I don’t think most right-leaning individuals truly grasp the implications when we assert that Republicans tend toward authoritarianism. This perception could be rectified in a mere hour; all it takes is a simple adjustment in one’s perspective. Treat the first instance of an action deemed undesirable with extreme severity, and let that be known. Once people realize that authoritarianism doesn’t mean clamping down on freedoms, the argument loses its ground.
Beyond this, there seems to be a lack of understanding about how easily one can slip into authoritarianism and what that entails. This lack of alarm, especially regarding Trump’s statements, extends beyond conservatives. There’s a prevailing sentiment that if you didn’t want severe punishment, you shouldn’t have broken the law. This perspective echoes in the discussions around Texas’ use of razor wire and circular saw blades – a sentiment that if people didn’t want to risk danger, they shouldn’t have broken the law.
What might be happening is a case of cognitive dissonance, pushing individuals into a misunderstanding of what it truly means to be a rule-of-law country. The essence of a rule-of-law nation lies in Cicero’s famous quote – “Let the punishment fit the crime.” This principle is enshrined in our own Bill of Rights, explicitly prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment. It’s the cornerstone of living in a free society, a concept called justice, ensuring that the accused are genuinely guilty, the laws are just, and the humanity of the punished is remembered.
However, the Republican party of today, filled with insecure control freaks, claims to uphold the rule of law – almost religiously. Yet, within their fear-driven mindset, the genuine definition of the rule of law doesn’t align because it contradicts their worldview. Instead, they have twisted it into a notion that implies locking up the ‘bad people’ to ensure the freedom of the ‘good people,’ inadvertently steering into authoritarianism. While everyone acknowledges that freedom must have limits, these individuals have swung the pendulum to the extreme without even realizing it.