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A new authoritarianism

According to Theodor Adorno, elements of an authoritarian personality type include:

"Blind allegiance to conventional beliefs about right and wrong

Respect for submission to acknowledged authority

Belief in aggression toward those who do not subscribe to conventional thinking, or who are different

A negative view of people in general - i.e. the belief that people would all lie, cheat or steal if given the opportunity

A need for strong leadership which displays uncompromising power

A belief in simple answers and polemics - i.e. The media controls us all or The source of all our problems is the loss of morals these

Resistance to creative, dangerous ideas. A black and white worldview.

A tendency to project one's own feelings of inadequacy, rage and fear onto a scapegoated group"


Any of this sounding familiar?

The pace of events since June 23rd last year has been hard to keep up with, but the train of events set in motion by the Brexit vote is, somehow, impossibly, accelerating. The election of Trump has added fuel to the fire in this country in unexpected ways. Now, I'm not here to express alarm at what Trump's up to, there are plenty of other places that you can go to for that. The summary dismissal of vast numbers of state department staff, the hounding of an independent judiciary, the demotion of the heads of the military and intelligence to be replaced by Steve Bannon. These are all the acts of a dictator, one intent on grabbing as many of the levers of power as he can. Preparation for a coup d'etat as Yonatan Zunger persuasively writes. I have some issues with his analysis, but even if you accept a quarter of it, it's more alarming than any president since Nixon (and the fact that Breitbart has been quick to rubbish it rather lends it credence.

No, I'm more concerned with our country's response to him. Or rather, our government's.

They just love him. What a hoot that Trump guy is.

Well, okay, no, they don't, clearly they don't. Beneath the fixed grins they clearly find the man as appalling as the rest of us do. But if there's one thing the conservative party loves, it's money. And if there's a chance to get their snouts in the trough, they'll take it. And given that a pretty big trough will be whisked away the moment we trigger article 50, they've got to find another one, somewhere, anywhere, and it doesn't really matter who it belongs to. So Trump gets offered a full State visit. Something which doesn't happen to US presidents in their first term as a rule. Within a week of being elected. Fancy that. It's almost as if Theresa May knew that if there's one thing Trump loves above all else, it's the aggrandisement of trump, and what better way to do than some good old British pomp and circumstance. Clever move Theresa, got him onside early, nice one.

But there's a problem. The populace, as a rule, isn't a big fan of Trump (nor, for that matter, is the US one, strangely). We're not overly enamoured of ther whole "grab 'em by the pussy" thing, and quite a lot of us have been making our displeasure known, one way or another. May's got a bit of unrest on her hands. marches, petitions, all at a pretty sensitive time, what with the article 50 bill starting to inch it's way through the house.

Enter the press. Aticles in today's Express, Mail, Sun and Sane Melanie Phillips thinkpiecing in the paywalled Times all laying into opponents of Trump.

One of the most visible elements of authoritarianism is a tame press, and it would appear that Theresa's got this lot on lockdown.


  1. I'm interested, and perhaps a little scared, to see what will happen on his visit.


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