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100 Iowa L. Rev. 1673 (2014-2015)
Stealth Authoritarianism

handle is hein.journals/ilr100 and id is 1725 raw text is: 










Stealth Authoritarianism


                                   Ozan 0. Varol*


     ABSTRACT: Authoritarianism has been undergoing a metamorphosis.
     Historically, authoritarians openly repressed opponents by violence and
     harassment and subverted the rule of law to perpetuate their rule. The post-
     Cold War crackdown on these transparently authoritarian practices provided
     significant incentives to avoid them. Instead, the new generation of
     authoritarians learned to perpetuate their power through the same legal
     mechanisms that exist in democratic regimes. In so doing, they cloak repressive
     practices under the mask of law, imbue them with the veneer of legitimacy,
     and render anti-democratic practices much more difficult to detect and
     eliminate.
     This Article offers a comprehensive cross-regional account of that
     phenomenon, which I term stealth authoritarianism. Drawing on rational-
     choice theory, the Article explains the expansion of stealth authoritarianism
     across dfferent case studies. The Article fills a void in the literature, which
     has left undertheorized the authoritarian learning that occurred after the Cold
     War and the emerging reliance on legal, particularly sub-constitutional,
     mechanisms to perpetuate political power. Although stealth authoritarian
     practices are more prevalent in nondemocracies, the Article illustrates that
     they can also surface in regimes with favorable democratic credentials,
     including the United States. In so doing, the Article aims to orient the
     scholarly debate towards regime practices, rather than regime types.






     *   Associate Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School. Many friends and colleagues
shared their thoughts on this Article, and I particularly thank Richard Albert, Alexander Blum,
Ed Brunet, Joel Colon-Rios, A.E. Dick Howard, David Fontana, Leah Gilbert, Tom Ginsburg,
Samuel Issacharoff, Jeremy Kidd, David Landau, David Law, Eugene Mazo, Bertil Emrah Oder,
Ana Ibarra Olguin, John Parry, William Partlett, Erin Ryan, Christopher Schmidt, Kim Lane
Scheppele, Juliet Stumpf, Kathy Varol, Yurdanur Varol, Tacettin Varol, Mila Versteeg, Adrien
Wing, and the participants at workshops and conferences held at Cornell Law School, the Center
for the Constitution atJames Madison's Montpelier (the Montpelier Roundtable in Comparative
Constitutional Law), Lewis & Clark Law School, Koc University Law School in Istanbul, Turkey,
and the Third Annual Conference of the Younger Comparativists Committee of the American
Society of Comparative Law. For outstanding research assistance, I thank Eric Brickenstein,
Brandon Hawkins, Philip Thoennes, and Lynn Williams.


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