|Who ya gonna call?|
Each post in this series points out a way to detect "the despotic minority."
That phrase means nothing unless and until we know what a despotic minority is.
In the context of this series a despotic minority is one of three factors that have "teamed up" to destroy some twenty-six civilizations or societies down through history.
A once-well-known and most often quoted historian, Arnold J. Toynbee, zeroed in on that concept during the writing of a volume or so concerning the subject and its two partner concepts.
But, if you live in a society that fits his description you may not have heard of him because those types of societies and civilizations do not like to be bothered with the lessons of history:
"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" ...(Encyclopedia Britannica, emphasis added). In this context, one of the characteristics of a despotic minority is "tyranny," which is described by the same encyclopedia as:
"Tyranny, in the Greco-Roman world, an autocratic form of rule in which one individual exercised power without any legal restraint. In antiquity the word tyrant was not necessarily pejorative and signified the holder of absolute political power. In its modern usage the word tyranny is usually pejorative and connotes the illegitimate possession or use of such power."(Encyclopedia Britannica, emphasis added). Let's analyze that in the context of a civilization or society that claims to be democratic.
II. "Elections Have Consequences"
The identity of a despotic minority member is one who quotes the phrase "elections have consequences" in the plural form of the word "consequence."
That gives it new meaning when quoted by such a member, to wit:
"a result of an action or situation, esp. (in the plural) a bad result"(Cambridge Dictionary, emphasis added). In a democracy an election should not ipso facto be considered something that always produces a bad result.
In fact, elections in a democracy are for producing good results in order to replace a bad political situation.
The current reasoning being used by those members of the U.S. Congress who control congress, the Presidency, and soon the Supreme Court (Republicans) identifies them as members of the despotic minority.
Their non-interference in the tyrannical and despotic machinations of The Don is explained, by them, with the phrase "elections have consequences."
By their silence and sometimes their outright declarations, they are communicating that "he was elected president so we should not interfere because that would be like insurrection, treason, or disloyalty."
III. The Constitution?
Doesn't the constitution say:
"We, the ... people ... united by a common fate on our land, establishing human rights and freedoms, civic peace and accord, preserving the historically established state unity, proceeding from the universally recognized principles of equality and self-determination of peoples, revering the memory of ancestors who have conveyed to us ... belief in the good and justice, reviving the sovereign statehood ... and asserting the firmness of its democratic basic, striving to ensure the well-being and prosperity ... proceeding from the responsibility for our ... present and future generations, recognizing ourselves as part of the world community, adopt the CONSTITUTION ..."(Constitution, emphasis added). Yes, but that is not our constitution.
Our constitution says:
"... the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability, both of the President and Vice President ... The President ... shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment [congress can impeach the president's cabinet, his/her judges, etc. and she/he can't do anything about it] ... The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."(Article Two, emphasis added). The word "shall" is quite different from the word "may" or the words "he won the election and as a consequence we will faithfully do what he tells us to."
IV. The Authoritarian Follower Problem
A previous Dredd Blog post noted:
The following descriptions come from the book "The Authoritarians", and are identified by a page number following the description.(The Authoritarianism of Climate Change). It seems plain that our current Republican leadership in congress exhibits the psychological profile of authoritarian followers.
But first, note this information about the degree to which each personality type has been studied:
"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."(p. 2, emphasis added). You can see that knowing more about the least powerful, while knowing less about the most powerful, is problematic (About Toxins Of Power).
A. Authoritarian Followers
The authoritarian followers are not necessarily average working class or middle class citizens [An Example].
More likely, they are officials who just want to get their pay check and avoid any and all trouble:
"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.(p. 9). The key for understanding authoritarian followers is that they have a strong desire not to "rock the boat" in whatever social situation they inhabit.
Psychologically these followers have personalities featuring:
1) a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in their society;... 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."
2) high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
3) a high level of conventionalism.
B. Authoritarian Leaders
You can't have a follower until you first have a leader to follow.
Thus, if we want to get to the core problem with authoritarianism, we must go to and deal with the authoritarian leaders:
"The “soundness” of their [authoritarian leaders] thinking hardly means you can believe them, however. They are quite capable of saying whatever will get them ahead. After all, they hold that there’s no such thing as “right” and “wrong.” It all boils down to what you can get away with. And one of the most useful skills a person should develop, they say, is how to look someone straight in the eye and lie convincingly."(p. 170, emphasis added). In Eastern thought, where Daoism / Taoism variants are more abundant, the same holds true in yin/yang subgroups:
"In Daoist metaphysics, distinctions between good and bad, along with other dichotomous moral judgments, are perceptual, not real; so, the duality of yin and yang is an indivisible whole." (Yin and Yang)Thus, we see that the two work as a sort of self-reinforcing whole, which can make them more difficult to distinguish.
"Shame and guilt are illusions" (Taoism and Guilt or Shame)
I want the authoritarianism phenomenon to be envisioned, in the context of this post, by using the concept of "epigovernment" as authoritarian leader and the concept of "government" as authoritarian follower (Epigovernment: The New Model - 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1).
That way we can see how this dynamic works together, hand and glove.
In the tradition of Toxins of Power blog that dynamic would have been engendered by some power toxin that operates within the confines of power to cause some initial corruption which eventually grows like a cancer.
It is important to remember that authoritarianism is also a mutual dynamic, built of both parts like yin and yang, leader and follower:
"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."(p. 2, emphasis added). That takes place at an early stage of the evolution of the tyranny, but it eventually evolves into "if I want your opinion I will beat it out of you."
Whatever the power toxin is, which causes that evolutionary leap of lapse in judgment, the antidote available all along the way is well known.
That antidote is essential to democracy all along the way, and is called "accountability" (When Accountability Is A Plague, 2, 3).
This situation usually results in long lasting authoritarian "leadership."
U.S. elections are not a process of electing an authoritarian leader with the resulting consequences of tyranny.
Those who think so are members of a despotic minority.
The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.
The southern strategy ...