Democrats & Liberals Archives

Republican Authoritarianism

It is natural for Republicans and conservatives to be more authoritarian than Democrats and liberals. This is not necessarily a bad thing. This country was founded as a Republic - with a strong efficient central government and a strong executive branch to impose necessary policies - even when they are unpopular - things like not discriminating against “out groups” such as; minorities, women and homosexuals.

A little bit of authoritarianism goes a long ways though. That is why our liberal founding fathers also founded a democracy with transparency, checks, balances, a Constitution, and the rule of law. None of that matters much anymore - not since the authoritarian Republicans took over all three branches of government and their President decided to shred the Constitution.
According to: (Wikipedia: Authoritarianism) under authoritarianism:

Dissenting voices are ignored, or, more strikingly, are considered to be plotting against the best interests of the country.

Tell me, exactly how many times per second does a Republican accuse a Democrat of "plotting against the best interest of the country."

Excerpts from John Dean's Book Triumph of the Authoritarians John Dean Wrote:

Goldwater was also mystified (when not miffed) by the direction of today's professed conservatives -- their growing incivility, pugnacious attitudes, and arrogant and antagonistic style, along with a narrow outlook intolerant of those who challenge their thinking. He worried that the Republican Party had sold its soul to Christian fundamentalists, whose divisive social values would polarize the nation.

So... real Republican conservatives see the same thing that Democrats see - which is - that the neocons and extremist right wing fundamentalist Christians have gone renegade and have gone off the Constitutional reservation.

John Dean also wrote:

Authoritarian conservatives are, as a researcher told me, "enemies of freedom, antidemocratic, antiequality, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, power hungry, Machiavellian and amoral." And that's not just his view. To the contrary, this is how these people have consistently described themselves when being anonymously tested, by the tens of thousands over the past several decades.

Dr. Lisa Schulte at Xavier University of Louisiana authored an excellent summary of the work by social scientist in regards to authoritarianism at: Social Psychology, Past and Present Dr. Schulte wrote:

Current Authoritarian research takes many forms and covers various topics. Research topics include the socialization of authoritarianism (e.g., parental influences on the formation of authoritarianism), authoritarians as leaders, correlates of authoritarianism, validity and assessment of the F-scale, and social issues and authoritarianism (e.g., police officers as authoritarians).
One variable that has been consistently correlated with authoritarianism is conservative political preference (e.g., Byrne & Przybyla, 1980). High scores on the F-scale (indicating authoritarianism) have been associated with preferences for conservative candidates in the 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1980 presidential elections. The relationship between authoritarianism and sexual beliefs has been examined in depth. For example, authoritarians are more likely to judge erotic material as pornographic (Byrne, Cherry, Lamberth, & Mitchell, 1973; Byrne, Fisher, Lamberth, & Mitchell, 1974; Eliasberg & Stuart, 1961), to advocate legal restrictions on pornography (Byrne et al., 1973), and experience negative affect after viewing erotica (Greendlinger & Byrne, 1985). Authoritarians tend label their own sexual arousal as a negative experience (Byrne et al., 1973), and to label sexual arousal in others more negatively than non-authoritarians (Griffitt, 1973).

Always knew the Repubs had tight anal sphincters and were "hung up."

Dr. Schulte also wrote:

Altemeyer (1996) defines "right-wing" authoritarianism as the correlation among three beliefs; submission, aggression, and conventionalism. Altemeyer (1996) bases the definitions of these beliefs on Adorno et al. (1950). Submission refers to adhering to perceived authority's "commands." Note that the term "perceived" indicates that not all authoritarians agree on "who is" an authority figure. Aggression refers to a tendency to engage in harmful behavior toward others, most often those perceived as "non-authorities" or social deviants. Conventionalism refers to an endorsement of traditional beliefs (e.g., traditional religious, gender role, and/or political beliefs). Through the course of (approximately) twenty-five years of research, Altemeyer (1996) has found right-wing authoritarianism to be correlated with many submission, aggression, and conventionalism beliefs. Example submission beliefs include right-wing authoritarians' acceptance of illegal wire taps and searches, and lack of support for documents such as the bill of rights. In general submission findings suggest that right-wing authoritarians support "governments' rights" over "individuals' rights." Example aggression findings include that right-wing authoritarians express aggression/hostility toward minorities (e.g., African Americans, Hispanics, and homosexuals), (sexual aggression toward) women, and perceived "radical" groups (e.g., communists, homosexuals, abortionists). Aggression is more likely to occur if it is perceived as sanctioned by authority figures. Example conventionalism findings include that right-wing authoritarians are fundamental in their approach to religion, are likely to conform to societal norms, and to support the Republican Party. It is also interesting to note that Republican, compared to Democratic, Party members/officials (e.g., House and Senate representatives) consistently score high on the Right-Wing Authoritarian scale indicating a greater degree of authoritarianism among Republicans. In addition Republicans, compared to Democrats, are more likely to endorse ethnocentrism. Altemeyer (1996) summarizes other findings among right-wing authoritarians. These include that right-wing authoritarians tend to be less educated and less cognitively complex, are less likely to support environmental preservation, and tend to be opposed to abortion..

Well we always knew that they were not "cognitively complex." Now I know how to call somebody stupid.

