Friday, August 18, 2017

Beware of the Sycophant Epidemic - 2

I really had to flip a coin, as it were, to decide which series this post should be posted into.

Any one of several series would have been ok, but I chose to revisit the one about the current surge of a cultural epidemic in the

Cultural epidemics take place when a large minority group becomes sycophantic toward a sick leader or leaders, whether that leadership emerges from a person, a corporation, or an institution.

For example, the "institution of Bernays" has lived on long after its "father" has faded, and has morphed into the shadows:
It is impossible to fundamentally grasp the social, political, economic and cultural developments of the past 100 years without some understanding of Bernays and his professional heirs in the public relations industry.
(Etiology of Social Dementia - 9, quoting PR Watch Magazine, Vol. 6 No. 2, p. 11, 1999). If we do not understand "Bernays and his professional heirs" then we will not understand the current government crisis.

Which is a crisis brought on by the professional beliefs and professional practices concerning the merits of deceiving the public:
One of the most important comments on deceit, I think, was made by Adam Smith. He pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public.

And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they're very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries—in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control
(ibid, quoting The Deceit Business). A sycophant is a person who has been deceived into becoming a Type-B Authoritarian:
"We know an awful lot about authoritarian followers. In one way or another, hundreds of social scientists have studied them since World War II. We have a pretty good idea of who they are, where they come from, and what makes them tick. By comparison, we know little about authoritarian leaders because we only recently started studying them. That may seem strange, but how hard is it to figure out why someone would like to have massive amounts of power? The psychological mystery has always been, why would someone prefer a dictatorship to freedom? So social scientists have focused on the followers, who are seen as the main, underlying problem."
"Authoritarian followers usually support the established authorities in their society, such as government officials and traditional religious leaders. Such people have historically been the “proper” authorities in life, the time-honored, entitled, customary leaders, and that means a lot to most authoritarians.
Psychologically these followers have personalities featuring:
1) a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in their society;

2) high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and

3) a high level of conventionalism.
... he’s someone who readily submits to the established authorities in society, attacks others in their name, and is highly conventional. It’s an aspect of his personality, not a description of his politics."
(The Authoritarianism of ..., quoting the book: The Authoritarians). The physical reason that a sycophant mentality arises is varied (economics, fear of an enemy, etc.) but the psychological reason is always the same (dementia).

The way that mass-dementia has worked historically is well known.

For example, the Encyclopedia Britannica pointed out the ingredients of the DNA of that history, which incidentally, also applies to our current culture's genetic code:
"In the Study Toynbee examined the rise and fall of 26 civilizations in the course of human history, and he concluded that they rose by responding successfully to challenges under the leadership of creative minorities composed of elite leaders. Civilizations declined when their leaders stopped responding creatively, and the civilizations then sank owing to the sins of nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority. Unlike Spengler in his The Decline of the West, Toynbee did not regard the death of a civilization as inevitable, for it may or may not continue to respond to successive challenges. Unlike Karl Marx, he saw history as shaped by spiritual, not economic forces."
(Stockholm Syndrome: The Declaration of Intellectual Dependence). Take note of the three genes in the cultures of suicidal civilizations: "nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority".

We have all three genes in abundance.

For example, we have a group composed of thirty to forty million people who constitute "a despotic minority" and who are sycophants willing to follow type A authoritarians (KKK leader threatens black Latina journalist during interview).

Further, we have become a nation of militarism and nationalism spread throughout that despotic minority of thirty to forty million people, and even beyond them into the public at large in various degrees  (When You Are Governed By Psychopaths - 8, Will The Military Become The Police? - 11).

And, those type-B authoritarians currently support a smaller, but powerful group of despots in government (Welcome to the Post-American World).

To be clear, ours is not the first civilization to have become demented:  “Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

That is not the question however, because the larger question is: "Will we be the leading despotic minority group in the final civilization?"

Some info on the dear leader of that sycophantic despotic minority:
Vice on Fred Trump


Woody Guthrie song about Old man Trump before "Trump Tower" came into existence

Guthrie vs Trump NYT, same WaPo

Intercept on Trump

New Yorker
The previous post in this series is here.


  1. GOP Sen. Bob Corker: Trump Hasn’t Demonstrated ‘Stability’ Or ‘Competence’

  2. "What Does It Say That Half the GOP Base Would Support Trump’s Authoritarianism?" link