Author Topic: On Authoritarianism  (Read 1975 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Infanteer

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 148,875
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 14,879
  • Honey Badger FTW!
On Authoritarianism
« on: July 13, 2018, 04:04:41 »
I ran across some interesting articles while reading about "Trump's base" today.  John Dean, a former counsel to President Nixon, attempted to get to the heart of who the 62.9 million people who voted for President Trump were.  The articles are here, here, and here.  Those articles referenced a piece that is long, but well worth the read:

https://www.vox.com/2016/3/1/11127424/trump-authoritarianism

A fascinating article, predating President Trump's 2016 electoral win.  I think it's profound enough that anyone attempting to understand the politics in modern democracies should read and digest it.  Three key points:

1.  Political values can be determined fairly well by ascertaining views on parenting.  Those who prefer children to demonstrate respect for elders, obedience, good behavior, and good manners are more concerned with eroding social norms, demographic change, and external dangers.  Those who prefer children to demonstrate independence, self-reliance, consideration, and curiosity are likely to skew the other way, being more comfortable with social flux and change.

2.  People who are more concerned with eroding social norms, demographic change, and external dangers are likely to support authoritarian tendencies in leaders.  They seek strong leaders who will "tell it like it is" and deal head-on with the sources to these concerns.

3.  The U.S. experienced a demographic shift over the last generation, which saw white Christians lose demographic prominence in American society.  As well, the Obama Administration ushered in a significant period of social change with regards to progressive politics.  These have combined to drive people who prefer authoritarian leadership into the Republican Party, giving President Trump a solid coalition of folks concerned with some combination of progressive politics, race relations, immigration, religious values, economic stagnation, and foreign threats.  This has polarized U.S. politics and has also divided the GOP.  Many Democrats have dismissed this group as "deplorable" and mischaracterized their motives to their own peril.

This article and the research in it was concerned with U.S. electoral politics, but I think the model for predicting authoritarian preferences is useful for other societies as well.  The Syrian migrant crisis in Europe explains why people begin to fear its effects and swing to the populist parties with authoritarian tendencies. 

How about Canada.  To what degree do those in Canada who prefer children to demonstrate respect for elders, obedience, good behavior, and good manners differ from those who prefer children to demonstrate independence, self-reliance, consideration, and curiosity?  Is Canada vulnerable to such polarization?  I suspect that our greater acceptance for multiculturalism helps mitigate this.  We also lack the deep racial issues and the politically-religious complex that our neighbours to the South have.  Maybe, for all our regionalism, "lingualism", and multiculturalism, we've actually lucked out and immunized our society against authoritarian politics and the polarization it brings?

But what could change this?  Are there factors at play that could incite fear and push voters to more polarized positions?  Social or economic trends?  Should Canadians be vigilant against certain things?

Anyways, I thought the article was worth the read and figured it was worth some contemplation.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline ModlrMike

    : Riding time again... woohooo!

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 209,999
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,708
    • Canadian Association of Physician Assistants
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2018, 10:16:47 »
Why can't children be brought up to demonstrate respect for elders, obedience, good behavior, good manners, independence, self-reliance, consideration, and curiosity? These things are not contradictory.
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher,smarter, faster and better looking than most people.
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. (H.L. Mencken 1919)
Zero tolerance is the politics of the lazy. All it requires is that you do nothing and ban everything.

Offline Journeyman

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 518,875
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 12,612
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2018, 10:34:58 »
Why can't children be brought up to demonstrate respect for elders, obedience, good behavior, good manners, independence, self-reliance, consideration, and curiosity?
Lack of role models?  Many adults fail to demonstrate these traits, hence the lock/re-set of the Politics threads.   :dunno:
Sadly amazed at people cheering on the spread of kakistocracy.   :not-again:

Offline Blackadder1916

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 157,210
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,785
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2018, 11:03:08 »
Why can't children be brought up to demonstrate respect for elders, obedience, good behavior, good manners, independence, self-reliance, consideration, and curiosity? . . .

Because you're not allowed to beat them anymore?
Whisky for the gentlemen that like it. And for the gentlemen that don't like it - Whisky.

