Category Archives: Politics – Authoritarianism

Trump: Corruption and Autocracy

Isaias Afwerki (right), the rebel-leader-turned-president who has ruled Eritrea as a totalitarian dictatorship since the 1990s.

Doug Mudar‘s latest post on his blog, The Weekly Sift, is titled “Accelerating Corruption and Autocracy.” It is the best summary and analysis of Trump’s malfeasance that I’ve found. And, as usual, Mudar’s work is painstakingly researched and his prose carefully and conscientiously crafted. Here are his introductory paragraphs, Continue reading Trump: Corruption and Autocracy

Review of Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt: “How Democracies Die”

© Darrell Arnold Ph.D.– (Reprinted with Permission)

We all know of democratic institutions that have ended by revolution or coup. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, two professors of government at Harvard University, highlight another way that they increasingly end — through a slow erosion of institutions by those who were democratically elected to oversee them.

In How Democracies Die the authors apply their knowledge of the collapse of democratic institutions from Europe and Latin America to analyze the erosion of democratic norms in the United States. Continue reading Review of Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt: “How Democracies Die”

Douthat’s “How Populism Stumbles” and Frum’s “How To Build An Autocracy”

Photo of Hannah Arendt in 1975

If it is the function of the public realm to throw light on the affairs of men by providing a space of appearances in which they can show in deed and word, for better and worse, who they are and what they can do, then darkness has come when this light is extinguished by ‘credibility gaps’ and ‘invisible government,’ by speech that does not disclose what is but sweeps it under the carpet, by exhortations, moral and otherwise, that under the pretext of upholding old truths, degrade all truth to meaningless triviality. ~ Hannah Arendt Continue reading Douthat’s “How Populism Stumbles” and Frum’s “How To Build An Autocracy”

American Totalitarianism 2017

Photo of Hannah Arendt in 1975In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. … Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie … The totalitarian … leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that … one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism. Instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.”
~ Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism Continue reading American Totalitarianism 2017