Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Thursday, March 2, 2023

Welcome to DeSantistan


This isn't an exaggeration; it's real.

I read conservative/libertarian blogs around the web, and many of them claim it is Liberals/Democrats who want to control your lives and impose their "woke" ideology on everyone.

None of those bloggers are reporting this (I wonder why). 

This should be every Libertarian's nightmare. I'm not sure about the current Trumpublicans, since it's been my observation that they eagerly embrace and admire authoritarians. This may be popular in Florida, but people in other states who cherish democracy and do NOT want some power-tripping governor telling them what to think, say, and see DO NOT embrace DeSantis's authoritarian nightmare:

What DeSantis is setting up in Florida is the very definition of an authoritarian government -- deciding what everyone under its boot should read, see, hear, and think.

It is most definitely NOT American. You can go to places like Hungary, Iran, and Afghanistan to see how DeSantis's plan for Florida will work out:


Right-wing board to clamp down on “woke ideology” in cartoons.

"Last year, after Disney had the temerity to issue a statement opposing one of his prized legislative initiatives, Ron DeSantis punished the company by removing its self-governing status. (DeSantis justified the maneuver as a removal of unjustified privileges, but he had not previously opposed Disney’s status and made little attempt to disguise its nakedly retaliatory nature). 

 On Monday, he took matters much further. DeSantis appointed a board to oversee Disney. The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District is stacked with DeSantis cronies, including Bridget Ziegler, a proponent of his education policies; Ron Peri, who heads the Christian ministry the Gathering USA; and Michael Sasso, president of the Federalist Society’s Orlando chapter. 

 While the board handles infrastructure and maintenance, DeSantis boasted that it could use its leverage to force Disney to stop “trying to inject woke ideology” on children. 

 “When you lose your way, you’ve got to have people that are going to tell you the truth,” DeSantis proclaimed. “So we hope they can get back on. But I think all of these board members very much would like to see the type of entertainment that all families can appreciate.” 

 It is worth pausing a moment to grasp the full breadth of what is going on here. First, DeSantis established the principle that he can and will use the power of the state to punish private firms that exercise their First Amendment right to criticize his positions. Now he is promising to continue exerting state power to pressure the firm to produce content that comports with his own ideological agenda.

Whether he is successful remains to be seen. But a few things ought to be clear. First, DeSantis’s treatment of Disney is not a one-off but a centerpiece of his legacy in Florida. He has repeatedly invoked the episode in his speeches, and his allies have held it up as evidence of his strength and dominance. The Murdoch media empire, which is functionally an arm of the DeSantis campaign, highlighted the Disney conquest in a New York Post front page and a Fox & Friends segment and DeSantis touted his move in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. 

 Second, DeSantis’s authoritarian methods have met with vanishingly little resistance within his party. The only detectable Republican pushback has come from New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu, who warned, “Look, Ron’s a very good governor. But I’m just trying to remind folks what we are at our core. And if we’re trying to beat the Democrats at being big-government authoritarians, remember what’s going to happen. Eventually, they’ll have power … and then they’ll start penalizing conservative businesses and conservative nonprofits and conservative ideas.” (Of course, this warning holds only if Republicans believe they will have to relinquish power. If DeSantis can truly follow the example of Viktor Orbán, losing power becomes only a theoretical risk.) 

 And third, DeSantis has been very explicit about his belief that he sees his methods in Florida as a blueprint for a national agenda. So there is every reason to believe that, if elected president, DeSantis would use government power to force both public and private institutions to toe his line. Speaking out against him, or even producing content he disapproves of, would become a financially risky proposition. 

 Part of what makes DeSantis so dangerous is that Donald Trump created a very defined idea of authoritarianism in the minds of his critics. His refusal to accept the 2020 presidential-election results was indeed a dangerous attack on democratic legitimacy — but this especially notorious episode has overshadowed his other efforts to abuse state power. Trump wielded federal regulations to punish the owners of the Washington Post and CNN for coverage he disapproved of and used diplomatic leverage to extort Ukraine into smearing his political rival. Republicans either supported or ignored these abuses of power. 

