In this article I decided to identify “authoritarians” for all my political related articles going forward. Why? Because there are two basic forces at play today in America, and on the broader global stage, politically speaking. It is a struggle to decide if mankind can live according to God’s will (i.e. rights, freedoms, and liberties) or be forced to live as government decrees (authoritarianism).
Before I give my opinion of the definition of authoritarian I need to provide background on where that definition came from. And the best way to do so is to explain the diametric opposite.
In the late 1600’s the defining of a political thought developed that stated political authority is that which is necessary to protect the person and property of individuals and to guarantee their natural rights to freedom of thought, speech, worship, life, liberty, property, and to live life as they choose. This new political concept was developed and championed by John Locke, who is considered to be the grandfather of the American Declaration of Independence and the founding principles behind the United States Constitution.
Significantly to consider is Locke thought that revolution is justified when the sovereign fails to fulfill these obligations. The new political set of principles is referred to as classical liberalism…NOT the liberal ideology of today’s political world. The aim of the early classical liberals was to limit the power of government over the individual while holding that same central government accountable to the governed.
Traits of classical liberalism are:
- Negative powers to tightly restrict and control that which government can do,
- Separation of powers in government plus checks and balances to restrain government authority and control,
- Individuals are not only citizens who share a social contract with each other but also people with rights upon which the state may not encroach,
- Rights involve the right to speak and write freely, the freedom to associate and organize and, above all, freedom from fear of reprisal from agents of the government or the government itself,
- Individuals also have rights apart from their roles as citizens. These rights secure their personal safety and hence their protection from arbitrary arrest and punishment,
- Beyond rights as citizens and individuals are those rights that also preserve large areas of privacy,
- Economic competition (free-markets & free-trade) unrestrained by government.
Some traits that are in opposition to classical liberalism:
- Military might and supremacy, a standing army,
- National/central government’s intervention to determine prices,
- Protection of industries from foreign competition,
- Assumption of power/authority not specifically outlined in a constitution.
- Any restriction on any natural rights of the individual.
Bottom line: Classical liberalism is a political ideology that favors the protection of individual liberty and economic freedom by limiting government power. Classical liberals favor negative rights to the extent that governments and other people should not be allowed to interfere with the free market or natural individual freedoms/rights. Our Founding Fathers were classical liberals and the US founding principles originated from classical liberalism. The Declaration of Independence was a rendition of classical liberalism to explain our separation from tyranny…and our revolution to do so. The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights were based on these same classical liberal principles with a view to never again live under tyranny…a strong federal government with a standing army to enforce it dictates.
Now, back to “authoritarian”…
First, some synonyms – strict, severe, demanding, controlling, rigid, and dictatorial.
Next, dictionary definitions –
- A Political system characterized by or favoring absolute obedience or subjugation to authority, vs individual freedoms, liberties, and rights. Tending to tell other people what to do in a peremptory or arrogant manner.
- Political system/practice in which individual freedom is held subordinate to the power or authority of the government. And said power is centered either in one person or a small group that is not wholly accountable to the rule of law or the people they hold power over.
- Expecting or requiring people to obey rules or laws while not allowing, or tightly controlling, personal freedoms.
Here are common traits of authoritarian regimes:
- Strong central government to preserve the political status quo,
- Reductions in the rule of law over time, or all at once,
- Reduction in, or blurring of, the central government’s separation of powers,
- Limited political party affiliation options, and/or the promotion of limited party affiliation options,
- Government leadership appeals to the emotions of the populace,
- Considered a necessary evil to correct recognizable societal problems,
- Suppression of anti-government activities through coercion or force,
- Ill-defined executive powers, often vague and shifting, extends the power of the executive, with limited or no accountability to the governed,
- Takes to itself power without a consensus of the people,
- The press and others means of expression are controlled by the government, and/or media is in cooperation with the government,
- Utilizes resources of the authoritarian system to perpetuate the government in power, suppressing anti-government ideology or discourse through aggression and physical repression, even killing people who rise up,
- Strong standing army, large law enforcement presence, and paramilitary units.
