October 4, 2013

Today, at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, the law school presents a lecture by John Dean about Watergate, criminal law, and ethics.

That's later this afternoon. Meanwhile, here's a local media interview with Dean that engages him in some of the issues of the day. The interviewer Paul Fanlund invites Dean to attack today's Republicans with the prompt: "You wrote that book a few years ago and focused on politicians such as then-Vice President Cheney. But now the GOP looks ever more radical."

Dean says that 30% of Americans have a "personality trait" that some social psychologist he's talked to labels "authoritarianism," and that's now "the dominant force" driving Republican politics, which is why he and his friends — Dean lives in Beverly Hills — aren't Republicans anymore and also why Republicans are stuck with only 30% of the electorate. But Dean wonders "if the authoritarian people will ever get up to the 51 percent number because that would make a very different United States."

Unsuprisingly, Fanlund doesn't follow up with any questions about whether authoritarianism ever manifests itself in Democratic Party politics or whether some people with the authoritarian personality trait ever feel drawn into the hopes and dreams of left-liberal projects.

Fanlund's next question is a model of fawning and imprecision, the very opposite of what I'd want from a journalist: "You’ve done so much scholarship and have your first-hand experience. What do you think the future holds?"

Dean has just about nothing to say, so Fanlund proceeds to the topic of Wisconsin: "Last year I wrote about your assessment of Scott Walker, our governor, as a classic authoritarian personality." How did I miss that analysis? Dean says Walker is "so strikingly Nixonian that I cannot (turn away) out of fascination."
It’s kind of like the moth to the candle, I keep an eye on him. And I am likely to see pigs flying before he’s president.
So Walker is like Nixon, but somehow it's impossible for him to become President. Dean's not making a whole lot of sense in this phone interview, and Fanlund prompts him again: "Because of how Walker’s personality would play out with a national electorate?"

Dean picks up the cue:
Exactly. The country is not ready for him unless he skews far to the middle from where he is....
Isn't that easier than pigs flying? Dean blathers about moderation, and Fanlund offers some more help: "What struck us in Wisconsin, as much as anything, is how Walker, unlike governors I’ve known for three decades, made it clear from the start that he wasn’t interested in representing all of us, only those who elected him. Are you surprised?"

This is a telephone interview, and Dean is phoning it in. From Beverly Hills. And guess what? He is surprised. Frankly, he's surprised, but maybe he shouldn't be so surprised, because, after all, Joe McCarthy... blah blah... "maybe there are still people that kind of politics appeals to".... you know, the kind of people with that authoritarianism personality trait. Maybe they're still around out there somewhere in Wisconsin. Not Madison, of course, where it's worth flying in from Beverly Hills to speak to people who can't possibly be authoritarian.

73 comments:

David said...

John Dean is the same weasel he always was. Manipulative, trend following, unoriginal and stupid.

One of the stronger indictments of Nixon is that he put someone as weak and foolish as Dean in a position of authority in the first place.

Matthew Sablan said...

How is Walker authoritarian? Isn't he spiting the federal government's requests to close things down? Didn't he want to break the power of the government and unions and restore more of it to people?

Authoritarianism and fascism have, sadly, been degraded to buzzwords that mean nothing to some people. But, I haven't read any of Dean's work except for here, so maybe he's smarter when he's not on the phone.

Tank said...

I hope you're not paying to see him. But I'd pay to see you interview him.

That's entertainment.

David said...

Can't the law school come up with someone better than this? A self promoting never-was posing as a has been?

It's stuff like this that makes me resistant to requests for more funding from Wisconsin higher education.

Bring in Jerry Brown after he retires, if you want an interesting lefty from California. Why waste your (and my) cash on third raters?

Alan said...

John Dean is and was a RAT, nothing more elegant than that.

Illuninati said...

