Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Authoritarianism: Past And Future Is Now

Yesterday Dredd Blog took issue with Karl Marx, specifically with his predictions about American Capitalism.

Yesterday's post argued that Marx was correct on every point of his predictions, except how U.S. capitalism would end.

, a long time blogger here, sent comments by email which will be part of this post, as follows:

... NeoNazism in fact represents the prevailing ideology in the US by a WIDE margin (a fact that should surprise no one with a functioning brain; the process has been underway EXPLICITLY for at least the last 31 years).

And just who are the 21st century fall guys for the NeoNazi’s among us? If you have to ask, you either haven’t paying attention or you’re one of the party faithful.

Let’s start with the illegal immigrants (THOSE F**KING MEXICANS! [King of the House is starting an investigation of American Muslims ... the new Mexicans - DREDD]). They’re the most obvious (and easiest to exploit) examples.

Let’s extend that to the poor in general. You know what? THEY’RE POOR FOR A REASON! THEY’RE INFERIOR!

But further, let’s extend that to the government and/or union workers (ESPECIALLY TEACHERS!). THOSE BASTARDS HAVE THE NERVE TO ORGANIZE AND ACTUALLY STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES!!!

Who’s next? I dunno, use your imagination. Once the NeoNazi’s crush the unions and government workers and shortly thereafter renege on all previous government “obligations,” who or what do you think will possibly come next?

How about forced conscription into MOMCOM wars of opportunity for whatever “opportunity wage” they decide to offer? How about wholesale declarations of “eminent domain” over low-middle income housing areas to drive the people off the land in favor of corporate interests?

How about the mass re-criminalization of bankruptcy and/or homelessness and the OBLIGATION TO PAY FOR YOUR OWN IMPRISONMENT? A conversation looking back at it all from the other side after crossing over:
Q: And you didn’t realize what these NeoNazi bastards were up to?

A: Yeah, I guess I did. But I was a coward like everyone else. I figured if I just shut up and went along, everything would work out alright in the end.

Q: At what point did it dawn on you that this was not going to be business as usual?

A: I dunno. It’s really hard to define, as this kind of shit really just sneaks up on you.

Q: Did you realize at any point that it, in fact, was “sneaking up on you?”

A: Oh, yes. Many times.

Q: Well then, WHY in the world didn’t you do something about it then?

A: Because I figured if I waited JUST A LITTLE BIT LONGER then things would turn out to be OK after all.

Q: Did they?

A: No. Never.

Q: Well then, why then did you continue on with this insane thought process?

A: Actually, I dunno. First of all, I was overwhelmed with other day to day business. It’s not like the bastards wouldn’t have been willing to “do” me too had I not been able to keep up with expectations. Second, that very process kept me too warn out to give it another thought. And third, I hadn’t really been used to using my brain for independent thought for some time anyway.

Q: So you were reduced to merely a cog in the wheel?

A: Yeah, of course. Is there anything else?

Q: No more questions.

Disaffected, during comments on yesterday's post, also linked to an instructive book on the subject of that post, written by a psychologist.

That book, "The Authoritarians", was written by Bob Altemeyer (Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada).

It deals with some of the issues we speak of regularly (in Dredd Blog parlance that would be meme complexes contaminated by propaganda to the point of inducing the collective, national amygdala to override and overrun reason).

Here are some quotes from the professor's book:
You never would have heard of my research if [John Dean] had not recently plowed through my studies, trying to understand, first, various people he knew in the Nixon White House, and then some leading figures of the Republican Party of 2004.
(id. page 4). John Dean was seen regularly on MSNBC, especially on Keith Olbermann's show, until a neoCon megacorporation recently bought MSNBC to silence Olbermann and Dean.

John Dean was White House Counsel for Dick Nixon.

Dean took the case of criminality within that White House to Congress, which then began the impeachment process, leading to Nixon's resignation along with the imprisonment of several White House officials for felonies.

This very morning on MSNBC Pat Buchanan, a chief Nixon propagandist, along with a host of fake liberal impostors, are generating propaganda that Social Security must be brought down.

But nary a word is uttered about the madness of MOMCOM, so, one last quote from the book:
Authoritarianism is something authoritarian followers and authoritarian leaders cook up between themselves. It happens when the followers submit too much to the leaders, trust them too much, and give them too much leeway to do whatever they want -- which often is something undemocratic, tyrannical and brutal. In my day, authoritarian fascist and authoritarian communist dictatorships posed the biggest threats to democracies, and eventually lost to them in wars both hot and cold. But authoritarianism itself has not disappeared, and I'm going to present the case in this book that the greatest threat to American democracy today arises from a militant authoritarianism that has become a cancer upon the nation.
(ibid, page 8, emphasis added). The professor's conclusion, after decades of professional study, is the same as Dredd Blog, Toxins of Power Blog, and Ecocosmology Blog.

