I always found the liberty-authoritarian political spectrum to be a bit lacking.
It’s not wrong per say but like any political spectrum it has serious limitations. Most of my objections are to the juxtaposition of Monarchy and Communism (I could also object to nationalism and Fascism being in the same category as communism but those words are tricky to define).
On a side note I am a nationalist and I mean that in the broadest sense of the word. I like the United States I dislike the zeitgeist, the government most of the culture, but it is home and there are aspects of the “nation” that are worth saving. That is not to say I want there to continue to be one government within the boarders to the U.S. that is not necessarily the best option, so much as I have hope and love for the American people that once they are stripped of modernist progressive trappings that there is good buried underneath. Even if I was living under Heathian Anarchy I would still probably have an attachment to my “nation” the people, local culture and geography.
Back to monarchy and communism. Leninist Communist was not Marxist Communism and is nothing like modern anarcho-communism which is nothing like academic (cultural) Marxism even though these could easily be all called communism. Even wholly opposite ideologies may produce parallel or convergent evolution. Though the United States is not explicitly communist it still has over time satisfied the goals of communism.
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc., etc.
I won’t argue why the United States has satisfied these goals that has been done elsewhere and many times over. On a side note also from the Communist Manifesto.
“Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.”
I can’t help seeing this as a parallel to America’s view of bringing democracy to the world, the Arab spring, and Ukraine (as well as pussy riot, South Africa, and third world immigration).
Spectrum’s often have a hard time dealing with Monarchy because of it strange nature. It is usually place somewhere on the right of the political spectrum but then so are fascism and libertarianism. Yet the modern citizen when you ask them why monarchy and communism are bad might likely say they are “Authoritarian.” Yet clearly they are not the same after all only one is accepted as an positive form of government in popular culture. Imagine if Game of Thrones, Frozen or Lord of the Rings (the tv and movies shows not the books) were aired with communist governments instead of monarchies. They still might be celebrated by some on the left but they wouldn’t have the same universal appeal. This is not to say that Americans love monarchy, revolt against monarchy is a part of our elder civic religion, but that very few would celebrate explicitly communist media. Although some sci-fi novels technically are communist the average reader probably wouldn’t notice. What is the difference then? Is the king no less supreme in his power than a communist government?
Both are de jure Authoritarian political structures but only one is a de facto Authoritarian political structure. Both institutions have control of a region but only one has the incentives and ideology to utilize its power to the fullest. Communism needs to utilize the massive power of the state to suppress capitalism and maintain state control. While a particular monarch might be authoritarian on one or more issues there is no incentive of any given monarch to utilize his power to the fullest. It is much easier to decapitate a monarchy than a bureaucracy and in addition interference is both costly for the monarch and to the value of his assets (the people). This the important distinction that the authoritarian political structure misses. Though they may be equally immoral according to the some libertarian morality, clearly one is more economically efficient and provides more liberty. What about the United States? How does it stack up? Its clearly not an authoritarian political structure, democracy however effectively insane, is not the same as a monarchy. However when we look the law, regulations and the size of the bureaucracy clearly social power (as Nock would put it the opposite of governmental power) has been consumed. After all the demos aren’t highly evolved institutions of control, they will always be centuries behind the institutions of political and social control. So the question is, is the U.S. a de facto authoritarian State? I would argue it is especially when we look at the progress of coercive egalitarianism through the institutions. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean much when you could risk loosing a job. One might argue that this is the right of the business owner and it is, but I would argue that this is more likely a result of state indoctrination and voluntary compliance. I think, or hope for that matter, that employers would be more tolerant of heretical political views in the absence of egalitarian ideology and law. Even without egalitarianism the tragedy of the commons which is democracy (amplified by low trust multiculturalism but I repeat myself) does lead to the imposition of ever increasing state power for every special interest corporation, soccer mom and single mother alike.
So what causes a country to become de facto authoritarian?