What is spreading today is repressive kleptocracy, led by rulers motivated by greed rather than by the deranged idealism of Hitler or Stalin or Mao. Such rulers rely less on terror and more on rule-twisting, the manipulation of information, and the co-optation of elites.Our Constitution is based on a basic assumption that any person who becomes president will be "restrained first and foremost by his own ethics and public spirit." "What happens," Frum asks, "if somebody comes to the high office lacking those qualities?" That is exactly what has happened, Frum says. Somebody without personal ethics or any leanings toward "public spirit" has taken control of our nation. He is
a president who plausibly owes his office at least in part to a clandestine intervention by a hostile foreign intelligence service. Who uses the bully pulpit to target individual critics. Who creates blind trusts that are not blind, invites his children to commingle private and public business, and somehow gets the unhappy members of his own political party either to endorse his choices or shrug them off. If this were happening in Honduras, we’d know what to call it. It’s happening here instead, and so we are baffled.The Republican Congress, which spent eight years opposing everything Obama suggested, should be an important "check and balance" to Trump's lack of ethics, but Frum sees how they roll. They will spend the next four years, at least, trying their damnedest not to find out about any scandal in the Trump administration. They will be successful in their blindness.
Most interesting, perhaps, is Frum's declaration that the greatest burden for resistance to Trump rests actually on fellow Republicans: "The duty to resist should weigh most heavily upon those of us who—because of ideology or partisan affiliation or some other reason—are most predisposed to favor President Trump and his agenda."
He ends with this:
Those citizens who fantasize about defying tyranny from within fortified compounds have never understood how liberty is actually threatened in a modern bureaucratic state: not by diktat and violence, but by the slow, demoralizing process of corruption and deceit. And the way that liberty must be defended is not with amateur firearms, but with an unwearying insistence upon the honesty, integrity, and professionalism of American institutions and those who lead them. We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States that anyone alive has encountered. What happens next is up to you and me. Don’t be afraid. This moment of danger can also be your finest hour as a citizen and an American.