A poll by YouGov, a private polling organization, indicates that, if push came to shove, a sizeable minority of Americans, including a plurality of Republicans, would support a military coup in the United States.
Here are some previous questions.
Should active duty members of the U.S. military always follow orders from their civilian superiors, even if they feel that those orders are misguided?
- Yes: 28%.
- No: 38%.
- Not sure: 35%.
Should active duty members of the U.S. military always follow orders from their military superiors, even if they feel that those orders are unconstitutional?
- Yes: 27%.
- No: 39%.
- Not sure: 33%.
Source: Fabius Maximus website
In many countries, such as Argentina and Turkey, the military officer corps regard themselves as the ultimate defender of the nation and its institutions, and the officers think they have a duty to step in when the elected politicians fail to do their duty.
This has been the more normal pattern. The British and American tradition of a non-political military has been the exception. But maybe American exceptionalism in this respect is falling.
We Americans have never had great respect for politicians, but I can remember when we also distrusted the military. Politicians, at least, are accountable to the public. But history has many examples, going back to ancient Rome, in which the public turned to a military dictator when representative government failed.
One straw in the wind is all the thrillers, such as the novels of the late Vince Flynn, in which the courageous hero disregards the dithering politicians and despicable journalists and courageously engages in assassination and torture. If you regard journalists as such as contemptible, then you have given up on freedom of the press.
Another straw is how the military, alongside the for-profit corporation, has become the model for all institutions of society. The militarization of the police is an example.
The U.S. government turns to the military for all kinds of purposes other than defense of the nation from foreign aggressors. When President Obama wanted to help out in Africa’s Ebola epidemic, he sent troops, not public health workers or physicians.
The fact that so many Americans turn to someone as empty as Donald Trump shows a loss of confidence in democratic institutions. That lack of confidence stems from a failure of leaders of both parties to represent the interests of the American public.
Could a coup really happen in the United States? by Peter Moore for YouGov.
Americans trust the military most. 29% are ready for a coup. Ready for fascism? by the editor of the Fabius Maximus web log.