The Oxford English Dictionary defines authoritarianism as, "The enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom."

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may not necessarily disagree with that definition, but she sure has some funny thoughts on how societies go full authoritarian.

"Attempting to define reality is a core feature of authoritarianism," the former secretary of state wrote in her new book, "What Happened." "This is what the Soviets did when they erased political dissidents from historical photos. This is what happens in George Orwell's classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four when a torturer holds up four fingers and delivers electric shocks until his prisoner sees five fingers as ordered," she added.

Clinton concluded her line of reasoning with this rather confounding bit: "The goal is to make you question logic and reason and to sow mistrust toward exactly the people we need to rely on: our leaders, the press, experts who seek to guide public policy based on evidence, ourselves."

The road to authoritarianism is paved with ... questioning elected leaders?

Anyway, while we're on the topic of oppressive governments and George Orwell, we wish we were re-reading the ratcage torture scene from "1984" right now. It's a far more pleasant and enjoyable experience than working through Clinton's 500-plus-page apologia for her handling of the 2016 presidential election.