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First off, I'm not particularly a Jesse Ventura fan(don't know a whole lot about him), but what he said in this video was right on target:


And I wanted to mention this troubling, but predictable, development:

"The Occupy Wall Street must be doing something right to attract the attention of Tea Party astroturf professional Dick Armey. His Wall Street-financed front group FreedomWorks has started a new campaign designed to take the wheels off the fledgling movement."


YES! THANK YOU for writing this. I have been telling everyone I can that the Republican party is no longer a political party in the traditional sense that we are used to - they are in fact an authoritarian movement. One you comprehend this, things starts to make sense. Actually, this idea was first explored by John Dean in a book called Conservatives Without Conscience, based on the work of Bob Altemeyer (whose work was based on that of Adorno, Millgram, et. al.). That Republicans are an authoritarian movement needs to be understood - Republicans used to be a conventional political party that believed more in the private sector than the public (the Eisenhower through Nixon years); around the time of Reagan they began to infiltrated by authoritarians in the rank-and-file, particularly religious ones (see below), and now they have morphed into a party that wants total control. Recall Karl Rove's drive for a Republican "permanent majority." Their goal, to paraphrase Grover Norquist, is nothing less that to "drown government in a bathtub". Sound radical? You betcha! Meanwhile the Democrats have morphed into the "old" Republican party.

What's scary is that we've seen these movements before - Fascism in Italy, Nazism in Germany, and yes, Communism in Russia. Authoritarianism is not based on an economic philosophy. Authoritarianism can be free-market based as well as government based. While the Communists may have had an economic philosophy radically different than our individualist-worshipping right-wing, their methods and tactics are the same. And even their hatred of collectivism is just a mask. They preach against collectivism while buying the same books (Coulter), watching the same TV channels (FOX), reading the same Web sites (Drudge, Brietbart), reading the same newspapers (Wall Street Journal), and listening to the same radio programs (Limbaugh). Some individualists. As the above poster pointed out, they are led around by the nose by astroturf groups like Freedomworks. All the Koch brothers have to do is hire a bus, and the "rugged individualist" types will file on like lemmings, eager to forward the movement to "take America back" from the libruls. Yep, they sure are anti-collectivist, aren't they? The fact is, they are just as militant and collectivist as the Communists; they truly believe their liberatrian free-market utopia will come about once all the barriers to their total control are removed, and they will do anything, legal or not, to make that happen. My state has been seen all sorts of electorial shenanigans by the Republican party. So much for believing in the will of the people, eh? Republicans preach democracy but secretly despise it. Sound familiar? All that matters is winning - not elections, not the Constitution, and certainly not the truth. As with those earlier militant movements, they are helped by the fact that their opponents are feckless, incompetent, and in many cases, infiltrated and compromised.

Unsaid here also is the connection between religious people and authoritariansim. Most mainstream religious people, particularly evangelical Christians, are authrotiarian. Believe me, I know this from personal experience. The connection between religiousity and defending the social order goes all the way back to the beginnings of civilization, when Mesopotamian temple priests would extract gifts from the working classes for the gods and the king (who were one in the same). Believers in the majority religion have always been authoritarian - look at the religious wars of Europe and the Spanish Inquisition. With the advent of the Protestant reformation, many of them came over here, were fruitful and multiplied. Their descendants are the ones screaming "Keep government away from my Medicare!" and "Obama is the Antichrist!" This also explains why Evangelical Christians are following a party whose platform seems to be diametrically opposed to their religious beliefs - care for the poor, the sick, the meek, etc., instead promoting a kind of Social Darwinism. Also unsaid is the fact that nearly all members of them military and police forces are authoritarian followers, which should scare anybody. Authoritarian follows defer to authority, period, and without question, whether it's pepper-spraying protesters, or shoving bodies into coke ovens.

