Sunday, November 25, 2012

California: Authoritarianism Defined?

I was reading this piece from the Orange County Register the other day. It questions whether at least some of California's election results are consistent with the state's reputation for liberalism.

I had to point out that one mistake made was judging political views as either liberal or conservative. A more appropriate way would be the four point scale as illustrated in what's commonly called the Nolan Chart. I've suggested here before that California isn't a liberal state but an authoritarian one (Populist or Totalitarian on the chart above).

So what's the definition of liberal? According to this online dictionary it is, 
  1. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
  2. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
I don't think modern liberals fit either a or b. I'd suggest they're very much limited to at least contemporary dogmas. While we might concede they favor "reform", those so- called reforms usually involve restrictions on human behavior in some way or another.

Perhaps a better definition of liberal is that being they tend to favor personal freedom, but not economic freedom? That seems a better as it's more easily understood but, assuming that defines liberal, that doesn't describe California.

California does have a reputation for being pro- tax and anti- business, so it fits the economic definition of liberalism. I'd argue, though, contemporary liberals aren't all that favorable towards personal freedoms, either. Just look at attacks on smokers, gun owners or those that like junk foods.

Some will say, "But, Fred. At least some of us want to legalize pot...". I'd suggest that's a fluke, will be short lived and many of those who supposedly support legalization often suggest tobacco, or even alcohol, be made illegal instead. Not exactly what I'd consider support for personal freedoms.

Thus I'd argue that contemporary California "liberals" support neither economic or personal freedoms. To me, that defines an authoritarian.

 But how do we define authoritarian? The online dictionary defines it as, "Characterized by or favoring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom: an authoritarian regime. Of, relating to, or expecting unquestioning obedience.".

That definition doesn't work all that well. I'm not sure that authoritarians favor absolute obedience to all authority- just obedience to their authority when they're in charge.

The definition I usually use is someone who believes government should be involved in every aspect of one's life. That no matter what the issue, those decisions should be made by a politician, bureaucrat or a 51% majority vote, not the individual.

Taking it further,  you can break it down to both functional and philosophical authoritarians. The difference being mostly in one's actions vs. actual beliefs.

For instance, many of my neighbors are at least functional authoritarians. They might not personally care about a lot of things other people do with their personal lives, but they consistently vote for candidates that do. By supporting authoritarian candidates and thus interfering in others lives, they are functionally authoritarian.

Then there are the philosophical authoritarians. These are the ones that either come up with, or support, laws that affect every aspect of our lives. I can think of at least one local blogger that is philosophically authoritarian, defending every government intrusion into our lives no matter what the issue.

California voters often overwhelmingly vote for candidates that not only support government control over our lives, but want to increase it. Witness the strong support for incumbents Chesbro, Huffman and Feinstein last election. There's no question that California is an authoritarian state with a majority of people that support neither economic or personal freedom.

You heard it first from me, folks!


At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, please move to Florida already, you'll love it there

I think they even have some lawns for you to cut.

At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allow me to recommend a book on California history. ANY book on California history...

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a nifty diagram if you constrain human rights only to terms of personal and economic freedom.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

That's a nifty diagram if you constrain human rights only to terms of personal and economic freedom.

I'm not sure that human rights, however one defines them, is pertinent in discussing one's place in the political spectrum. I am interested in what else you'd like included into the equation besides personal and economic freedoms?

At 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henchman Of Justice" says,

Fred, you have an anonymous secret admirerer who apparantly mocks your employment. Hopefully, it ain't one of your customers because then they'd be a hipocrit. (people who hide their identity are hiding much more than their identity, besides being wussies).

Anyhow, great topic Fred. It seems your right about California being anything but a liberal or conservative state. Totalitarianism runs with both the democrats and republicans (the duopolist regime).

Also, for "human rights concerns", well that could be considered as "personal freedom issues".

Notice how on the graph lower left is LESS of much more and in between is "regulated to some extent, more to the lower left, less to the upper right".

Good points too. - HOJ

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Jeff wrote, "Also, for "human rights concerns", well that could be considered as "personal freedom issues".

Except different people have different definitions of human rights. Lefties, for instance, tend to consider food stamps and free health care akin to human rights. I'm not sure everyone would include them as such.

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Buzz said...

Fred is reduced to responding to the "henchman of justce" and ignoring the smart comments.

And it's harder than fuck to read the captcha.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

What smart comments? Number 3 is an intriguing comment. Numbers 1 and 2 are simply attempts at gratuitous insults. Normally they'd be deleted but they're not too obviously insulting or irrelevant.

At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henchman Of Justice" says,

Fred, the thing you write about food stamps and free health care is that these examples could never be considered a human right because they are based off of consumer materialism; although, give people the power of majority, and enough people could "create a right". Working and doing one's part in life to survive versus taking it from others for rights for "free" when it comes to money and materialisms, apparantly (someone loses).

And here it was thought that freedom was a right to do as appropriately needed to survive, not be corruptly forced into ways that help others survive to the detriment of the provider. - HOJ

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Freedom is not food stamps and free health care.

Freedom is the right to live on your own land without having a government lien on it every year so you can grow your own food and feed yourself.

Freedom is the right take care of your own body and to obtain health services from who you choose and not have to support the monopolist "health" system or buy into the "insurance" ponzi-scheme.


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