In addition Dr. Schulte wrote:

In his work, Altemeyer (1996) also considers the possibility of a "left-wing authoritarianism." Similar to right-wing authoritarianism, left-wing authoritarianism consists of submission, aggression, and conventionalism beliefs. However, in this case submission, aggression, and conventionalism involve an "overthrow" of and aggression directed toward authority, and conformity to "revolutionary" norms. Through the course of his research Altemeyer (1996) has found that left-wing authoritarianism occurs (much) less frequently than right-wing authoritarianism.

Well of course, it all depends on how you define authoritarianism. The righties like to define it as big government. If you define it that way; you would find a little more left wing authoritarianism... There is an element of authoritarianism in that. If you give somebody a welfare check, you have "gotta" stick your nose into their business and make sure they qualify. But... you know... uh... um... finding out if someone qualifies for a welfare check is maybe just a little qualitatively different from locking them in a gulag and torturing them after you have signed anti-torture legislation with your fingers crossed behind your back... ya think... But, if you righties actually have the nerve to go there, and you want to define authoritarianism as big government - go ahead. Bush and the Republicans have created the biggest government ever. So define it any way you want to. Authoritarianism is run amok in the Republican Party.

Dr. FRITZ STERN who saw the rise of fascism in Germany is concerned about where the Republicans are leading America. I am inclined to trust the gut instincts of someone who was there. If he is concerned - I am concerned. In a speech Dr. Stern said:

Hitler saw himself as "the instrument of providence" and fused his "racial dogma with a Germanic Christianity."
Who does that remind you of? To read more about Dr. Stern's speech go to: Chris Hedges NYT article at whyimnotright.com Dr. Stern also talked about the danger of "mass manipulation of public opinion, often mixed with mendacity and forms of intimidation." This is not a problem in America... Oh wait... I forgot about that. Join a peace movement and get spied on. That wouldn't "intimidate" you would it? Repeatedly tell the American people that you won't spy on them without a warrant... Is that mendacious?

According to Marc J. Hetherington at Vanderbilt University and Jonathan Weiler at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in their paperAuthoritarian Disposition and Political Choice:

His conception of conservatism as premised on a strict father morality (SFM) is closely related to previous conceptions of authoritarianism.
SFM asserts that we live in a dog eat dog world, and that coddling is not only a sign of personal weakness but also undermines the social fabric more generally by failing to teach people the skills necessary to survive in life in what is, ultimately, a zero-sum game. Obedience to authority is central to this outlook: straying from legitimate authority can undermine the moral order, unhinging a society’s moorings, casting people into anarchy, lethargy and laziness. Crucial to this worldview are the primacy of fatherly authority and the importance of a traditional family structure. Feminism, seen as a fundamental challenge to that traditional family structure, would be loathsome in these terms. So, by extension, would respect for gay rights and, especially, alternative notions of family. In fact, numerous scholars have posited a link between authoritarianism and a pre-occupation with traditionally-defined social hierarchies, including those pertaining to sex roles and anxiety about deviation from those roles (Adorno, et al., 1950, Conover 1983, Altemeyer 1996, Sidanius and Pratto 1999).
Alternative lifestyles are dangerous not only because they are regarded as inherently wrong, but because they set a possible example for others to follow. In this sense, the social fabric is fragile, and deviation from accepted norms threatens to unravel it. This is significant, too, in helping to explain why these issues must come to be seen as urgent matters of public policy, and not merely left to personal choice. In the authoritarian mind, immorality infects society and undermines its moral purity.

In 2004, gay marriage and the war on terror were among the two most prominent campaign issues and also the two issues that appear to have most worked to George W. Bush’s advantage (e.g. Campbell and Monson 2005). Those two issues also tap, quite directly, fundamental SFM / authoritarian concerns about the proper structure of the family, the need to aggressively quell possible threats to social homogeneity and a related tendency toward intolerance in dealing with difference.

Some of this research dating back to the 1950s was indeed methodologically flawed. Most research back then in the social sciences was flawed by today's standards. Flawed research does not necessarily mean that the conclusions were wrong. It means only that they were not scientifically proven. Scientist maintain a very high standard of rigor. In fact much of the early research in this area was cogent and persuasive. Cogent and persuasive is not good enough for science. This is not a scientific paper. Cogent and persuasive is good enoughfor this article. I do not claim that these points have been scientifically proven here. Rather, I make the much more modest claim; that there is cogent and persuasive evidence to be deeply concerned about the trend toward run away authoritarianism in the Republican Party. Scientists are trained to set their own biases aside and look at things objectively. They may sometimes fail to do that perfectly and they may sometimes be subject to selection bias just like the rest of us. But a scientists who fails to set his own biases aside and fails to prove his case scientifically is still going to be more objective on a bad day than most of us are on a good day. These scientist may not have proven that fire exists. They have proven that smoke exist and they have made a persuasive case for the existence of fire.

