With the election of Donald Trump in the United States, it seems that authoritarianism is on the rise throughout the world. Authoritarian rulers are strong men. They often rise to power by blaming their countries woes on a vulnerable population to create an “us versus them” dichotomy. After fabricating this scare, the authoritarian then offers their services in fighting back against “them.” In Donald Trump’s case, he has blamed much of the country’s problems on refugees and immigrants. He then followed up that scare with his own solutions of a Muslim travel ban and a southern border wall.
People like Thor Halvorssen are scared of the rise of authoritarian rule across the world. Authoritarianism often leads to human rights abuses, and that is particularly troubling for the 39-year-old founder of the Human Rights Foundation.
Fear amongst a certain population can drive unethical political decisions. If the authoritarian ruler whips up a no fear amongst the people, he can consolidate power within his own government. He can make his case by saying that he shouldn’t be tripped up by a bureaucracy; that he needs to make decisions quickly in order to fend off this fear. That is exactly when too much power falls and the lap of the wrong man. After checks and balances are vanquished, the authoritarian ruler is free to violate human rights in the name of safety or “national defense.”
Thor Halvorssen is a rising star in the human rights world. The incredibly articulate leader is bipartisan. He does not care if a world leader is liberal or conservative. In fact, he thinks there are many different kinds of governments that can run well while upholding a stellar human rights record. What he fears the most is the consolidation of power.
In a 2016 Fox News interview, Thor Halvorssen reiterated that checks and balances, as well as a separation of powers in government, is critical in defending human rights. Without these important stopgaps for those in power, world leaders tend to abuse their positions. Thor Halvorssen and his Human Rights Foundation are watching upcoming elections hoping that the age of authoritarianism is over.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/halvorssen for more.