The ISIS Files by the New York Times Article Analysis Paper

  1. Read the article “The ISIS files” from the New York Times at (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
  2. Analyze the article in terms of the features of Authoritarianism shown below. In other words, for each of the twelve features presented you have to show how each specific feature is evident in the ISIS article. Write a document where you list one feature at time, followed by your analysis of how that feature is exemplified in the article. Be concrete and specific in your answer, and write the analysis for someone who has not read the article.

Important Features of Authoritarianism:

A.R. Ball, specifies the following features of Authoritarianism or Authoritarian state:

  1. Limitations on Political Process: Important limitations are imposed on open political process, political parties and elections.
  2. Use of an Ideology: Ideological principles like racialism or fundamentalism or nationalism often provide some basis for the exercise of state power over the people.
  3. Rulers determine all decisions: The rulers and not the people determine all decisions.
  4. Dependence on Coercion and Force: Authoritarian rulers mostly use force and coercion to command political uniformity and obedience.
  5. Less importance to Rights and Liberties: Civil liberties enjoy a low priority. Governmental control over judiciary and mass media is direct and considered justified in the interest of public good.
  6. Authoritarianism can involve Family rule or Military rule: The basis for rule is found either in traditional family elite or in a new modernizing group, often the army, which seizes power by a coup.
  7. A Small Group uses all the powers: Under authoritarianism, one group monopolies political power and control.
  8. Based on Power and Manipulations: Manipulations, suppressions and coercion constitute the basis of the power of the rulers.
  9. Bureaucracy as the main tool of the rule of the rulers: The rulers use bureaucracy and police as the instruments of their control over the people.
  10. Centralization of authority in a few hands: Centralization of authority is practiced and very often an attempt is made to cover this centralism with the cloak of power-sharing among several political groups who are, however, totally loyal to the ruling group/leader.
  11. Use of Propaganda: Legitimacy for the rulers’ authority is secured through declarations, manipulations and propaganda or by the use of the ideology of peace, development and security.
  12. Rulers Control Public Opinion: In an authoritarian system, public opinion is controlled. Only that opinion is allowed to move in society as is deemed favorable for the authority of the ruling group or rulers. In an authoritarian state, the individual and social life is largely controlled by the state i.e. by the government of the state and which is formed by one party or group.