Is Authoritarian Nationalism Mostly A Rural Phenomenon?
by Barkley Rosser
Is Authoritarian Nationalism Mostly A Rural Phenomenon?
Offhand it looks like maybe it is. In the US Trump won overwhelmingly in rural areas while losing all of the largest cities. Yes, he took some mid-size declining industrial ones like Youngstown, OH and Erie, Pa, while losing some rural areas in places like Vermont as well as areas with minority groups the majority of the population. But in general it holds, he won the countryside and lost the big cities.
In France, Marine Le Pen is also leading in some declining industrial cities of the Northeast for the upcoming presidential second round, but she loses in the larger growing cities such as Paris and Toulouse. Recently The Economist reported a study showing that as one goes from downtown Paris outward there is a linear and substantial increase in support for her. Again, the countryside is her base.
The Brexit vote was more for nationalism than authoritarianism, but in England it was the same pattern, countryside and declining industrial cities for Exit while London was strongly for Remain. Of course in Scotland, every county was pro-Remain, but that is a special case.
In Russia, where Putin apparently remains very popular, his base is also the countryside. The main location where one finds open opposition to him? Moscow, the largest, richest, and capital city.
So it looks like there is a pattern here, but there are some exceptions.
One is to some extent Turkey, where authoritarian President Erdogan has long had strong support in the largest city, Istanbul. That support fell in the recent referendum vote increasing his power, which he narrowly won, possibly through fraudulent ballot stuffing. But it was more for him than Ankara and Izmir. But in fact it was rural areas that provided the base for the referendum to pass, although it was a near draw in very large Istanbul.
Another is Poland, where the Law and Justice Party has strong support in capital city Warsaw, despite its being full of high tech yuppies and all that. But the now dead Lech Kaczynski was its mayor from 2002-05 before he became president, only to die in a controversial plane crash in 2010. However, Law and Justice also has a strong base in certain rural areas, especially the poor and traditional Southeast.
I think in both of these cases what is involved is religion. Certainly the authoritarian nationalist movements in all these nations are pushing religion or using it, even if just in opposition to other religious groups, especially Muslims. But in both Turkey and Poland the majority local religions are making comebacks from long periods of suppression and trying to really take over their societies. In both of them, there are large numbers of strong followers of the nationally predominant religion in these particular large cities, and this may explain why we see these somewhat different outcomes in them compared to so many other nations experiencing this surge of ugly politics.
Why do you call Trump “authoritarian?” He won on a platform of restoring power to the people, taking it away from the diktats of Washington DC and Obama. This is the OPPOSITE of “authoritarian.” Not like Putin or Erdogan at all.
It certainly seems to me that it is the policies of the left which are authoritarian. The decides what the fuel mileage of cars must be. The government decides what toilets you can buy. The government decides what light bulbs you can buy. The government decides what you can build on your own land. The government decides which schools your children must attend. The government decides that you MUST buy health insurance, and what policies you are “allowed” to buy. The government has to take your money from you to pay for your parents’ and grandparents’ retirement, because they were too stupid and short-sighted to provide for their own retirement and you are too selfish to take care of them in their old age.
You mean authoritarian zionism. Yes, that is what it is. Brexit is the Rothschild love child, pure and simple. Front National was the chauvinistic version of “Socialist”. The 2 were as responsible for the modern French system that came in place during the 80’s as much as anybody else. That part makes them very mainstream. Bigger cities like Paris want the streamlined Nordic system and frankly, it is the anti-establishment vote.
In the US, you don’t mean “rural”, you mean small/medium sized cities that historically have voted Republican. From 1876 to 2016 the voting patterns in the midwest and western half of the US were pretty similar outside the “cult of personality” that was FDR and to a lesser extent JFK. The Democrats had coalitions in big/medium cities north of the mason/dixon that expanded during the 30’s while keeping the south intact, creating the new deal coalition. It wasn’t until the coalition broke up that the Democrats electoral strength faded despite not being as bad as the post-Civil War era.
When asked about Putin having critics killed in the streets, Trump said this showed he was “strong.” When asked about the Tienanmen Square massacre, he said the same thing. He has called for the elimination of a court that has ruled against him. He has ordered press out of briefings when they criticize him. He has ordered deportations of many people and ordered cessation of immigration by people from various countries.