 To whatever extent they have principled objections to authoritarianism, those objections are limited almost entirely to fomenting a violent mob to overturn an election. And while inciting an insurrection is extremely dangerous, it hardly exhausts the scope of illiberal tools available to a sufficiently ruthless executive. 

 Damon Linker recently criticized liberals for unfairly calling DeSantis as bad as Trump. Linker’s prediction that a second Trump administration would be more dangerous than a first DeSantis administration might be correct. But it’s hard for me to understand how he can state this so confidently when he acknowledges DeSantis’s illiberal intentions and lack of democratic scruples. Comparing the relative evils of two authoritarian-minded leaders seems to be mainly an exercise in guesswork. 

 A year ago, I wrote a long profile of DeSantis, in which his deep-rooted distrust of liberal democracy was a major theme. Last fall, I attended the National Conservatism Conference, where the attendees laid out rather plainly their ambition to turn DeSantis into a model for a ruthless, illiberal party that would use the organs of the state to crush its enemies. Since those pieces appeared, DeSantis’s actions have made me more, not less, concerned. Whether DeSantis would actually do more damage to American democracy in office than Trump could remains hard to say. Perhaps, perhaps not. But we should recognize that he is not putting himself forward as a critic of Trump’s authoritarianism. He is promising, on the contrary, to exceed it.


Les Carpenter said...

Oh well Shaw, if that's what the folks of Floriduh want lets send them the chains.

As a matter of fact i'd be on board to help all dimwitted lovers of living under the boot acheive their goal of tyranny.

But when the asshats of fascism try to get a foothold over me and mine? What's that they say about hell hath no fury? I do not fear death. And, i know how to fight. With lethal weapons if neccessary.

Shaw Kenawe said...


We live in Massachusetts, I don't think we need to worry. And even if DeSantis wins the presidency, we can remind the Trumpistas and DeSantinistas of "states rights."

skudrunner said...

Ms. Shaw,

I feel the same way you do, imagine that, and am all for States rights and for the federalists to do what they were formed to do. Protect us and deliver the mail. They are not bad at delivering the mail and protecting us on an international level is something States cannot do. I do object to the FBI interceding in local school board matters and taking a hands off approach to crime.

Why are leftists against voters determining how their state is run. Why are politicians empowered to tell the parents what their kids should be taught. All school systems could be as successful as baltimore where Not One Student Was Proficient In Math In 23 Baltimore Schools. I believe this is a democrat controlled city but I could be wrong. Teach CRT but not math does not help students learn what they need to to succeed.

Why do you object to people under 50 receiving medicare and SS when they turn 66. I know you are in favor of not doing anything with SS and medicare but now there seems to be bi-partisan support for changing how it is funded so SS and medicare so they last longer than 10 years.

Trump cannot win the presidential election but I am shocked the left is constantly attacking him. He is the best campaigner for the democrat party because without him the democrats would have lost big in the mid terms and have no chance in 2024 especially is the dems put joey b as their candidate. Joey b is in office because of the disdain for trump and if trump is the nominee the election will go to joey b or the soros appointee who ever that may be.

possumlady said...

I know it would be too costly to do, but if I were Disney, I'd pack up and move on out.

Les Carpenter said...

Maybe Shaw. Maybe not. Not sure who's more dangerous. tRump the ass or the much smarter DeSanitize the would be tyrant.

Shaw Kenawe said...

skud: Why do you object to people under 50 receiving medicare and SS when they turn 66.

Where did you see that I objected to this? I've never written about that. Where did you get that idea?

As for math scores. Yes, they're bad in Baltimore. Math scores are also bad in entire states, not just one city.

