Saturday,5/14/16, Public Square


The rise of American authoritarianism

“Authoritarians prioritize social order and hierarchies, which bring a sense of control to a chaotic world. Challenges to that order — diversity, influx of outsiders, breakdown of the old order — are experienced as personally threatening because they risk upending the status quo order they equate with basic security.

When they face physical threats or threats to the status quo, authoritarians support policies that seem to offer protection against those fears. They favor forceful, decisive action against things they perceive as threats. And they flock to political leaders who they believe will bring this action.


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.”


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8 responses to “Saturday,5/14/16, Public Square

  1. I still don’t have WordPress figured out. 🙂 Every time I ‘think’ I might have something down pat, they change it. Keeps me on my toes.

    Above in the first line is a link to an article titled, “The rise of American Authoritarianism” that I think explains the rise of Trump. Let me know if you agree or disagree.

  2. indypendent

    I read the article and what I basically got was that people want a leader who is authoritative, simple and punitive.

    Okay – so basically the people don’t want to have to actively engage in the leadership of their government.

    They just want someone to use simple words and get rid of all the ‘problem people’ and then all will be sunshine and roses again?

    And exactly when has our country ever been all sunshine and roses with no problems?

    My take on Trump is this:

    The average American is sadly under-educated when it comes to how our government works. And as for American History – WHOA, we are very lacking in the basics.

    The average American is sadly very disengaged in anything. The attention span of the average American has become less and less in the last few decades. As for example of that – remember when t.v. commercials used to be 30 seconds and there was one advertiser in the commercial in the middle of t.v. shows. How many really short commercials do we see now in an average t.v. show? And sometimes – the exact same commercial is repeated immediately after it just aired – I suspect that is because these advertisers KNOW the average American’s attention span is that of slug.

    But more than that – there is this mindset that I’ve noticed of people just not caring about anything of importance anymore.

    Oh – we’re too busy fretting and fussing about the latest reality t.v. show – such as the Bachelor. We get all caught up in the celebrity news of the Kardashians or the latest singer or comedian.

    As I’ve shared before – I listen to NPR and there was an interview with a prison inmate that had been released after serving 20 years on a drug charge. This inmate was released due to Obama’s most recent federal program.

    This man returned home to his wife (who never divorced him during the 20 years) and his kids, which are now grown. This man was talking about how grateful he is that he got this chance to be a normal person again. He found a job and he said he was happy and content.

    Then this ex-inmate said something that I wont’ forget – he was talking about how he noticed everyone was on their cellphone and texting BUT nobody was talking. He asked the interviewer – why is it so many people are on their phones but nobody is talking and/or listening to those people around them.

    Maybe that’s a factor in why Trump is so popular?

    We’re all too busy being in our own little bubble world and we’re too busy to look up and see what the real world is doing.

    So – when a gifted carnival barker that knows how to manipulate the media like Trump comes along and throws out his statements that he is going to get rid of all the illegals and Mexico pay for the wall – people clap.

    When Trump brags about banning Muslims – again, he gets applauded.

    When Trump brags about how he is going to tell Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world that he is going to TAKE their oil – again, the people cheer.

    When Trump brags about how he will get rid of ISIS but does not tell how he plans to do it – the people still cheer.

    Perhaps – Trump has tapped into something that the ex-inmate noticed when he came back into society – everybody seems to be preoccupied in their own little world and is not talking/looking up to see what the reality truly is.

    There are none so blind as those who refuse to see?

    • That was excellent, Indy! I mean standing ovation!

      President Obama agrees with you too! This link is a short one and it’s mostly a speech that President Obama gave at a college commencement. It is such a great speech with so much inspiration, knowledge, great advice. You’ll like it!

      Obama on Trump: “In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue”
      Obama’s response to “make America great again”: America is greater than it’s ever been.

  3. Nothing new about this. It is, unfortunately, the natural result of democracy.

    Well, that is, according to Plato. In Republic, towards the end, there is a dialogue with Socrates set forth arguing why a republic is the best form of government. I leave it to the reader to read this, but note the Founders were quite familiar with Plato, and this familiarity is reflected in the Constitution (think pre-17th Amendment election of senators and the use of the Electoral College to elect the President as examples, as well as the two-year terms of members of the House of Representatives, the shortest provided therein due, I believe, to the fact the House was the only part of the government popularly elected). World history has examples of what happens to democracies (eventually become a dictatorship, as Plato argues), again not unknown to the Founders.

    I have very strong feelings about this. We, as Americans, have, in the search for a more democratic society, ensured the eventual ascendancy of a tyrant (authoritarian? dictator?), to oversee the destruction of our Republic. This is my opinion, of course, and you may well disagree. Just give Plato a read.

    • indypendent

      But…but…6176 – didn’t you get the memo that those Founding Fathers were all true Christians and they were following God’s orders when they fought for our independence and the setting up of our government.

      Those same Founders also wrote the Constitution that said all men are created equal – but yet black men were only 3/5ths of a man? And women did not even get that much recognition.

      But human nature is the same whether we’re in a democracy or dictatorship – greed and the quest for absolute power always seems to win out.

      Perhaps that was what Plato was really talking about – human nature.

    • 6176, Another exceptional comment. I love you smart people who post here! I feel like it’s a sane corner of a world that seems to be going insane.

      • indypendent

        I don’t claim to be a smart person – but my mama didn’t raise no fool.

        Sometimes I think the world has gone insane – but then I think it’s only here in America that we seem to think we are better than everybody else and we’re just getting what we’ve got coming to us?

        Lady Karma – is that the reason we have a potential President Trump?

  4. indypendent

    Hey R.D. – do you know who the guy was at the Augusta school graduation that thought it was a good idea to carry a gun in his sock and it accidentally went off and shot a woman in the leg?

    I’ve heard the police are considering whether misdemeanor charges will be filed. I assume this is due to the current Kansas Right to Carry law?