CHIRRA PLSC 102 CRITICAL THINKING OPPORTUNITY – 100 Points
In her book, Naomi Wolf discusses ten steps that must be used to shut down a democracy. These steps
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
2. Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
3. Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
4. Set up an internal surveillance system.
5. Harass citizens' groups.
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
7. Target key individuals.
8. Control the press.
9. Treat all political dissidents as traitors.
10. Suspend the rule of law.
Wolf, Naomi. The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. White
River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007
She indicated that, by 2007, each of these steps had been initiated by the administration of President
George W. Bush. Later, in an online post, she wrote:
If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open
society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less
bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous
to create and sustain a democracy—but history shows that closing one down is much simpler.
You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps…
Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it
is possible for us to become as unfree—domestically—as many other nations. Because we no
longer learn much about our rights or our system of government - the task of being aware of the
constitution has been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of professionals
such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognize the checks and balances that the
founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn
much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security -
remember who else was keen on...