What's been going on in the Philippines probably shouldn't be ignored.
Under new Philippine president, nearly 1,800 have died in extrajudicial killings
Death squads in the Philippines
Philippines' President,Rodrigo Duterte: 'I don't care about human rights'.
Filipino President Duterte threatens to leave 'inutile' United Nations and claims: 'I don't give a shit to them'
Rodrigo Duterte says he's killed 1,700 crooks; pledges 100,000 dead in 1st 6 months as president.
Philippines President Duterte on vigilante drug war: "You can't stop me"
Duterte tells ISIS: 'I can do it 10 times better than you'
Now, this guy's politics are rather interesting. He's got support of the right wing as well as the left wing, and he personally affiliates with socialists and federalists. Trying to pin him down to any one side is difficult, so the best way to describe him would be that of a "radical centrist". Yes, they do exist.
The last time we got authoritarian figures that (usually) couldn't properly be placed on the political spectrum, they, uh... Yeah.
The thing is, it's not just Duterte who is reviving authoritarianism.
I can start with Donald Trump, for one. Clinton is the usual corporatocrat, but Trump is blatantly authoritarian (to the point /r/anarcho_capitalism and /r/libertarian only platonically support him due to him being traditionalist; otherwise, you can find his supporters and quotes even on /r/ShitStatistsSay). Whether he'll actually go through on being an authoritarian ruler deadset on establishing a highly stratified society with intense discipline and military-wank, I don't know. On some level, I feel he's bluffing.
But of course USican politics are clown shows. Let's move to Eurasia, where we have Putin and Erdogan.
Putin is a classic authoritarian ruler, right down to the cult of personality. He's portrayed as being excessively manly— a common trait of authoritarian leaders since machismo is attractive and reassuring to people.
I used to believe that Putin was the most dangerous man on Earth, but nowadays, if anything he's the one keeping us from a nuclear conflagration. I realized this after he suddenly went private in 2014 and everyone thought there was a coup— if Putin were removed, god only knows who would replace him, but everyone knows it would be a madman. Imagine if it were someone like Aleksandr Dugin— you know, the National Bolshevik guy. Fuck it, I'll take Putin! I'd take Stalin over Dugin.
Xi Jinping is also doing his best to re-establish authoritarian rule in an already authoritarian country. He's been called 'the most authoritarian ruler since Mao Zedong', which is saying something. Luckily for us all, he's a technocrat whose head is screwed on straight, and like Putin, he's overseeing his nation during boom times. So he gets a pass too.
These two aren't willing to bring the world to war, and they have not pursued all-out totalitarianism. Their nations know how awful totalitarianism is— Russians respect Stalin because he turned their nation into a superpower, but everyone can admit we didn't need the nasty bits. If we could get Stalin without the Stalinism, I bet Russians would be perfectly fine with it— and guess what role Putin is playing. The Chinese, they have very few fond memories of Mao. Unlike Stalin, which at least saw economic growth and global respect, Mao's reign was an absolute disaster from start to finish and he helped complete China's descent into the laughingstock of the world. Only those still brainwashed believe he was a good leader, but Western media inflates the number of people who believe such by an absurd amount since they want you to think that China's a totalitarian madhouse that just happens to be getting wealthy. Deng Xiaoping, on the other hand— that's a guy to respect, and that's who the Chinese gravitate around. That's whose style Xi Jinping is most trying to replicate. When you talk to Chinese people, they're highly disappointed that Americans are familiar with Mao Zedong (for obvious reasons), but have no clue who Deng Xiaoping is. That would be like if a Chinese person came to the US and only knew who James Buchanan is but has no clue who the hell Abraham Lincoln is supposed to be.
It's Erdogan that upsets me. We didn't need Erdogan. He's basically pulled a Reichstag Fire and threatened World War III by fucking down a Russian jet, something he's only recently (half-heartedly) apologized for. Turkey's in a very important spot in geopolitics, and seeing them descend into outright totalitarianism is disheartening.
