|Authoritarianism and liberty is an introductory document to the logic of human organisations, clarifying definitions of various (sacred) names in the discussion of modern Western politics. It is also one of a series of documents analysing dysfunctional social, or group, behaviour in modern society..|
|authoritarianism and liberty||citizen's wage|
|socialist religions||power, ownership and freedom|
|fascism is socialism||corporate corruption, politics and the law|
|Franco was not a fascist||oppression, poverty and life expectancy - t.a.s.|
|papal encyclicals and Marx - some extracts||British establishment interference with civil liberties during the 20th century—the example of Diana and Oswald Mosley|
|papal encyclicals and Marx - some extracts: on socialism and liberalism|
|Oswald Mosley, Britain’s very own national socialist|
|islamic authoritarianism||Frédéric Bastiat and free trade|
Who belongs where in the political universe? When discussing politics and its various factions, there is frequently confusion regarding the labels for various factions, a muddle deepened by a drive to find negative labels for rival factions.
Commonly, socialism/communism is labelled as ‘left-wing’. Fascism, which is also firmly rooted in socialism, is often incorrectly labelled as ‘right-wing’; while Franco’s Falange authoritarianism has often been falsely labelled as ‘fascism’. The labelling as right and left had its origins in 18th century France , but that was over two hundred years ago, and in a smaller and less complicated society.
The classification into right and left leads to much misunderstanding in current society, especially when the labels are frequently (and systematically) misapplied. Much of this misuse is fairly deliberate attempts by the left-wing to distance themselves from various expressions of socialism, as the factions fight amongst themselves. This confusion is further aggravated by the shallow Marxist confusion of economics with politics. The real authoritarian opposition to socialism comes from the various ‘religious’ fundamentalisms, such as Catholicism and Islam.
Humans often get unrealistic notions into their heads, which they call theories. These notions then tend to be gathered into shopping bags, often called religions or political parties. This allows those controlling society to be able to function without having to account for their actions. You may take the whole package; or be excluded if you wish only to have some of the shopping bag contents, but reject the rest. Naturally, the parts that people wish to reject are those parts which allow the rulers arbitrary control and freedom of action.
Often the rulers set up a priesthood and claim that the shopping bag was conveniently passed to them by the gods and that its contents are, therefore, completely beyond the questioning of mere mortals. There is much on the nature of these organisations on this site; for example, start with the rise and fall of the Church of Rome and for typical shopping bags, see islamic authoritarianism and socialist religions. Notice that the collections in the shopping bags can vary in quality, from dross to sensible and reasonable instructions or laws. An edict or law not to kill will be found in most shopping bags and is, generally, a good idea.
Human beings tend to vie for dominance, often forming themselves into herds and setting about crushing them; thus the various shopping bags (religions) tend to include justifications for beating them up. It is important to understand that there is no essential logical difference in the purposes behind these shopping bags, and in the psychological drives which feed them.
While the memes that go into each shopping bag maybe fairly random and very often highly irrational, it is well to be aware that some of these memes can be very much more dangerous than others. These shopping bags, or books of instructions [metalogic document, sections four and five], are often known as ‘the holy book’, ‘the manifesto’, ‘the little red book’, and so on. The colours on the flags, the pointy hats, bowing five times to the East and the campfire songs are not what kills. What kills are edicts to go forth and conquer the Earth, mad ideas about ‘equality’, and notions that the group must come before the individual. This last will be discussed further in fascism is socialism.
The differences in political organisation, ideology and discussion, are more accurately described as being between authoritarians and liberals/libertarians.
The libertarian classification, in fact, is much more diverse than is indicated in the simple diagram above. Libertarians have a common concern: to prevent and stop the interference in their lives, perpetrated in any manner by authoritarians. Thus libertarian societies have much wider options than dogmatic authoritarian ones, while their concerns are merely to resist the various straight-jackets that authoritarians would impose. A libertarian or democratic society, therefore, considers a very much wider range of options and possibilities than found in any authoritarian dogma, or even in a range of authoritarian dogmas.
Authoritarians, on the other hand, have a common narrow ambition: a wish to impose something - rules (or ‘laws’), a way of living, or even a way of thinking (dogma). Authoritarians invariably have their own preferential fashion or dogma, usually of an irrationalist nature.
There is a limited role for government, this is discussed in the logic of ethics, particularly in managing the problem of the Tragedy of the Commons. There are two other uses for government: assembling a gang for stopping authoritarian gangs (some might call such a gang the police or an army), and the provision of common goods, such as a motorway or schooling.
Although the socialist factions are ‘godless’, they all have their sacred books and texts, their creator and their ‘religious’ hierarchies. Discussion of various such factions and dogma is given in the briefing document, Socialist religions.
Some of the clerical factions of the authoritarian tendency and discussed in the supplement to Socialist religions, Fascism is socialism.
|Related further reading|
|socialist religions||citizen's wage|
|fascism is socialism||power, ownership and freedom|
|papal encyclicals and marx - some extracts||corporate corruption, politics and the law|
|islamic authoritarianism||British establishment interference with civil liberties during the 20th century—the example of Diana and Oswald Mosley|
email abelard at abelard.org
© abelard, 2004, 1 May
the address for this document is http://www.abelard.org/briefings/authoritarianism-liberty.asp