A Major Threat to Democracy

Leaders vs Representatives

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to be part of the JustSayWhy community. I’ve spent time reading through the earlier posts on this blog and have greatly enjoyed the well thought out and imaginative topics.  One theme I find here is the dangerous role Authoritarianism plays in our government.

I recommend all Americans to spend a few moments googling and reading about Authoritarianism. It doesn’t fit neatly into a few sentence description, but here are the aspects affecting governments:

  • Authoritarianism includes both leaders and followers
  • Authoritarianism has a strong leader, such as a father figure, church, politician, or gang leader to mention just a few
  • In Authoritarianism the strong leader rules with complete control and does not allow for dissent, even when they’re wrong or immoral.

But don’t take my word for it. Spend a few minutes reading about it.

So, let’s begin with Democracy. Authoritarian leadership at its pinnacle is a dictatorship. If the power is shared it’s a plutocracy or an aristocracy. None of the known types of authoritarian leaderships give up power without bloodshed. The founding of our country is proof of that.

In fact, America’s founding fathers were stringently non authoritarian. It’s sad that many who use the Bible as an excuse to do awful things have  never read or understood the Bible just like many who profess to love America have forgotten what the constitution says or what it means.

Nowhere in our constitution did our founding fathers use the word leader. Why do you suppose that is? It’s quite obvious in this context. They didn’t want a leader, they wanted representatives of the people. They had their fill of strong leaders (both church and state) and believed that the government should represent the people, not lead it.

Those who are now electing “strong leaders” tarnish the ideals of our founding fathers.

Authoritarian dictatorial regimes have always been brutal. There’s just no other way to say it. Once a “leader” thinks that he is beyond reproach, he becomes corrupted. The strong leader knows he can do no wrong, because that’s exactly what Authoritarian means. If I can do no wrong, I can do anything. Remember, even Hitler couldn’t have come to power without considerable bloodshed. “The Fuhrer can do no wrong.”

“He is right and can do no wrong.” You must admit, that sounds like today’s Trump supporters. This is not what a Democracy looks like.

Authoritarian families made sense in the cave man days. In prehistoric times the world was brutal and failing to respond quickly enough to your father could spell the end for any child. It made sense then, when we were but animals.  But, today is not the same. We can throw off the cave man Authoritarian. Children can and should grow up to question authority and Americans should do so as a civic duty. Authority has to come from the people.

Now that’s we’re civilized, we don’t need to allow our family, churches, or country to be ruled by an abusive authoritarian father. Remember, power corrupts.

Authoritarianism requires followers. Oppressive governments instill in their people that they must follow orders, unconditionally. People in those countries, like children in Authoritarian families seek the safety of the Authoritarian, even if it means pain and suffering. Authoritarian leaders would be nothing if not for the blind followers. Being a blind follower of a strong father figure does harm to both you and to the leader.

Authoritarian followers are easily exploited. Someone who seeks out the safety and dominance of the Authoritarian believes that no matter what, the leader must be right. When going to church, the Authoritarian follower can be told to believe or disbelieve anything, no matter how well proven or dis-proven. Being lied to is a normal occurrence and is not something that evokes the disgust reflex it does in non followers. This is the fundamental ingredient in most abusive relationships and families. “I promise, I’ll stop hitting you or the kids, I’ll quit drinking, I’ll quit cheating.” But they don’t stop, and you, deep inside, knew they were all lies.

Your church or leader/president might tell you that all “fill in the blank” people are evil, murderers, rapists… If you know in your heart that it can’t be so, you force yourself to believe it anyway because, hey, that’s the leader. This in-group against the out-group is what causes hatred, wars, racism, bigotry, and many of the problems this world is seeing today. This is also the tool many Authoritarians use to keep his flock of followers, hatred and fear of the “other.” The sad part is that two equally authoritarian religions opposing each other are completely unable to see how they suffer the same ailment, Authoritarianism.

As stated already, Authoritarian followers are easily manipulated. Bringing up your children to be follower means your children become followers who are easy to manipulate. That’s good for the strong leader, but bad for your children. America’s founding fathers challenged authority and built that right into our constitution. Teach your children to question authority.

Getting back to religion, churches that can go unchecked become evil. If you don’t believe that, just read history books. Unrestrained power always becomes corrupt, churches become evil. Islam is an example. Many Muslims are shedding the Authoritarian version of Islam but those who do not, are the fertilizer from which radicalism is nurtured. Don’t think that this is only a Muslim problem. The same has happened to Christianity many times in the past and we are seeing that in some Christian churches in America, today.

In conclusion, Authoritarianism creates and encourages bullies like abusive fathers, schoolyard bullies, and even presidents. It elevates people to unchecked positions of power, and power corrupts. Worst of all, it makes victims of the followers and the world they live in.

 

3 thoughts on “A Major Threat to Democracy”

  1. Don’t forget, authoritarianism plays a big role in belligerent nationalism. You know, the root of the rise of the Nazis. That’s also spread by the us versus them tactic the leaders use to control the weak.

  2. A criminally abusive parent almost always comes from an authoritarian family. As the saying goes, spare the bones, spoil the child.

    A civilized society is not an authoritarian society.

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