North Korea, Belarus, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Iran— these places have been authoritarian/totalitarian for decades. Iran's softening up (slowly and steadily). Syria? Embroiled in civil war.
Airstrip One North Korea? They've perfected totalitarianism, so they won't be going anywhere anytime soon barring forced regime change by China.
Turkey is a place that doesn't need anything like this. They were so close to being truly respected on the global stage, after all. Europe wanted them; Asia wanted them; Russia wanted them; Arabia and Mesopotamia wanted them; they could have been a great global power had they not fallen so hard.
The difference between Duterte and Erdogan— both of whom are responsible for civil cleansing— is that Duterte is sticking to his societies "degenerates". That is, drug dealers and religious subversives like ISIS. Brutal and fascist, undoubtedly, but he's not making any attempt to control all of society. Erdogan, on the other hand, isn't purging citizens but government and authority figures. He's solidifying control over the country, over social life, over schools, over religion, over the media, over the economy, over the military, and more. Only people from his inner party will have any say in matters, and anyone who disagrees or complains is a saboteur, an agent of
It is pretty sad to see authoritarianism make a comeback, but I know it won't last.
Authoritarianism never lasts. I've said it before that we should see authoritarianism and democracy as being the dominant and recessive alleles of human social organization respectively.
Think of it this way:
AA: socio-political and economic authoritarianism
Ad: socio-political authoritarianism/economic democracy
dA: socio-political democracy/economic authoritarianism
dd: socio-political and economic democracy
If either of these have the authoritarian allele, you either already have or will end up with an authoritarian society. Both socio-politics and economics will be authoritarian, given enough time.
That's why I don't think anarcho-capitalism or Chavismo socialism will ever work, as well as why fascism, Marxism-Leninism, and total statism is dead on arrival. Authoritarian countries always— without fail— run into the same problems of developing a class of people detached from the common man and interested only in perpetuating their own power. From this, you develop issues such as artificial scarcity, shortages, stifled innovation, and perhaps even societal regression. In the most extreme cases, you get a boot stamping on a human face— for... well, for some time, but not forever.
States that have greatly democratic societies and free economies are the ones that will do best, both in the short term and long term. Of course, this means that the government must be beholden to the people and limited in its reach, expanding only when the people desire and kept in check by the people as well. This obviously is a precarious balance of power, especially since common people (and what the hell, very-important people as well) are fickle and have changing desires. Everyone wants a better life for themselves and those like them, so that means that you'll have marginalized groups in some way, shape, or form unless there was no majority rule in a nation.
The economy can obviously have big figures so that the funding of big projects can get underway, but if there isn't also extensive economic/workplace democracy, you'll just fall back on developing an economic aristocracy, as the heads of ultra-stratified corporations know how beneficial it is to have puppets in the government. One of the arguments there is that "corporations only want to sell you things, not rule your life." Don't you think ruling your life would make it easier to sell you things, especially if you can only buy from them? Either the State will run corporations, or corporations will run the State. There's no way out of it.
That's why I tend to disregard many statements involving monopolies, for example. Liberals say we need to expand government to crush trusts; libertarians say we need to shrink government to stop them from establishing trusts and pre-approved companies.
For whatever reason (cough political tribalism cough), neither side understands that it takes two to tango. In order for a monopoly to develop, you need a government strong enough to enforce it and a corporation wealthy enough to buy that influence in the first place. If you only limit government, you'll just allow corporations to buy out the government again to establish another monopoly and force stagnation. If you only limit corporations, you'll just allow the state to pick favorites all over again, or worse— establish a monopoly consisting entirely of themselves.
And then you wind up back where you started.
Clearly, there's no way to actually stop this. It's just a consequence of living in our entropic reality. All alleles eventually reappear, after all. If there were enhanced democracy on both sides, we would at least avoid this for extended periods of time. Power would be more evenly spread, and there would be much greater societal stability and innovation.
