Authoritarianism isn’t a strictly Democratic Party thing, it’s a malady afflicting almost all people with a high position, in government and corporations, whose first reaction to most problems is to force people and to delegitimize dissenters and opponents. The very rhetoric common to elections, in which the other side is painted in the grossest terms and with exaggerated caricatures, is an authoritarian tactic when you cannot win with ideas and/or your audience, the voters, lacks the mental discipline to be won by ideas rather than personalities and slick marketing.
Unfortunately none of us, including the Freedomist, is immune from this malady in our rhetoric and, while we must call out true authoritarianism and corruption in uncompromising language, our collective conscience as a country has been perverted into this authoritarian instinct toward the “others” outside our group. If our forefathers said something like that our form of government required a virtuous or moral people, surely civic virtues must be included in that “morality”, not just our own convictions about love, marriage, family, and decency.
Whether it was George Bush the second and his war on terror, along with his “Patriot Act”, or Biden’s vaccine mandates on all companies who have over 100 employees, the basic instict, left and right, is to use the hard power of authoritarianism rather than trust people as individual, families, free associations, free enterprises, trust communities, and local governments to make the best decisions for themselves. In an environment where everything outside state and federal government has the most power to choose and where these bodies of people and individuals choose what is best for them, the best and smartest ideas triumph over foolishness.
Devolution of corporate and political power from the few to the many is an essential element in any kind of freedom agenda. This must be coupled with caring for the places and people in our country who have been historically and presently left behind and denied equal and just access to the “American dream.” This is a vision of liberty with justice for all and prosperity through a combination of merit and equitable opportunities, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, status, sex, or anything else.
The desire to have a free and pluralistic society of equals where merit is matched with absolutely equal opportunity leads to an instinct that is averse to using the hard power of authoritarianism. Nothing, not even a pandemic that has less than a 1% chance of killing the afflicted, justifies authoritarianism, but for most politicians, every crises is an opportunity for self-aggrandizement or to do favor for cronies who helped them into power.
The Biden administration’s reliance on authoritarianism is becoming intolerable for those who disagree with his neocommunist ideology and his perverted hedonism. But for those who endured Trump’s ideology and who saw his ideas as undermining social justice and fomenting divisions, the same sort of angry opposition was the result. Trump’s rhetoric was hostile, crude, and lacked decorum and was almost always meant to engage in character assassination rather than engaging in ideas.
We are not losing our collective minds over Trump’s rhetoric and, while we reject such behavior in any leader, the truth was that President Trump did not materially assault our core freedoms as most Democrats do, but other Republicans, including Mitch McConnell and Kevin Brady, have no compunction with using authoritarianism. Both, for instance, support the ideas of taxing miles driven and installing a breathalyzer or something like it in every car, all gross violations of our human dignity and human rights.
The attitude from those on the right, which we as Freedomist have long been associated with whether we mean it or want it or not, is for those disadvantaged by our society to “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps”, and to stop whining about racism or social and economic justice or historic wrongs like slavery, native genocide, or prejudice. When being black and living in certain cities is a guarantee of lack of equitable and fair opportunity and of societal prejudice, the right response is to rally around such people and demand restorative justice without violating anyone else’s rights in the process.
The wrong response is to demonize all white people or to use this as a justification for authoritarian measures, like “outlawing”, now via corporate monopolies, “hate speech”, and broadening the definition therof to include any idea not in harmony with the enforcer’s pet ideology. The wrong response is to deny this injustice and to hire mercenary occupier cops who treat the populace like the entire community is one vast slave plantation.
Authoritarianism as we define it is the enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to corporate or governmental powers/decisions and policies at the expense of personal freedom and self-determination among voluntary bodies of people, usually coming from a lack of concern and respect for the wishes, concerns, needs, or opinions of others.
This definition of authoritarianism is accurate and useful as a plumbline to determine whether an official, corporattion, or any entity, including the so-called “press”, is acting out in an authoritarian manner. We find thereof that aspects of authoritarianism have pervaded our culture and our very discourse to such a degree that one hardly realizes that it is present on their side but readily sees it on the other side.
If your response to something is to want to make it mandatory, whether by corporate or government power, and to show a lack of concern or respect for others who may have different opinions and needs, then you are afflicted with this malady. You are also part of the problem. We are part of the problem!
Freedom is built on virtue, liberty, and independence. Included in virtue is social and economic justice that leaves nobody behind. Included in liberty is equitable opportunity to have a fair and even chance at life. Included in independence is the country-wide mutual assurance and restoration of people and communities who have been left behind so that they can become materially independent.
As Freedomists we want all the freedoms associated with the right in their rhetoric, things like free speech and self-determination, self-preservation and a free market. We think our friends on the left should also embrace these things because without them social and economic justice are just words used to make people angry and get votes without actually helping them.
But as Freedomists we also embrace the virtue of social and economic justice by which nobody is left behind. We embrace equitable opportunity and fairness so everyone has the same even chances based on their true merit of character and skills. We embrace mutual assurance to help people in crisis and restorative justice to lift up people and communities left behind until all can become materially independent.
We urge our friends on the right to see in these things not a leftwing plot to impose comminism, though actual necomm progressives are using rhetoric about these things to move us toward authoritarianism. We urge our friends on the right to realize that if we can address these issues and needs then our entire free and pluralistic society will flourish and freedom will prevail.
For instance, white shaming isn’t restorative justice. Restorative justice is when a disadvantaged person and their community are given a hand and assistance to become prosperous and to take back their power in a way that matches their needs, wishes, and beliefs. The end goal of restorative justice is for every person and every community to have the same platform and opportunity to prosper and succeed and to always enjoy the same human dignity and human rights which leads to human flourishing as everyone else.
We must both purge ourselves of authoritarian thinking and we must discern, expose, confront, and overcome authoritarianism wherever and however we can, and that without partisan favor or prejudice.