We discuss the issue of authoritarianism primarily as a cosmic disease, noting that if a doctor were to diagnose a disease as a moral problem (like a priest or minister treats sin) the follow-up treatment would be doomed to failure.


  1. I like this quote from page 81 of the book:

    ... research reveals that authoritarian followers drive through life under the influence of impaired thinking a lot more than most people do, exhibiting sloppy reasoning, highly compartmentalized beliefs, double standards, hypocrisy, self-blindness, a profound ethnocentrism, and--to top it all off--a ferocious dogmatism that makes it unlikely anyone could ever change their minds with evidence or logic. These seven deadly shortfalls of authoritarian thinking eminently qualify them to follow a would-be dictator. As Hitler is reported to have said, “What good fortune for those in power that people do not think.”

  2. Thanks all. I sat up past midnight last night glued to the book. A totally fascinating, read! Thanks to commenter Hancock1863 over at James Howard Kunstler's site Clusterfuck Nation for providing the link. I usually don't click on commenters' links, but this one was a gold mine. It really explains a lot, doesn't it?

    Authoritarians are basically ruled by fear, so much so that it affects and limits their very thinking. And after so many years of that, their thinking becomes impaired and narrowed due to lack of new ideas. At that point, reasoning with them is not only pointless, but it actually infuriates them for you to try. If they become a majority or a near majority in the populace of a country, that country is in grave danger of becoming an unthinking, authoritarian dictatorship that will act out against not only its neighbors, but its own populace as well, in strange, violent, and otherwise totally unpredictable ways. Does anyone possibly doubt that we're standing on that precipice at this very moment?

  3. Did not read the book, don't have instant transfer to epad, but, while we are all focused on this, have you all read Lugars's Manifesto?


    No one should be surprized at any of this, as the CIA rescued their Nazi counterparts, while we "permitted" ghettos in our cities to sprout.

  4. It is amazing to see the "RWA Highs" coming out (after literally only a few hours or days) to denounce the NASA scientist who worked for years on the alien microbe project.

    Like true authoritarians, of the yep yep yep type, they can't handle non-establishment theory.

    Dredd Blog read the report carefully and included it in a post here (alien microbe studies).

  5. Here is the instant link to Kathy's Land above ...

    She had become all exercised then waxed poetic with the "lugar.com" segment of that URL (which I enjoyed to the point of chuckling out loud)... but machines are so damn unpoetic and will not go there ...

    SO!!! I fixed the link and I recommend the read.


  6. Authoritarians do not let loyalty get in the way of loyalty, if you know what I mean Verne.

  7. Dredd,

    I missed something in the whole Kathy's link discussion. Can someone make it clear to me?

    On an authoritarian note, it was altogether unsurprising to hear one former presidential hopeful and noted authoritarian - John McCain - call for military intervention in Libya today. He of course qualified his remarks by limiting the call to an Air Force "no fly zone" intervention - "no ground troops needed!" - just as they always do.

    McCain's always especially amusing because you can read right through his facial expressions whenever he's trying to be duplicitous (which is pretty much all the time). The poor bastard; he's very possibly the worst liar in a business in which lying is the highest skill one can possess. God bless the old white-haired fart - he's definitely gonna need it.

    On a thoroughly surprising note however (well, ok, mildly surprising), none other than John Kerry, he of the "northeast, limousine liberal" set, beat the war drums likewise as well. What's this country coming to I ask you? Prissy upscale liberals and grumpy old neocons lying down together on the subject of foreign invasions? What's next? John "The Great Orange Boner" Boehner and Barney Frank caught swapping spit and god knows what else in the back seat of a Chevy Volt after hours on K Street? As all the young girls say these days, "Ewwww! That's just plain nasty!"

  8. This is a twist ... a Texas Republican introducing anti-totalitarianism legislation.

  9. Kathy's link on my OS inserted a .com when I attempted to link it ... Lugar.com was funny.

    I fixed the link so bloggers could get that info ...

  10. Kathy definitely has her stuff together!

  11. States are cutting mental health budgets:

    "Two-thirds of states cut mental health funding from their general fund budgets over the last two years, according to a report released by a mental illness advocacy group on Wednesday." (Raw Story).

    We know what that means don't we?

  12. Not only is Obama not closing GITMO as promised in the campaigns, he has now ordered indefinite confinement of people without trial (Washington's Blog).

    Authoritarianism is in America's future right now.

  13. @Randy, blushing, thanks for the nice complimant.

    @Dredd, thanks for fixing the link. Is there anything I should be doing to make sure it gets posted properly?

  14. Kathy,

    I think the link phenomenon was a product of the browser, so all is well. I got a kick out of the .com attached by the browser to what was ostensibly a senate site.

    Speaking of links, Dredd Blog has a link, in one of the link sections, to your shoe08 site now.

    I hope that does not cause the authoritarians to come after me any time soon. ;)