Authoritarianism (from the Latin auctor – creator, founder and auctoritas – authority) – a concept that arose in the 19th century, literally means the autocratic rule. Among the political regimes, the authoritarian takes an intermediate position between the extreme right, despotic, totalitarian and moderately democratic. Specific authoritarian regimes may be closer to either the right or the left political flank and adopt either a liberal-democratic image (de Gaulle’s rule in France) or a right-conservative, reactionary and despotic (the reign of Perón in Argentina, Salazar in Portugal). The main features of authoritarianism are: concentration and centralization of personal power, command control; reduction of the role of representative institutions; minimization of opposition, autonomy of political and public organizations (parties, unions); restriction in the whole associative life of society; reduction of self-government; hierarchical type of leadership in all areas of society; the requirement of unconditional obedience; emphasis on coercion.
Authoritarian ideology is a specific form of ideology of order, leading from the ideology of the restoration of the early 19th century (J. de Place, L. de Bonald, R. de la Tour du Pin) with its romantic cult of the historical past, national heroes, with developed political mythology, with an emphasis on the determining role of power, the state and obedience (the idea of Bonald is the causal nature of the king’s power, the nobility as a means of its implementation and society of citizens as a consequence).
To theoreticians of authoritarianism, T. Hobbes, an ideologist of strong state power, capable of bringing order and curbing the anarchy of unlimited freedom, is often regarded. Other prominent theoreticians of the authoritarian type of government are known: X. D. Cortes (1809-53), an opponent of liberalism and socialism, a supporter of the religious absolutist model; F.Yu.Shal (1801-61) – theorist of the monarchical version of authoritarianism; G.Treichke (1834-96) – an ideologist and theorist of the imperial rule of Bismarck. The historical forms of authoritarianism changed from reactionary to conservative and Bonapartist, then liberal, later they were supplemented by nationalist, pro-fascist (for example, Sh. Morras) and fascist variants (Franco regime in Spain, the military junta in different countries). In the 2nd part of 20-century crises of individual national states brought to life new authoritarian regimes (Adenauer in Germany, de Gaulle in France, “Iron Lady” M. Thatcher in England).