Offline Altair

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 46,789
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,010
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2018, 12:19:33 »
Because you're not allowed to beat them anymore?
Much better were the days where if one couldn't get their point across to children using words, one resorted to violence.
Someday I'll care about milpoints.

Offline Infanteer

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 148,875
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 14,879
  • Honey Badger FTW!
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2018, 12:53:25 »
Why can't children be brought up to demonstrate respect for elders, obedience, good behavior, good manners, independence, self-reliance, consideration, and curiosity? These things are not contradictory.

They aren't, but when asked in the form of either/or, the questions seem to reveal much of a person's political outlook.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Blackadder1916

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 157,210
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,785
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2018, 13:53:37 »
Much better were the days where if one couldn't get their point across to children using words, one resorted to violence.

While my previous post was mostly made in jest as much as anything else** , I am unable to determine whether your response is in the same vein or if, satirically, you are trying to admonish me for suggesting that it is appropriate to beat children.

I grew up in an age when corporal punishment of children was common or at least relatively common in the community where I lived.  While there were incidences (and even then, far too many) when such punishment exceeded what was then considered "appropriate" and strayed into the "abuse" spectrum, when thinking back to those days, much of the corporal punishment (whether parental or school imposed) was likely justified (within the mindset of the time and place) and served the purpose for which it was intended.

I don't recall ever being physically punished at home (though I probably had my bottom smacked as a young child and rightfully so) but I did on a few occasions receive "the strap" at school.  Other than one wizened old nun (dating from Grade 1 or 2) who I assert could give lessons to RSMs on dominating subordinates, any of the teachers of my personal experience neither enjoyed the activity nor gave the full measure when doling out corporal punishment.  While I can't point to any historical, written policy or theoretical treatise on the appropriateness of school corporal punishment as employed back then as a disciplinary measure, it did seem to work.



**  Whether it was appropriate to inject a jest of dubious quality so early in a possibly serious discussion I leave judgement to the membership on if it contributes to the forum's "raw obnoxiousness", though I prefer my obnoxiousness slightly sautéed.
Whisky for the gentlemen that like it. And for the gentlemen that don't like it - Whisky.

Offline EpicBeardedMan

  • Full Member
  • *****
  • 9,491
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 462
  • Getting better, stronger, faster.
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2018, 14:06:23 »
on if it contributes to the forum's "raw obnoxiousness", though I prefer my obnoxiousness slightly sautéed.

I keep seeing this word being used to describe this forum,  I feel like im missing something, lol. Unless its a reference about deleting an account.
The military isn't really like a James Bond movie where you go for jet training in the morning and then underwater demolitions after lunch.

Offline ModlrMike

    : Riding time again... woohooo!

  • Army.ca Subscriber
  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *
  • 209,999
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,708
    • Canadian Association of Physician Assistants
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2018, 14:09:21 »
They aren't, but when asked in the form of either/or, the questions seem to reveal much of a person's political outlook.

When asked as an either/or it situates the estimate because these attributes have been formally assigned to one political persuasion or the other. Better would be to rank these characteristics on a scale and then ask folks to self identify as right, left, or center. Plotting the answers against a graph would lead to a whole different conclusion I bet.
WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher,smarter, faster and better looking than most people.
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. (H.L. Mencken 1919)
Zero tolerance is the politics of the lazy. All it requires is that you do nothing and ban everything.

Offline Infanteer

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 148,875
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 14,879
  • Honey Badger FTW!
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2018, 14:22:04 »
Maybe.  The methodology the report used seemed pretty revealing.  If you haven't yet, take a read of the way the survey was done in 2016 - they added additional questions and the correlation is interesting.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 59,810
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,637
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2018, 15:30:48 »
Wikipedia has an article on Authoritarianism.  It draws on a description of the following four points:

"1. Limited political pluralism, that is such regimes place constraints on political institutions and groups like legislatures, political parties and interest groups;

2. A basis for legitimacy based on emotion, especially the identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat "easily recognizable societal problems" such as underdevelopment or insurgency;

3. Minimal social mobilization most often caused by constraints on the public such as suppression of political opponents and anti-regime activity;

4. Informally defined executive power with often vague and shifting powers."

None of those points remotely applies.  For example, by definition something like the TEA Party is antithetical to points (1) and (3), as are various other protest movements that are not being ground under a boot heel right now.  (Ironically, the Obama administration's IRS targeting of TEA Party groups was a "constraint on pluralism".  Likewise, "pen and phone" unilateral executive action was a partial expression of (4).)  Trump has many character defects, but his administration follows established processes (a fact which has been pointed out repeatedly - often by legal experts - when people start agitating that something unilateral and unconstitutional is being attempted).

