Increasing Authoritarianism……

The following opinion article from The Washington Post  is spot on. In the era of Trumpism the possibility of increasing acceptance of a more authoritarian govcernment is very real. Trump is not in any way shape or form an honest or true conventional conservative. Trump cannot really be identified as having any real political ideology as he has no core values of any kind. His only value is to do whatever works. For him and his family real estate empire. If any ideology can be applied to Trump is would be might makes right. The ideology that ALL tyrants subascribe to.

 

The strongmen strike back

Authoritarianism has reemerged as the greatest threat to the liberal democratic world — a profound ideological, as well as strategic, challenge. And we have no idea how to confront it.
Of all the geopolitical transformations confronting the liberal democratic world these days, the one for which we are least prepared is the ideological and strategic resurgence of authoritarianism. We are not used to thinking of authoritarianism as a distinct worldview that offers a real alternative to liberalism. Communism was an ideology — and some thought fascism was, as well — that offered a comprehensive understanding of human nature, politics, economics and governance to shape the behavior and thought of all members of a society in every aspect of their lives.
We believed that “traditional” autocratic governments were devoid of grand theories about society and, for the most part, left their people alone. Unlike communist governments, they had no universalist pretensions, no anti-liberal “ideology” to export. Though hostile to democracy at home, they did not care what happened beyond their borders. They might even evolve into democracies themselves, unlike the “totalitarian” communist states. We even got used to regarding them as “friends,” as strategic allies against the great radical challenges of the day: communism during the Cold War, Islamist extremism today.
Like so many of the theories that became conventional wisdom during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, this one was mistaken. Today, authoritarianism has emerged as the greatest challenge facing the liberal democratic world — a profound ideological, as well as strategic, challenge. Or, more accurately, it has reemerged, for authoritarianism has always posed the most potent and enduring challenge to liberalism, since the birth of the liberal idea itself. Authoritarianism has now returned as a geopolitical force, with strong nations such as China and Russia championing anti-liberalism as an alternative to a teetering liberal hegemony. It has returned as an ideological force, offering the age-old critique of liberalism, and just at the moment when the liberal world is suffering its greatest crisis of confidence since the 1930s. It has returned armed with new and hitherto unimaginable tools of social control and disruption that are shoring up authoritarian rule at home, spreading it abroad and reaching into the very heart of liberal societies to undermine them from within.
We in the liberal world have yet to comprehend the magnitude and coherence of the challenge. We do not know how to manage the new technologies that put liberalism at a disadvantage in the struggle. Many of us do not care to wage the struggle at all. Some find the authoritarian critique of liberalism compelling; others value liberalism too little to care if the world order that has sustained it survives. In this new battle of ideas, we are disarmed, perhaps above all because we have forgotten what is at stake.
We don’t remember what life was like before the liberal idea. We imagine it as a pre-ideological world with “traditional autocrats” worshiping “traditional gods” who did not disturb “the habitual rhythms” of people’s everyday life, as Jeane Kirkpatrick, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, once put it. This is a fantasy. Traditional society was ruled by powerful and pervasive beliefs about the cosmos, about God and gods, about natural hierarchies and divine authorities, about life and afterlife, that determined every aspect of people’s existence.
Average people had little control of their destiny. They were imprisoned by the rigid hierarchies of traditional society — maintained by brute force when necessary — that locked them into the station to which they were born. Generations of peasants were virtual slaves to generations of landowners. People were not free to think or believe as they wished, including about the most vitally important questions in a religious age — the questions of salvation or damnation of themselves and their loved ones. The shifting religious doctrines promulgated in Rome or Wittenberg or London, on such matters as the meaning of the Eucharist, were transmitted down to the smallest parishes. The humblest peasant could be burned at the stake for deviating from orthodoxy. Anyone from the lowest to the highest could be subjected to the most horrific tortures and executions on the order of the king or the pope or their functionaries. People may have been left to the “habitual rhythms” of work and leisure, but their bodies and their souls were at the mercy of their secular and spiritual rulers.