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Illiberal Democracies go after Women’s Rights.

If you haven’t heard that term, illiberal democracy, prepare yourself because that’s where the United States is heading. We are going in the direction of Victor Orban’s Hungary.

Fans of Sebastian Gorka’s podcast may be wondering, what’s the big deal?

Well, Victor Orban was re-elected in Hungary recently. To paraphrase Julia Ioffe’s comments on putin’s re-election in Russia, “was Orban technically re-elected in Hungary? Yes. Was there technically a democratic election? Yes. Did Orban technically win this election? Yes. Is Orban a democratically elected leader of Hungary? No.” Note the absence of the word “technically” in the last sentence.

In Hungary, government is run on technicalities and not law. The US also runs on technicalities. Technically, we all have a right to make medical decisions in the privacy of our consultations with our doctors. Technically, we can marry whoever we want. Technically, black people are whole people who can technically vote in technically free and fair elections. Anyway, you can see where this is going.

Technically, we are going to have free and fair elections this year and in 2024 and technically, the citizens of each state will elect their representatives. And technically, that’s not really up to the citizens of each state anymore. It’s up to the Secretary of State and whatever the elections board of each county says in some of the states, particularly the electoral college states that voted for Trump.

Technically, even if the entire state of Georgia overwhelmingly votes for Democrat A for governor, the state is currently set up in such a way that the election boards can overrule those votes. And technically, the citizens can probably appeal that decision to the Supreme Court that technically is supposed to protect their constitutional voting rights but is now more commonly referring to the constitution as originally written. Also, the Roberts court gutted the Voting Rights Act.

So, you may be asking, what does that have to do with ME?? Well, as we have seen, elections only count in the US if the votes from each individual state are collected together to form a critical mass of votes that collectively outnumber the other states. So if you have a state or two who have decided to withhold those votes to prevent a critical mass or change the electors to “correct” for faulty votes by some technically full human beings in that state, then the votes do not get added to the total and the critical mass is not achieved and another minority government takes over and appoints even more ultra conservative Catholic judges for whom religious freedom technically applies to everyone but in actuality only applies to other ultra conservative religious people (because if you’re not religious, you don’t need freedom and protection of your rights? Is this how they’re really thinking? Because it feels like this is how they’re really thinking.)

That might be ok with you NOW. But sooner or later, you might find that your technically free and fairly elected president decides to launch an apocalyptic nightmare of an unjustified war on China or whatever and technically, you’ll have fhe right to protest but in actuality, you’ll be toast.

THAT’S illiberal democracy and unlike Alito’s silly notion that we have no idea what will happen when Roe is overturned because there is no precedent in history and women have made so much progress in 50 years and no longer need these protections, we actually know what happens when a technically freely elected president decides to drag his country into WWIII against his citizens’ will. It’s actually a Fucking mess.

Now, dear lurker, fold this little post up, put it in your pocket and the next time your government ruins your life because you voted for a guy who wanted to own the libs, you can pull it out and read:

We told you so.

So, how did this happen?

There are some theories that say that the wealthy and well connected got sick of the whole FDR New Deal thing and the civil rights movement and saw their way of life come crashing down. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell wrote a memo laying out how they could take their country back: own the courts.

Here’s how they did it:

1.) Use religion. Very religious people tend to stick to rigid parts of the Bible. I’ll let a psychologist figure this out but let’s assume it gives them security if they know there is no ambiguity in the world that they can’t control.

2.) Shine a spotlight on feminism, abortion and gay people. Remember Anita Bryant? Phyllis Schlafley? This stuff has been around since the mid 70s.

3.) Make working class men feel like they’ve been castrated then point them towards women and gay people. Thank you, Rush Limbaugh

4.) Run candidates that promise to return America to that Shining City on a Hill. It’s Morning in America! Cue Ronald Reagan. Real men vote for Ronny, real women stay home and watch the kids. Everyone else is un-American. Promise your voters that you will stop the immoral sluts that kill their babies and castrate their partners by getting more education, going to work and earning more money.

