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Current Page: Opinion | Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Donald Trump's Authoritarianism: A New Political Correctness?

Donald Trump's Authoritarianism: A New Political Correctness?

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump asks his supporters to raise their hands and promise to vote for him at his campaign rally at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida March 5, 2016. | (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski)

Many Americans are in search of an authoritarian rather than a president.

The hunger for authoritarianism is the outcome of an age of chaos and political uncertainty. For some, the modern presidency peaked in Ronald Reagan, then slid into a visionless flatland in George H.W. Bush, plunged into a nettled wilderness in Bill Clinton, galloped off into wild-west adventurism in George W. Bush, and finally foundered in the doldrums in Barack Obama.

Wallace Henley is an exclusive CP columnist. | (By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)

Enter Donald Trump, the man who says he can fix it all. The New York billionaire, real estate mogul, casino impresario, and Barnum-esque orator, has spewed up like hot magma and poured out across the political landscape, setting things ablaze.

As the Icelandic landmass thunderously testifies, glaciers are born of fire. Down in earth's depths the cauldron burns, and gushes fiery rivers of lava into the coldness of the far north. Eventually the lava hardens into rock. The bitter cold takes over and heaves up an island that calves glaciers.

The 1960s Cultural Revolution was the fiery upheaval that ultimately hardened into the glacial authoritarianism of the PC movement of our time. Many American campuses reveal the hunger for PC authoritarianism. Students must have safe places where ideas are prohibited that might shatter their presuppositions and shake their pet ideologies. Trigger warnings must alert young minds of potential threats to their cherished myths. Open-mindedness, free inquiry and speech have been frozen out by student and professorial mobs and their determination to chill debate.

And eventually it leads to Professor Melissa Click and her authoritarian call for "some muscle" to get rid of prying reporters.

Regarding politics, once we fretted over the rise of an "imperial presidency", and now in the cold shadow of Obama, we yearn for a strong and vigorous chief executive who can stand up to the world. However, domineering candidates who hop on whatever ideology seems the best ride to the White House are opportunists whose fiery dynamism invariably hardens into the glacier of a new authoritarianism when elected.

Trump is now a prairie fire zooming across a nation suffering a leadership drought. But put him in the White House and he might quickly cover the country with a glacier of authoritarianism.

Ironically, Trump's appeal to many is because the Republican Party has become a cold, dead glacier. It was born of fire when it became the party of Lincoln, then froze up in the ignominies of Reconstruction. In the early twentieth century Teddy Roosevelt, a Trump precursor, spewed across the landscape hoping to reignite the Republican vision, but he created a new glacier of authoritarian statism.

The contemporary GOP establishment has perpetuated that old ice-block and created Trump. The Republican bosses are so desperate to groom the glacier that they look to Mitt Romney as the savior. However, rather than giving a whiff of fresh air, a Mitt Romney candidacy would be a cold blast actually hardening the glacier that freezes out so many voters.

Thus Donald Trump.

"After giving us lackluster centrist candidates in election after election, the (GOP) elite is amazed that the rank and file are so fed up that many are falling for a pseudo-populist huckster who's smart enough to take positions that are anathema to the establishment," writes Don Feder at The American Thinker.

Yet put fiery Trump in the White House and the result is likely to be one more authoritarian ice-mass.

The clues are already observable. "An American Tyrant" is the title of a column by Aaron Goldstein in The American Spectator. He cites an exchange from the recent Detroit debate between Fox News' Bret Baier and Trump. Noting that leaders in the military and intelligence communities as well as more than one-hundred foreign policy experts have said they would not support Trump's intensified use of torture, Baier asked: "So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?"

"I'm a leader," Trump fired back. "I've always been a leader. I've never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they're going to do it. That's what leadership is all about."

Actually, it's not. Trump's strategic philosophy is more about control and raw authoritarianism than leadership.

Thus, in electing Trump, America might easily go from chilling PC — Political Correctness — to icy TC — Trump Correctness, and one would be just as suffocating as the other.

Wallace Henley, a former Birmingham News staff writer, was an aide in the Nixon White House, and congressional chief of staff. He is a teaching pastor at Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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