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What is Authoritarianism?

What is Authoritarianism?

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Authoritarianism is any system of government where power is centralized to one ruler or an oligarchy, a small, elite group of rulers. 

Under an authoritarian government, personal liberty is limited at the whim of the rulers. The term authoritarian is derived from authority, favoring imposed order over freedom.

Libertarianism is the diametric opposite of authoritarianism.

The most extreme form of authoritarianism is known as totalitarianism--coined as totalitario by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in the 1920s--which commands complete public subservience to the state.

Every aspect of a person's life is controlled by the government under totalitarianism, whereas authoritarianism demands strict obedience to the state but not necessarily total subservience.

Countries that have authoritarian governments are, but not limited to:

  • China
  • North Korea
  • Afghanistan 
  • Cuba
  • Sudan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Chad
  • Iran
  • Syria

Human rights and dignity are severely compromised under authoritarian regimes.

For more information, see What is Libertarianism?

 

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