In Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey waxes about government controlling the people. He speculates what it would take to impose a dictatorship in the United States. Note that the segment below was written before 1967. Lyndon Johnson was the president of the United States:
How does this theory apply to the present and future of the famous United States of North America? Suppose we were planning to impose a dictatorial regime upon the American people—the following preparations would be essential:
1. Concentrate the populace in megalopolitan masses so that they can be kept under close surveillance and where, in case of trouble, they can be bombed, burned, gassed or machine-gunned with a minimum of expense and waste.
2. Mechanize agriculture to the highest degree of refinement, thus forcing most of the scattered farm and ranching population into the cities. Such a policy is desirable because farmers, woodsmen, cowboys, Indians, fishermen and other relatively self-sufficient types are difficult to manage unless displaced from their natural environment.
3. Restrict the possession of firearms to the police and the regular military organizations.
4. Encourage or at least fail to discourage population growth. Large masses of people are more easily manipulated and dominated than scattered individuals.
5. Continue military conscription. Nothing excels military training for creating in young men an attitude of prompt, cheerful obedience to officially constituted authority.
6. Divert attention from deep conflicts within the society by engaging in foreign wars; make support of these wars a test of loyalty, thereby exposing and isolating potential opposition to the new order.
7. Overlay the nation with a finely reticulated network of communications, airlines and interstate autobahns.
8. Raze the wilderness. Dam the rivers, flood the canyons, drain the swamps, log the forests, strip-mine the hills, bulldoze the mountains, irrigate the deserts and improve the national parks into national parking lots.
I enjoyed comparing this list to the events of the last 45 years. I particularly enjoyed reading number 6 and 8.