Francis Schaeffer’s warning about the rise of Elite Authoritarianism in the United States
More than 4 decades ago, a theologian, philosopher, apologist and prophet wrote two books (How Should We Then Live; and Christian Manifesto) that clearly warned us that America would likely come under the strong influence of what he called “Elite Authoritarians.” It is incumbent upon us to be alert to what this group has the ability to do, and what influence they may already have upon our culture, values, and beliefs. And even more, this could negatively impact how American citizens see Israel, the Jewish people, and the Middle East situation.
Dr. Schaeffer foresaw a time when the primary entity of power and influence in the United States would be composed of an increasingly authoritarian group of “elites”, made up of the following:
Government Career Politicians and Executives. (akin to our current Deep State). The political party professionals who truly run Washington, and who consider themselves as “keepers of the flame.” Recent examples of career federal executives in our Justice Department who clearly overstepped their responsibilities by attempting to de-rail an elected Chief Executive are instructive.
Media Professionals…..newspapers and TV. Remember, this was predicted long before the time of self-appointed “expert” talking heads on 24-hour cable TV news stations). Schaeffer was most concerned about a time when the media elites would become new-makers rather than news reporters. Schaeffer wrote: “This ability to generate news rests upon a kind of syndrome or psychology or mind-set, not only in the journalistic fraternity but also in influential circles comprised of congressmen, other government officials, and professors.”
Scholars and Scientists who have achieved celebrity-status, and who have now become so powerful and authoritarian that they can destroy fellow scientists merely by labeling them as “deniers” rather than skeptics. The authoritarian atmosphere within many of our higher education institutions has become the very antithesis of what they proudly claim, i.e., a free discussion of ideas.
Technocratic Elites. Again, this was predicted long before our current age of computers, and the evolution of social media platforms. These are the high-profile technology executives who have such a powerful impact on our society today…for better and for worse. This group has become more influential in our society each and every year, and their values and decisions have certainly shaped our culture. They have also demonstrated authoritarian characteristics in the way they control what should and shouldn’t be seen on the internet. They have complete control over what appears on our search engines, and in their internet news reports.
Judicial Elites. This unelected, politically-appointed group has shown their authoritarian stripes by taking an increasing role in thwarting certain decisions made by the country’s Chief Executive. Over the past year, there have been numerous instances that show an authoritarian-type of hostile judicial behavior. This increasing power of federal judges has become such a strong force that it can only be overturned by the Supreme Court judges.
Where do these Elite Authoritarians (EA’s) come from? They are not necessarily authoritarian-personality type people who have become elites, and then use their new-found celebrity as a platform for telling other people what they must and must not do. Rather, the EAs are mostly made up of people who have been given elite status by means of our celebrity-focused society, and then come to realize that the power and influence they are given makes them feel they know best about what should be done, what must be believed, and who deserves to be praised…..and who to be despised. The 2016 pre-election campaign provided us with a perfect example of how a select group of EAs regarded 50% of the electorate as “deplorables” and ”irredeemables.”
What impact can these Elite Authoritarians have on U.S. foreign policy? Authoritarian behavior is often displayed through aggressive behavior, cynicism, and stereotyping. If this group has a mind-set to “turn on you”, to regard you as the enemy, they have enormous resources to influence the thoughts of American citizens. If the Elite Authoritarians were to become cynical about the U.S.- Israeli historical partnership, it would mean the long-standing support for Israel could easily become fractured. The EAs would find opportunities to chip away at the strong foundation, and eventually create an atmosphere of distrust and non-support for Israel and its future. Within the past 30 days, among members of the U.S. Congress, we have already seen such a chipping away, and an unwillingness among the Washington, D.C.-based Elite Authoritarians to respond in ways they would clearly have done in the past.
What did Dr. Schaeffer fear? He most feared “the manipulation by the new elite.” The current Administration has taken on the Elite Authoritarian establishment, and the resulting counter-attacks are clearly meant to stifle any objections to the EA’s long-term plans and programs for America.
Dr. Schaeffer was prescient, and we should be alert.