In 1959 C Wright Mills wrote of the basic trend then apparent that was making the US and USSR increasingly alike. He mentioned quite a long list of observations to support his claim:
-- "each had amalgamated on a continental domain great varieties of peoples and cultures";
-- "both had expanded their territory and power significantly;"
-- the political order is enlarged and centralised (becoming less political and more bureuacratic). In neither are there any "nationally responsible parties" that "debate openly and clearly the issues which the world now so rigidly confronts. The two-party state is without programmatic focus and without organisational basis for it." Neither nation has a civil service independent of corporate interest (US) or party dictation (USSR). "The classic conditions of democracy and democratic institutions do not flourish" in their power structures. "History-making decisions and lack of decisions are virtually monopolised by elites."
-- the power of both depended on technological developments that had ben made into a "cultural and social fetish";
-- the organisation of all life is increasingly adapted to industrial technologies. (As it turns out life hasn't adapted that well after all!)
-- work is alienated from people and consumption is culturally exploitative;
-- education and religion tends to be shaped by major economic, military and political forces. "They do not originate. They adapt." Mass eduction has evolved to "educated illiteracy".
-- the media is one of mass distraction. "they do not often communicate; they do not connect public issues with private troubles...they trivialise issues.."
-- the goal of the "self-cultivating" person has declined. "It is the specialist who is ascendant in both Russia and America."
The list goes on. Perhaps the most telling line in Mill's essay is when he asks "to what extent [is] the continuation of freedom [in the US] due to the fact that it is not being exercised?"
I think that was answered about 10 years later when peaceful civil protest resulted in students being shot dead, the US Army began (and probably continues to) spy on its citizens, news reporters began to be jailed for failing to reveal their sources and numerous assassinations occurred against civilian leaders.
Not that things are (or were) that much different in Australia.
'The Decline of the Left'. Lecture on the British Broadcasting Company. 1959. From 'Power, Politics and People - the collected essays of C Wright Mills'. Edited by Irving Louis Horowitz. Oxford University Press. 1963.