“Authoritarianism” is indistinguishable for traditional American values.
As recently as the 1950s, the idea that America is a Christian nation was part of the broad liberal consensus at the center of American politics. The Soviet Union was condemned for being an atheist regime. This was a huge part of the appeal of anti-communism in the Cold War. Christianity has always been linked to American identity. This was uncontroversial outside of academia until the 1990s. Even today, half of Americans believe that Christian values and the Bible should shape our laws.
Before the 1950s, America was understood as being a Protestant nation. Catholics were grudgingly tolerated. It was a big deal when JFK was elected as America’s first Catholic president in 1960. Protestant Democrats in lots of Southern states had refused to support Al Smith in 1928 because he was a wet Catholic from New York. American identity was broadened from Protestant to Christian due to the impact of World War II and the Cold War. Most Americans outside of coastal metros and college towns haven’t gotten the memo that America has ceased to be a Christian nation and that clinging to the traditional view of American identity makes you a Christian nationalist and an “authoritarian” in 2022.
If you believe that America is a White Man’s Country or a White nation, which is what most Americans believed from colonial times through the Founding until the 1960s when race was finally eliminated from naturalization laws, you are a White Nationalist and an “authoritarian” in 2022.
Where does this belief come from? As with the Christian nationalists, the White Nationalists are people who have stubbornly rejected “progress” and who refuse to embrace the cult of antiracism and therefore refuse to let go of the traditional understanding of American identity. They point out that the Founders limited eligibility for American citizenship to “free White persons” and that every signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution was a cishet White male. DEI ideology didn’t become fashionable until the 21st century. The country was actually founded on the basis of “white supremacy.”
Once again, if your traditional views on race would have been familiar to most Americans throughout our history, you are a “semi-fascist” and an “authoritarian.”
If you believe that America is a republic and therefore oppose the Global American Empire and its project of world domination because you believe the United States should mind its own business in the world and stop supporting aggressive wars in Eurasia, you are the “semi-fascist” and “authoritarian.”
The seeds of “authoritarianism” and “fascism” can be found in George Washington’s Farewell Address. Americans were content to stay put in our own hemisphere until the Spanish-American War. Few things are more “authoritarian” than not really having any desire to emulate the example of the British Empire and uphold the “rules-based international order” or the “liberal world order.”
If you oppose federal control over state elections and believe that voting is a privilege, not a right and have criticized unlimited democracy like the Founders, which is what most Americans have believed throughout all of American history, you are “anti-democratic” and a “semi-fascist” and an “authoritarian.”
“Authoritarians” are known to support antiquated republican features of our Constitution like the Senate, Electoral College and Tenth Amendment which were created by the Founders. Insofar as equality existed at all in the original Constitution, the states were entitled to equal representation in the Senate, which put Rhode Island on par with New York. Women did not have the right to vote. BIPOCs did not have voting rights. Voting was even something that people did in public until the 20th century.
If you have traditional views on democracy issues like mail in ballots and early voting and support for the Electoral College, you are an “authoritarian” and “semi-fascist.”
If you believe that sex is an immutable biological reality and that there are only two genders, which is what most Americans believed until some Millennials got on Tumblr in the 2010s, you are an “authoritarian.” Similarly, if you believe that marriage is an institution that is primarily about reproduction and involves men and women, which is what most people in all cultures have believed for thousands of years, you are an “authoritarian.” Denying that men can be impregnated is also “authoritarian.”
The Deep State
Want to abolish the Deep State?
Tired of being ruled by unelected experts and technocrats?
Sorry, it is “authoritarianism” to believe in small government. It is “authoritarianism” to believe that as a citizen you should still have a voice in vast realms of public policy. The republican ideal of self government is “fascism.” The consolidation and centralization of power in the hands of bureaucrats who engage in surveillance of the population and who exercise police power against political candidates IS NOT authoritarianism. It IS NOT authoritarian to arrest and prosecute your political opponents.
Supposedly, the case for liberalism rests on the existence of the natural rights of life, liberty and property, but we have decided that it is deeply “authoritarian” to believe in the most important natural right of all – the right to life – which is the basis of the other two.
If you cling to the traditional view that abortion should be illegal as it was in all 50 states until the 1960s, you are an “authoritarian” who wants to crush women’s rights.
I could go on and on.
The bottom line is that traditional American values are being recast by progressive activists as “semi-fascism” and “authoritarianism.” Every point of disagreement involves some departure by progressives from our traditions whether it is on race, sex, gender, voting rights, etc.
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