The difference between Nixon and Obama is that when Nixon got out of line there were Republicans willing to work with Democrats to set things straight. Obama has done much more than what Nixon was accused of and not one Democrat is willing to stand up for the rule of law.


Michael K said...

Asking Dean about ethics is like asking Miley Cyrus about modesty. I have always wondered if the Watergate burglary was Dean's idea to see if the DNC had anything about his wife's previous career.

Nixon was less corrupt than Johnson and was undone by his concern for his underlings who had been caught in the burglary. That would never happen with the bunch in this White House. Also, nobody died in Watergate.

traditionalguy said...

What a waste of time saying Watergate is the same as repealing a recent bad law giving Government Employee Unions a guaranteed hammer to rape the citizens in contracts.

It's the two Party system that restrains corruption. Both sides tell on the other.

But when both Parties agree to rape the citizens for a cut of the loot, then we must use a Third party for restraint.

"Authoritarian" happens with a divine right King with a Legislature that goes along with his lawlessness for bribes and fear of the NSA.

David said...

General Giap has died at age102.

Lived longer than Westmorland, who died at age 91 in 2005.

Hell for Westmorland would have some connection to spending eternity in proximity to General Giap.

Ann Althouse said...

The two men were throwing the word "authoritarianism" around without ever supporting it. They just assumed the reader would agree and that there's nothing wrong with name-calling and nothing wrong with diagnosing mental disease in your opponents while offering zero capacity for self-criticism. How embarrassing!

BarrySanders20 said...

The statists are the real authoritarians. They exist on both sides of the political spectrum.

Peter said...

There is just no followup on this "authoritarian" meme at all. At a minimum, if Republicans tend toward smaller government and Democrats toward larger government, then it would seem that the "authoritarian" charge is backwards. For what is the essense of government, what best defines it, other than to say that it claims monopoly on legitimate force?

Without the followup, what does he mean by it? And, isn't "Republican" to broad a category- there are lots of Republicans. Does he mean social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, libertarians?

Robert Cook said...

"You’ve done so much scholarship and have your first-hand experience. What do you think the future holds?"

The equivalent of the terrible "how do you feel...." questions tv journalists (sic) ask their subjects about matters of great and little moment. It does not require the journalist to have done any research, to know anything about his or her--or the--subject, and merely invites the subject to blather on until the requisite minutes of airtime are filled.

Ann Althouse said...

"John Dean is the same weasel he always was. Manipulative, trend following, unoriginal and stupid."

Extensive conversations with prominent social psychologists will reveal that this is a personality trait known as weaselism. At any given time about 30% of the population suffers from Weasel Personality Disorder. WPD. Watch out for it. It's catching on. If 51% of the people ever get it, you might not even notice.

Michael K said...

"Weasel Personality Disorder. WPD. Watch out for it. It's catching on. If 51% of the people ever get it, you might not even notice."

There was an epidemic last November. Let's hope it passed.

Robert Cook said...

"Also, nobody died in Watergate."

That depends on what you believe Watergate was about.

If this is true, then very many people died who may not have if Johnson had been able to reach a peace agreement with the Vietnamese.

Illuninati said...

The Democrats seem to be completely unhinged.

According to Breitbart, Cher is calling for deep sixing the Republicans and the Tea Party. When hate speech reaches this level by people who have influence violence is not far off.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood

In my life time,, I don't ever recall this level of hate speech from the Republicans. This is a big difference between Obama and Nixon. Obama is much more dangerous because he is surrounded by a party which is just as unhinged as he is.

Hagar said...

John Dean is still living off Watergate?

David Carlson said...

Why are you refering to the capital times as media?

They are a once a week bird cage liner that was so bad they could not make it in Madison as a weekly paper. And even at that, the are a distant second to the Isthumus.

They really are simply an advertising medium, much like the Shopper Stopper. And they do a second rate job compared to that.