There are many criticisms of the F-scale. I think that one of the problems that the social scientists have here is: How do you separate Republicanism from Authoritarianism? As I mentioned at the start of this article; a little Authoritarianism, counter balanced and limited is a good thing. It makes the trains run on time. The Republican party was founded on the "liberal" idea of using strong central government authoritarianism to extend human rights to blacks. So if you are looking for liberal authoritarianism - there it is. It was incipient in the founding of the Republican party. The party of Abraham Lincoln was not so wild eyed radical as to want to extend full civil rights to blacks - but they did want to extend human rights. Of course they have long since abandoned the blacks, (to drown), but they have not abandoned authoritarianism. They still believe that a strong authoritarian government can be used to make the world a better place. A strong authoritarian government can be used to practice some "tough love" and "cut" those "welfare cheatin" lazy bums off from the government dole and make them get a job and earn an honest days slave / minimum wage. An authoritarian central government can be used to practice some tough love and teach old folks that they don't need to expect the government dole just because they are too old and sickly to work. They can always get a job a McDonald's and if they can't - they can eat out of the dumpster. So the point is; given the ingrained nature of authoritarianism in the Republican party, how are the social scientists to separate and distinguish one from the other so that they quantify it? It is like trying to separate the white from the rice. I think that is the problem with the F-scale. Some will have the nerve to argue that Republican support for small government is anti-authoritarian. Wrong - a king ruling by fiat with no bureaucracy is still authoritarian. Besides, the Republicans have created the biggest government ever. It is just that the "dole" goes to the "military industrial complex" and the friends of Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay.

It is a "slam dunk." The Republican party tends to be authoritarian. The only issue left to fight about is: Are they overly authoritarian or just right? Lets see... Subverting the Constitution... Spying on Americans without a warrant and without oversight... Cherry picking intelligence to lie us into war... Torturing... Maintaining secret prisons where people can just disappear... Signing statements... Resisting verifiable electoral paper trails... Sounds about right - right wing extremist that is.

For further reading:
The Moral Matrix Test I am in the moderate zone of the upper left hand quadrant - two thirds of people to my right and two thirds beneath me - surprise, surprise...

Merriam Webster's Definition of Authoritarianism

Tariq Ali: Blair's New Authoritarianism - Terror and Democracy

Authoritarianism Is Leftist, Not Rightist A countervailing view with some validity - perhaps, but flawed for 2 reasons. One, because it labels Soviets as leftist. While it is true that extreme liberalism leads to communism, the political spectrum is actually circular - not linear - so if you go far enough left you come back right and the Soviets went right on around the circle. Stalin was a fascist. Two, while the author accuses social scientist of being leftist with a political axe to grind, clearly he is conservative, has a political axe to grind, and is susceptible to selection bias.

Authoritarianism, Left and Right

Roger Clark: Information Technology and Authoritarianism

Roots of Authoritarianism

Must read: Bush Has Crossed the Rubicon.

Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism: Dissent

Implications of Authoritarianism for Young Adulthood: Longitudinal Analysis of College Experiences and Future Goals
Bill E. Peterson

Modern Fascism: Social Dominance Orientation vs Authoritarianism

Posted by Ray Guest at July 29, 2006 1:24 AM
Comments
Comment #171667

Ray,

“locking them in a gulag and torturing them after you’ve signed anti-torture legislation blah, blah, blah”

Care to cite some proven examples of this blatant, baldfaced lie you felt the need to spout off? I thought one of the requirements to be a Watchblog writer was being able to debate intelligently. I didn’t see anything about shooting off random fecal material in all directions and see if anything sticks.

Posted by: Duane-o at July 29, 2006 6:49 AM
Comment #171668

TALK ABOUT AUTHORITARIANISM!

Posted by: Duane-o at July 29, 2006 7:01 AM
Comment #171669

AND SO MUCH FOR FREE SPEECH UNDER DEMOCRATIC AUTHORITARIANISM Man, you really stepped in it, dude.

Posted by: Duane-o at July 29, 2006 7:11 AM
Comment #171679

Some premises from Derrick Jensen’s Endgame

Premise Four: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

Premise Five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

http://www.endgamethebook.org/Excerpts/1-Premises.htm

Posted by: caelidh at July 29, 2006 8:58 AM
Comment #171683

Duane-o

“Speech alone is not sufficient to support an action brought [under this law] except upon a showing that the speech itself threatens violence against a specific person or group of persons; and the person or group of persons against whom the threat is directed reasonably fears that, because of the speech, violence will be committed against them or their property and that the person threatening violence had the apparent ability to carry out the threat.”


——

This is your example of Authoritarianism? Hate crimes and birth control?

Birth Control - the State can require of businesses whatever it’s citizens deem important - as long as the State Constitution provides for this or the legislature writes an Amendment to support this. If I want to open a business, the facility must accommodate people with disabilities. This was brought about because the citizens thought it was important. See, it the American way of doing things.

Hate Crime - I’ve heard this one far too often - RUN, IT’S THE THOUGHT POLICE! If someone intentionally attacks or threatens someone, they can be arrested and charged with a crime. The difference with hate crime is the same with premeditated murder. If you committed a crime with premeditated thought, you spend more time in jail because it has been proven that the criminals are much more likely to commit the same crime again.

I was baffled by the connection that this bill was dangerous to fundamentalist Christians… for a bit. Then it dawned on me, if you can be jailed for using threatening language, you might be arrested at the next anti-abortion rally when you tell some poor woman that you will kill her if she has an abortion. I think, if you think it through a bit more, you will agree that this bill absolutely is no threat to real Christians.

Posted by: tony at July 29, 2006 9:14 AM
Comment #171687

tony,

Good points as usual, but a little confusing… Were one or more of Duane-o’s comments removed or is a debate from a different thread spilling over here.

