Updated: May 1
In part 3 of our 4 part series, we will look at two elements that are attributed to Nazism, Authoritarianism,
and Oligarchies, and discover where those elements lie on the political spectrum.
Part 3: Authoritarianism and Oligarchies
"Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by the rejection of political plurality, the use of strong central power to preserve the political status quo and reductions in the rule of law, separation of powers, and democratic voting. Political scientists have created many typologies describing variations of authoritarian forms of government. Authoritarian regimes may be either autocratic or oligarchic in nature and may be based upon the rule of a party or the military."
Donald Trump has been accused of being authoritarian. However, having a demeanor that radiates power is not the same as being authoritarian. Authoritarianism is defined by acts of unilateralism.
Authoritarianism is not exclusive to the right or left. As a matter of fact, several Democrat presidents have displayed authoritarian tendencies.
Progressive Democrat, President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921), was probably the most authoritarian president the United States has ever experienced. He was only the third Democrat to serve as president since the US Civil War. Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, was Lincoln's Vice-President and was sworn in following Lincoln's assasination. He was never elected to the office of President. Grover Cleveland was a Demoocrat who served two non-consecutive terms and was the only other Democrat to be elected to the presidency post-civil war until Wilson was elected in 1912.
Wilson believed that the president should have nearly dictatorial powers and that the US Constitution was an antiquated rag and should be done away with. Isn't it interesting that Democrats have been thinking that since before the Civil War?
‘But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other — though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”’
—Alexander Stephens, Democrat and Vice President of the Confederate States
Notable is that Woodrow Wilson was also racist and screened the first motion picture, "Birth of a Nation", at the White House. It was a movie that depicted black Americans as unintelligent and the Klu Klux Klan as heroic. The screening of "Birth of a Nation" at the White House was a huge promotional boost for the film and is credited for the revival of the KKK throughout the nation.
Democrat, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was another progressive who was authoritarian.
“On inauguration day, FDR displayed his charm, his sense of drama, and his inclination—as Hoover predicted—to use the powers of government, not cuts in spending and tax rates, to attack the Great Depression. “First of all,” the new president announced, “let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself….” As an antidote to fear, Roosevelt said, “I shall ask Congress for broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency….” During Roosevelt’s first term, that broad executive power would be highlighted by nine letters: NRA, AAA, and WPA.”
— New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America by Burton W. Folsom
SPOILER ALERT: Authoritarians always use "emergencies" to consolidate more power to themselves.
FDR was president from 1933-1945 during the Golden Age of Radio when radio was the primary source of the most up-to-date news. His socialistic New Deal policies actually prolonged the Great Depression but the US citizens, of the time, thought that he was doing a great job because he had power over the Federal Communications Commission and he would threaten radio stations that if they broadcast anything negative about his policies or his administration, he would rescind their license to broadcast.
Tellingly, prior to World War II, Hitler, Mussolini, and Roosevelt expressed admiration for each other's similar executive styles.
On September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden unilaterally, announced a vaccine mandate, demanding that businesses force their employees to get vaccinated. This, my friends, is authoritarianism in all its glory. If that doesn't smell of fascism, nothing does but where was ANTIFA to protest? Oh, that's right. They are fascists. What they don't like is liberty.
Hitler saw representative democracy as corrupt. Of course, his views were those seen through the eyes of a racist.
“The parliamentary institution attracts people of the badger type, who do not like the open light. No upright man, who is ready to accept personal responsibility for his acts, will be attracted to such an institution. That is the reason why this brand of democracy has become a tool in the hand of that race which, because of the inner purposes it wishes to attain, must shun the open light, as it has always done and always will do. Only a Jew can praise an institution which is as corrupt and false as himself.”
— Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Hitler believed that all government decisions should be made by a dictator and a handful of deputies. That is how he ruled. The German Reichstag (Parliament), after 1933, was nothing more than a ceremonial entity that always approved all of Hitler's decisions, unanimously. As a matter of fact, it didn't even assemble after April of 1942.
This Nazi form of government is called an oligarchy. An oligarchy is a form of a power structure where a small number of people hold all of the power. There is no representation of the masses. The smaller the group of people, who hold the power of the government, the more that type of government is to the left. In a representative democracy or republic, the power is, at least theoretically, in the hands of the citizen voters. Therefore, an oligarchy is always to the left of democracy.
Check out Part 4 for the concluding installment of the series.