Signposts to Hell.
So Naomi Wolf makes the "slippery slope to fascism" argument in the Guardian. She identifies ten behaviors that are the hallmarks of tyranny:
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
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. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law
She points out ways in which all these behaviors are being carried on by the administration.
To her list I would add one other:
11. Purge the doubters from the movement
As the conservative movement becomes meaner and more narrowly focused on power, it has been throwing off those in the movement who are true believers in actual conservative principles, as opposed to hacks dedicated to authority. You see this in the Bush doctrine of rewarding loyalty over competence, in the alienation of true actual committed conservatives like Dick Armey, Patrick Buchanan, and Bob Barr, and the purging of the Republican U.S. attorneys who refused to politicize justice and attack the election system. These multiple mini "Night of the Long Knives" are yet another sign that the conservative movement is morphing from a large populist political program gatherered around ideals of limited government and traditional morality into a power-obsessed pseudo-faith of fake victimology and imagined devils. It also explains the antipathy amongst conservatives to John McCain. He's one of those silly conservatives who still tries to apply conservative principles (however flawed), instead of the pure instinct to power, to the issues of the day.
Tyranny is always about tribe, clan, and the will to power. Those who actually believe the propaganda are useful for a while, but in the end they are an impediment to that agenda.