The Formation of Authoritarian Governments

Topics: Authoritarianism, Fascism, Government Pages: 5 (1715 words) Published: December 4, 2013

                                                The Formation of Authoritarian Regimes             Over half the world’s population still live in societies defined as “partly free”, where many basic human liberties and democratic liberties are limited and the public  has very little individual freedom. This paper will examine the origin of authoritarian regimes. Social scientists look at competing societal and economic explanations to determine whether society’s natural state is one of democratic or nondemocratic rule.  Although authoritarian regimes display a great deal of diversity,  comparative politics can identify and contrast a number of common features.             Authoritarian governments by their nature are built around the limitations of individual freedom. Scholars define authoritarianism as a political regime in which a small group of individuals exercises power over the state without being constitutionally responsible to the public (O’Neil p111).  In authoritarian regimes the public has no significance in electing or removing their leaders from political power. Therefore political leaders in authoritarian regimes have boundless authority to develop policies that they dictate to the people. In other words an authoritarian regime (Nazi 'nationalist socialist'/in between the right and left) is a type of dictatorship where a leader controls social/public life and the government, and gives its people limited private freedoms and privacies in their own homes. Despite its complete control on the public life, it is not like the confining, full time prison of the totalitarian regime, where the state controls the private as well as the public domain. Although they are on opposite sides of the political ladder, fascism (Mussolini/right wing) and communism (Lenin, Stalin/left wing) share a few things in common, 1) the rejection of  liberal democracy as a substandard  form of social organization, preferring  powerful state and restricted individual freedoms. 2) Socialism and fascism attempt to bring back the focus on the community and 3) both are quintessentially against free markets. The idea behind striving for 'community' is the notion of the united nation-state, and the homogeneity of that state, which is the ultimate ideal.             Surveillance is an important agency of controlling the population and maintaining nondemocratic regimes. Surveillance allows the government to prevent the opposition form organizing and inculcates uncertainty amongst the society.  Internal security forces that monitor public activity, spy on individuals and interrogate members of the public that are assumed to hold political, philosophical or religious views that are contentious with the  political regime.             The use of coercion is associated with authoritarianism as nondemocratic regimes use coercion as a means to control the public . In authoritarian regimes compliance and obedience amongst the population  is enforced through the use of force, instilling fear to those who do not conform.  Latin American regimes have in the past referred to the police or military as “death squads” which targeted individuals who were alleged to hold political views that were in opposition to the regime. Individuals who were suspected to have challenging views were abducted, murdered or tortured.             Stalin concentrated his totalitarian rule in the Soviet Union by carrying out widespread arrests that annihilated the state bureaucracy, known as “purges”.  All dictators share similar stories, the desire for power, control and disciplining the masses. Through punishment, conformity, social indoctrination, using pure force and fear tactics. Hitler's construction of the concentration camps and Nazi doctors medicalized anti-Semitism and isolated the Jewish population on the basis of the notion of "impure, diseased blood," sending them to be exterminated so that they would not poison the relatively pure Europeans. Hitler had seized...
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