5.) Buy your own News! Enter Rupert Murdock. Make your audience feel outraged at the loss of masculinity that you suddenly called attention to. Create images of hot blonde babes sitting between two beta males. Make it seem possible…

6.) Capture state legislatures. Get those legislatures to pass laws that ding women, gay people and African Americans. This one is on Barack Obama. He took his eye off the ball. Or he was day dreaming. Or something.

7.) Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Gerrymander the shit out of southern states where racism is endemic. Do the same with some northern states, like Pennsylvania.

8.) Appoint judges that work for YOU. After all, why should you pay taxes to support THOSE people? Think of your children.

9.) Whip your religious fan base and the guys you emasculated into a frenzy over abortion.

10.) Have your justices Gut the voting rights act. Use the excuse that all those bad things that happened to African Americans when they used to vote, well those days are gone. So much progress has been made since the Voting Rights Act was enforced that we don’t need chunks of it anymore. It hurts southern states’ self esteem.

11.) Have your justices deliberately ignore what subsequently happens to voting rights in those states and then have them use the very same reasoning to gut abortion and every other privacy related issue. What other things might they take issue with? What about business related things? Discrimination? Is social security even legal?? (Oh, you think that’s sacred just because we’ve had it for 80 years? If a 50 year precedent can be set aside, what makes you think social security and Medicaid can’t? Elect the wrong people to Congress and they’ll gut that in a heartbeat. Then who are you going to appeal that to?)

12.) Now. Try to vote them out. Well, you can’t. They’re appointed for life. And probably the presidents they appoint will do what they want.

This is how it works. You gerrymander the courts and you can do whatever you like, sell off whatever parts of the country you like to your new American Oligarchy and keep a cut for yourself. Hold technically free and fair elections but have YOUR people do the vote counting.

The takeover towards illiberal democracy most likely includes restricting the rights of women, minorities and gay people. They’re the cannon fodder that is used by the malefactors of great wealth and power to make sure they always get their way. And the way they always win the game is by taking over the courts and never ever letting some inconvenient liberal democratic norm like free and fair elections displace them ever again.

That’s how it’s done in every illiberal democracy. Use the ladies, gays and minorities to get your judges. Then, do what you will.

It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.


There will probably be more insight on the takeover of the courts when the January 6, Committee starts their hearings. The coup was in the works long before the election and I have no doubt that the court would have been pressured to settle the matter and keep the peace if Pence had gotten in that car.


Ok, so you may say, well the wealthy and powerful have always gotten their way. It’s natural law or some such bullshit, and there’s nothing I can do about it. 😩

Except, that’s not true. For one thing, it has taken them decades to get here. They started planning this takeover in the early 70s. It is now 50 years later. There might be some generational metric in play here. This is something the social historians to research.

But our rule of law and our liberal democracy that came out stronger after the civil rights era took 50 years to reverse. That takes dedication and money and a lot of dirty tricks and a flood of very loud, very well funded and shameless propaganda mouth pieces. It was by no means assured that we would end up here. The election of Donald Trump certainly sped things up and was probably a serendipitous windfall that they had to take advantage of. But for the time being, they don’t quite have it all. They’re pretty close but it’s not assured.

We will see. There’s still a possibility that we can get back what we so casually gave away or was tricked into trading for low taxes or a sense of superiority or whatever.

This democracy takes vigilance and learning from mistakes and effort. If you don’t want to do the work, you could end up in a country where your decisions are made for you and I can’t imagine that loss of choice is anything a libertarian is going to like.


8 Responses

  1. I don’t know the statistics, but I would guess there are far more people who voted Republican because they were too childishly cheap to pay the level of taxes congruent with a civilized society, than who voted Republican because they wanted to “own the libs”–though granted, there is probably much overlap between those two groups.

  2. Excellent… Thanks

    • So brilliant re the guide on “how they did it” it’s truly like being back in Highschool. The guys making rape jokes and calling everything “gay” now get to call the shots and control things. I find that men who stand up more and more are being labelled weak. Charlie Crist in Florida for instance is dealing with this bro culture. .

