Are You Anti-Authoritarian?

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Before a sensible conversation is possible, everyone has to agree on definitions. The fact that millions of Americans don’t agree on definitions is arguably the main reason why political conversation in this country is so often incoherent – and we therefore get nowhere.

For example, we have the ongoing “debate” (so-called) between Republicans and Democrats, “conservatives” and “liberals.” It is like the “debate” between the National Socialists of long-ago Germany and the communists of Soviet Russia. Fascism, communism – they are both in fundamental agreement, much as they argue (often fiercely) about the particulars. It is the same with our Republicans and Democrats. They do not fundamentally disagree. Both urge that society be organized on an authoritarian collectivist basis – though they each call this by a different name. They disagree merely on the ways in which this force is to be organized – and how it is to be used.

Most Americans are either socialists or fascists, to one degree or another. On the political “left” we have those who favor economic redistribution in the name of “the poor.” On the political “right,” we have those who favor economic redistribution for the sake of “defense” and other cartelized manifestations of big business.

But both meet in the middle.

They agree that rights are really conditional privileges, granted (and limited) by “society.” Neither respects ownership of our persons, let alone our property. Both exert their power over the individual by coercive, collectivist mechanisms which the individual is required to obey in exactly the same way as William Wallace of Braveheart renown was told he had committed treason against “his” king by refusing to Submit and Obey. When Wallace tells his inquisitors that “never in my life did I swear allegiance to him,” the blase reply, “It matters not – he is your king,” is just exactly the same reply any individual American would receive today (by form letter) from, say, the IRS. And it would be affirmed by most Americans, too.

So, definitions.

To have a proper conversation in 2012 America, we should begin by dispensing with the intellectually dishonest and conversationally incoherent terms, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative.

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Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.

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