After all, they say democracies never go to war with each other. Is this true? Not... not exactly, but it's certainly much more difficult to start a war in a democracy since those ruling either don't want to die themselves or want to be re-elected based on the votes of those who don't want to die. Democratic rulers view everyone as a fellow ruler (on some level, at least). Authoritarian rulers don't have to worry about that since they view everyone beneath them as being expendable pawns.
You can see how that will eventually lead to strife, right? I'm not saying there isn't strife in democracies— different groups are vying for the biggest say, after all— but in authoritarian regimes where one group traditionally has the most say, you're going to have a bad time trying to do just about anything.
Authoritarian regimes only manage to be stable if things don't change, or if there's endless growth. In this realm, there's no such thing as endless growth— everything will become an S-curve at some point, whether it be computing power or economic growth. Thus, the only way to keep authoritarian regimes alive is for there to be tradition.
History's greatest authoritarian regime was Egypt. The Egyptian pharaohs reigned for 3,000 to 4,000 years, with turmoil not managing to shake up the power structure all that much. Rome also lasted for centuries, as did Greece, Persia, and China.
But when things start changing at a much more rapid pace, authoritarianism struggles. That's why conservative traditionalism is so rampant in authoritarian or ex-authoritarian regimes and religions.
In our age, characterized by society undergoing radical changes every 5 to 10 years (usually thanks to technology), authoritarian regimes are having a tougher time than ever maintaining control. Things like industrialism and the Internet don't benefit authoritarians because it improves life for the common man too much, to the point we realize we've been had by our rulers and start developing subversive (usually referred to as 'degenerate') thoughts. Authoritarians then glorify the past, saying it was so much better when there wasn't any threat to their rule.
A little bit of Luddism is perfectly fine, but some go much further than that. I remember one Church group leader railing against electronics, saying that "the only electronic item in your children's room should be the alarm clock." And why? Because too many electronics interfered with a person's love of God.
Read: too many electronics gives a person too many free thoughts, which will lead to them choosing against their traditional lifestyle. Wasn't it better when we were devout, God-fearing farmers?
Or maybe, wasn't it better when our nation ruled the world? When we were an empire that spanned continents and could impose our will on anyone?
Not necessarily. But authoritarians don't want you to think such things. They want you to dream of giving them more power so they can wave it around in front of your face and let you lick the splooge of nationalism.
You can get authoritarian regime after authoritarian regime, but rarely do you get one single regime lasting for a long time.
North Korea is a freak in that regard, and notice how everyone expects them to implode eventually. When it comes to other nations, we always speak of revivals or avoiding collapse, but when it comes to totalitarian regimes, collapse is a given. This is because totalitarian regimes are the most unstable of them all. And I mean freakishly unstable. North Korea should have collapsed in the '90s, but they were propped up by China since they're a buffer to the US-backed South Korea. They want the world to think that they're standing due to their own self-sufficiency, but that doesn't explain all those imports they need every year. Even Cuba is not as self-sufficient as people believe, though they're not as repressive as North Korea by far.
This raises the question: where will authoritarianism go in the 21st century? It's possible that it could get super-charged thanks to the same technologies that threatened it so much (things such as widespread surveillance, unpaid droid police officers, and internet tribalism make it possible). All we need is for one nation to make the leap into technocratic fascism and show the rest of the ruling elite how it's done, or at least provide an example to work from.
With Duterte be the first? Erdogan is a classic authoritarian-totalitarian in that his regime needs the internet to be contained, but Xi Jinping knows better than to limit the internet. Instead, they just censor it to a ridiculous extent. Even that won't work, of course. The only way to truly be a proper neo-authoritarianism would be to pull something like destroying net neutrality— making it so that you can't even access alternative news sources, as well as controlling pseudo-alt news and creating a false dichotomy.
Hmmm... Where do we know of a place like that?