Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Problem with Authoritarianism

There are many problems with the terrible idea of Donald Trump as president.  At the heart of his candidacy is the promise of authoritarian rule.  So, what's wrong with authoritarian rule?  (Except, of course the history of the last 100 years with authoritarian examples from Mussolini and Hitler to Stalin and Castro).  The fatal flaw of authoritarianism is that there is no room for love in its world view.  David Brooks, New York Times conservative editorialist, summarized it concisely on his appearance with Mark Shields on the PBS Newshour last Friday:

"The thing about his whole world view is there is no room for love in it. You get a sense of a man who has received no love, so his relationship with women has no love in it - it's trophy.  His relationship toward the world is one of competition and beating - as if he's going to win by competition what other people get by love. So you are really seeing someone with an odd psychology, unleavened by kindness or charity, but where it is all winners and losers, beating and being beaten - and that's part of the authoritarian personality, and it comes out in his attitudes towards women."

I think authoritarianism is at the heart of the Trump appeal.  He is seen as strong by voters who are either authoritarian themselves, or frightened people who want an authoritarian to protect them.

But I don't see Trump as strong. I see him as a pathetic child who is obsessed with promoting himself as strong, successful, as a...Man.  But he's not a man, he's a child. And he knows almost nothing about the country, the government, the law, the world, and especially he knows nothing about dignity or honor or ... love.