The Difference Between Moderates & Authoritarians


What are the differences between Moderates and Authoritarians?

The main difference between moderates and authoritarians lies in lies with each type’s commitment to pragmatism on the one hand and ideology on the other. Moderates tend to resist extremes along any dimension and tend to eschew ideology for practical thinking on issues. By contrast, authoritarians are willing to use the state’s violence apparatus for ideological ends--even if those ends are impractical.

How are Moderates and Authoritarians similar?

Because moderates can “lean” in any of the other four directions, authoritarians and moderates only have similarities to the extent that moderates lean authoritarian on a given issue.

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More About Moderates

Moderates (sometimes referred to as “centrists”) score neither particularly high nor particularly low on either economic or personal freedom. That’s because moderates tend to be pragmatists or otherwise think about issues on a case-by-case basis. As with any other type, moderates can ‘lean’ progressive, conservative, libertarian, or authoritarian -- it’s just that those leanings aren’t extreme.

More About Authoritarians

Authoritarians generally score low on both economic freedom and personal freedom. That means authoritarians are not only hostile to free enterprise, but they also believe authorities ought to regulate people’s personal behaviors to maintain social order. Authoritarians want the state to control more aspects of economic and personal life because they think such control is more likely to bring about an ideal society.

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