Duane-o,

You wrote:

“locking them in a gulag and torturing them after you’ve signed anti-torture legislation blah, blah, blah”

Care to cite some proven examples of this blatant, baldfaced lie you felt the need to spout off?It is obviously true that I made an unprovable assertion. However, there has been a widespread pattern of torture under this regime, and they maintain secret prisons, and they signed anti-torture legislation with their fingers crossed behind their back. So it is a reasonable educated guess that they are still torturing people.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 29, 2006 9:47 AM
Comment #171688

Sorry, I screwed up the blockquote in the last comment. Here it is again:

“locking them in a gulag and torturing them after you’ve signed anti-torture legislation blah, blah, blah”

Care to cite some proven examples of this blatant, baldfaced lie you felt the need to spout off?
Posted by: Ray Guest at July 29, 2006 9:51 AM
Comment #171691

Ray,

If your assertion is unprovable, how then can you go on to claim “widespread pattern of torture”? Sounds like you pulled that one out of thin air, and admitted it, and then said it again in your very next post. And is there actually some photo out there with Dubya with his fingers crossed while he was signing the torture legislation that I must have missed, or are you getting carried away with the rhetoric, again?

Tony,

Thought crime, I mean, hate crime legislation would actually give a white man who premeditates and kills a black woman a tougher sentence than if he premeditates and kills a white woman. And BTW, just look at Canada, the shining example that liberals wish us to follow. There is a preacher in prison in Canada right now just for saying that homosexuality is immoral. No threats, or anything like it. That is where we’re headed if libs take over this country. AUTHORITARIANISM even on a thought level. If you can force businesses to sell products they don’t want to, how long before a Pentecostal preacher is forced to marry two guys against his religious beliefs?

Posted by: Duane-o at July 29, 2006 10:06 AM
Comment #171692

BTW Ray,

Tony was trying to explain away the links citing real life examples of Democratic authoritarianism I provided above. Check ‘em out!!

Posted by: Duane-o at July 29, 2006 10:11 AM
Comment #171694

Oops! The preacher is in jail in Sweden for speaking against homosexuality, but it is illegal to do so in Canada, even to quote scriptures condemning the “lifestyle”. No one is in prison there, YET. Europe, Canada, what makes the difference? They’re both what we should aspire to, according to libs. You know, quasi-socialist countries without free speech and definately no right to bear arms, with something like a 15% unemployment rate. Liberal Utopia, in other words.

Posted by: Duane-o at July 29, 2006 10:18 AM
Comment #171696

Ray -

I was responding to the 2 articles that Duane-o linked to.

Duane-o

“Thought crime, I mean, hate crime legislation would actually give a white man who premeditates and kills a black woman a tougher sentence than if he premeditates and kills a white woman.”

No - both are premeditated murder and will receive similar sentences if both were carried out with the same malicious pre-thought. Hate crimes come into play when a crime, such as someone being assaulted & the perps did so with the racial or other specific hatred towards the victim’s “situation.” That’s a premeditated crime, whether the actual events were known prior to the crime or not. (If you go looking some gay guy to beat up, you can’t say that simply because you didn’t know the person or location prior to the crime that the crime was not premeditated.

Please link to the Canadian example you sited - personally I’m leaning towards calling BS on that one.

BTW - you must have a license to operate a business and abide by all laws and statutes in the area you plan to operate out of. A business is not a right, it’s a privilege.

Posted by: tony at July 29, 2006 10:21 AM
Comment #171697

“Tony was trying to explain away the links citing real life examples of Democratic authoritarianism I provided above. Check ‘em out!!”

Yea, Ray - check them both out. they’re enlightening, but not inspiring. I find it crazy that a Christian organization (with FAMILY in the name) would say that a bill against hate crimes was anti-Christian.

Posted by: tony at July 29, 2006 10:26 AM
Comment #171702

From the actual Canadian law:

“Section 319(1): Public Incitement of Hatred

The crime of “publicly inciting hatred” has four main elements. To contravene the Code, a person must:

- communicate statements,
- in a public place,
- incite hatred against an identifiable group,
- in such a way that there will likely be a breach of the peace.”

http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/legislation/canadian_law/federal/criminal_code/criminal_code_hate.cfm

So, basically, if a preacher makes statements at his pulpit that incites violence or suggests religious reward for violence against a certain group of people, we can be arrested. Would you consider this different if a Muslim were to preach the killing of Americans to his congregation?

You can call homosexuals whatever you feel you need to call them and that is protected. If you start inciting violence that is when the law comes into play. Do you you want violence protected under the law?

