Read the passage and answer the following questions:
Plato was one of the first and most influential thinkers to address the problem of tyranny. He argued that democratic states are destined to collapse into tyranny. He believed that democratic forms of government create a licentious and undisciplined populace who are easy prey for smooth-talking politicians skilled in the art of pandering to their desires. He tells us that such politicians entice the masses with unhealthy promises rather than nourishing the public good.
Consider the work of the German sociologist Max Weber who developed the concept of ‘charismatic authority’ - a ‘certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities’. Charismatic leaders inspire devotion, and are regarded as prophetic figures by their followers. The rising tyrant has a special, almost magical aura. His followers believe that he can work miracles and transform their lives.
Sigmund Freud was wrestling with similar ideas focusing on the psychological dynamics of followership. There are two main themes that stand out. First, Freud argued that those who are attracted to authoritarian leaders idealise them. The leader is seen as an exemplary, heroic human being shorn of every serious flaw. Second, he argued that followers identify with the leader by substituting him for what Freud called the ego ideal. The ego ideal is a mental representation of one’s guiding values. It consists of beliefs about right and wrong, what is obligatory and what is impermissible. It is our moral compass: essentially the same as one’s conscience. In taking the place of their ego ideal, the authoritarian leader becomes the conscience of his followers, and his voice becomes the voice of their conscience.
The fact that the community of followers has a common identification with the authoritarian leader has another important consequence. The followers identify with one another as parts of a ‘movement’, and they experience themselves as merging into a collective whole. This intoxicating sense of unity, and the subordination of personal self-interest to a greater cause, is a very important component of authoritarian systems.
Religious convictions are Freud’s prime examples of delusions. They are, he wrote, ‘fulfillments of the oldest, strongest, and most urgent wishes of mankind. The wishes that underpin religious belief have to do with deliverance from human helplessness. We are vulnerable to the forces of nature, such as disease, natural disasters and ultimately death, and also to the acts of other human beings who can harm us, kill us or treat us unjustly. There are clear links between Freud’s analysis of the religious impulse, and psychological forces at play in the political sphere. Politics is, explicitly, a response to human vulnerability. Our deepest hopes and fears permeate the political arena, and this makes us susceptible to political illusions, which are often clung to with such impassioned tenacity, and so refractory to reasoned argument, that they fit Freud’s characterisation of delusions. From this perspective, authoritarian political systems echo monotheistic religions. Like God himself, the leader is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent. His words define the horizons of reality. He must be praised and appeased, but never challenged. His enemies are, by definition, in league with the forces of evil.
Q. Which of the following cannot be said to be true based on the passage?
I. Submission of personal objectives for a greater collective cause is an essential feature of authoritarian regimes.
II. According to the author, oppositions of the authoritarian leader are allies of evil.
III. Followers of monotheistic religions are highly supportive of authoritarian political systems.