Saturday, 10 February 2018

Telltale Signs of an Authoritarian

Evening - it's Saturday night, just hope everybody is alright for fighting.

One of the key subjects I cover on here is the ongoing battle (currently being lost) between libertarianism and authoritarians of both the Toddler Left and Toddler Right persuasion. It is important to understand that both, far from simply being political/philosophical ideas, are manifestations of wider mentalities, mindsets and ways of life. What follows is a short and sweet breakdown of the 'bill of materials' for that classic authoritarian mindset - if you notice an individual engaging in too much of this stuff then be sure to ration your contact with them as authoritarianism is indiscriminate and, by its very definition, no respecter of your individual wishes.

So...let's crack on with it as I have a radio show to catch in less than two hours. Here are some of the telltale signs that will confirm you're dealing with an authoritarian arsehole. Eyes wide open.

Obsession with rules/authority - authoritarianism is about rules, it is about ruthless and unquestioning obedience. More than anything it is about authority that should not and indeed cannot be challenged at any time, for any reason. Anyone asking 'why?' is a dangerous maverick for whom the course of action is 1) re-educate and 2) if that fails, exterminate - you've been warned. Look out for someone who changes their mind several times over in perfect synchronicity with 'the leader' changing theirs. Speaking of which...

Seek messiahs/great leaders (or indeed believe that they might be one) - subservience by its very nature requires somebody to be subservient to. Authoritarians worship 'strong leaders' (known as demagogues or dictators to the rest of us) and place them on the same altar as the divine. Indeed the authoritarian worldview is a 'religion substitute' to many who subscribe to it. If you see someone who identifies ostensibly as atheist but preaches their political values with quasi-religious zealor then this is exactly what I'm talking about. For your own well-being, run like hell.

Logical inconsistency - typically an authoritarian will claim his or her own rights and fight for their continued preservation. It's the rights of other people that are dispensible in the name of some contrived 'greater good' and not theirs (authoritarians typically support capital punishment as a result of this formulation). For reasons that we'll go into later, authoritarians are breathtakingly inconsistent on the 'logical' level, all dependant upon which 'group' in society you're dealing with. Individualists (who of course don't deal in groups at all) tend not to have this problem.

Advocate group rights - those of us possessed of a functioning brain are aware that groups cannot and therefore do not have rights. However, Toddler Left authoritarians believe in 'group rights' based on historical oppression whereas their Toddler Right equivalent advocate collective rights based on race, where you were born or simply being in the majority (see tyranny of the majority, aka mob rule). This means society descends into a battle between 'groups' bitching at each other, competing for what they see as scarce resources, validation and control of the narrative.

Preoccupation with the past - often as a way of justifying the actions of the present. Toddler Leftists will invariably point to some act of oppression from four score and ten years ago, using the strapline "we cannot let this happen again" to justify their latest draconian measure. The Toddler Right typically believe in a golden age that only existed in their own heads, an era in which everything was so much better and the nation possessed a sort of collectivised 'glory' that it has since lost (see 'Make America Great Again' or 'Take Back Control'). Both are quite literally backward.

Nosy, judgemental, have a poor grasp (or none) of where their opinion of something is (or at least should) be of no value - very much a 'real life litmus test' which authoritarians fail. People may have opinions on the choices or lives of others, but the sane amongst us temper that with a recognition that these are their choices to make, that our point of view should (and hopefully does) count for precisely nothing. Authoritarians are typically nosy, want to know intimate details that are none of their business and gossip relentlessly in 'real life'. They also fail to respect the right of others to view the world differently to them, frequently using 'changing social attitudes' as a paper thin smokescreen for the policing of thought they don't agree with.

Everything is black and white, right or wrong - the presence of 'grey area', nuance or context is never acceptable to an authoritarian, whose palette has precisely two colours within it. We'll go into the detailed reasons for this very shortly.