Personality traits of authoritarian personalities:
- They believe in a static, unwavering set of rules about power and control, submission, and obedience. This is almost always linked to fascism and a genuine perception that some people are weak, and others are strong – that some should rule, and others should follow.
- They have a need to control as a first attribute. A dominant, aggressive, and intolerant person who cannot accept people different from themselves – whether in the way they work, their lifestyle, or their own belief systems. Individuals who must be in control at all times and crave power and authority.
- They tend to hate. Not hate as an emotion but a position, an attitude toward life.
- They need to control others and those they cannot control they have a strong need to punish.
- They are regularly assaultive and violent, especially in groups of people with similar beliefs.
- They want their victims to fear them; they are bullies.
- They have quixotic and unclear rules making it easy to punish others for breaking rules.
- They act as if they’re being continually threatened and endangered.
- They have little regard for the truth. The truth of any particular matter/issue is a mere inconvenience when they want to force their agenda on others.
- They take pleasure in cruelty and they regularly shame, deride, and ridicule their current targets. To control is not enough; to win is not enough; to dominate is not enough: none of that is experienced/seen as enough. The authoritarian wants you harmed and diminished. Since nothing feels quite as bad as shame, it is shame especially that the authoritarian wants you to feel.
- They are regularly “into your personal business” especially in economic, very personal, or intimate matters.
- Those who genuinely believe themselves to be superior to others without having a tangible or quantifiable reason for this superiority complex.
- People who will be very fast to judge and condemn anybody who disagrees, they are intolerant of other ideas or those who advocate less rigid ideologies.
- They thrive on fear, power, and control – deeming anybody of whom they do not ‘approve’ to be a threat that should be negated or eliminated.
- They cannot listen to any opinion other than their own, cannot reason, explain their thought processes, or rationalize their belief systems coherently.
Now that we have explored all of that information and created an objective and accurate picture of authoritarian regimes and who the real authoritarians are, what I would like to do now is look as some political positions to identify who, in our current political environment, may be the authoritarian…and a threat to rights, liberties, and freedoms that our Founding Fathers so passionately believed in. Political stances that almost always indicate authoritarian beliefs:
- The federal government building a strong economy vs free market, free trade system.
- Implementing social or environmental justice vs supporting the rule of law.
- Referring to or claiming that the USA is a democracy vs a Constitutional Republic.
- Forcing any program on a citizen or the wider society; including healthcare, education, building codes/requirements, social safety nets, social programs, minimum wage, etc.
- Favoring any industry over another; such as solar vs fossil fuel, electric cars combustion engine cars, solar power plants vs natural gas power plants, bank vs credit union, etc.
- Defining “rights” outside of Constitutional wording, especially when such actions favor one group over another.
- Any invasion of privacy that circumvents Constitutional due process or the boarder right to privacy.
- Any restrictions, limitations, or elimination of rights guaranteed by the Constitution or Bill of Rights.
- Support for permanent alliances with foreign governments.
- Support for a standing army vs militias at the state and local levels.
- Support for “law enforcement” vs peace officer; or support of any law enforcement agency at the federal level not specifically authorized by the Constitution.
- Believers in strict, stringent, or absolute “law & order”; including the use of the military to perform law enforcement functions, especially at the state or local levels.
- Support for any restriction of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to peacefully gather, or any other right guaranteed by the US Constitution or the bill of Rights.
- Support for income tax, especially income tax that is progressive favoring one group at the expense of another. Any tax that supports any government activity that is not specifically outlined/authorized in the US Constitution.
- Support for any restrictions on citizens that prevent or hinder the ability of those people to throw off a government who is a destructive force of natural/unalienable rights.
- Supporter of torture or “enhanced interrogation” methods, Civil Asset Forfeiture, FISA courts, any law that acts outside of Constitutional bounds, restrictions of any associated rights, liberties, and freedoms.
- Supporter of states being subservient to a strong central/federal government vs acting as a check and balance to federal government power.
And that is just a partial list, there is more, much more…but this list will give you an idea of where to look and how to potentially think about it.
So why do I write this? It started with the mass-shooting in Buffalo and became strongly and clearly evident after the mass-shooting of children in Ulavde, TX. I was doing research into what actually took place, the facts and evidence. I listened to a long list of politicians doing their well-worn diatribes on gun-control. Nothing new…restrict guns, ban gun, ban high-capacity magazines, assault weapons are evil, etc. All of which are in direct violation of the Second Amendment, as are all current gun restriction laws.