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

Pop-psychology-- the cultural tic that leads people to make confident psychological diagnoses based on pretty much nothing-- has really corroded conversation. How do you have a reasoned conversation with (or reasonable blog comments from) someone who has diagnosed you as loony tunes and considers every word coming out of your mouth as deranged?

Carnifex said...

I am shocked, just shocked I tell you! A journolist with an agenda!

Ps.


I like when the Prof. gets snarky.

Does that make me a bad person?

"Extensive conversations with prominent social psychologists will reveal that this is a personality trait known as weaselism. At any given time about 30% of the population suffers from Weasel Personality Disorder. WPD. Watch out for it. It's catching on. If 51% of the people ever get it, you might not even notice."

PatHMV said...

How bizarre that the party that does NOT want government to control health care, guns, and your life in general gets labeled as the "authoritarian" party... largely because of a belief in traditional marriage, an opposition to recreational pharmaceuticals, and a respect for the sanctity of life from conception.

Marshal said...


Peter said...
There is just no followup on this "authoritarian" meme at all...Without the followup, what does he mean by it?


Your questions and therefore implied criticism presume that Fanlund's intent was to increase understanding or knowledge. But if you change his assumed intent to "propagandize" every comment, question, and action fits perfectly.

I highly doubt he would be embarassed if he read and even agreed with Althouse's criticisms. 95+ percent of those who understand why he should be embarassed support his effort, why would he care about the rest?

garage mahal said...

Authoritarianism is all Walker knows. It's in his DNA. From naming the National Guard in ct 10, to sending the State Patrol to find and arrest legislators, to armed mercenaries patrolling in the Penokees. That act is wearing mighty thin though as the level of sheer corruption and cronyism with DNR is being exposed.

William said...

Back when there was some kind of poll which revealed that 1000 psychiatrists believed that Goldwater was too crazy to be President. There should be some kind of study done to determine why so many shrinks and social psychologists are given to politicizing their profession and offering such rash judgments. This would never happen in a hard science like meteorology.

surfed said...

Nixon was a piker compared to the guys in office now. And Mr. Dean? He positively makes me pine for the days of Tricky Dick. How is that even possible. One word - weasel.

Matthew Sablan said...

This is actually a tactic I talked about a few months ago with someone. I call it "smuggling an idea into the debate." If you were to just CALL Walker an authoritarian [or really, even big government liberals. They may be big government liberals, but they are hardly authoritarian, especially with the murderous connotation and not just purely denotative means of the word], most people wouldn't agree.

So, you smuggle the idea in. You don't just beg the question; you completely skip even that step. You don't even assume something is true; you just act as if it is.

It's a really useful tactic when negotiating [you smuggle in the assumption of a certain price point for a good, for example], but once you're aware of it, you'll notice how insidious it can be.

Bob Ellison said...

I like the WPD concept! It's like BRS (Bush Derangement Syndrome), of course, coined by Charles Krauthammer. He's an actual psychiatrist, but maybe we can all play this game!

OBCD: Obsessive Blog Commentary Disorder.

KJCD (Piaget offshoot): Knee-Jerk Commentary Disorder, in which a blog entry causes an irresistible urge to go off on a tangent. ["You mentioned that you liked Peter Frampton. I want to inform you that you are a tasteless idiot."] I've got a case of this, but I fight it.

IMRMD: I Must Repeat Myself Disorder. ["As I have often noted, the talent these folks have for repetition is only exceeded by their desire for repetition."]

TQS: Tu Quoque Syndrome.

In the end, most of these end up metastasizing into GLS, Godwin's Law Syndrome.

Kirk Parker said...

Hagar,

Well, it's not like the man has any actual skills.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Matthew Sablan,

This is actually a tactic I talked about a few months ago with someone. I call it "smuggling an idea into the debate."

Yep. It amounts to appeal to authority, only without even the tiresome necessity of naming the authority. Hell, you don't even really have to mention that there is one (however bogus), though Dean did.