What is happening among the "Look! Authoritarianism!" crowd is equivocation.  The various scholars and pundits and whatnot have come up with a list of questions (a definition), and used it as the basis for attributing a quality they decided to call "authoritarianism".

They should find a different word.

For example, on the matter of resistance to immigrants/outsiders, a word already exists: nativism.

Respect for (or deference to) authority (or perceived authority, eg. adulthood or age) may be something, but it is not "authoritarianism" because someone decrees it so.  The political left frequently appeals to (or demands deference to) authority (or "experts") without considering itself authoritarian.

People who agree with the essence of "Don't tread on me" are not "authoritarian".

A desire for order, and rules and customs designed to achieve it, is a universal characteristic of societies.  It is not "authoritarianism".

If there is to be a discussion about authoritarianism, I welcome anyone to demonstrate that the US federal government in general, the US presidency more particularly, and Trump in particular is "authoritarian", without reassigning the word to an arbitrary definition (one created by the people studying it).  Otherwise, we enter one of those black holes of discussion where a word with multiple meanings (some newly invented) acquires a pejorative meaning (one of the new ones) and then the original usage becomes lost (or conveys incorrect information when properly used).

If a word is desired to match the definition of "authoritarianism" being flogged, some hyphenated version of "-populism" would fit better.

From the Vox article: "Authoritarians prioritize social order and hierarchies, which bring a sense of control to a chaotic world."

That's the political left.  Academia, Hollywood, and the elite tiers of the progressive political parties, are obsessed with social order and hierarchy (and their status and positions within).  The political left as it exists in western cultures is an attempt to create a rational, top-down structure to bring order out of chaos.  Those who do not fit in are typically compelled to do so.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Infanteer

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 148,875
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 14,879
  • Honey Badger FTW!
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2018, 17:52:04 »
Trump has many character defects, but his administration follows established processes (a fact which has been pointed out repeatedly - often by legal experts - when people start agitating that something unilateral and unconstitutional is being attempted).

That's not what the Vox article attempted to argue, so there is no need to build a strawman.  Re-read the opening paragraphs.

Quote
The American media, over the past year, has been trying to work out something of a mystery: Why is the Republican electorate supporting a far-right, orange-toned populist with no real political experience, who espouses extreme and often bizarre views? How has Donald Trump, seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly become so popular?

What's made Trump's rise even more puzzling is that his support seems to cross demographic lines — education, income, age, even religiosity — that usually demarcate candidates. And whereas most Republican candidates might draw strong support from just one segment of the party base, such as Southern evangelicals or coastal moderates, Trump currently does surprisingly well from the Gulf Coast of Florida to the towns of upstate New York, and he won a resounding victory in the Nevada caucuses.

While I had trouble with the term authoritarian as well, as it is commonly viewed as a description of a type of governance, I got where it was going.  The political scientist is forward in what he studies, "not actual dictators, but rather a psychological profile of individual voters that is characterized by a desire for order and a fear of outsiders."

So call it something else, a version of -populism if you will.  It still doesn't take away the fact that the article(s) do a good job in connecting the dots to explain how people from diverse backgrounds spanning the spectrum from evangelicals to the KKK fell in behind a specific candidate with no political background.

My interest is whether such methodology is useful when looking at our own political landscape.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 59,810
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,637
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2018, 20:33:55 »
"The American media, over the past year, has been trying to work out something of a mystery: Why is the Republican electorate supporting a far-right, orange-toned populist with no real political experience, who espouses extreme and often bizarre views? How has Donald Trump, seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly become so popular?"

Implied or stated assumptions in that part of the thesis don't wash.

