Obviously it was a good thing that it was banned, but I’m just wondering if it would technically be considered authoritarian.

As in, is any law that restricts people’s freedom to do something (yes, even if it’s done to also free other people from oppression as in that case, since it technically restricts the slave owner’s freedom to own slaves), considered authoritarian, even if at the time that the law is passed, it’s only a small section of people that are still wanting to do those things and forcibly having their legal ability to do them revoked?

Or would it only be considered authoritarian if a large part of society had their ability to do a particular thing taken away from them forcibly?

  • i_stole_ur_taco
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    2 months ago

    This sounds like another version of the “definition of freedom”.

    Is freedom being unrestricted from doing whatever you want? Or is it protection from people doing whatever they want that would otherwise injure you?

    I guess I’d argue that banning slavery in the middle of a culture that embraces it is, in fact, authoritarian. Similarly, enabling slavery in the middle of a culture that rejects it is also authoritarian.

    It gets more interesting when the population is split on what they want policy to be. I think Prohibition is a better comparison since it’s less emotionally charged.

    Was enacting Prohibition authoritarian? Sure seems that way, even though it had a lot of support. Was rolling it back also authoritarian? The people who originally supported it and now see it taken away probably feel it’s authoritarian.

    IMO as long as people are happy to argue with each other about basic definition of words, the answer to the original question is “it doesn’t matter”.