushing laws and taxes on the rich peasants, the kulaks. Thousands of Orthodox priests and bishops were sent to penal death camps, as were hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians. An official state Church was established, which took its orders from the government.
He created a society built on informants, in which children were expected to inform the authorities if their parents expressed anti-revolutionary ideas. He was never overthrown. The USSR fell only because of the combined efforts of the Pope, the Prime Minister of England and the President of the United States.
The events between 1917 and Stalin's consolidation of power took less than a decade.
It is now 2008.
Start the clock.