Posted by: tony at July 29, 2006 10:45 AM
Comment #171703

Duane-o - tony,

Thanks for the clarification. I am color blind. So I missed the links. I thought they were just comments.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 29, 2006 10:48 AM
Comment #171704

Duane-o,

Your links are to two good examples of liberal authoritarianism - the same kind practiced by the republican party at its inception. It is difficult to know where to “draw the line” - the authoritarian line here. Putting a preacher in jail for quoting the Bible seems extremist. On the other hand putting a Muslim Imam in prison for quoting the Holy Qur’an about jihad seems entirely reasonable. If the preacher is using the Holy Bible to instill hate and promote violence against gays he should have gotten a lot more than thirty days…

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 29, 2006 10:59 AM
Comment #171708

As far Walmart is concerned… This is another gray area, but if they want to be in the business of selling pharmaceuticals, then they need to sell pharmaceuticals. In our authoritarian republican form of government they are not the ones charges with the authority to determine which drugs are appropriate. That authority is for the FDA. The same goes for Christian pharmacists. They are free. They do not have to dispense any drugs, but if they choose to dispense drugs, then they need to submit to legitimate government authority.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 29, 2006 11:07 AM
Comment #171715

Duane-o,

In fact, your link about the preacher is an example of authoritarian conservatism’s willingness to overlook violence against out groups.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 29, 2006 11:13 AM
Comment #171717

“Your links are to two good examples of liberal authoritarianism “

I have to disagree with you here. First of all, these are laws on the books supported by the appropriate Constitution, I don’t see how you can classify these as “liberal” - more than “liberals’ had to support these.

definition:
“Authoritarianism describes a form of government characterized by strict obedience to the authority of the state, which often maintains and enforces social control through the use of oppressive measures. The term may also be used to describe the personality or management style of an individual or organization which seeks to dominate those within its sphere of influence and has little regard for building consensus.”

You could take the extreme position and call the “Morning after pill” authoritarian, but only if you ignore that a consensus was built, and the balance between society benefit and personal benefit was not met, but ignored. This was enacted in Mass. - and so I’m guessing that there is broad-based support for this, and that the majority feels it is in the public’s best interest to require the “Morning after pill” to be sold. BTW - a pharmacy is considered much different than simply selling product, it is very much a required service, and those who enter into this business must abide by quite a few laws and regulations. Wal-Mart is quite free to not do this type of business in Mass. if it has moral objections to this. This is NOT a personal issue, it’s based on laws guiding the operation of a controlled business, and therefore does not have Constitution protection under individual rights.

The other law (Hate Crimes) basically outlaws the incitement of violence against others. That’s just common sense when considered in the light of benefit to society. Your personal right does not extend to the disruption of society or aggravation violence towards others. Go tell a bank teller that you’re robbing a bank - and then tell them you didn’t mean it. See how much time you spend in jail. Same issue.

Posted by: tony at July 29, 2006 11:22 AM
Comment #171734

Notice that Duano didn’t deny any of Ray’s assertions. He couldn’t. Instead, he attempted to distract everyone by the Dems the issue. Karl Rove would be so proud of Duano.

But it isn’t going to work. Support for the Bush League is down in the low 30’s and still dropping. The American public is gonna flush the Bush League out of power like pee and poop out of a toilet.

Posted by: ElliottBay at July 29, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #171735

Tony

I see you are here too. YOu gave me a hard time for characterizing Dems. Are you not a little upset about this characterization of Repubicans. At least all the key sources I linked and quoted were Dems.

Posted by: Jack at July 29, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #171739

The way to beat Republicans is to persuade voters to do what we were all supposed to do, always, all along. Stop re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians. Now, who is more bought-and-paid-for ? Instead of simply calling Republicans names, look up their funding and voting records, and start sharing it with everyone. If you want to be fair, do the same with all irresponsible Democrat politicians too. But, if Democrats really are better, then they should not mind it.

Just keep listing the way each of them votes (see issues2000.org).

The best way to keep irresponsible incumbent politicians from getting re-elected is to show how they are irresponsible.

For example, why hasn’t Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) been indicted yet? He’s been under investigation for years. How long does it take? And, even if ever convicted, there’s the strong possibility of a presidential pardon, like the 140 felons pardoned by Clinton. What’s up with this crap? No wonder politicians are corrupt. We, the voters, have programmed them to be corrupt, and re-electing them over and over is making them more and more corrupt. Duh ! I don’t mean to pick on Democrats. There’s plenty of things to show Republicans are equally corrupt. Maybe even slightly more corrupt, but that is merely because they happen to be the current “In-Party”, which is always a little more corrupt than the “Out-Party”.

Of course, that is difficult, when so many are so brainwashed. It is extremely difficult to undo the brainwashing.

You can see it here on this blog every day. Some just love to stir it up. They just love to demonize the other party. They love the petty partisan warfare. It is a great distraction, which is why politicians love it and fuel it. That is the lazy way. Laziness is normal, but it is immoral to surrender to it completely.

But, once you finally reject the programming and petty partisan warfare, it will be like a load of bricks lifted from your shoulders, because logic and reason will begin to flourish, and you will no longer have to twist and spin the facts to demonize the other party, and try to find ways, no matter how flimsy, to rationalize the unacceptable deeds of my party.

Posted by: d.a.n at July 29, 2006 12:41 PM
Comment #171752

tony,

Good points. I am using a much broader interpretation of what authoritarianism is. I am including legitimate government authority as a soft form of authoritarianism and making the case that, that is entirely appropriate. My point in this article was to nail the lid shut on the coffin of the idea that the Repubs certainly have a tendency toward authoritarianism so that they can not deny that with any credibility and then to show that they have taken that tendency beyond the pale. Liberals using the rule of law / “soft authoritarian” legitimate government authority, to protect human rights even against majority opposition, is an appropriate use - i.e. Roe v Wade. But illegal spying on Americans without a warrant, without oversight, without checks, without balances - allowing this or some future President the “absolute power” to corruptly spy on political friends, political rivals, Supreme Court Justices, high government officials, business leaders, military leaders, journalist, as well as others, and to be able to use that power to blackmail, undermine, and subvert the Constitution, and to gain political advantage is beyond the pale.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 29, 2006 1:03 PM
Comment #171767

“Are you not a little upset about this characterization of Republicans. “

Ummm… seemed to make sense to me, but I really don’t know if it’s true or not. I don’t support these assumptions nor do I have the knowledge to refute them. I think you would be much better at that than I am. I’m here to discuss the issues here… not sure i would’ve had anything to post here except for the initial posts in this thread about the WalMart/birth control & hate crimes legislation.

