Saturday, March 05, 2016

Donald Trump's "popularity" shows the resurgence of authoritarian values in the electorate (maybe it never went away)

Amanda Taub of Vox media has a  booklet-length study on the rise (or resurgence) of authoritarianism in American politics.

In a general way, Trump has been appealing to voters who tend to follow an authoritarian mindset.  This portion of the electorate may be splitting the GOP in to mainstream and authoritarian branches, and the mainstream could further fracture off with a libertarian branch.

Authoritarianism is one of the four major modes of the Nolan Chart , or “World’s Smallest Political Quiz” (along with conservative, liberal, and libertarian;  Sometimes authoritarian is called “statist” (like modern China and Russia).

Authoritarians tend to like “order” and tend to value social loyalty within their own family group highly. They tend to view social status as “earned” and needing respect from others for its own sake, regardless of underlying merit. They tend to see roles in social relationships (especially gender) as critical to protecting society.  So they may value “loyalty” or “obedience” (or not attracting adverse attention to others in a family regardless of truth) as a moral virtue.  It would be interesting to how it fits into the theory of mass movements, as in a famous book (“The True Believer”) by Eric Hoffer, which I will review soon.

My own father was somewhat authoritarian, beyond what was really necessary.
It's possible to believe one is progressive, but use authoritarian values in dealing with other people in person, not giving importance to compassion or helping others personally.  So authoritarianism has personality connections, particularly to schizoid-types.
Particularly disturbing in the article was the attitude of authoritarians toward their own children when adults, not welcoming their independence.

In this link of thinking, homosexuality is frowned upon merely because it questions the importance of established biological family relationships.

Donald Trump showed shocking audacity tonight in demanding a loyalty "to me" from the crowd gathering in Florida, CNN story here. This sounds a bit like Germany in the early to mid 1930s.

Update: March 6

Colbert King has an op-ed in the Washington Post Sunday, "Trump: the authoritarian's candidate of choice."

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