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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 ?
These results supported my hypothesis that it would be authoritarian aggression, rather than authoritarian submission and conventionalism, that would be related to variation in attitudes toward torture, and this finding can be viewed as lending support for a three-dimensional model of authoritarianism (e.
The result is retrenched authoritarianism, defined as not simply a return to the pre-Arab Spring status quo, but rather the creation of more intransigent and potent means of controlling society on part of incumbent regimes.
Unlike the centrally planned Soviet Union, and indeed even unlike the regime that governed China under Mao Zedong, today's Chinese government seems to dodge many of the criticisms that applied to earlier experiments with authoritarianism.
Father's authoritarianism can have a drastic effect on the performance of students in many aspects.
Military intervention in politics and the roles of parties and legislatures in authoritarian regimes, in particular, lie in a well-trodden line of existing scholarship, and while Svolik's findings shed new light on these topics, they do not point out previously overlooked or under-examined aspects of authoritarianism with potentially wide-ranging implications.
Several researches on antisemitism--the ones in which antisemitism is the dependent variable to be explained--tend to use authoritarianism as an underlying factor to explain antisemitism (see, for example, Enyedi, 1999; Enyedi, Eros, Fabian, Fleck, & Albert, 1997; Enyedi & Todosijevic, 2002; Frindte, Wettig, & Wammetsberger, 2005; Raden, 1999).
Journal of International Affairs: There is much debate on how to define authoritarianism today, and whether this concept subsumes all nondemocratic political environments or merely describes a stage in the progression toward democracy.
Krastev says that the new Russian authoritarianism won't implode the way communism did, but will instead slowly decline.
In this latest journey into a paranoid future where surveillance and authoritarianism rule, choral chants signal communal uprising and Berlioz meets Bowie.
After a long decline during the later decades of the 20th Century, the study of authoritarianism has been greeted with renewed interest in the past few years.
neuroticism, authoritarianism, empathy) that predict jurors' verdicts.
Democracy & Authoritarianism in the Arab World.