The average person today lives a life balanced at the razor’s edge. Perfectly tuned predatory systems constantly threaten to take everything away from him. In return for a life of insecurity, they have given him more material things. But trading material things for basic rights, dignity, possibility, freedom, justice, truth inevitably results in feelings like anxiety, despair, rage, and shame, which are the discontents of a broken age.
The question authoritarianism raises is about building working institutions. A resistance is a loose network of people aimed at dissent. But that is not nearly enough to build working banks, corporations, schools, hospitals, and so on. Only a genuine political opposition can do that.
Authoritarianism rises in societies with broken social contracts, that are failing the average person. That’s America, where average incomes have shrunk in real terms since the 1970s. Broken social contracts reflect failed institutions. They mean that democracy isn’t working — political institutions aren’t working. They mean that real economic value isn’t being created and shared — financial institutions aren’t working. They mean that human potential is stuck and withering — social institutions like media and education and healthcare aren’t working. Thus, a social contract in its entirety comes to be broken.