Political scientists use the term authoritarianism to describe a way of governing that values order and control over personal freedom. A government run by authoritarianism is usually headed by a dictator.
The noun authoritarianism is most often used in a negative context, to describe a government with absolute control over the population. This kind of government uses military threats, suppression of a free press, and disinformation to manage the people over whom it rules. Many people consider China to be an example of an authoritarian government today. The word itself can be traced back to the Latin auctor, “master, leader, or author.”