Your need to prove rural=authoritarian is throwing you off track. The fact is that rural=conservative and, probably, rural=nationalist. I wrote a post here on AB on that back in 2010: http://angrybearblog.strategydemo.com/2010/02/topical-thread-feb3-2010-pop-density.html
The causes of this are a mystery, and well worth exploring.
Trump has shown some authoritarian tendencies. However, your last sentence strikes me as missing something fundamental.
Assume hypothetically there is a long standing law determining a lengthy set of steps required in order for a person to be allowed to buy cheese. You may agree with the law or disagree with it. But the law was the will of Congress when it was enacted, was not vetoed by the then President, has not been overturned by Congress since, and has not been declared unconstitutional by the Courts. A President who makes vague and somewhat incoherent statements about enforcing the land may or may not be an authoritarian, but his ramblings about enforcing the law is not evidence either way. In fact, stating that he will ignore the law of the land because he doesn’t like it is actually a better sign the President is an authoritarian.
All governments are authoritarian. They just tend to emphasize control of different things and apply that control to different groups differently. The left wing tends to want to control business: what you can buy and sell. The right wing gives business a free hand and wants to control what you do with your time, what you think, what you can do with your body.
Trump isn’t relinquishing any of Obama’s powers.If you believe what he says, his main complaint is that the government isn’t controlling enough things. He wants to control the press and internet traffic. He wants to control what fuel you burn to prop up a dead business. He wants to control the results of your observations and experiments. He wants to control whether you have a child or not.
The average rural resident has the capability of providing all of the basic human needs: food, water, shelter, self defense. This provides them with the confidence that they really don’t need a strong government structure. They would resent or reject authoritarian acts by the government.
On the other hand, urban residents, your software programmer, etc., relies on a complex system to achieve these needs. A system that needs strong government control. It is they that need the authoritarian government (see Warren’s comment).
Actually to take the point a bit further consider folks living in Edwards and Real Co Tx which have a population density of .9 persons per square mile, versus folks living in Manhattan (70,000 per square mile). First there are a lot more interactions between folks in Manhattan just because there is a much greater population density. So interactions between people need to be more regulated at 70k per square mile. (Actually Edwards and Real county are by the 19th century definition frontier. And out there it might take quite a while for a first responder to arrive. (likley only 1 on duty and they could be up to an hour away), so a shotgun might make sense in that environment at least to kill varmints.
The other issue is why should everything be controlled only at the federal level is it because folks don’t trust the state governments? Most pollution is also illegal by state law. In the county I live the first water pollution regulations were set up in 1939 because the local river is the prime attraction. You see the Trump admin still desiring to move stuff up to the federal level and not leave it to the states, with Rick Perry proving himself a hypocrite on the subject.
Why does some one not run on really following the 9th and 10 amendments and only doing at the federal level what states can not. (Take a narrow view of the commerce clause for example)
To give another example if you watch Alaska state troopers you see that it is expected that everyone in Ak carries a gun. (To handle attacking grizzlies) Obviously that does not work in San Francisco Ca or Manhattan.
Another example of trying to do federal one size fits all rules that fit no one.
To follow Lyle, Wyoming ranks 49th in population density: 5.1 per square mile. Everyone carries a survival kit in their car, because if it breaks down, it might be days until someone else comes along. You can’t rely on some government agency, you have to take care of yourself. BTW it is a reliably red state.
and over represented in The House
So far the US system of checks and balances, its courts and legistatures, have held Trump back from carrying out what he would like to do. In that regard he is more a wannabe authoritarian than an actually existing one. But another area where he seems to want to imitate other authoritarians abroad that he admires openly is with press freedom, which we again hear he wants to restrict, making reporters more subject to libel laws, especially when they criticize him. Indeed, he has supported this for years, a violation of the First Amendment. Face it, folks, if you think Trump is not an authoritarian (or trying to be one), you are seriously deluded.
Also, much of this he is doing, or trying to do, by executive order, which he denouinced Obama for using. Most of the supposed “authoritarianism” some have mentioned above, such as taxing people to pay for Social Security, was passed by Congress and upheld in the courts, although in fully authoritarian systems like Putin’s Russia, the legislature and courts become controlled by The Leader, which has not been the case since Social Security was adopted back in the 1930s, although if you are addle-pated you might think that.