Personally, and I’m sure you’d agree with me, I’m not the best person to rely on for sticking up for REPs. To me, they’re like homosexuals… I completely support their rights to be who they choose to be, but I don’t even pretend to understand what drives them or motivates them. (Do you think people might find my comparison offensive? :~) I would probably even support the right of REP-marriage.

Posted by: tony at July 29, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #171781

Ray,

I’m borrowing words from Wikipedia here:

“Democracies rarely exhibit much authoritarian behavior except in transition to or from authoritarian states. Many (if not most) citizens of authoritarian states do not perceive their state as authoritarian until late in its development. This makes it difficult to label modern states as ‘democratic’ or ‘authoritarian’.”

and also:

“Theocracies are always authoritarian.”

I know everyone thinks I’m nuts, but the current bunch of Neo-Cons are moving us toward a Domionist Theocracy. One of the most important moves in that direction is “starving the beast” which they’re very successfully doing, just look at the National Debt.

Of course the next step which is already underway is the creation of “Sunset Commissions” that will allow a small group of “selected” representatives of the government to abolish any program deemed unworthy of government funding. There will be no bill, no debate, no vote. Health, education and welfare will be moved under the control of “faith based” groups, ie: the church.

There will be continued deregulation of industry and we’ll very soon see what the “ownership society” really is. Taxation will be almost entirely the burden of the working class (of course it will be “phased in” and given a charming name like “the value added tax”.

Hey, I hope I’m wrong! If I’m not I hope it’s not too late to turn this around. If I’m not wrong, and if it is too late, I won’t be around long enough to watch the Neo-Con inspired armageddon, but I certainly hate to think what my children and grandchildren have to look forward to.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at July 29, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #171793

duane-o

I hardly think Ray pulled his assertions of torture in secret prisons out of thin air as it has been much discussed and reported on. In fact the U.N. just issued a statement saying they are “concerned by credible uncontested information that the (United States) has seen fit to engage in the practice of detaining people secretly and in secret for months and years on end.” It goes on to say that we should close such prisons and allow Red Cross access to people detained at such prisons.

Ray’s analogy of GWB “crossing his fingers behind his back” while signing laws passed by Congress was very well put. No one with any amount of intelligence should have any trouble knowing what Ray meant by that one, and I’m sure you get his drift, Duane-o.

Posted by: mark at July 29, 2006 2:34 PM
Comment #171796

Kansas Dem

I certainly do not think you’re nuts. Any one who does not see this movement toward theocracy may not be playing with a full deck, though.

I’d be interested in learning more about these “Sunset Commissions”.

Posted by: mark at July 29, 2006 2:40 PM
Comment #171798

Ray, well written article and interesting topic. I think it is demonstrably true that the GOP is made up of those with authoritarian personalities, and followed by those who are most comfortable when people tell them what to think and do.
I just finished reading John Dean’s new book “Conservatives Without Conscience” and I believe that it is his way of trying to SAVE the Republican party — much the same thing as when Christie Todd Whitman wrote “It’s My Party Too.” These folks are obviously trying to get Republicans to actually think about the neocon direction their party has been taking — and in so doing, they’re hoping that GOP voters will start to realize just how dangerous and radical an agenda it is that’s being gradually adopted and implemented.

Kansas Dem, I don’t think you’re crazy at all. To me it seems more than clear that evangelical christian ideology is part and parcel with the Neocons authoritarian agenda for America.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 29, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #171801

“Thought crime, I mean, hate crime legislation would actually give a white man who premeditates and kills a black woman a tougher sentence than if he premeditates and kills a white woman.”

Not true. You have to prove a racial motivation for the killing first.
Here’s how I explain the validity of hate crime laws.
It’s 2 crimes. First, the act of violence. Second, the desire to intimidate and harrass an entire group of people.
Take a simple thing like graffiti. If someone spray paints “dave was here” on the side of a synagogue, it’s annoying, its destruction of property and perhaps trespassing.
If someone spray paints “Hitler was right” accompanied by swastika’s on the side of a synagogue, it’s the above crimes, PLUS the act of intimidating an entire group of people, putting fear and sadness into their lives.
Random crime is one thing, knowing people out there want you dead cause of your religion is much worse.
Get it?

Posted by: Observer at July 29, 2006 3:03 PM
Comment #171807

tony,

I too strongly support rep marriage even though it is probably going to create a bunch of little reps and there goes the neighborhood.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 29, 2006 3:12 PM
Comment #171810

Well put Observer.

What kind of person tolerates hate crimes,Duane-o?

