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the enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom.
With his latest wave of accolades heaped upon homicidal communist dictator Fidel Castro, Bernie Sanders equivocated his praise for Cuba’s “literacy programs” with the reminder that he "happens to believe in democracy, not authoritarianism."
Does he though?
For that matter, do any of the final Democrat candidates for the presidential nomination?
“I believe in Democracy, not authoritarianism” is a strange phrase as it presupposes that democracy is an antonym to authoritarianism. It isn’t, really. Tyranny, totalitarianism, dictatorship, monarchy, those are contradictory systems to democracy.
Democracy is a system of choosing representatives or other elected leaders. Authoritarianism is a system of policies and government programs that could very well be instituted by a democratically-elected political body or leader. And when one examines the policies championed by Sanders and his colleagues on the Democratic presidential ballot, it’s hard to escape their authoritarian tendencies.
Authoritarianism is when an entity or government in authority restricts the liberties and freedoms of individuals under their power and control to enforce a policy or rule.
When every Democrat on this week’s debate stage advocated for restrictions on Americans’ Second Amendment rights with regard to the types of guns they would allow an individual to keep and bear, they exhibited their authoritarian instinct. “We know better what type of firearm the people can be trusted with so we will prohibit them from owning those guns we determine they should not own.” Authoritarianism.
When most of the Democrats plan to institute government control over the medical profession by forcing every American to comply with their dictates regarding doctors, hospitals and procedures, all the while prohibiting individuals from choosing, keeping and paying for their own personal health care, it’s authoritarianism.
Even former Republican billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who attempts to push back on Sanders’ propensity for Marxist economic solutions, has a disturbing track record of authoritarianism against the formerly freedom-loving people of New York.
You want a 64 oz. Big Gulp? Fuggetaboutit! You can only have the size soda Mayor Mike decides you can have. He knows best.
You’re 92-years-old and you want treatment for cancer? Fuggetaboutit! It’s a waste of resources to save the life of an old fogie like you. Mayor Mike knows best.
Want to smoke a cigarette? Vape? Add salt to your food? Fuggetaboutit! That’s the new, New York molded in the “Mayor Mike knows best” vision.
Every one of the candidates for the Democrat’s presidential nomination embraces the “Green New Deal” in one form or another. Under the guise of “saving the planet,” the party demands that we reduce greenhouse gases that, we are told, contribute to global warming.
Regardless of your position on the science behind such a policy, make no mistake: the Democrats’ solutions to reducing CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere are wrapped up in one giant, authoritarian package.
Controls and restrictions (if not outright prohibitions) for oil and gas industry, agriculture, transportation, home building, commercial development, mass transit and more. Stop eating so much red meat. Stop driving certain types of vehicles. Stop driving vehicles completely. Stop flying planes. Stop running the air conditioner. Stop turning on lights.
It all adds up to authoritarianism. The government, run by Bloomberg or Sanders or Warren or any of them, knows best and they’ll tell you what you can and can’t do. And if you defy them, you will be punished. And every single one of their major policy ideas has one, common characteristic: they restrict individual choice, freedom, and self-determination of American citizens in deference to the State’s demand for compliance and adherence to its policies.
It’s all for the greater good. After all, like Cuba, they also have a great literacy program for you so what are you complaining about? They’ll have your kids in a government-run school from infancy, according to Sanders’ newest scheme, and they’ll learn exactly what the State decides they should learn.
Fidel would be proud.
Larry O'Connor hosts two separate radio programs on WMAL in Washington DC and on KABC in Los Angeles. He has a daily, 30-minute podcast covering U.S. Politics and featuring interviews with newsmakers and pundits on the biggest stories of the day. Subscribe here.