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antidemocratic system of political rule characteristic of the most reactionary political systems of capitalist states, such as the fascist regimes in Germany, Italy, Spain, and elsewhere.

Authoritarianism is a totalitarian form of government or political regime under which procedures of democratic decision-making are either absent altogether or else are fictitious, existing merely for show. The power is not constituted or controlled by the people, who have no guarantees in the face of an absolute, uncontrolled authoritarian regime. Real power is concentrated in the hands of the ruling elite, which is selected by special procedures. Authoritarianism is characterized by excessive centralization, the monopolization of power by an elite who are organized in a strict hierarchy, outright reliance on the military-punitive apparatus, and the extensive use of terrorist reprisals against the opposition. Supreme power in an authoritarian state is usually concentrated in the hands of a so-called leader (Führer, duce, caudillo, etc.).

Characteristics of authoritarian ideology are demagoguery, the use of racial, nationalistic, religious, and other myths, and appeal to the indisputable authority of the so-called leader. The authoritarian regime constantly cultivates fanaticism and encourages fear among the masses.

The general crisis of capitalism is characterized by the curtailment of bourgeois democracy and the tendency toward autocratic and fascist methods of government. Despite the military collapse of Fascism in World War II (1939–45), authoritarian tendencies continue to exist. This is evidenced, in particular, by military-police coups in a number of countries, neo-Nazism and neo-Fascism, the striving of financial oligarchies to establish regimes of personal power, the tendency toward the use of emergency laws, and the prohibition in a number of countries of communist and workers’ parties and other progressive democratic organizations.


References in periodicals archive ?
He is the author of five books, including his Overseas Press Club Award-winning "Russia and the Russians: Inside the Closed Society.
A closed society is one where the primary intent of laws and institutions is to ensure its survival by protecting itself from outsiders, and its conception of morality contains no concern for those outside.
My friends are so upset about this, especially because we are not a very closed society - we have bars, clubs and hookers which are not allowed in Islam, so why isn't there something for these people (homosexuals)?
Thirty years earlier, on the December 18, 1978, the Communist party ratified the decision of Deng Xiaoping, then the country's leader, to abandon the strictly closed society of his predecessor, Mao Zedong.
So far Orthodox Christians believed in two separate worlds, as if homosexuality is not part of their own closed society.
The cyclone tragedy there has brought it to front pages worldwide and lead items on TV news, not least because of the problems with getting aid into the closed society.
The omission of any historical treatment of these identities is a flaw, but the book's main purpose is to generate knowledge about what's happening in China, still a relatively closed society, at a time when the West's need to know has never been greater.
These month-long visits to what was then a very closed society allowed him to have a lasting impact on the nascent Chinese coatings industry and to develop deep friendships that lasted the rest of his life.
I was also impressed with the openness of the presenters, because law enforcement tends to be a closed society, and it was like that when I was a part of it," he said.
But he made a decision not to become a "New York artist," preferring California (first San Francisco, then Los Angeles) to what he perceived as a closed society.
A traditional, closed society with a high degree of cultural homogeneity might develop a widely shared sense of solidarity and "fair play" that would inhibit opportunistic behavior.
Until our entelechy is redirected to the realm of the spirit, man's barbarity will thrive in a naturalistically closed society run astray from its potentiality to be brought up into the true scientific attitude of a genuinely open society.