Posted by: mark at July 29, 2006 3:15 PM
Comment #171819

——Authoritarian personalities will always take on a
debate an soon it becomes a personal debate, usually
by making misleading statements in order to allow him self the advantage for controlling that debate. When all the links are made available, the
Authoritarian figure in this case than can not discuss the facts, he than reverts into what is known as an

Authoritarian Complex Disorder—I call these
people spinmeisters, then they disappear or may
even join in on a general conversation.
—Ray Guest-I enjoyed your post, an must have
been a great deal of work, an with other posts
we seem to get sidetracked an I would prefer
discussing your post, but I just get tired of
spinmeisters taking up so much of the good debates. I am sorry about using your space. We all
need to keep on the same page in order to defeat
these ACD Republicans.

Posted by: DAVID at July 29, 2006 3:46 PM
Comment #171823

—-Ray Guest—A perfect example of authoritarianism
is to look how few people like Tom Delay use this
power to keep the rest of the Republicans in lock
step, if you may have noticed, since his departure, thing for the Republicans have gone hill.
You can be sure an authoritarian figure is sure to
push himself into that top slot.

Posted by: DAVID at July 29, 2006 4:04 PM
Comment #171835

“I’d be interested in learning more about these “Sunset Commissions”.”

mark,

This article is a good place to start:

“Proposals expected to come to a floor vote in the House of Representatives this June would create a “sunset commission”: an appointed—not elected—commission with the power to recommend whether federal programs live, die, or get reorganized.”

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Sunset_commissions

BTW at the present time the bill is on “hold” but not “dead”. If you follow the “internal links” you’ll get a pretty good idea what’s up.

I’d also suggest reading these two OMB letters to Hastert and Cheney:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/legislative/grppi_act_trans_ltr.pdf

Wasn’t “smaller government” a conservative priority at one time? This bunch wants us to believe that more bureacracy is a good thing. And these words, “The Sunset Commission would consider Presidential proposals………..”. Oh yeah the pres needs MORE Evecutive authority!

KansasDem


Posted by: KansasDem at July 29, 2006 5:02 PM
Comment #171846

Kansas Dem

Thanks for sending that big chill down my spine when I read that link. It is scary to think, if this commission is approved that all they would have to do to kill programs that help the poor, the physically and mentally challenged, the elderly and others, is to tie things up in Congress and that would end that program. Like you wrote, there would be no vote to end these programs, all it would take is the commission”s recomendation. Don’t you just love the Bush Administraton’s vision of Democracy?

Posted by: mark at July 29, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #171875

Mark,

To me the scariest part is placing a commission of seven people under EXECUTIVE rule, oh yeah bipartisan, but still it would be like a jury of seven deciding (based on the PRESIDENTS opinion) what would live and what would die.

This is why every tiny shift in power to the executive branch is scarey. Whether the issue is domestic, foreign or military we CAN’T afford to give any more power to the executive branch of our government. The shift actually began during the Reagan years and, prior to GW, Clinton was the worst offender.

This would be a horrible path to follow regardless of which direction our President leaned politically or idealogically. Our government was built from the ground up and the principle of a government “of the people, by the people and for the people” is quickly becoming a government “over the people”.

Unless Americans wake up and get involved we are destined for failure, but we’ve become complacent. Far too many people don’t even vote. Far too many that do vote simply vote a straight party ticket without being informed.

d.a.n. and David Remers VOID have the right idea. We must stop the status quo. I may disagree with them on some issues but we must start to really question whether or not our elected representatives are truly representing us. If they’re not then vote their butts out. Send them down the road.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Democrat so I’m going to keep leaning Democrat, but that doesn’t mean anyone on the Democratic ticket gets a free ride.
If we don’t reign in this shift of power to the executive branch we’ll find ourselves in deep crap real soon.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at July 29, 2006 8:05 PM
Comment #171892

Kansas Dem

I agree we cannot give any more power to the executive branch. Most Republicans seem to disagree and it makes me wonder what they are thinking. Are the so full of themselves that they think we are always going to have a Republican President. They sure seem to think that way, why else would they want to tip the balance of power so strongly to the executive branch. Do they ever stop and think that there could be a Democrat in the Oval Office? Any answers out there Republicans?

Posted by: mark at July 29, 2006 8:47 PM
Comment #171935
Do they ever stop and think that there could be a Democrat in the Oval Office? Any answers out there Republicans?

Kansas:

As much as you would like to think the issue of expanding Presidental powers is a partisan one fueled by fire-breathing “authoritarians”, it’s not.

This issue is not about conservative or liberal, it’s about granting the President, whether left or right, and federal government enough flexibility and mobility germane only to national security dilemmas…it’s about cutting needless, inefficient bureaucracy so if a dire situation ever arises, we won’t get caught filing paperwork, and it’s also about preventing that dire calamity from occuring in the first place.

I don’t want to hear the tired invasion of privacy hoopla b/c we can debate all day and not advance one iota. This is about saving lives, and protecting the best interest of the country, the security of the American people…everything else is just politics.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 29, 2006 11:26 PM
Comment #171953

Thanks for your comments all.