Trump isn't far-right.  A common critical theme levied against him by conservatives was his non-conservativism.  He held (holds) centrist, progressive, or merely ideologically incoherent stances on several issues, as expressed at different times: abortion - all over the map; immigration - all over the map; trade - currently aligning with anti-trade Democrats; entitlements - generally against cuts (right-wingers are "supposed" to be for cuts); militarism and foreign adventurism - non-interventionist (aligns with different factions all over the political spectrum); gay (et al) rights - favourable (not far-anything).

Trump had no proper political experience, but he had a great deal of experience as a showman.  Running for the presidency, showmanship is a workable substitute for political experience.

Trump did not come "seemingly out of nowhere".  An article I can't find again (from a few months' back) identified how frequently Trump was welcomed as a media attraction and talk show guest over the years - until the point at which he declared for a Republican nomination and became persona non grata with many of the media personalities.  One of the reasons he was popular (as a guest) was his penchant for saying things straight out, so it also isn't viable to argue that his views came out of nowhere, or that they suddenly crossed a line from acceptable (among those who helped him to air them) to unacceptable.  Then during the election he nevertheless got a lot of support (airtime, exposure) from Democratic-leaning media who were happy to use him to mess up the Republican nomination.

I challenge the assertion that Trump is "so popular".  If the article simply means strong popularity among his firmest supporters, that's a trivial truth that applies to almost every politician.  If the article means popularity in any broader sense, Trump's low popularity is frequently commented on by media, which tends to deprecate the suggestion that he be regarded as popular.

Why is all of the foregoing relevant?  Because it militates against the myth that Trump was too far outside some imagined parameters of acceptability and recognition.  Consider this reformulation, which might have been written during the primaries: "The American media, over the past few months, has been trying to work out something of a mystery: Why is the Democratic electorate supporting a far-left, aged populist independent with recently tenuous ties to the Democratic party, who espouses extreme and often bizarre views? How has Bernie Sanders, seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly become so popular?"

If there were two populist candidates with substantial support (recollect the Democrats cheated their own nomination process to help guide Hillary to the win), characterized as representing the extreme right and extreme left, then a more sophisticated or broadly applicable hypothesis is required.  How might Bernie Sanders vs Jeb Bush have resulted?

Now consider the proposition that there is still some mystery that Trump presents, and that it is explainable with reference to particular psychological profiling criteria.  An election is a one-time event situated in particular and never-duplicated circumstances.  Supposedly a particular set of answers to the questions predicted a vote for Trump.  They also predicted a vote for the Republican candidate; a vote for the candidate who was not-Hillary; a vote for the candidate of the alternative party after a two-term presidency; a vote for the candidate perceived as more conservative (by convention, not by expressed beliefs); a vote for the candidate who produced a promised short list of potential USSC nominees; a vote for the candidate least likely to continue unrelenting lawfare against religious expression; a vote for the candidate not promising a continuation of "those jobs have gone away and are never coming back"; etc.

So a particular set of answers to the various psychological profiling questions predicts - what, exactly?  Many factors were in play; many explanations are possible.  How are all but one ruled out?

The article posits "Authoritarians are thought to express much deeper fears than the rest of the electorate, to seek the imposition of order where they perceive dangerous change, and to desire a strong leader who will defeat those fears with force."

All of that could be true: people fitting the profile have deeper fears, and long for the restoration of order when they perceive danger, and desire strong leadership in uncertain times.  But other than the first speculation, it is basically a vanilla formulation of a commonplace observation: under pressure, people turn inward and seek relief.  I suppose the people experiencing increased crime in Baltimore would welcome more policing (authority).

"According to Stenner's theory, there is a certain subset of people who hold latent authoritarian tendencies."

Restate it without trying to pretend some people are inherently immune: under sufficient pressure, eventually nearly everyone exhibits latent "me-first" tendencies.  A variation: when "the establishment" iterates through several election cycles without resolving problems, people turn to "not the establishment".

