Easy switch

A friend1 recently mentioned how many of our old acquaintances self identify as libertarians, and how comfortable many of them are with authoritarianism.

In my head, this played out as…

I’m smarter than you, don’t tell me what to do, how to live. (Libertarian)

…turns easily into…

I’m smarter than you, I will tell you what to do, how to live. (Authoritarian)

Of course, there’s a big execution gap between telling people what to do, and forcing people to do it. In other words, between being an armchair authoritarian and the real one chaining up the country. Supporting the real one provides a comfortable bridge over that gap.

  1. The friend is an IIT-IIM grad. The acquaintances are all IIM, if not IIT-IIM grads. Perhaps the superior status signalling provided by these institutions is a trigger for the “I’m smarter than you…” base that leads to the two isms.