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Authoritarianism is a largely liberal concept in political science used to describe governments which are said to lack certain elements of liberal bourgeois democracy, including political pluralism, separation of powers, republicanism, and political freedoms such as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

It is notable that this label has also been applied to governments based on reports of authoritarian practices which later turn out to be false. In the 21st century, the ability of the Western liberal establishment to distinguish itself from illiberal forms of government has degenerated to such a point that liberal governments and media have resorted to a form of open cognitive dissonance, or "doublespeak", which uses contradicting labels. By the rejection of political plurality, the use of strong central power to preserve the political status quo, and reductions in the rule of law, separation of powers, and democratic voting.


A Marxist analysis could be considered contrary to the concept of "authoritarianism".

Examples of contradictions in the concept of authoritarianism include:

  • Western political apparatuses, such as that of the United States, use "freedom" and "authoritarianism" as two tools to reduce dissent, alternating between the two depending on which becomes necessary or convenient.
  • The forcible or extortive implementation of neoliberal policies, especially free-market reforms, austerity, and privatization. For just a few examples, consider:

See also