Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Authoritarianism Rising



Authoritarianism is on the rise.

The current turmoil in Syria shows what’s at stake: If people don’t submit to authority, they die.

Nonetheless, people are drawn to authoritarianism.  It is an overwhelmingly preferred state of human organization.  Systems modeled on a representative republic (such as America with its Constitution) are few and far between.

The allure of authoritarianism is that authoritarians are never wrong.  My earlier post on Maureen Dowd illustrates the point.  Ms. Dowd does not believe Al Gore lost Florida in 2004.  It just depends on how the vote is counted.  Similarly, Bill Clinton believes he never lied.  It just depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.

Coming back to the Syrian insurrection, a little over a year ago, Hillary Clinton characterized Bashar al-Assad as a reformer.  Since then, more than 10,000 Syrian citizens have been killed as President al-Assad attempts to hold onto power.

Most people see the Assad regime as authoritarian, with death being the main giveaway.  Extreme authoritarians, from Pol Pot in Cambodia to Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia, relish the power that comes from being able to order the deaths of those who oppose them.

Think about that ultimate level of power: Never being wrong and being able to kill with impunity.  Those are the rewards of authoritarianism, and they are seductive.

An Islamic authoritarian can publish a fatwa calling for the death of a particular political or cultural figure.  People around the world accept it as an appropriate use of authoritarian power.  We are conditioned to keep our outrage in check.

The United States, as a representative republic, has constraints on authoritarian behaviors.  Our Constitution sets up checks and balances along with a separation of powers between governmental bodies to discourage concentration of power.  Even so, the authoritarian allure is there.

Our president has used the Democratic Party to weaken the Rule of Law and personally tends to a Kill List.  Those actions are remarkably authoritarian in scope and intent.

The 2012 election is shaping up to be a referendum on Authoritarianism versus the U. S. Constitution.  That should be a good reason to get out and vote!

UPDATE 6/16/2012:
John Yoo has a Ricochet post that looks at the POTUS decision this week to avoid enforcement of United States law as it applies to immigration.  It's an obvious weakening of one of our founding principles (the Rule of Law).

Authoritarians or the Constitution: Which will Americans choose?

UPDATE 6/17/2012:
Linked by Chris Smith at The Other McCain.  Smitty celebrates today with new legitimacy thanks to the World's Youngest Blogger.  Happy Father's Day, Smitty!

UPDATE 7/10/2012:
Tom Junod, writing for Esquire, has an article on "The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama."  More people are beginning to take notice of the authoritarianism of our president.

UPDATE 10/6/2012:
If authoritarians are never wrong, then Mitt Romney is to be commended for admitting "I said something that was just completely wrong."  Vive la différence!

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