Between 1949 and 1956 China, a nation of hundreds of millions, transformed herself from the semi-feudal wreckage of decades-long warfare to a stable society providing at least sustenance and governance to all. This in itself is remarkable, but even more remarkable is the manner in which it was done- by the largely verbal and person-to-person transmission of homilies, just as the simple maxims in Mao's Red Book had served the Red Army.
And you have to ask yourself, how far adrift had that society gone, that the simple imposition of common sense and some rule of law could create such a striking change?
And then you look at our own society, with the airwaves ruled by the ranting of insane rightwingers, and a Congress soundly rejecting the progressive views of the citizens, and you start to realize how far adrift a society can go- before the big crash.
The problem is not that there are no precedents for an oligarchy ruling by gangsterism and mob violence. The problem is that there are all too many- and they have all ended badly.