      Same with Marjorie Taylor Greene – did anyone see her court hearings where she is being questioned about having involvement in the Jan 6th coup? They presented video proof of an incident captured by Mother Jones and she was allowed to mock and laugh at Mother Jones, in fact when the judge said “Mother Jones” the conservative court room in Georgia was allowed to erupt in derisive laughter. This got me back to thinking about this tactic (the derisive laughter, the mocking, shaming etc) is utilized and how effective it really is. Hillary talked about how long ago, even the mere notion of a woman running for president would’ve been followed by derisive laughter… well, although there is finally more support for women, the mocking still erupts in so many ways – remember the “iron my shirt” hecklers in 2008? How about the leaks of Obama staffers groping the Hillary cardboard cutouts? It’s sadly very powerful. And many leftists and young women fall into this trap. They may have a little more sense than the Republicans, they like to have the equal rights, but are unwilling to recognize history. They either don’t take the mocking seriously, “just boys being boys” or they do not want to be the ones mocked so they will throw their support behind Bernie or Obama, trying to garner their power through a man. And then with Obama, as you point out, he falls asleep at the wheel, he falls victim (or we fall victim really) to his own ego of wanting to be liked by the public, so he drops the ball and doesn’t think he has to run it home anymore… he couldn’t take the heat. He wasn’t prepared, he was already 2 beats behind Hillary, who knew what it would take. It’s all so frustrating because you want to believe your fellow voters aren’t such easy prey, that they’re beyond all the petty “feminism is cancer” jeers or “men are being castrated” nonsense.

  3. Not religious? Freedom and protection of your rights if you don’t believe in our sky daddy? Preposterous! Besides, what are you deviant heathens complaining about anyway? It’s us Christians who are under attack! Why, we can’t even say Merry Christmas anymore! If you would all just act like good little girls, close your legs (but open them when we say) and beg for forgiveness we could forget about this whole thing…. And remember when it comes to wearing a mask it’s my body my choice, but when it’s your body, it’s my choice.

  4. A devastating and eloquent essay.

    i was upset to see that in the Ohio senatorial primaries, the turnout for Republicans was about twice that for Democrats. Of course there was a much more contentious race there, but still, this does not betoken much chance to win that election, even though Tim Ryan is a good candidate for that state.

    This is going to take a great awakening, and not the religious kind, as the phrase originally referred to. it is going to take anger and absolute determination. it may take millions of people simply refusing to spend money on the wares of the billionaires and their companies. it will certainly take everyone who is upset at the gutting of abortion rights to actually vote on just that issue, if nothing else, and for people to keep their eye on the ball, and not get distracted once again by the shiny fake issues the Republicans and the media show them.

    Anger is unfortunately a strong motivator in elections. Republicans have employed that for many decades. Democrats rarely do, but they must now. They could shut down the whole economy if they decided not to participate in it any more than is necessary for survival. I would hope that we see hundreds of ads guaranteeing that people will lose their Medicare, Social Security; and have their taxes go up, if Republicans win, because it is true. If people do not react to that, or it is too late because their votes won’t count, then there is not much to say.

    A sad truth is that White women voted more for Trump than Hillary in 2016. Whatever made them do that is also central to what is going wrong with the messaging, and of course the power of fascist propaganda disguised as popular sentiment. Our side is not a minority now; the problem is the propaganda, plus the the perhaps fatal flaw in our electoral system which gives the residents of small rural states more ultimate power than the mass of the electorate. And of course the census had to take place during Trump’s term. All of that has to be overcome. It is possible that suburban women will vote mostly Democrat this time because of the Court decision. We need that. Too many men are beyond salvageable now.

  5. Positive news i just saw, as per Greg Sargent of WAPO, is that “‘Dems just scored a big victory in a Michigan State House district that Trump won by double digits twice. While the GOP candidate was a real maga loony, Dem Carol Glanville tells me she won by going bigger, attacking GOP radicalization.” Glanville said that “Democrats need to tell their story,” and that “the big takeaway from this is that people are tired of radicalism and conspiracy theories,’ This was echoed by new hero Mallory McMorrow of Michigan, who gave that great floor speech the other day.

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