Authoritarianism vs. true Authority


The great Catholic teacher and TV personality, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, described the three essences of an authoritarian system: dogmatic subjection, obedience through fear, and destruction of freedom of thought.

He contrasted these characteristics of Communist regimes with the Catholic Church, which many regard as authoritarian as well.

The key difference is not the “what” of Catholicism or Christianity, but the “who.” Whom are we obedient to?

A tyrannical dictator who murdered his way to the top like Mao or Stalin? No.

We are obedient to Jesus Christ, whose primary characteristic was (and is) love, a love so strong that he died to save us from our sins. We are obedient because he loves us, not because we fear him. We follow his teachings out of our love for him, not blind servitude. He gives us the power of free thinking so that we can choose the good based on truth, rather than choose the bad based on falsehood or mere feeling.

Me being me, of course I thought about these attributes as they apply to Biden and the current Leftist, Democratic regime. Do they demand adherence to certain dogmas? Of course. If one dares question their positions on gender ideology or race relations or climate or the Constitution, that one is labeled “enemy of the state” and equated to “domestic terrorist.”

Do they impose obedience through fear? Most certainly! Those who would disagree face not only the censure of polite society, but the loss of livelihood and reputation. Cancel culture is real and relentless against those who dare to dissent.

Does the modern Leftist political and cultural establishment suppress freedom of thought? Manifestly so.

Daring to question the legitimacy of the 2020 election or threat of climate change gets you banished to Siberia. Open debate about the impacts of gender ideology on our children is prohibited.

Criticism of the Covid vaccine mandates and safety is tagged as propaganda online. “Science” is no longer a watch-word for objective scrutiny with the goal of finding the truth, but is now the preferred tool of government and media to quash free inquiry.

What all of this means is that yes, we do have an authoritarian regime in place right now, one who is ready and willing to dismiss the Constitution and abandon the separation of powers in pursuit of their ideological goals.

The love of Jesus makes the church an authoritative institution, offering and proposing life-giving truths that lead people to happiness both now and after death.

The bitterness and anger of Leftism leads invariably to an authoritarianism that destroys human liberty and true happiness, and denies the existence of life beyond the grave.

History is replete with well-meaning people opting for the Leftist view in hopes of curing societal ills, only to see those societies destroyed and peoples’ lives extinguished.

I hope that we as Americans can avoid that path of destruction and step back from the authoritarian tendencies we now see at work and instead re-embrace our founding ideals of liberty, responsibility, and faithfulness in the ultimate goodness of humanity as exemplified by Christ himself.

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.


  1. Authoritarians and dictators set themselves up above all laws and questioning. They will break any rule to stay in power, and truth is subjective according to the whim of the authoritarian leader. Facts can be used when convenient, but “alternate facts” will be employed just as readily. Authoritarians never willingly give up power and never acknowledge that they are wrong or lost an election.

    Authoritarian rule is anathema to any democratically elected republic regardless of which side of the political spectrum it arises from, e.g, Hitler and Franco from the right and Stalin and Mao from the left.

    Supporting an ideology is reasonable. Supporting an authoritarian because you don’t like the ideology of the other side is playing with fire in a shed full of explosives.