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#LucPaquin #Spirituality #Philosophy #Authoritarianism #WorkLifeBalance





Authoritarianism is a political system characterized by the rejection of democracy, civil liberties, and political plurality. It involves the use of strong central power to preserve the political status quo, and reductions in the rule of law, separation of powers, and democratic voting. Political scientists have created many typologies describing variations of authoritarian forms of government. Authoritarian regimes may be either autocratic or oligarchic and may be based upon the rule of a party or the military. States that have a blurred boundary between democracy and authoritarianism have some times been characterized as “Hybrid Democracies”, “Hybrid Regimes” or “Competitive Authoritarian” states.

Minimally defined, an authoritarian government lacks free and competitive direct elections to legislatures, free and competitive direct or indirect elections for executives, or both. Broadly defined, authoritarian states include countries that lack the civil liberties such as freedom of religion, or countries in which the government and the opposition do not alternate in power at least once following free elections.

According to 2020 saw a sharp acceleration in the global decline of democracy. By their measure, fewer than a fifth of the world’s population now live in fully free countries. This is part of a longer trend of democratic decline and rising authoritarianism that’s been underway across the globe for the last 30 years.

The first was the excess of globalization, the excess of capitalism, and the creation of exploding inequality happening at the same time that globalization is kind of encroaching on people’s national identity or tribal identity. Another trend through line was the post-9/11 securitization of the American superpower. When we turn our national purpose into this war on terror, not only do we militarize our engagement with the world, which I think was generally bad for democracy, but we also provide a template and a justification for autocrats to expropriate that for their own purposes. Then lastly, technology is big difference maker in the sense that these platforms that at first were connecting people became the perfect vehicles for disinformation and surveillance.

Elements of the Authoritarian

  • Divide and rule: Foment mistrust and fear in the population.
  • Spread lies and conspiracies: Undermine the public’s belief in truth.
  • Destroy checks and balances: Quietly use legal or pseudo-legal rationales to gut institutions, weaken opposition, and/or declare national emergencies to seize unconstitutional powers.
  • Demonize opponents and independent media: Undermine the public’s trust in those actors and institutions that hold the state accountable.
  • Undermine civil and political rights for the unaligned: Actively suppress free speech, the right to assembly and protest and the rights of women and minority groups.
  • Blame minorities, immigrants, and “Outsiders” for a country’s problems: Exploit national humiliation while promising to restore national glory.
  • Reward loyalists and punish defectors: Make in-group members fearful to voice dissention.
  • Encourage or condone violence to advance political goals: Dehumanize opposition and/or out-groups to justify violence against them.
  • Organize mass rallies to keep supporters mobilized against made-up threats: Use fearmongering and hate speech to consolidate in-group identity and solidarity.
  • Make people feel like they are powerless to change things: Solutions will only come from the top.

Luc Paquin

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