Eh, norms are important. Again, consistency of expectation as a reflection on the quality of behavior is integral to the social fabric. But law is also the foundation of authoritarian systems. It is their primary tool for ensuring cooperation on a broad scale. All legal systems are inherently authoritarian, as they use the threat of force to encourage compliance. Democracies are just nicer about it....

... It doesn’t matter to the powerless whether the rules are made by an authoritarian cabal or by a lawmaker bought by a corporation. It feels exactly the same at the bottom. As I noted recently (here), your view of how authoritarian a system is or who the authoritarian is are directly proportional to your proximity to the agency offered to you by the powerful, and by extension the system itself....

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... The problem, guys, is extreme concentration of power itself. The individual pulling the lever doesn’t really matter from a practical standpoint. Not to those without power. Extreme centralization of authority and the ability to apply pressure or force concentrated in the hands of an executive has just always been a recipe for authoritarianism.

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