Incidentally, what is it with people on the left persistently labeling conservatism a mental disorder? I mean, I have some Lefty friends and colleagues whom I might casually describe as, oh, "batshit insane," but not as a medical diagnosis, nor a scientific fact. Stuff like Dean's comments quoted in the OP seriously creeps me out. A little too near the old Soviet uses of mental-illness diagnoses for comfort.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

My God, Ann really did turn the moderation off. I thought she was jesting. Don't screw it up, anyone.

DanTheMan said...

MDT has it right. There is a long history of the left classifying conservatism as a mental illness. They are so clearly on the side of the angels that to disagree with them must be an indication of something defective in you.
And, from what I have seen, the left is just fine with authoritarian rule... so long as they are the authority. Hence their love of Castro, but detesting "right wing dictators".

Paco Wové said...

"smuggling an idea into the debate."

The most recent issue of Time has on its U.S. cover a picture of the U.S. Capitol, with the crossed-out words "Majority Rule" above it. In essence putting an editorial on the cover, an editorial promoting a simplistic and wrong view of how the Federal Government works. But the idea that the U.S. = democracy = majority rule is just there, like oxygen or the water fish swim in.

Kirk Parker said...

DanTheMan (and MDT),

"The right is looking for converts; the left is looking for heretics".

machine said...

Ahhhh Fantasyland...

Michael K said...

Robert Cook said...

"Also, nobody died in Watergate."

That depends on what you believe Watergate was about. "

I read your link. Nixon was NOT president in 1968. Watergate was a coup d' etat by Mark Felt, #2 man in the FBI, to get revenge on Nixon for passing him over when Hoover died.

The left was obsessed with Nixon because of Alger Hiss. Hugh Hewitt had a lefty MSNBC host on his program a week or so ago. He kept asking her if Hiss was a communist. She wouldn't answer and finally hung up.

I guess you would, too.

Jake said...

A couple things:

Isn't the knock on the current Republican establishment (authority) that it's being manipulated by the tea party - a patchwork group that has no leader or any real unified organization at all, for that matter? That would be the opposite of authoritarian, no?

Second, are there any bigger authoritarians out there than the global warming crowd? The scientists have reached consensus! Bend to their will! Last I checked, they weren't voting Republican. Seems to me it's the democrat party espousing the authoritarianism these days.

eddie willers said...

I have always wondered if the Watergate burglary was Dean's idea to see if the DNC had anything about his wife's previous career.

That was G. Gordon Liddy's theory....that Dean's wife had been a former prostitute.

And seeing the drop-dead gorgeous Mo (Maureen) next to the nebbish Dean gave the idea credence to me.

Levi Starks said...

There's a nice article about Right Wing Authoritarianism at wikipedia. As it turns out it's not necessarily connected with conservatism, it can also be Left wing. It also seems that there is a similar phenomena in The Soviet Union only there it's the people who strongly identify with communism that "Suffer" from it.

DanTheMan said...

Levi,
Note that when discussing the Soviet Union, the old, hard-left communists are called "conservatives" by the left.

It's just their shorthand for "the side you aren't supposed to like".

Robert Cook said...

"I read your link. Nixon was NOT president in 1968."

Uh...no one said he was.

That's the whole point of the article. It alleges that Nixon the candidate contacted the South Vietnamese and contrived to quash any peace agreements that President Johnson was trying to arrange. This was in order to strengthen Nixon's chances of winning the Presidency, as a successful peace agreement reached by President Johnson would have insured Johnson's re-election.

Robert Cook said...

"That was G. Gordon Liddy's theory....that Dean's wife had been a former prostitute."

Hmmm...I guess one can stretch the word "theory" beyond the breaking point to mean intentional slander (and misdirection) if one really wants to. But...who would fall for such a misuse of language?

eric said...

Somehow, I suspect that Dean would agree with Obama that sometimes you just have to act without the consent of Congress.

