While this article is a little alarmist, it's worth reading.
The author sets out the methods used in fascist states of the past. He then compares them to what we have now. While they don't compare on an even level in the slightest, it's clear that if we don't get things in hand we might be headed in that direction sooner than we want.
If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.