Rodney Clough
2 min readJan 7, 2021


5 signs of what autocracy looks like and we witnessed them all Jan. 6

Flags and silly garb

Autocrat followers love flags and silly garb. The followers signal fealty to one another, salving isolation and loneliness. The attire and weaponized branding serve to provide visual fodder for Facebook and Twitter shares.

History “non comprehendis est”

Translation: ‘history is incomprehensible… it doesn’t exist. What’s there to reveal? Nothing.’ Frightening is the scene when a plucky cable news reporter tags an autocrat follower who answers the question “why are you doing this,” with “because we are making history.” Suddenly this tribe possesses novelty and the ‘rest of us’ are excluded.

A self-aggrandizing perp

Autocrat followers need a perp to issue commands, send signals, time displays. Someone who can look from the outside and stage the show. And the perp must be ego-driven, else there is no “motivation.” Perps self-aggrandize, removing moral reckoning for inciting immoral and criminal acts. Thus, if the autocrat says, he wants it, “it” is warranted.

Words of affection are traded: “you either support Biden, or love Trump.”


“Let there be violence,” proclaims the perp. Let there be shows of violence, let there be aggression. Violence suffers the rational to the deluded. Destruction of property, violation of protective boundaries, hurled epithets, physical challenges — all tools of stoking violence. The violence tool box is large and its contents varied.

Normalcy amidst chaos

Taking a page from Steve Bannon, White House advisor and chaos-monger-at-large: “it’s what is driving politics today, you look around and see chaos. This is what power is all about and (you) can use chaos to seize power.”Unconsciously the collective “we” is hostage to this Faustian world view. “Truth” takes a holiday when darkness and conspiracy paranoia take hold. Spectators can witness or cheer on.

Sought after “normalcy” hangs in the balance.

Just 5 signs.

January 7



Rodney Clough

Refuses to nap. Septuagenarian. Cliche’ raker. Writes weekly.