HOA political dynamics: authoritarianism & totalitarian democracy
First, allow me to clarify some important concepts and definitions that I have employed to help in understanding my positions and views.
- The term “HOA” is commonly used in 2 different aspects. While commonly used to refer to the alleged community, in reality the “community” is a real estate “package” of homes, landscaping, amenities, and rules.
- “HOA” more aptly applies to the association itself, which is the de facto – in fact – political governing body of the subdivision or real estate “package.”
- “Government,” meaning political government, is defined in its general sense as “the person or group that controls and regulates the people within a territory.” Since your subdivision is a territory, that makes the HOA a truly political government.
- “Private government” is a de facto government as defined above not incorporated under municipal statutes but under nonprofit corporation statutes. As such, it is a functioning government unrecognized by the state as Cuba had been for years.
- “Quasi-government” simply means for all intents and purposes having all the attributes of a municipal government, except the names have been changed to mislead the innocent public.
- “HOA-Land” is my descriptive term for “the collection of fragmented independent principalities within America, known in general as “HOAs,” that are separate local private governments not subject to the constitution, and that collectively constitute a nation within the United States.”
- “Structured tribalism.” Tribalism is a term currently in vogue to describe divisiveness in America. “Structured tribalism” extends that view to describe the intentionally planned policy for the acceptance and control of HOA-Land. It views the fragmented HOA-Land as distinct villages and clans.
While the CC&Rs and declarations contain abundant boiler plate, each is a separate legal agreement and as such the HOA can be viewed as a village. The conglomeration of master planned communities or HOAs developed by the same developer can be seen as a clan. All stemming from the HOA “bible,” the 1964 Homes Association Handbook.
In an earlier editorial on civic responsibility, I questioned the allegiance, the loyalty, and the obligations of HOA members. Was it to the US Constitution or to the HOA “constitution,” the governing documents? I answered that it appeared to be the HOA first and foremost – secessionist — creating division within the country.
This was followed up by the editorials where I examined the attitudes, beliefs, and values of the HOA members themselves. I focused on the aspect of long-term indoctrination by the HOA School of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, my categorization. The question yet to be addressed was: What role did the members play themselves in terms of a predisposition to accept authoritarian, private governance?
By serendipity, or by destiny, I just received an email discussing authoritarianism and totalitarian democracy. It argued that Americans were accepting authoritarian control, which seemed to be a cause for the behavior of cult-like, dogmatic member acceptance of the HOA board’s (BOD) actions and attitudes. It seems that the more predisposed to authoritarian control the more the member acted as a diehard, dogmatic, true-believer in the BOD.
“There are a lot of Americans who do not care for democracy. They do not mind [failing] to follow the Constitution, or that [it] poses a danger to democracy.
“These “authoritarian followers,” as social science labels them, are also highly ethnocentric, thus frequently racist, nationalistic, deeply partisan, and threatened by “the other.” . . . Other testing shows these people are also highly defensive.”
The HOA legal structure and scheme is basically authoritarian in nature: strong central power, limited political freedoms, no accountability, and under the rule of man, not law. The authoritarian nature of HOA-Land is masked by a thorough indoctrination that the real estate subdivision is a democratic community (although the HOA is not a municipal entity but a private nonprofit association) because the members are allowed to vote, as meaningless as it is.
But the HOA is truly a totalitarian democracy. To paraphrase the founder of fascism, Benito Mussolini, “All within the HOA, nothing outside the HOA, nothing against the HOA.” The marketing and promotion of the HOA model of governance has been conducted in a very smooth manner: no negatives, “carefree living,” playing to the emotions and desires of the members, misleading statements to induce buying, and empty promises of “maintaining property values, ”etc.
Here’s are some of J. L. Talmon’s views of totalitarian democracy as found on Wikipedia (my emphasis):
“A totalitarian democratic state is said to maximize its control over the lives of its citizens by using the dual rationale of general will (i.e., “public good”) and majority rule. An argument can be made that in some circumstances it is actually the political, economic, and military élite who interpret the general will to suit their own interests.
“A totalitarian democracy . . . retains full power of . . . the right of control over everything and everyone. Maintenance of such power, in the absence of full support of the citizenry, requires the forceful suppression of any dissenting element except what the government purposely permits or organizes
“It is [the member’s] duty and responsibility to aid his compatriots in realizing [this right of control]. Moreover, any public or private activities that do not forward this goal have no useful purpose. Citizens of a totalitarian democratic state, even when aware of their true powerlessness, may support their government.”
Getting back to HOA-Land, it becomes disturbing that the application of authoritarianism and totalitarian democracy philosophy seems to fit quite well. Too well at that! But these views of HOA-Land are a valuable enlightenment because it takes HOA-Land out of the hands of the propagandists, out of the shadows, out of the darkness of Plato’s cave. It reveals reality.
 “In short, CAI has been setting itself up as the national private authority, a sort of Board of National HOA Governors,” CAI manifesto: CAI’s plan for HOA-Land in America, 2016.
 See my 2006, Analysis of The Homes Association Handbook.
 Civic responsibility vs. HOA member responsibility.
 Verdict” email from Justia.
 “Authoritarian” can be defined as “a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms. Individual freedoms are subordinate to the state and there is no constitutional accountability and rule of law under an authoritarian regime.” Wikipedia.
 Supra n. 2.
 “In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato distinguishes between people who mistake sensory knowledge for the truth and people who really do see the truth.” (See Philosophyzer).
6 thoughts on “HOA political dynamics: totalitarian democracy”
George–where is this? I’d like to read it.  “In short, CAI has been setting itself up as the national private authority, a sort of Board of National HOA Governors,” CAI manifesto: CAI’s plan for HOA-Land in America, 2016.
Look here for CAI manifesto: CAI’s plan for HOA-Land in America.