And here are the ENTIRE states where math scores are awful:

"1. Florida
2. Idaho
3. Delaware
4. West Virginia
5. District of Columbia
6. New Mexico
7. Rhode Island
8. Texas
9. Illinois
10. South Carolina

Florida has the lowest math score in the U.S. at 50 points below the benchmark, with an average score of 480. Florida may have the lowest average score, but West Virginia comes in last in terms of students meeting the benchmark with only 32% scoring at or above the required score." --SOURCE

DeSantis might want to stick his nose there instead of worrying about who's "woke;" what's Disney's entertainment content; drag queen shows; banning books (apparently math books); and saying "gay."

"In terms of best-educated states, the No. 1 spot is held by Massachusetts, with an overall score of 84.4 out of 100. The state has the highest share of college, master program, and doctorate program graduates and ranks first in both educational attainment and school quality. The state is home to such famous institutions as Amherst College, Boston College, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tufts University.

The top five were rounded out by Maryland, Connecticut, Vermont, and Colorado.

New Jersey came in at number 6 and New York was 14.

In last place was West Virginia. It was worst for educational attainment and 47th for quality of education. Also in the bottom five were Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi." --SOURCE

Les Carpenter said...

Them thar red states don't place near the top much. Except... low taxes maybe. Perhaps the truth is, as tRump the ass made famous, the red state gov boys like the under educated and uneducated. They are easily duped.

Les Carpenter said...

DeSanitize simply wishes to keep em dumb, gullible, and managable. Ir's what all tyrants want.

Infidel753 said...

Government trying to manipulate the content of Disney's movies and other shows seems like a fairly obvious First Amendment violation. I'm sure Disney's lawyers are looking into it. And if the burden of dealing with DeSantis's policies becomes too great and seems unlikely to end, they have the option of leaving the state, taking a great number of jobs with them.

Reading right-wing blogs makes it obvious that, for many of them, any claimed commitment to freedom is purely solipsistic -- they object to anyone interfering with what they themselves want to do or not do, but are quite enthused about interfering with others who have different preferences (I see a lot of fantasies about beating people up for wearing masks against covid, for example). And they're wholly oblivious to the contradiction. People who truly support freedom for everybody and for every viewpoint are few and far between, pretty much everywhere.

A recent interview claims that DeSantis was involved with torture at Guantánamo when he worked there. If this can be corroborated, it could be highly damaging to his prospects (yes, there are people on the hard right who find torture unobjectionable, but there aren't enough of those people to win elections).

skudrunner said...

Ms. Shaw, "Where did you see that I objected to this? I've never written about that. Where did you get that idea?"

You have posted being against any changes to SS and Medicare. SS and Medicare are running out of funds and will be broke in ten years which is when people 52 will be eligible so they will not receive the prepaid benefits. With that attitude it stands to reason you don't want them to collect.

I agree our school systems are a mess in most states with the largest cities being the worst. Rural schools are still teaching subjects instead of spending the majority of their time on being in the correct lane and not offending anyone. Large school districts spend to much time making sure they didn't offend the senses of someone who just beat a teacher.

Leslie, The majority of RE taxes are dedicated to schools, maybe not in your state but in most.

Les Carpenter said...

Your point is?

Same in my state. Guess MA communities put a lot more emphasis and a higher priority on education and knowledge than the red states.

Peehaps one day that will change. But, i won't hold my breath.

skudrunner said...

The most encouraging policy changes that are happening in education is an increasing number of cities are allowing educational funds to follow the student instead of being dedicated to a certain school. This means that poorer families can have their children go to better schools be it private or public. As Ms. Shaw points out our educational system is is not where it should be, except for Massachusetts, and hopefully changing fund allocation will change that.

Les Carpenter said...

Hopefully skud. Because for a democratic republic, or put another way, a representative democracy to succeed requires an educated and involved populace.

One of this nation's biggest problems is poor voter turnout and general apathy when it comes to civic affairs and our civc duty as citizens of this declining nation.