Dean would probably see as reasonable all of the actions our President has taken in delaying the Affordable Care Act, bombing far away places with drones and refusing to negotiate with Republicans over the budget.

In other words, the claims of authoritarianism is, like most claims from the left, projection.

Mitch H. said...

Incidentally, what is it with people on the left persistently labeling conservatism a mental disorder?

It stems from a nasty piece of work named Adorno, who was a Frankfurt School type in the, hrm, Fifties I think? Everything since then has been confirmation-bias abuse of the lax experimental standards of the psychology profession, especially the use of of college students as experimental subjects and the use of worthlessly small samples.

But really, all Dean is demonstrating is that the Nixonian Republican left has decamped for a party more amiable for dishonest, corrupt, statist hackery - today's Democratic party. Although I wish there were fewer Deans-in-the-egg running errands for the Republican establishment. Politics tends to attract them the way slovenly restaurant kitchens attract rats and cockroaches.

Paul said...

Richard Nixon was a liberal's wet dream. EPA, OSHA, wage and price controls, detente with the Chicoms, ending the Viet Nam war...

At the time people said only a Republican could get away with such a liberal agenda.

He was creepy, but so is Obama, and Nixon was orders of magnitude smarter.

And less corrupt.

Joseph of FP said...

Senator Harry Reid says we are "anarchists".

John Dean says we are "authoritarians".

LOL

Steven said...

No, no, it's very true that authoritarianism (favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, esp. that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom) is a Republican Party phenomenon.

The thing is, totalitarianism (a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state) is a Democratic Party phenomenon.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Mitch H.,

It stems from a nasty piece of work named Adorno, who was a Frankfurt School type in the, hrm, Fifties I think? Everything since then has been confirmation-bias abuse of the lax experimental standards of the psychology profession, especially the use of of college students as experimental subjects and the use of worthlessly small samples.

Oh, I know from Theodor Adorno. As a composer in a small way, a friend of better composers, and a music critic of sorts, he occupied a rather-larger-than-necessary place in the musicology curriculum when I was in the middle of it.

He didn't start this garbage, though; I'm pretty sure that the USSR was locking up dissidents as mental cases before anyone in particular had heard of Adorno.

eddie willers said...

Hmmm...I guess one can stretch the word "theory" beyond the breaking point to mean intentional slander (and misdirection)

You link to a crackpot conspiracy page and then have the audacity to ridicule Liddy's?

At least his survives Occam's Razor.

FullMoon said...

One of the Senators at the hearings(Sam Irwin?) asked Dean a rather long and convoluted question. Before Dean could answer, the Senators got sidetracked for awhile with some noisy back and forth. When they were done, Irwin said:"Now I cannot remember what I asked you". Dean replied "You asked......." and repeated the entire question verbatim to the amazement of everyone present.

Mitch H. said...

Michelle, Adorno's the Authoritarian Personality (1950) seems to have barely preceded, or have been actually contemporary, with the Pavlovian putsch of about that time which eventually led to the invention of the "sluggish schizophrenia" diagnosis used to put away dissidents with "reform delusion". Before Adorno's book came out, the Soviets didn't putz around with psychiatric window-dressing, they just tortured confessions of treason from their victims. The psychiatric innovations of Andrei Snezhnevsky and his colleagues were a post-Stalinist solution to the problem of dissident control without High Stalinist measures.

Despite the coincidence of Adorno and Snezhnevsky both being communists in the psychology/psychiatric sciences at the same time, their approaches weren't really similar. "sluggish schizophrenia" seems to have been aimed at idealists and martyr-types, whereas Adorno was "kicking up" at people in power in the Western democratic societies he operated in. Adorno's aim was subversive, Snezhnevsky's aim was repressive. Not that they weren't two sides of the same coin, but that's commies for you.

Basil said...

President Johnson never ran for reelection. Geez!

Robert Cook said...

"President Johnson never ran for reelection. Geez!"