Divide the world into 'sides' that are for or against - society is in a constant state of warfare when viewed through the authoritarian lens. They demand to know whose side everyone is on, including you and me, while holding no more regard to those of 'no side' than they have for those stood hurling bottles from across the proverbial road. They are Winston Churchill circa 1939 and everyone who disagrees with them is Hitler (see how often 'the Hitler insult' is wheeled out by authoritarians to shut down argument). This ridiculous analogy has also been used on many occasions to hoodwink well-meaning but gullible people into supporting our latest foreign invasion. It's true enough that one lesson from history is that we never learn the lessons of history.

Have designated 'favourite groups' who can do no wrong - the authoritarian lens is not set towards objective reality, but views events through the prism of oppressors vs oppressed and good guys vs bad guys. Toddler Left authoritarians will not hear a critical word spoken of any individual belonging to one of their 'historically oppressed groups' while the Toddler Right reserve special treatment for majorities based on race and/or nationality. This inability to see 'their own' as capable of wrong drives the logical inconsistency described earlier.

Have designated 'scapegoats' on the same basis - the Toddler Left's 'good guys' are the Toddler Right's 'bad guys' and vice versa. Nobody is an individual, everybody belongs to a 'group' and that 'group' has its place on the hierarchy. If you're in a designated 'bad group' then redemption is possible in the eyes of the authoritarian, but only on the basis of perpetual shame around gender, race, class etc. 

Support 'free speech' which is actually 'licensed speech' - and guess who decides which of us can and cannot have a license? We are all familiar with the political correctness of the Toddler Left, with its microaggressions, misuse of the word 'violence' to describe challenge or criticism and obsession with 'Hate Speech'. The Toddler Right state that they oppose this, but are actually intent on creating and imposing their own version on the rest of society. Neither support genuine free speech which is especially for the offensive, and people who disagree with them. No other form of free speech is worth fighting for or bothering with, surely?

Preoccupied/obsessed with violence and/or sex - just an observation. Socially conservative authoritarians are particularly bad for this.

Are possessed of 'common sense' and live in the 'real world' - what this typically means is that authoritarians have come to their wordlview 'in the moment', rather than distancing themselves from the emotion of their own situation and taking an abstract/birds eye view of things. Authoritarians are typically suspicious of philosophy, the pursuit of an objective truth and answering hypothetical questions (which are a fantastic example of how abstraction gets you further than talking about a 'real life' scenario you have an emotional stake in). Part of this is because they regard their issues not just as important, but altogether more important than everybody else's.

Are generally deadbeats/losers - people usually come to worldviews from which they benefit personally, then do the rationalisation later. In the case of authoritarians, collectivism gives them the chance to claim resources or 'glory' based on 'group membership' that they know they could never get near in 'real life' solely on the individual level. Most entrepreneurs, for example, are broadly libertarian in outlook and reject collectivism as the envy-driven bullshit that it is.

Typically hypocrites who live by a double standard - people very rarely live their own lives in absolute accordance with their stated worldview, but in the case of authoritarians this would effectively mean living a highly unnatural and austere existence. Speaking of which, evangelical preachers in the Bible belt are a particularly humorous example of this, banging out a socially conservative message while enriching themselves at the congregation's expense and filling more holes than a JCB in their own personal lives. See also the scores of Tory MPs caught up in scandals during the 'Back to Basics' campaign of the 1990s.

Might be libertarian on individual issues for cynical/self-interest reasons - i.e. an authoritarian who takes drugs might support drug legalisation, but this is basically meaningless.

Will deny they are authoritarian until they are blue in the face - funnily enough, authoritarians reject the label in a way that is the polar opposite of libertarians' enthusiastic acceptance of the diametrically opposing one. The paradox is that although when push comes to shove 'most people' are authoritarian to some extent, this is absolutely not how the majority of those same individuals perceive themselves and/or wish to be perceived by others. Everybody is for 'freedom' and 'empowering people' in rhetorical terms, but these concepts can and do exist solely on the individual level. The second somebody advocates 'collectivised' or 'group' forms of freedom or liberty then you know what you're dealing with. And it's about as pretty as scabies.

I hope this serves as a useful rough guide, although by all means feel free to add anything you think I may have missed in the comments.

On a brighter note, let's have some music for those of us who deal in, see and speak sense.

See you tomorrow and thanks once again for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment