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This Is How Republics Die

This Is How Republics Die

Thom Hartmann

The American republic could die, just like Rome.

Wavering for some time on the verge of becoming a complete oligarchy, America is on the verge of flipping from a democratic republic to a strongman or autocratic form of government, something that’s happened to dozens of democracies in the past few decades, but never before here. It’s possible we won’t recover from it.


The Constitution was specifically crafted to smite the shit out of the likes of Trump. Anyone who has sworn an oath to the Constitution should be pursuing remediation of the Republic using the power to which they have been entrusted. Jefferson’s Tree of Liberty is mighty thirsty. Let’s give it a proper watering and see that it does not die.


If you have the resources my advice is to get outta Dodge now. There are still many “people friendly” countries around the world. If you have some financial resources, some skills & education, relatively young and in good health you (and your family) can leave and not have to directly worry about the US anymore. Although you may still have to worry, depending where you choose to move, about a “stray” US made bomb dropping on you.

I am 72 yrs old and now attained enough $$$ that if I wanted I could leave now. The ONLY thing keeping me here is my age and my wife’s health problems otherwise I would leave in a fucking heartbeat.


The republic has been dead – or comatose – for some time if it ever truly existed beyond rhetoric. We can yet create it but the electoral system we have exists to prevent that. It would require massive citizen action including non-violent occupation of the streets and a national strike with clear demands which presupposes an informed, unified citizenry sorely lacking in our country. More likely is a collapse and break-up of the country with the possibility of smaller republics amid the anarchic chaos of climate and social collapse


Amen to that.

Me too.

Ya know the more I think about it, the reasons we are in the crap we’re in now may go back to the end of the Civil war. The South was pretty much left off the hook for ANY cause of the war. Maybe with just some minimal restraints and reparations placed on the South, ie “forty acres and a mule”, this country wouldn’t be so fucking hateful toward one another. Whenever one looks at any of the policy disagreements between folks, abortion, LGBTQ, “minorities”, unionization etc and look at these issues state by state, well guess what? All the states “against” liberalization are the old “Confederate States” and all states for are located in the north or along the west coast.


The collapse of the American Empire did not start with Trump. He is accelerating it.
Most of the Democrats in congress have had a hand in the collapse by paying lip service to the masses while greatly enriching the wealthy.


Who are these " people friendly" (including Americans) countries?

I really like Thom, but I have problems with the overall argument.

“And if Democrats don’t take strong, immediate, and decisive action to curb GOP excesses, we may well never again have a chance to return to our democratic-republican roots.”

We have gotten to this point because of both parties. Did Holder not prosecuting bankers help to lead us here? Of course. In the S & L crisis, Reagan of all people did go after bankers. By the time Obama comes into office, we had continued to drift right, the system was by then even more corrupt, and the decision to not prosecute bankers has had huge negative repercussions. It didn’t matter that we know they rigged the LIBOR, bond auctions, created fake accounts, laundered money for drug cartels and terrorist groups. We did nothing about the revelations in the Panama Papers, among other revelations. We do nothing about tax shelters, some of the largest are here in the US. How about mass constitutional violations? Snowden cannot come back to his own country. Why? What did he uncover? He has been punished more than anyone in the state has for uncovering the mass criminality of the state. The war against journalists? Did this start with Trump? What about the gutting of programs and regulations that at least held corporate interests at bay? Uncle Joe himself wants to cut more of those programs, seems almost proud of the fact. He leads, the older voters very much seem to love him (I realize that there are many that don’t too). Cause that happened in droves during the Clinton years. What did the particular “globalization” that they created do but undermine democracy and tie the hands of government in regards to controlling private capital? How about not holding the Bush administration responsible for blatant war crimes? And who leads the field right now on the Democratic side but a right wing and corrupt politician like Biden? Think he would change any of this? I could go on too, I am sure other posters could. To argue that we got to this point because of Republicans is a bit absurd. This was a truly bi-partisan affair, and these two rotten parties have made it next to impossible for other parties to emerge. How and why do we allow these two parties to create political monopolies, and to create the rules that the two party’s potential rivals have to abide by? What would happen in the economic realm if oil companies or Microsoft got to create the rules that its potential competition have to abide by, competition here or abroad? Well, that is what the WTO, NAFTA and the like is about. That is why we have the intellectual property rights regimes at places like the WTO.


Although, the number of suitable countries where the threat of fascism is very low dwindles. You can certainly scratch Canada off the list - especially after October 21. Only NZ is left among English speaking countries. Norway and Finland are still looking good for now; maybe Spain too. In Asia, there is Taiwan, Japan would be nice but they have some fascistic tendencies.