On important insight Altemeyer had was that authoritarians are victims of what he calls "compartmentalized thinking," where they cannot make logical connections to see that many of their beliefs are self-contradictory. The example he uses is that the authoritarians will defend minority Christians who are persecuted in Muslim lands, while simultaneously arguing that Muslims in America must defer to "majority" Christians such as themselves. Or how "pro-life" Republicans applaud the death penalty. Or why Medicare receipients can be against socialized medicine. The examples are endless. They will blindly accept what those in power tell them, even it contradicts the other stuff, and even their own personal experience (people get rich through hard work, those who play be the rules succeed, etc.) The outrageous contradictions this kind of thinking engenders are John Stewart's stock-in-trade. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. But, of course, merely pointing it out doesn't change their minds; it only allows those of us who are not authoritarians to snicker at their faulty logic. The authroitarians themselves just dig in their heels. And yes, Altemeyer conceeds that in America, almost all authoritarians are Republicans.

Consider too, these parallels from history:

Extensive propaganda network for their followers (FOX News, talk radio, WSJ, Web sites, publishing houses, etc.)
Eliminationist rhetoric (Democrats and liberals -i.e. anyone not a Republican true believer - are "traitors" and "hate America".)
Physical violence and intimidation (guns at town hall meetings, "second amendment remedies", etc.)
Virulent nationalism (God bless America, America is the hope of the world.)
Militarism (The troops are "heroes" and war is always necessary to "defend" our way of life.)
External foes (Terrorists behind every tree!)
Emphasis on law and order (The police state, domestic spying, drug war.)
Loyalty over competence (Heckuva job, Brownie!)
and so on...

The scapegoating of nontraditional groups is why Republicans are so obsessed with homosexuals, mosques at Ground Zero, and safeguarding our borders. Gays, Muslims and Jews -er, I mean Mexican immigrants, are the cause of our problems, right? If you listen to Michelle Bachmann, gay marriage is the biggest problem facing our country right now. If you understand authoritarianism, you'll know why she thinks that. And as for Coulter, it's not just projection; it's a common propaganda tactic to accuse your opponent of being what you yourself are. The Nazis were experts at this. These people are scary, and you should be afraid, very afraid, of what they have in mind for our country.

You cannot debate with authoritarians or reason with them. They blindly follow orders and march in lock-step, which is what makes them so formidable. And in this country, nearly all of the wealthy and corporate class have thrown their money and support behind them to prevent another Roosevelt. That's why the media coverage is the way it is. Listen to this excellent clip. Notice talking-head shill P.J. O'Rourke still fighting the baby boomer battles of the sixties, trying desperately to portray the protesters as drum-pounding pot smoking hippies who should be dismissed by decent law-abiding people. If there were an equal playing field in America, Alan Grayson's brilliant riposte would be a Rick Santelli moment that galvanizes the counterreaction to the Tea Party authoritarian whackjobs:


Wikipedia entry on right-wing authoritarianism:

Bob Altemeyer's free e-book:



Brian M

Hmmm... people who like to take orders, have a common viewpoint, view things in a way that fits with existing perception....does sound kind of like the right side of the political/social/media divide. Of course, the left isn't all that different, just with a different viewpoint, I suppose. After all, all of these people are deep inside the same box.

On a lighter note, the post somehow made me think of this... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qLzQ4uOvio


A thoughtful essay on the "demands" issue:


"Occupy Wall Street has been criticized for its lack of clear demands, but how do we issue demands, when what we really want is nothing less than the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible? No demand is big enough. We could make lists of demands for new public policies: tax the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, protect the environment, end the wars, regulate the banks. While we know these are positive steps, they aren't quite what motivated people to occupy Wall Street. What needs attention is something deeper: the power structures, ideologies, and institutions that prevented these steps from being taken years ago; indeed, that made these steps even necessary."


Dave, the "Authoritarian Personality" analyses aren't necessarily that jargon-bound. They make clear their belief that the authoritarian personality is molded by a punishing upbringing, be it physically or emotionally so - one that cuts ourselves off from our abilities to feel, to be ourselves...to be vibrant, loving beings. Sadly, just about all of us were raised in such environments, to varying degrees, and in various ways.

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