Friday, March 04, 2016

Politics-schmolitics and the rise of American authoritarianism

I've tried to avoid politics-schmolitics on this blog for some time and I have no intention of letting this goddamn election of all things change that past this, because it seems to me to be an important revelation of self more than of more politics-schmolitics.

I've never liked Donald Trump. I didn't like him in the '80s when he was... whatever the fuck he was... a famous real estate guy, which was just weird. I never watched his stupid show, even when people I admire, like Penn Jillette, would come on to the celebrity edition. It was just never going to be a thing I found entertaining on any level.

So, the fact that he hasn't appealed to me as a presidential candidate, regardless of party brand, is no surprise at all. Certainly, there is a substantial constituency of Republicans that aren't enamored of whatever horseshit he's shoveling either, as we've seen. I don't believe there's any reason to think he believes the things he's saying. I'm not even convinced his followers necessarily believe it either. It's just seemed they were caught up in frothy flow of the thing.

I've tried over the years to piece together my inability to find some modicum of sympathy or comprehension of the Republican Party. I have indeed, as I've gotten older, become somewhat more conservative in many of the traditional senses. I am very sympathetic to the kinds of individual rights notions that they regularly express. And yet, my antipathy toward the party, its spokespeople and all it represents has only grown, perhaps even exponentially, as the years pass.

I have tried over the years to consider individual candidates and positions and have found small things that I could comprehend at least, but the entirety of the package made it utterly hateful to me, to the extent that I've questioned the sincerity of my own internal explorations.

So, today, it was rather a pleasant surprise to find this article, The rise of American authoritarianism by Amanda Taub. I'm sure someone has an ad hominem reason to dismiss this site or author, but it hardly matters. To me, this explains something I've been trying to understand about myself and the world around me for years.

From the view presented here, it makes perfect sense.

I am, to my core, anti-authoritarian. Not just because of the pejorative implication of the word itself, which they address here, but in every sense. I would answer all of the questions provided with the non-authoritarian answer. In fact, given a scale, I would give a five "strongly" rating to all of them if asked to rank them as such. I believe that I would rate a very long series of similar questions in the same manner, with only very rare fours - I'd be surprised to find myself going as low as three on even a single answer.

Seeing that, it's obvious why the Republican Party of my lifetime started as, and has only strengthened its position as, the polar opposite of my strongest and most deeply held beliefs in a way that other forms of conservatism are not necessarily.

This only further confirms my despair over our pathetically limited two-party choices, but it also only further confirms that I will not likely be anything but a committed and passionate enemy of the Republican Party as it exists.

That really says all I have to say about politics for the year - or much longer - unless a viable third or fourth party option comes along, and they should. Much of anything else I might say otherwise will simply be a restatement of this and all of our restatements are really quite dull at this point, aren't they?


Steven Millan said...

Jesse Ventura was the guy who convinced Donald Trump to go into politics in a liberal Independent. When that didn't work,he allowed himself to get brainwashed(and corrupted)by the Tea Party and their Republican allies,molding creating the psychotic loose cannon that Donald Trump is today. I'm sure that Jesse is very "proud" of whom he brought into becoming a major political figure.
Trump is someone that we can't allow to win,considering the absolute damage(and destruction) that he and his Republican/Tea Party allies will inflict upon both America and the entire world.

Neil Sarver said...

I used to really like Jesse Ventura as a political force, although he's gone a little over the deep end for my taste. That said, I believe he's honest. Just a bit batshit.

I think Trump, on the other hand, isn't batshit, as he seems to many. I just firmly believe he doesn't have a single honest instinct in his body or mind. He is playing at batshit because it's working.

Putting together that honesty is the thing I value most in a political figure and authoritarianism is the thing I most despise, Trump was destined to be a perfect storm of hatefulness for me. Even if a Ted Cruz is potentially more dangerous for genuinely believing the batshit things he endorses, I still can't help preferring that because of my nature.

As a general footnote, it seems one of the most popular arguments on the right to point out the reasons various Democrats are the Democratic Party as a whole is flawed in the same way. Our fucking idiotic binary political system creates the implication in the simple-minded that if a person hates the one party, they must love the other. Many Democrats are indeed dishonest. Some Democratic policies are indeed authoritarian. I have only endorsed those people reluctantly and would be very surprised if I ever endorsed those policies.

I would vastly prefer a larger field to choose from, as I touched on at the end. I think a larger field would better serve everyone. As noted in the article above, authoritarianism used to be something that free-floated between the Democrats and the Republicans. As things stand, liberals with authoritarian tendencies and conservatives without them, among many others, are not being served by our current binary system.

Neil Sarver said...

For the record, I have read Trump’s voters aren’t authoritarians, new research says. So what are they? by Wendy Rahn and Eric Oliver. This clarifies that by this definition, "Belief that a few elites have absconded with the rightful sovereignty of the people; Deep mistrust of any group that claims expertise; Strong nationalist identity", I am not a populist either.

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