Ummm...yes...because the Vietnam war had aroused too great a passionate opposition to him.

Had he succeeded in negotiating an end to the war, or some form of American withdrawal...he almost certainly would have run again and he would have won handily!

Geez!

Robert Cook said...

"You link to a crackpot conspiracy page and then have the audacity to ridicule Liddy's?"

Hahahaha! To the contrary...Liddy cruelly slandered the wife of a former Nixon administration colleague to deflect attention from other motives and other persons in the administration who were behind the Watergate debacle. Robert Parry, in this and other reporting elsewhere, provides adequate cause to consider the allegations of Nixon's treason as--at least--to be more than a "crackpot conspiracy" theory.

Given Nixon's claims in the '68 campaign that he had a "secret plan" to end the war in Vietnam, a "secret plan" that, as it turned out, involved keeping the war going throughout the whole of his first term while trying to crush the anti-war movement, and only belatedly conceding defeat after he had won re-election--in other words, a claim to a "secret plan" that was a lie--he certainly demonstrated his willingness to let masses of people die who didn't have to simply to realize his political ambitions.)

Hyphenated American said...

So when democrats want to take half of my income at gun point, they are being compassionate. And when I ask them kindly to leave me alone, I am beng authoritarian. Makes a lot of sense.

Btw, did the journalist ask mr.Dean about obama's IRS illegally singling out the tea party groups?

Hyphenated American said...

"Given Nixon's claims in the '68 campaign that he had a "secret plan" to end the war in Vietnam, a "secret plan" that, as it turned out, involved keeping the war going throughout the whole of his first term while trying to crush the anti-war movement...."


It's fun to debate with liberals...
Us troops in Vietnam, 1968: 537,000
Us troops in Vietnam, mid 1970: 280,000
Us troops in Vietnam, mid 1972: 69,000

And notice, with us support, south Vietnam am was able to defend itself..

Hyphenated American said...

"Had he succeeded in negotiating an end to the war, or some form of American withdrawal...he almost certainly would have run again and he would have won handily!"

And if Obama knew that obamacare cannot cut premiums by 3000%, he would have been a republican.

The Godfather said...

When I read Dean's remarks about the "authoritarian personality" I was taken back to my college days, early to mid '60's, when it was quite a popular belief that conservatives were that way because of a mental defect. I'm pretty sure that theory has been thoroughly debunked. But Dean, who's about 5 years older than I am, still thinks dredging up this obsolete theory makes him sound intelligent. I wonder if he mentioned phlogiston in the interview?

heyboom said...

I would ask Mr. Dean to go and try to visit the WWII memorial today and then tell us again which party is the authoritarian one.

heyboom said...

No, no, it's very true that authoritarianism (favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, esp. that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom) is a Republican Party phenomenon.

Not sure if you're being sarcastic, but I've been a lifelong Republican and I have never held authoritarian beliefs and don't believe the party does either. Maybe you could cite some examples of Republican policies that call for "strict obedience to authority, esp. that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Mitch H.,

Thanks for that extremely informative comment, which made me go read the excellent Wikipedia article (yes, those three words can be used in that order) on political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union. A larger subject even than I had thought it.

Apparently it set in before Adorno's Authoritarian Personality, but really got going in the 60s and 70s. As you say, compelled confessions and show trials were sort of the preferred means before, Or, of course, just private arrest and exile, or outright murder.

Basil said...

Johnson withdrew in March of 68. The alleged but nonexistent negotiations are alleged to have taken place in the fall of 68. Please stop with the crazy talk.

Hyphenated American said...

Michele, if you want to learn more about soviet progressives using psychiatry aganst dissidents, read memoirs of bukovsky.

Hyphenated American said...

Michele, if you want to learn more about soviet progressives using psychiatry aganst dissidents, read memoirs of bukovsky.

Michael K said...

"It alleges that Nixon the candidate contacted the South Vietnamese and contrived to quash any peace agreements that President Johnson was trying to arrange."

