Mining and Coercion in Guatemala
Denial of Service

“How to Defeat Authoritarianism”

By Jonathan B. Wight

AuthoritarianAlex Cequea produced a lovely short animated video of this name on

An authoritarian , we learn, wants power.  He starts by attacking the independent press (which acts as a check on that power). 

Next comes the attack on racial or ethnic minorities as a way to galvanize the base.  This is successful because human psychology is tribal by nature. Great philosophies and religions often try to overcome the natural bias against "others" by proclaiming that we are all one under God.  Think of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in the Christian tradition.  Or think of the Utilitarian injunction to consider the interests of all, or a similar injunction in Kantian ethics.  Smith's virtue ethics also calls on us developing "superior" prudence to value the other.  Civilization is lifted up when we focus on what unites us, and destroyed when we focus on what divides us. 

Authoritarians then try to weaken the rule of law, through attacks on the judiciary or investigative bodies that uphold the law.

The final piece of the puzzle is to appoint cronies and  hacks to fill top positions in the administration, putting loyalty over competence.  This is what Mao did, leading Deng to be thrown in jail for noting that a cat's color (meaning political ideology) shouldn't matter when it came to catching mice (meaning getting the job done well). 

The author preaches for peaceful resistance against the bullies of the world.  This worked for Gandhi and perhaps MLK (some would disagree).  But how well did this work against Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, or Mao?

Watch here:

[Thanks to Judith Reynolds Staples for the link.]


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