“The average rural resident has the capability of providing all of the basic human needs: food, water, shelter, self defense.”
The idea that this statement is said, let alone imply that it is factual, is beyond belief in 2017. This is not the 19th century, as much as some people want it to be.
FWIW, I complied the voting population in the 2016 election by party vote, and the populations >= 18 in every county in the US, including each county’s population by race, for those who are citizens (eigable to vote) and for all residents (subtraction gives total non-citizen populaiton in each county by race).
What I wanted to find out is whether and to what degree voting preference related to county population densities and then by racial population densities. So I also compiled the land area of every county of the U.S. as the first best measure of population density. I’d have done this by voting district as well if the demographics, votes by party, and area’s existed by voting districts but alas they don’t, but the analysis is transparent to the size of the data base except for a few more millisec’s of compute time for a voting district data base so it’s too bad that level of data doesn’t exist. It does exist in part by zip-codes, but not the area (sq. miles), or racial break-downs, or citizens v non-citizens >= 18 (voting age).
So the best I can get is county level stats and analysis for the US (and within each state, and within regions of the U.S. of course.
I didn’t complete my analysis yet, but did complete part of it> What I found so far is that the former confederate states compared to the rest of the U.S. counties, voted completely differently than the rest of the U.S. counties…. basically these states are a complete separate population voting preferences by county and size of population in counties. This part of my analysis wasn’t by areal density but simply by county population size (of citizens >= 18) and proportion whites v blacks.. I’ll do Hispanics when I get around to it.
The only reason I looked at the former confederate states as a subset is because in a very preliminary cursory overview of the data I noticed large set of counties were outliers from the normal distribution… and it turned out that over 95% of those outliers were counties in the former confederate states… the other 5% or so were border states and a few isolated counties in the mid-west.
And since most of the former confederate state’s counties are roughly similar in area and all are very small (excepting Texas and Arizona) equal the composite of U.S. voting trends by high v low density counties will be completely different than in the former confederate states.
I’ll get around to the completing the analysis of voting trend by county density and demographics sooner or later to see whether and to what degree there’s a density relationship to voting patterns, but the former southern states are a completely different group … cannot be considered part of a homogeneous population of counties in the rest of the U.S.
One of the earliest things I found was that the former confederate state counties that voted overwhelmingly democratic were small counties along the Mississippi with small towns only and only on one side of the Mississippi… and it turned out that these counties were also overwhelming black (70%ish or more), so at least in some former confederate state counties there’s a purely racial voting pattern having nothing to do with population densities in rural / farming counties. I also checked the economics of those counties most recent available census data…. they were among the very poorest in the states in which they occurred.
BTW I also checked some of the former confederate state’s counties that voted overwhelmingly GOP… the were overwhelmingly white and among the wealthiest counties in the state.. the most wealthy counties in fact.
This makes me suspect that there’s a reason for white counties remaining overwhelmingly white and wealthy in the south and black counties remaining black and poor… and this would have to do with conditions that limit racial mobility from county to county. When I checked the black/white ratio in those same counties in the 1860’s census records there was little change in the proportions…. so that some counties were dominated by slaves and others by whites with far,far fewer slaves…. and that hasn’t changed much in the ensuing 150 years., indicating a systematic reason for lack of mobility from county to county by race It’s likely from the cursory examination of agricultural output from those states that were dominantly white in the 1860 census that they were also more / less occupied by poor whites at that time with poor agricultural land for plantations, while the river adjoining land was highly productive for plantations and hence large slave populations. Not much seems to have changed in 150 plus years, though the formerly poor agricultural area’s are now the rich and wealthy counties with large businesses dominating them.
I lived on a rural ranch in a rural county in NorCal from 2 to 6 and spent summers and early fall on large rural ranches (my uncles) until I was 14. There were always 2 or 3 rifles (or 2 rifles and a shotgun) with several boxes of shell in the drawer next to them.
