Authoritarian Despotism Case Study

December 28, 2021

Authoritarian Despotism Case Study

Padmini Arhant

What leads to authoritarianism?

There are several factors that leads to authoritarian rule in a system.

The first and foremost is weak or lack of opposition to incompetence, corrupt and criminal activities in government and leadership.

No checks and balances is the cornerstone of authoritarianism.

The constitution is made irrelevant and inconvenient under authoritarian power.

The economy is segregated into the poorest, poor, lower income and middle income comprising the work force with these groups classified as mere working class and among them the middle class are taxpayers. 

Juxtaposed, the upper middle class, wealthy and super rich stash wealth offshore, deplete national treasury in tax evasion and money laundering. This group become the authoritarian stalwarts in quid pro quo. The hierarchy in society premised on social economic status enable authoritarian rule.

The media, press and communication outlets become the voice of the dictatorial leadership heading the failed government. There are overt and covert operatives with mainstream conventional media representing and protecting authoritarian flagrant violations.

Whereas the other touted as the so-called independent and investigative media is another wing of authoritarian regime to mislead public in nuanced narratives and by far the ardent promoter of authoritarianism with false accounts on the leadership so-called popularity and charisma in contradiction to ground reality. The blatant fabrication is aimed at adding insult to human intelligence.

The successive defeats in big state elections, the fear of losing upcoming elections based on electorate disillusionment with leadership at national as well as local government prompting postponement of state assembly elections would not be happening at the height of any leadership’s immense popularity and irresistible charisma projected by the media circus favoring authoritarianism.

The old adage – it is better to deal with the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.  The devil in disguise is a major threat in any situation aptly applicable to the above mentioned deliberate deception and deceit.

Anything out in the open is at least visible. In contrast the insinuations and innuendoes from the so-called independent media claim to delineate from mainstream are the intimate bed fellows hard wired with authoritarianism in the wireless digital era. Accordingly, with all form of communication channels including the social media under control, the rise of authoritarianism is no longer veiled in euphemism.

Additionally, the systematic control and takeover of institutions beginning with judiciary, government agencies such as intelligence bureau, income tax, the central reserve bank and financial institutions are brought under the executive branch purview and direct authority. The absolute rein over these organizations further enhance and energize authority in silencing dissent.

In other words, the constitutionally empowered autonomous body are dismantled and centralized under the leadership at the helm.

The civil servants are delegated to propaganda and constant misinformation to condition public mind on taxpayers funded government dissemination and indoctrination.

Above all, the dangerous move ominously raising the red flag is when the executive branch in a Parliamentary system unilaterally shift the military command from the President to Prime Minister’s ambit. The civilian leadership posing in military camouflage outfit could not be a mere fashion statement.

The most common trait in dictatorial governance is targeting a particular demography, pawn religion as political ideology, subvert constitution governed secular democracy to fundamentalist, radical rhetoric arousing majoritarianism.

The political twists and turns of twenty first century authoritarianism compared to previous century of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, the combined dictatorial regimes in Latin America, Africa, Middle East and Asia is the glaring transformation of democracy into fascism today.

In the past century, the dictators enforced authoritarian rule gradually with convincing socialism, communism and majoritarian rule.

In fact the idea of socialism, communism and pluralism veneered underlying coarse rough crude fascism in the making. These concepts were conveniently misused to subjugate population.

Without a shadow of doubt, the imperialists and major economic stakeholders’ direct and indirect involvement in the creation and nurture of dictatorial powers worldwide contributed to extensive authoritarian rule lasting several decades into the twenty first century continued until now.

The difference between then and present time is  transparency. The modern day witness and aware of oligarchs appointed and approved governments typically puppet regimes installed to serve oligarchy feudal system antithetical to constitution, secular pluralist democracy and capitalism with real market economy.

In terms of economic system, the contemporary trend overwhelmingly favor and positioned as monopolists economy displacing the capitalism defined competitive market economy.

The ongoing developments are far worse than in any other time. The global elites – the tech giants owned social platform arbitrary censorship of facts and truth in public domain is the fact of life despite free speech infringement.

The cancel culture evolving into intrusion and invasion of individual rights, life and privacy is carried out as prerogative. Notwithstanding restrictions on decisions related to personal health, lifestyle and well being is the latest law. 

Apparently, the individual liberty to exercise discretion on all things concerning personal life is no longer private matter. Instead it is entirely left to powerful groups in health industry and various dealers, shakers and movers in global syndicate. 

Politically, the authoritarian government transcending to autocracy with elections reduced to formality or even better deferred and delayed to suit individual interests especially when the odds are against incumbency is yet another sign of unpopularity, impropriety and carte blanche authority in full view. These are clear omens initiating 24/7 propaganda to mitigate image damage and event management. 

What is the role of academia, religious consortium and influential civil society in the manufacture of autocracy?

Unfortunately there are divisions in this respect as well.

One section of society presumably representing any or all of the above specified groups are very active in exalting autocracy such as drawing parallels from the past authoritarian style even it happened half a century ago to justify current autocratic rule. Again the reminder about the past authoritarianism invariably fails to note fatal consequences to that effect.

In other issues, they go further and normalize autocrat perversions via Pegasus and variety spyware with references from western activities rather than condemning the lewd indulgence not boding well for any civilized society and a make-believe democracy. It is plain complicity in elevating autocracy.

The other group conversely choosing to remain silent spectators entirely in self-interests is a do nothing segment until own experience dawn on them. This category falls under complacency.

Either groups do more harm in their respective ways than imaginable.

On the other hand, the rare righteous voice against autocracy is often under relentless attack from all directions for standing up to cronyism buttressed authoritarianism.

Upon righteous prevailing in the interception of autocracy, the complicit and complacent parties cited above would be in forefront to enjoy the benefits and fruitful outcome completely sidelining and rejecting righteous function in the entire cause. Such response is routine and hardly surprising. 

The opportunists and wannabes massive collusion in the rise of despotic dictatorial regimes inevitably fall together in the zero-sum game of democracy vs. dictatorship since time immemorial. 

There is glimpse of hope provided the republic repudiate autocracy neutralizing ravaging autocratic environment. 

Padmini Arhant 

Author & Presenter 


Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post a comment.