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Bradley Butterfield: Time to end authoritarian rule

Bradley Butterfield: Time to end authoritarian rule

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We all rely on authorities, experts in their fields, people with the power to make our system work. Most of us respect authorities who have earned their positions of power and prestige.

Authoritarianism, however, poses a grave threat to the relative freedoms we enjoy.

The authoritarian personality enjoys moral clarity and simplicity, an either/or world of good guys and bad guys, and identifies with powerful authority figures who have the power to punish the bad guys.

Authoritarians feel most emboldened when conforming to that power and excoriating non-conformists, and believe that the righteousness of their ends justifies any means.

Authoritarianism is a problem on the left, with its race-reductive moral logic and online mob tribunals, but President Donald Trump’s right-wing authoritarianism is a far greater threat to our nation.

He cannot stop Americans from finding about his inaction and incompetence on COVID-19. More than 100,000 preventable deaths have made the U.S. an object of worldwide ridicule and now pity.

Calling those facts fake news won’t work this time, so to retain power he’s turning our cities into war zones where his good guys force peacefully protesting bad guys to submit to their, and his, authority, just to distract us from his colossal failure of leadership.

He’ll continue to lie to inspire fear and hatred in his base, and will cheat to influence the election, which he’ll certainly contest if he loses.

We must ensure that he loses “bigly” to end the spread of this noxious authoritarianism before it’s too late.

Bradley Butterfield, La Crosse

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