The only thing they were ever used for was recreational hunting for deer (or rabbits, squirrels or qual, for us kids playing around like “big hunters”) during deer season or ducks / geese in season… The city slicker friends came up every deer and duck season to hunt so it was a purely recreational use of those weapons — nobody I ever heard of used them for anything else… protection, wolfs, mountain lions, a very occasional bear (usually with cubs), coyote, rattle snakes, whatever weren’t for killin’
When I was 4 and playing under an oak tree outside the kitchen with a bunch of old bricks in a pile my mom rushed out grabbed a hoe and used the hoe to “throw it” a rattler that was coiled up near me a safe distance away. I didn’t even know what the big dieal was at that time of course. My mom had been alerted by our dog who was going ape-shit barking at ‘something’ near me … since I saw nothing the dog was snarling and barking at I ignored it…. 4 year olds aren’t yet very aware of danger. Years and years later i asked my mom about that incident and why she didn’t use one of the rifles that was always right near the kitchen entrance…. she said there was no need to kill the rattler … just make it go away. Rattlers ate mice, and gophers, and rabbits…. and that was a good thing. Year was 1949.
The only other things that rifles were used for was to kill lambs, beef cattle, or pigs for slaughter, or put down a cow that had a broken leg… or very infrequently a lame horse.
I was up to the old ranch property a couple years ago to see what it was like now… it had been divided up into 10 acre parcels with small houses on them.. none rich or wealthy type houses. The one next to the old oaks I used to play under was fenced with 8 foot high fencing and had four very mean dogs on 20 foot chains. The occupant cam out of the small house with a drawn hand-gun… not a small one either and his girl-friend came out behind him with a raised rifle… I’d guess a 30.06.. not a 0.22 that’s for sure. I stayed in my car and told the guy why I was there and he said ok, so you saw it now get the f..k outtahere right f..k now. I presume now he was making drugs behind the high fences and I was clearly a threat of some kind, since I sure wasn’t a customer he recognized.
My message is only that weapons are either for use in ranching purposes, recreation, or for killing people.. mostly the latter, as I learned during my stint in the U.S. Army. Hand-guns are only for killing people, and anything more than a 12-gauge double barrel or 30.06 is not for sport or ranch use. .
I know what an M16 is for.. and it sure as f..k ain’t for sport or anything else that has more than 6 rounds in a magazine. Anybody telling you otherwise is lying..
I was trained in the Army with an M1 and then M16. I was 2nd highest marksman while prone and crouched and the highest scored marksman while standing in 5 company’s. I was asked if I would consider becoming a sniper …. ie. go to AIT for snipers. I said no. they asked if I’d change my mind if they gave me two more stripes… I said no. Killing people is only if you are placed in a kill or be killed situation… and I was lucky never have been placed in that situation during my stint.
I still have my old .22 somewhere up in the garage loft with the bolt wrapped up somewhere else and the magazine in some other location.. I’ll be damned if I can find them all in less than an hour of searching.
Not to worry though. My neighbor across the street has an arsenal of hand-guns and weapons of all types and sizes… mostly fully automatic with “legal” magazines. He has loaders and enough powder and shells for a full militia, and a gun range under the house (large / huge basement). Some neighbor called the cops on him once and they came out (10 cops) and by the time they left they’d shot several rounds with his various automatic weapons at his targets (showing off their own prowess of course) and were buddy-buddy with my neighbor.
I’ve shot a few rounds from time to time with his weapons as well, and I can say for absolute certain none of those weapons are useful for sport. Why does he have them? In case the blacks or browns come up the hill to loot, rape, and kill all the with folks… he’s ready for them.
I kid you not. He’s not paranoid he doesn’t think, just being cautious. We’ve been good neighbors with one another for over 25 years, though he’s far, far right and I’m on the other side (so we never talk any serous politics). But I know him well, and through him a few of his other gun-nut friends who are equally just being “cautious” … but they’re paranoid in fact… waiting for the next civil war or revolution or gov’t take-over of their personal freedoms (as I understand their basic concerns). These guys are all highly educated with at least 4 year or more college degrees and have spent careers in the professional ranks. They’re not stupid but they are crazy far right wingers.
And oh, all of them grew up in suburbia and never spent any time on a ranch or in any other rural environment, and none served in the military, and as near as I’ve been able to determine not one of them has ever gone hunting (deer, ducks, geese, bear, elk, or even squirrel hunting). Go figure. .