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I think that your conspiratorial analysis, (especially “the bankers and globalists”) as opposed to a systemic analysis (the capitalist system and Marxian relations of production) would make you very comfortable with your friends on the neofascist alt-right. I think you will like these people here whose mission statement is this:

“This group is to protest the CARBON TAX, Build That Pipeline and Stand Against the Treason of our country’s politicians who have the audacity to sell out OUR country’s sovereignty over to the Globalist UN and their Tyrannical policies.”

The republic the author speaks of died in Dallas, 1963.


I have to say, you have said a number of incredibly stupid things over the years, but this tops them all. I have friends on the neofascist alt-right? What in the hell are you talking about? What that I said was factually inaccurate? Are facts and objective reality a conspiracy Yunzer? Pick out a few sentences that I said and pick it apart logically, show how I am spinning conspiracy theories. And please, when making mind numbingly stupid comments like this, ignore the countless times I did do a systematic analysis for you. For example, me explaining why wages in Canada, Mexico and the US have stagnated for decades (which you denied, if you remember). Or the reason why finance has grown relative to production in the US, which I have gone over with you in the past when you said stupid comments that had absolutely no systematic analysis. Remember when you argued that racism was on the rise just in isolation, and I explained to you why the far right was growing and did a systematic analysis for you? Now, you say this? What is wrong with you?

And this from a person that is saying we can’t elect a vanilla social democrat like Bernie because of the election in 1972, and someone that said that Bernie didn’t in fact have support from younger voters because young people around YOU were all in on Biden and said that Bernie was “too far left” (your exact words). Were you angry that I critiqued Biden?

I pointed out a number of things the Democrats have done to get us here, and you link me with some on the right that oppose a carbon tax. How does a person link those two things logically, knowing all the things I have said in the past against you, from your left? Are you aware of the left wing critiques of the WTO, NAFTA like deals, and this particular globalization? Remember the World Social Forum, the Another World is Possible books, etc.? Was the left not central to that? Remember the alter-globalization movement, the New International Economic Order resolution at the UN or Keynes’s ideas on how to create an international economic system (the ICU and the bancor)? Want to pretend that the left wasn’t central to that? My god are you off.


Bam!! Be afraid, Mister Trump. Be very afraid you are going down in history as our WORST President and your name will be removed from landmarks before or after you DIE, and not be mentioned in polite company! Thanks very much Thom Hartmann.


I’m not much into Chicken Little essays. Of course Tom left out the elephant in the room, the military and its adventures around the world, knocking down unliked governments from sea to sea to the tune of trillions. Nary a word. How about the decadence of Tuesday Kill Lists, Tom.


And, by the way, the left has books arguing against cap and trade programs, as well as carbon taxes, because many people on the left don’t think markets have any chance of solving this issue. There is an entire school of economics in fact, ecological economics, that says that there are limits to monetization and that we have to have an economy in kind where we don’t reduce all impacts to a single metric; market values. Is Joan Martinez Alier, Karl William Kapp and Robin Hahnel alt right people because they strongly critique market-based solutions? Many economists on the left think that we could place some market values on “externalities” but the capacity for that to solve the problem is next to none. A cap and trade program or a carbon tax is better than nothing, but both are highly problematic from a progressive standpoint and again, there are realistic limits as to what markets can do to deal with the environmental crisis. We have to realize more than anything the limits to markets, and if you want to debate a carbon tax with me right now, please, let’s do it. See, my response would be a systematic analysis. If you think you can take me on in that debate, again, I am available.

You know, in the old USSR, Stalin actually opposed a minimum wage? It’s true, and he spoke out strongly against those that wanted to “level” income. Now, are there people on the libertarian right that oppose a minimum wage? Yes, there are. They also oppose leveling income. So, in Yunzer’s world, are those libertarians Stalinists?


Thanks, Joan. I still have Panama Papers bookmarked.

How to cover up a scandal? Start ten new ones.


Sounds like you are saying we screwed up this country, so your advice is to leave for another one. Not big on patriotism I guess? I love this country, and frankly can do with less of people like you in it.

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Yes, I remember and was heavily involved in the global economic justice movement - My wife alongside the late Nelson Mandela-cellmate Dennis Brutis was on our Pittsburgh delegation to WSF Mumbai in 2004.

But remember that all our critiques in those days were systemic critiques of capitalist ideologies (notably neoliberalism) and focused on exploitation and economic justice for the impoverished and exploited global south - and environmental action.

This has all now been turned on its head and is now the modern-day “anti-globalist” critique consists of antisemitism-laced spooky “globalist billionaires” attacking the supposedly down-trodden (white) “middle class” of the privileged first-world.

A good extremely entertaining introduction to all this code-language that too much of the left is dangerously adopting is here: