Why Do Westerners Hate Authoritarianism? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14805058
It is always in the Western press, criticism over an authoritarian leader. Always you hear from Westerners, "he is a dictator!". And then you hear them say "Putin is not exactly democratic". Why do Westerners have an obsession with democracy and why do they find strict leadership so offensive?

Are most Westerners educated to think in this way from a young age? What makes them so ultra-liberal?
#14805120
Political Interest wrote:It is always in the Western press, criticism over an authoritarian leader. Always you hear from Westerners, "he is a dictator!". And then you hear them say "Putin is not exactly democratic". Why do Westerners have an obsession with democracy and why do they find strict leadership so offensive?

Are most Westerners educated to think in this way from a young age? What makes them so ultra-liberal?


At this point it's tradition.

I would read some political philosophy.
#14805226
Political Interest wrote:It is always in the Western press, criticism over an authoritarian leader. Always you hear from Westerners, "he is a dictator!". And then you hear them say "Putin is not exactly democratic". Why do Westerners have an obsession with democracy and why do they find strict leadership so offensive?

Are most Westerners educated to think in this way from a young age? What makes them so ultra-liberal?


It is because we cherish freedom and liberty.

BTW, freedom and liberty is a bedrock conservative principle.
#14805263
Political Interest wrote:Are most Westerners educated to think in this way from a young age? What makes them so ultra-liberal?


I would suggest that the Western worlds concepts of individual liberty are deeply ingrained in our society and have been for centuries. It has its roots in Athenian Democracy, The Roman Republic, Magna Carta, the Reformation, Parliamentary Democracy, the American Revolution and so on.
#14805270
It is understandable that they would reject authoritarianism in their own countries, but their utter offense at any country that is not democratic is a type of bigotry.

If our only objection to certain countries is that they are not democratic then that is utterly ridiculous. We clearly have no issues when we are dealing with authoritarian states that happen to be our allies.

There are cases in which an authoritarian solution cannot be avoided. For example, in much of Asia democracy was not possible during the 20th century. It took strict leadership to industrialise many of these countries and ensure that they did not turn into corrupt banana republics. While there were many corrupt and oppressive dictatorships, there were also a number which did not rule with absolute terror and actually did something for the nations they ruled.

Ultimately democracy can only emerge from specific conditions within a country. It cannot be promoted from abroad. Liberal democracy in Europe and America did not emerge as the result of foreign diplomatic pressure but was instead the free choice of the societies which eventually adopted this system. This is why it is a waste of time for Western leaders to lecture the Chinese about human rights. Western lecturing is not going to turn China into a parliamentary democracy. That can only happen if the Chinese establish democracy on their own.
#14805272
Political Interest wrote:It is understandable that they would reject authoritarianism in their own countries, but their utter offense at any country that is not democratic is a type of bigotry.

No, it's the precise opposite. It's being consistent; if you want democracy for yourself, then you should want democracy for others as well.

If our only objection to certain countries is that they are not democratic then that is utterly ridiculous. We clearly have no issues when we are dealing with authoritarian states that happen to be our allies.

Having no issues with authoritarians allied to us is hypocritical, yes. But in your OP, you were complaining that people didn't like authoritarians in general.

There are cases in which an authoritarian solution cannot be avoided. For example, in much of Asia democracy was not possible during the 20th century. It took strict leadership to industrialise many of these countries and ensure that they did not turn into corrupt banana republics. While there were many corrupt and oppressive dictatorships, there were also a number which did not rule with absolute terror and actually did something for the nations they ruled.

Now, this might be seen as 'bigotry', by saying "those people there cannot form a democracy, they need a strongman to tell them what to do". You might excuse it as realpolitik - saying it takes time to develop a system where democracy, the rule of law, justice and so on can be relied on. Exactly what is bigotry, what is realpolitik turning a blind eye to imperfections, and what is hypocrisy, can be debated. But criticism of authoritarians is fine for a democracy; you're just trying to find excuses for not always doing it.
#14805273
Prosthetic Conscience wrote:Now, this might be seen as 'bigotry', by saying "those people there cannot form a democracy, they need a strongman to tell them what to do". You might excuse it as realpolitik - saying it takes time to develop a system where democracy, the rule of law, justice and so on can be relied on. Exactly what is bigotry, what is realpolitik turning a blind eye to imperfections, and what is hypocrisy, can be debated. But criticism of authoritarians is fine for a democracy; you're just trying to find excuses for not always doing it.


When dictatorships hear a Western leader criticise them over human rights they just think its an obstinant arrogant Westerner telling them what to do. Nationalistic opinion in these countries also responds the same way. It goes in one ear and out the other. There is no way to enforce any of this either.

Democracy can only emerge when the conditions for it exist. It cannot be exported. One of the justifications for the invasion of Iraq was that it would allow for the establishment of Iraqi liberal democracy and the removal of a very oppressive dictator. The conditions did not exist for this and now we see that Iraqi democracy is barely functioning.
#14805279
Democracy is a euphemism for capitalism amongst the elites. If the IMF, the military or the president voices concerns about democracy then you know they're full of shit.
#14805303
For a political forum there is surprisingly little discussion of political philosophy, which I admit I am guilty of myself.

It's hard to argue for example that enlightenment thinkers were not instrumental for the American (e.g. Locke) and French (e.g. Rousseau) revolution.
#14805306
Democracy can only emerge when the conditions for it exist. It cannot be exported. One of the justifications for the invasion of Iraq was that it would allow for the establishment of Iraqi liberal democracy and the removal of a very oppressive dictator. The conditions did not exist for this and now we see that Iraqi democracy is barely functioning.

There is an interesting historical parallel between the modern neo-cons and neo-liberals who try to impose 'democracy' and 'human rights' on the rest of the world, essentially at gunpoint, and the Enlightenment absolutist monarchs of 18th century Europe. They are well-meaning despots (whose despotism now takes an economic-military form rather than a traditional institutional form) who cannot for the life of them understand why people won't just be 'rational' and allow themselves to be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world. Basically, these people are the 21st century equivalent of the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. And they are likely to be just as unsuccessful. :lol:
#14805309
Democracy is not the best form of government, in its purest form it is a utopian idea as retarded as communism.
I do see the value of keeping the masses part of the operations of a State, but the less that part the better for the long term benefit of all. I think the Principe is my personal favorite system, with some changes in regards to transfer of power.
#14805310
Potemkin wrote:There is an interesting historical parallel between the modern neo-cons and neo-liberals who try to impose 'democracy' and 'human rights' on the rest of the world, essentially at gunpoint, and the Enlightenment absolutist monarchs of 18th century Europe. They are well-meaning despots (whose despotism now takes an economic-military form rather than a traditional institutional form) who cannot for the life of them understand why people won't just be 'rational' and allow themselves to be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world. Basically, these people are the 21st century equivalent of the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. And they are likely to be just as unsuccessful. :lol:


Wiki wrote:He is buried in tomb number 42 in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna. He asked that his epitaph read: "Here lies Joseph II, who failed in all he undertook."


:lol:
#14805319
stephen50right wrote:BTW, freedom and liberty is a bedrock conservative principle.


In reality, they are liberal principles; they were born during the enlightenment and came of age during the French Revolution.

To answer the original post I think it is because the West often focuses on the flaws of the system: One or a few people are in power and their character flaws can often corrupt the system.

However, on its own authoritarianism can be a viable system (I personally suscribe to a centralized but weak technocracy), and can yield results. Likewise, democracy can be flawed because the masses are easily deceived (take the election of Trump for example).

In the end, Authoritarianism can work if you separate political freedom and personal freedom. If you keep personal freedoms high and keep the economy from abusing the people, you can crush political freedoms without complaint as there is no reason to rebel.
#14805446
Decky wrote:Putin is hardly a dictator. He has an approval rating any leader in western Europe couldn't even dream of.

Dictatorship and popularity are not mutually exclusive. Here's a business article gushing about how much money some of the 20th centuries mass murderers produced;
http://www.businessinsider.com/most-suc ... sedenbal-1

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