Trump was a "not the establishment" candidate, as was Bernie Sanders.  (Was Sanders as certifiably eccentric as Trump, albeit in different ways?)  All of the mystified academics and journalists and pundits and other people doing well in Bush-Obama America were not under pressure.  Their "latent authoritarian" threshold had not been reached.  For some on the left, their threshold had been reached, and they were turned toward Sanders.  However, the current USSC nomination process has placed some of those comfortable people under a great deal of pressure, and it has manifested in interesting ways.  Although they don't have an "authoritarian" leader behind whom they can coalesce (yet), they are certainly expressing much fear, perceived danger and risk, a remarkable narrowing of tolerance, and willingness to broach and discuss "extremist" solutions to their perceived plight.

"My interest is whether such methodology is useful when looking at our own political landscape."

Certainly.  Crisis always creates opportunity.  Make things difficult enough for Canadians, cycle through a few ineffectual or disinterested parliaments/legislatures, and watch the alternatives emerge.

I just disagree that it manifests in one particular way.  And I'm tired of the decades-long pseudo-social-science effort to muddy the concept of (political) Authoritarianism and encourage people to equivocate with [psychological] authoritarianism, which when expressed at its worst in the past has sought to characterize "psychologically authoritarian" people as mentally ill.

It occurs to me that another way of framing "authoritarian" is "pro-social" (respectful, deferential, favouring the established order of society, etc).
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Infanteer

  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Legend
  • *
  • 148,875
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 14,879
  • Honey Badger FTW!
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2018, 21:03:24 »
Can't disagree with much of what you said above.

Consider this reformulation, which might have been written during the primaries: "The American media, over the past few months, has been trying to work out something of a mystery: Why is the Democratic electorate supporting a far-left, aged populist independent with recently tenuous ties to the Democratic party, who espouses extreme and often bizarre views? How has Bernie Sanders, seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly become so popular?"

Perhaps they're "psychological-authoritarians" as well? (or pre-social, or whatever we want to call it).  Then I guess the question is, what drives a "psychological-authoritarian" into a specific "left" or "right" camp?  Preconceptions on what the cure-all to their fears are?
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline whiskey601

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 24,985
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,640
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2018, 21:44:04 »
My interest is whether such methodology is useful when looking at our own political landscape.

Which would be similar to investigating a  :trainwreck:

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 59,810
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,637
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2018, 22:41:38 »
>Then I guess the question is, what drives a "psychological-authoritarian" into a specific "left" or "right" camp?

Which might be answerable with a different set of profile questions.  The external threat questions present a potential methodological problem: they are all issues Republicans (and conservatives more generally) emphasize.  Do right-authoritarians report high anxiety because those are issues right-authoritarians inherently worry about, or because the questions are situated to reveal political affiliation?

A guess: pose external threat questions in economic terms (free trade, globalization, off-shoring, high rates of immigration) to see if a different set of left-authoritarians emerge.

Consider the "parenting" questions, with the not-authoritarian (not-a) and authoritarian (a) answers indicated.

1. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: independence or respect for elders? (not-a, a)
2. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: obedience or self-reliance? (a, not-a)
3. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: to be considerate or to be well-behaved? (not-a, a)
4. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: curiosity or good manners? ([not-a, a]) [had these 2 backwards]

Change the frame from "parent" to "elementary classroom teacher".  Do the "a" answers still look qualitatively "wrong"?  My guess: most of today's teachers want children - especially boys - to be respectful, obedient, well-behaved, and well-mannered, and strive to make them so.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 59,810
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,637
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2018, 00:10:13 »
The terminology problem can be cleared up.

Authoritarian Personality.

"Authoritarian personality is a state of mind or attitude characterized by belief in absolute obedience or submission to someone else’s authority, as well as the administration of that belief through the oppression of one's subordinates. It usually applies to individuals who are known or viewed as having an authoritarian, strict, or oppressive personality towards subordinates."

Not exactly congruent with the backwoods militia or other variations of minarchism who apparently also share the "extreme right wing".  But clearly they have in mind people at the limits of extremity.

Right-Wing Authoritarianism.

"Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) is a personality and ideological variable studied in political, social and personality psychology. Right-wing authoritarians are people who have a high degree of willingness to submit to authorities they perceive as established and legitimate, who adhere to societal conventions and norms and who are hostile and punitive in their attitudes towards people who do not adhere to them. They value uniformity and are in favour of using group authority, including coercion, to achieve it."

