In 2008, I wrote a book, "The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot." In it I warned, based on my study of closing democracies in 20th century history, that America needed to beware of an all-too-possible slide into totalitarianism.
I warned that would-be tyrants, whether they are on the left or the right, always use a map to close down democracies, and that they always take the same ten steps.
Whether they "Invoke an External and Internal Threat" or "Develop a Paramilitary Force" or "Restrict the Press" or the final step, "Subvert the Rule of Law, these steps are always recognizable -- and they always work to crush democracies and establish tyrannies. At the time that I wrote the book, the "global threat" of terrorism was the specter that powers invoked in order to attack our freedoms.
The book was widely read and discussed, both at the time of its publication and over the last 12 years. Periodically over the last decade, people would ask me when and if we had reached "Step Ten."