No, that was Kerry.

Sorry, pal. You need some remedial history.

Robert Cook said...

"Johnson withdrew in March of 68. The alleged but nonexistent negotiations are alleged to have taken place in the fall of 68. Please stop with the crazy talk."

You are correct and I stand corrected on Johnson's probable motives in trying negotiate a peace deal. He had escalated the war, all the while knowing and admitting privately that we could never win the war. Perhaps his decision not to run for a second term gave him freedom from political concerns that allowed him to try to make amends, to try to end the war. It remains true that had the Johnson administration, in which Hubert Humphrey was the Vice President, succeeded in negotiating a peace deal and ended the war, it would have carried Humphrey into the presidency. Nixon wanted the office so badly, especially after having lost so closely to Kennedy in '60--possibly as the result of vote fixing--he was willing to sabotage the alleged peace deal to erase the certain Humphrey victory that would have resulted.

In not paying attention to the chronology, I drew an erroneous inference as to Johnson's motives, but the allegations remain highly plausible and seem to be supported by documents in the Johnson library.

hughroe said...

Ah yes, the conspiracy of the evil Republicans, if Nixon hadn't snuck off to Vietnam in the middle of a campaign, Humphrey would be President! If GHW Bush hadn't jumped on an SR-71 and met with the mullahs, Carter would have got the hostages released! Carter would have won re-election! Evil Republicans!

Hyphenated American said...

Robert, instead of diving into the crap of far-left conspiracy theories, how about you acknowledge that Nixon cut the number of troops in Vietnam by almost 90%during his first term? Be a big man, and concede that you were wrong.

Steven said...

I've been a lifelong Republican and I have never held authoritarian beliefs and don't believe the party does either.

I'm not saying the Republican Party is authoritarian or all Republicans are authoritarian, any more than the second paragraph said the Democratic Party is totalitarian or all Democrats are totalitarian.

Rather, when you look at what party people with authoritarian beliefs are drawn to, the people who believe in obedience to an authority on the grounds that it is an authority, they tend to be drawn to the Republican Party.

And when you look at what party people with totalitarian beliefs are drawn to, the people who want to use the state to force other people to become "better", they tend to be drawn to the Democratic Party.

I personally don't support either approach, but if I have to choose the lesser of two evils, I choose authoritarians over the totalitarians.

This holds especially in the US, where the Constitution hold the key to legitimacy; there's only so authoritarian you can be in the US without willfully ignoring the text. But authoritarian regimes are generally more pleasant over time than totalitarian ones; Taiwan and South Korea, even before they made their democratic transitions, beat Cuba and North Korea hollow. Franco's authoritarian Spain was no paradise, but it was superior to totalitarian-held Poland. And so on.

Michael K said...

"Rather, when you look at what party people with authoritarian beliefs are drawn to, the people who believe in obedience to an authority on the grounds that it is an authority, they tend to be drawn to the Republican Party. "

You really need to get out more. This is a myth. Was Mussolini a Republican ? That's the best analogy for the Democratic Party right now. Hitler was too crazy but Hollywood was full of fans of Mussolini. He was in a movie with Lionel Barrymore.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Unsuprisingly, Fanlund doesn't follow up with any questions about whether authoritarianism ever manifests itself in Democratic Party politics or whether some people with the authoritarian personality trait ever feel drawn into the hopes and dreams of left-liberal projects.


Scratch a liberal, expose the totalitarian.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Back when there was some kind of poll which revealed that 1000 psychiatrists believed that Goldwater was too crazy to be President.

That poll was invented by the same ad agency that pictured Obama, surrounding guys in doctor costumes, hyping Obamacare.

Archie said...

"The upcoming civil war is awaiting only a rational basis for determining geographical divisions,the locations of the battle fields and the development of an alternate command and control structure."

There's a prediction of the future for you free gratis.