That would throw "Obey and Support Lawful Authority" in a different light - if you bought into it.  I especially favour the irony of "adhere to societal conventions and norms" when thinking about Trump and the people who support him.  The article does include the following:

"There have been a number of other attempts to identify "left-wing authoritarians" in the United States and Canada. These would be people who submit to leftist authorities, are highly conventional to liberal viewpoints and are aggressive to people who oppose left-wing ideology. These attempts have failed because measures of authoritarianism always correlate at least slightly with the right."

If the measures always correlate at least slight with the right, but there exist protesters (frequently) who fit the highlighted description, there is something wrong with the measurements.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline beirnini

  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • 4,325
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 67
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2018, 11:02:03 »
Interesting discussion, and in general I agree with most of it. In particular I thought Brad's observation that
Quote
[...] under sufficient pressure, eventually nearly everyone exhibits latent "me-first" tendencies.  A variation: when "the establishment" iterates through several election cycles without resolving problems, people turn to "not the establishment".
was particularly illuminating. Infanteer's concern whether a Trump-like phenomenon (authoritarian or otherwise) can happen in Canada probably hinges on that dynamic.

The issue as I see it is that there are genuine problems and then there are artificially inflated or distorted media-driven outrages designed to harvest clicks and ratings, and not enough of the electorate are adequately equipped to distinguish the two. America, with it's poorer over-all education, is more susceptible to it than Canada but we're far from immune.

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 59,810
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,637
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2018, 11:45:39 »
Another comment about the terminology, in case it isn't clear (and I doubt that it is unless you read into the Wikipedia article on RWA in particular).

"Right-wing" in RWA is not a reference to a particular political ideology; it is especially not a contemporary political reference (eg. it doesn't mean "post-enlightenment conservatives").  It applies the original French Revolution meaning - the right was the position of those who favoured the established order (conservatives, in the smallest "c" sense of the word).

So although the nomenclature lends itself to confusion, the whole package is just a way of pigeonholing reactions of a dominant culture to change.  The simplest prophylactic is "When in Rome, do as the Romans", enforced by government as needed.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Brad Sallows

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 59,810
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 3,637
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2018, 20:26:06 »
For anyone who might still be interested, an How Social Science Might Be Misunderstanding Conservatives.

Long read.  Discusses the methodological problems with the questions asked, and the idea that "authoritarianism" depends on the issue.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline Colin P

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 122,295
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 8,749
  • Civilian
    • http://www.pacific.ccg-gcc.gc.ca
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2018, 17:49:04 »
Why can't children be brought up to demonstrate respect for elders, obedience, good behavior, good manners, independence, self-reliance, consideration, and curiosity? These things are not contradictory.

Exactly my thoughts and since this is the US, throw in are they a believer that the Constitution should be read or interpreted? Because that a major factor.   

Offline Xylric

  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • 3,785
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 90
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2018, 13:19:45 »
The sad reality is that human behavior honestly has not changed too much since the Bronze Age, but we've fortunately had a number of restraints develop due to the ease with which we can commit unimaginable horrors against our neighbors.

Our natural paranoia has pragmatically given way to peace - "nemo me impune lacessit" writ large. Authoritarianism has an inherent critical flaw in that a family group will inherently have a closer bond within itself than to any that lies outside of it, so the disturbing thing is that an authoritarian society inherently eats away at its own foundation. Is it any wonder why the Coup d'etat is so commonplace, it might as well be referred to as the traditional method of regime change for our species?

As for attitudes towards the Constitution (US or otherwise), I disagree with the idea that it is a living document. Functionally, it's much closer to an undead one.

Offline Colin P

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 122,295
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 8,749
  • Civilian
    • http://www.pacific.ccg-gcc.gc.ca
Re: On Authoritarianism
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2018, 11:37:23 »
Part of the problem in the US is that the system has evolved into a either or situation. A good chunk of Trump support is purely due to the fact that Trump was not Hillary. Add in the likely retirement of several judges in the supreme court and many people held their nose and voted the way they did. Trump stands a good chance of being re-elected, because the Democrats are in a hole and are determined to dig it deeper, instead of finding a way out.