The demagogue is the creature the Founders of America most feared: the authoritarian-style leader who would stir the passions of the mob and use them to overthrow the more moderate democratic norms and checks and balances of the republic in order to stay in power. Yet the United States has had a flirtation with demagogues… Continue reading Demagogues

Authoritarian Leader Test

Although the advent of reality TV star Donald Trump as the 45th President threw most of us for a loop, in truth the authoritarian impulse goes back centuries in America. Not the first authoritarian leader, Don the Con surely won’t be the last — but maybe we can prevail against the slide into fascism by… Continue reading Authoritarian Leader Test

Beliefs · Cults · Culture · Democracy · Emotion · Fascism · History · Media · Morality · Narcissism in Politics · Politics · Power · Propaganda · Psychological Warfare · Psychology · Religion

Repression causes authoritarianism

Research has shown that emotional repression causes authoritarianism (Altemeyer, Adorno, Stenner et al). Fundamentalist religious groups favor the most repression, culturally — ergo, fundamentalist groups are at the highest risk for nurturing authoritarian traits. Emotional repression is the keystone of fundamentalist parenting. The strict application of “Biblical law” as cherry-picked by extremists is inherently contradictory… Continue reading Repression causes authoritarianism

Beliefs · Corruption · Culture · Democracy · Economics · Emotion · Fascism · History · Kleptocracy · Language · Media · Morality · Narcissism in Politics · Politics · Power · Propaganda · Psychological Warfare · Psychology · Racism · Religion

Property vs. People, all the way down

Or capital vs. labor, oligarchs vs. plebes, plutocrats vs. proles, rich vs. poor — however you want to narrate it, the property vs. people struggle continues on in new and old ways, each and ere day. Here in America, the plutocrats have devised many clever methods of hiding the class struggle behind a race war… Continue reading Property vs. People, all the way down

Culture · Democracy · History · Language · Philosophy · Politics · Power

Freedom produces diversity

Freedom means the right to make choices. When you have a large population, that means many different kinds of people are making many kinds of different choices for different reasons. That means, mathematically speaking, a broad distribution graph of options chosen over time. Freedom produces diversity, as a direct consequence of its own laissez-faire philosophy.… Continue reading Freedom produces diversity

Safety Blanket Theory

For all their angry rhetoric and now, overtly political violence, I maintain that it is the right wing that is profoundly insecure, anxious, and in need of soothing. They are panicking at the idea that the world can possibly change without their approval, and deprive them of their stolen superiority — they do not want… Continue reading Safety Blanket Theory

Politics · Beliefs · Cluster B · Cults · Culture · Democracy · Economics · Education · Emotion · Fascism · History · Language · Libertarianism · Media · Morality · Narcissism in Politics · Philosophy · Power · Propaganda · Psychological Warfare · Psychology · Religion · Science · Sexism

Proteanism vs. cultism: The battle between open and closed societies

proteanism is Robert Jay Lifton’s idea of a model for the self that could serve as an aspirational escape hatch from the clutches of cultism, which is otherwise always happening cultism (i.e. “losing reality“) is what happens “by default” if effort is not made to form and maintain healthy cultures cultism is what most individuals… Continue reading Proteanism vs. cultism: The battle between open and closed societies

phobia indoctrination

Phobia indoctrination is one of the principle ways a charismatic leader will lull potential followers into his thrall, by putting them into a state of perpetual fear and anxiety. They know, either instinctively or through training (or both), that people can be induced into a prolonged state of confusion easily, and that many people in… Continue reading phobia indoctrination

Trustworthy Media Sources

I try to be choosy about my news as well as reading widely. I make it a habit to routinely consult sources outside the US, know the ethics of the outlets I most rely on, and try to mix up the types of media ownership and format (newspaper, TV, podcast, website, radio, etc.) to avoid… Continue reading Trustworthy Media Sources

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Notes: Surveillance capitalism dystopia, with Zeynep Tufekci

see also: Shoshanna Zuboff (who wrote the seminal work on surveillance capitalism), Don Norman, Dystopia vs. Utopia Book List: A Fight to the Finish, surveillance capitalism dictionary Some takeaways: surveillance won’t be obvious and overt like in Orwell’s classic totalitarian novel 1984 — it’ll be covert and subtle (“more like a spider’s web”) social networks… Continue reading Notes: Surveillance capitalism dystopia, with Zeynep Tufekci

Fascism · Democracy · Economics · Politics

Oligarchy and the Creep of Fascism

Some people like to argue that more economic inequality is a good thing, because it is a “natural” byproduct of capitalism in a world of “makers and takers,” “winners and losers,” “wolves and sheep,” [insert your favorite Manichaean metaphor here]. However, too much inequality is deleterious for both economics and politics — for with oligarchy… Continue reading Oligarchy and the Creep of Fascism