The Second Amendment is clear…
Article VI, Clause 2 of the US Constitution is more commonly known as the Supremacy Clause. Meaning, that the US Constitution is the supreme law of the land. When a right is specifically stated in US Constitution no state can create legislation that enacts a law that negates or restricts that Constitutional right.
In this particular situation, the Second Amendment, according to the US Constitution itself, ensures that no state can create any law or other restriction on owning or carrying a gun. Well, at least according to the actual principles, original writing, and intent of the US Constitution and Founding Fathers.
So I came across a very recent interview with a certain Republican Senator from the west who is considered by many Conservatives and Republicans to be a stalwart of, defender of, and advocate for freedom, liberty, rights, and the Constitution. Well, well, well…he started talking about gun rights…and he never referred to the actual wording in the Second Amendment…at all!!! He went on and on about what commonsense restrictions should be…yes, he advocated for and supported “restrictions” at the federal, state, and even local levels.
What is a “restriction” of a right? An “infringement” of a right. And the Second Amendment says “…shall not be infringed.” It couldn’t be more clear to a believer in the US Constitution…and couldn’t be more muddy to a true believer in authoritarianism. And that muddy water gives them plenty of room to implement their version of control over citizens.
I was not surprised. Leaders and members of both parties supporting restrictions of gun rights…just in varying degrees of unconstitutionality.
For me it brought into clarity the single pervasive problem in America today…the rise of, dominance of, support of, and the winning of authoritarianism. Any clear headed and reasonable person who understands the nature of, and the natural outcome of, authoritarianism would/should oppose it…ALL of it. That would be especially true for anyone who claims any attachment to, or claim of, Christianity.
The only people I could see who would support traits or principles of authoritarianism would be those who would benefit from it. And those are the folks who want absolute control over others, and the elimination of freedoms, rights, and liberties.
As I have been writing for years now I see the utter evil in political parties. I am in good company with George Washington, I took him at his word…and proved his warning to be 100% true. Neither the Democrats nor Republicans have maintained rights, liberties and freedoms outlined in the Constitution. Neither party has controlled the growth of government, nor enacted/restored free markets and free trade, or maintained Constitutional negative rights on the federal government. Both parties have given us huge budget deficits and a national debt that can never be repaid. Both parties supported gun control, both parties…I could go on for hours with this list.
What I have seen with 100% clarity are politicians from both sides closely matching the personality traits of an authoritarian and running their respective parties with platforms and deeds that match authoritarian principles.
And for those that may be supporters of a certain past president…please review the list of “Personality traits of authoritarian personalities” in purely objective terms.
So as of today I am no longer referring to Democrats vs Republicans, liberals vs Conservatives, Progressives vs Conservatives, Communist vs American, Marxist, etc. From this point forward there are only those people with beliefs in authoritarianism and those who don’t. And those who believe, in whole or in part, in authoritarianism are the problem because authoritarianism is evil, pure evil.
A way to judge my meaning…the Founding Fathers were not believers in authoritarianism. They were however, classical liberals whose beliefs I have now fully embraced without reservation. Why? Because I believe they most closely match eternal God-given truths and principles.
First – Review your own beliefs to see if you have authoritarian traits or support authoritarian principles.
Second – Review ALL politicians and any political party for their support of authoritarian principles.
That being done…decide if you want to embrace, or at least support, authoritarianism. Because folks, right now in the USA…we live under authoritarianism. It may not be absolute or 100% complete yet, but it is well above 90% and closing the gap quickly. And every time you put politics over principle you support and encourage closing that gap. And I see that gap slammed closed between now and 2024.
Meaning…you either support authoritarianism…or you oppose it. There is no in between. Evil is evil…period!
Choose you this day who you will serve.
Note: If you are wondering why I wrote and posted this article instead of the next installment of the May 2022 SitRep…well, to understand what is coming in rest of the SitRep you have to understand my position regarding authoritarianism. And you must have come to some conclusion on where you stand with it.
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