1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
Creating a terrifying threat - hydra-like, secretive, evil - is an old trick. It can, like Hitler's invocation of a communist threat to the nation's security, be based on actual events (…, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional law with an open-ended state of emergency).
2. Create a gulag
Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law.
3. Develop a thug caste
When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorize citizens. …the Brown-shirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.
Obama's Civilian National Security Force
..."We need a civilian national security force, just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded as our military").
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours.
LAWSUIT: Barack Obama White House Sued over 'fishy' flag.gov Snitch Program
5. Harass citizens' groups
The fifth thing you do is related to step four - you infiltrate and harass citizens' groups.
Tea Partiers Shout Racial and Homophobic Slurs at House Dems?
…or did they?
Congressional Black Caucus 3 20 2010 - original video
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a closing or closed society there is a "list" of dissidents and opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.
7. Target key individuals
When Goebbels purged the civil service in April 1933, attorneys were "coordinated" too, a step that eased the way of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.
Dem lawmaker takes exception with Palin 'reload' comment
Rep. Weiner: Palin Is Stoking Liberal Hate
8. Control the press
Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.
9. Dissent equals treason
Cast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage'. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalize certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of "spy" and "traitor".
10. Suspend the rule of law
This means that in a national emergency - which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.**Naomi Wolf, 2007: Facist America, in 10 Easy Steps