On this authoritarianism business….

It may be that my problem is the word.

“Authoritarian” is rightfully a pejorative for a lot of reasons.  As a term though, it’s been abused in excess of its literal meaning by the junk political science left.  There, the liberal cool kids have for some decades used the word authoritarian to slur the Jesusland people for their pushback against immodesty and immorality in rock and roll and movies….. ie, pushback against cultural degradation, which is definitely ‘conservative’ say, but  not “authoritarianism” or a preference for it.  It never was that.

So you want to get all academic now and study authoritarianism as a preference for strongmen in times of acute societal duress where ambiguous outsiders / others are a fear…  I accept the premise.  But I sense among the junk political science left as well as the more serious but nonetheless biased academic left, they are conflating the Trumpians here with the trope they’ve always targeted for their projection contrast exercise, the aforementioned cultural conservative.

I don’t think that’s right.  There’s overlap for sure, but it’s no better than coincidental, with the thing being that the Trumpians are not really conservatives.  They are more of a feral political being.

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3 thoughts on “On this authoritarianism business….

  1. pm1956

    First, when the study of authoritarianism initially began (really, with Hannah Arendt), it looked at authoritarianism as something that was evident in both Hitler and Stalin–at the time, Hitler was thought of as being on the right, because he was basically working with capitalism and existing government/social structures (which he took over/co-opted), while Stalin was seen as of the left, because he was endorsing the overthrow of those structures and their replacement with what he thought of as the structures of the future. Obviously, those conceptions of right and left map pretty poorly onto present day USA, but autoritarianism was seen as compatible with both.

    Trumpians certainly do not fit in with the current GOP establishment definition of conservative They are not small government conservatives, and certainly not libertarian conservatives, but are pretty much socially conservative. And they are certainly conservative in terms of wanting to enforce existing government and social structures. In fact, they generally seem to be a form of large government conservative, seeking to use the government to turn the clock back to what they imagine to be a better USA from an imagined past.

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  2. pm1956

    I should add that Trumpians are socially conservative, but not really church conservative. One thing I read that was interesting was that Trump was popular among evangelicals, but not among evangelicals who had been to church in the past week or so.

    (this is an interesting twist on the fact that many people who claim to be Christians actually do not go to church regularly (Ronald Reagan was one). Apparently the same is true of people who claim to be evangelicals)

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