Alex Fitzsimmons,

So you don’t “want to hear the tired invasion of privacy hoopla.” You are tired. You need to rest. Lay down. Do some deep diaphragmatic breathing. I will join you, because I am tired too - so tired - I can’t even hardly pound these computer keys. I am tired too. I am tired of people who are to “cognitively simple”, or to partisan, or to naive, or to dense, or to idiotic to see that this “tired invasion of privacy hoopla” is about protecting the Constitution from subversion. How could it possibly be that any sentient being could fail to see that if a President has unrestrained powers to wiretap, that he can blackmail Supreme Court Justices, high government officials, and so on, and on , and on… HOW COULD ANY SENTIENT BEING FAIL TO UNDERSTAND THAT, THAT IS A PROFOUND THREAT TO OUR CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY? GIVEN THE OBVIOUS FACT, THAT NSA WIRETAPPERS WITH UNRESTRAINED WIRETAPPING PREVLEDGES, ARE GOING TO BE FAR MORE INTERESTED IN THE LESBIAN AFFAIR THOSE TWO SOCCER MOMS ARE HAVING, THAN THEY ARE IN THE BORING CRYPTIC CONVERSATIONS OF TWO MUSLIM IMAMS, HOW COULD ANY SENTIENT BEING BELIEVE THAT THIS WILL KEEP US SAFE - ALTHOUGH I WISH THAT I COULD LISTEN TO THE LOVERS TOO. AND EVEN IF IT WAS GOING TO KEEP US SAFE, HOW COULD ANY PATRIOTIC AMERICAN BE UNWILLING TO SACRIFICE HIS LIFE TO A TERROIST ATTACK, IF THAT IS THE COST OF MAINTAINING OUR WAY OF LIFE - OF MAINTAINING THE RULE OF LAW - OF PROTECTING THE CONSTITUTION FROM SUBVERSION? ALL THESE BOLD REPUBLICAN WORDS ABOUT HOW THE TERRORISTS ARE NOT GOING TO CHANGE OUR WAY OF LIFE - BUT WHAT IS THE FIRST THING THAT THE COWARDLY “MY PET GOAT” READING CHICKEN HAWKS DO - PASS THE PATRIOT ACT - AND CHANGE OUR WAY OF LIFE. I AM TIRED. CAN YOU TELL?

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 30, 2006 12:17 AM
Comment #171962

“it’s about cutting needless, inefficient bureaucracy so if a dire situation ever arises, we won’t get caught filing paperwork, and it’s also about preventing that dire calamity from occuring in the first place.”

Alex,

I beg to differ. It’s about CREATING a dire situation orchestrated by the same bunch of Neo-Cons that cut their teeth creating the Texas republican party agenda:

http://www.texasgop.org/site/DocServer/Platform_Updated.pdf?docID=2001

I’ll die some day, but I’ll die kicking and screaming with my gun in my hand before somebody fools me into believing a Texas Republican is an American.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at July 30, 2006 1:17 AM
Comment #171982

Ray and anyone else who buys into this bull—

“But illegal spying on Americans without a warrant, without oversight, without checks, without balances - allowing this or some future President the “absolute power” to corruptly spy on political friends, political rivals, Supreme Court Justices, high government officials, business leaders, military leaders, journalist, as well as others, and to be able to use that power to blackmail, undermine, and subvert the Constitution, and to gain political advantage is beyond the pale.”

Again I will say, as I have in so many posts recently when discussing this topic… give examples! How has this been used against you or anyone you know? I haven’t seen these headlines, if they exist!!

Spying against possible terrorists who live in this country but who ARE NOT CITIZENS of this country, and who might be plotting to do another deed, is hardly the same as actually spying against the citizens of this country. Amazing that for all the accusations made by you and other liberals about domestic spying, gulags, torture, and supposed violations of your Constitutional freedoms, you can’t or won’t provide real examples from your own life.

Indeed, the very fact that you write and post on a computer blog seems to indicate that your rights are, in fact, very much intact and have not been violated at all.

Unless of course you somehow managed to smuggle a computer, modem and phone line into the secret prison where you are currently being held against your will and in clear violation of your Constitutional rights, and you managed to keep it hidden from the Bush minions when they come around with your once daily ration of bread and water or to take you to the torture chamber.

Oh see, there I go again…mixing up this fantasy world of yours with the reality of what the Iragi people had to live with under the rule of their TRULY facist, authoritarian leader, who really did violate their rights! That happens a lot when I read liberal posts…you all just force me think so much more than I am used to, and it confuses my cognitive abilities and makes me want to masturgate to a video to relieve stress, except that I always feel so guilty and “dirty” afterwards!! But at least I am enlightened…there is a bright light at the end of my dismal conservative tunnel after all.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at July 30, 2006 5:04 AM
Comment #171983

See, my cognitive abilities and education are so poorly developed and I got so flustered by my inability to effectively communicate, that I even misspelled “masturbate, which is sad, because it is one of my favorite words and I use it so often…it ranks right up there with “hate” “gun”, “God” and “redneck” in my personal top 5 list.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at July 30, 2006 5:10 AM
Comment #171984

Adrienne—

“I think it is demonstrably true that the GOP is made up of those with authoritarian personalities, and followed by those who are most comfortable when people tell them what to think and do. I just finished reading John Dean’s new book “Conservatives Without Conscience” and I believe that it is his way of trying to SAVE the Republican party — much the same thing as when Christie Todd Whitman wrote “It’s My Party Too.””

You write “…by those who are most comfortable when people tell them what to think and do.” Then you follow that up by talking about a book you just read by Dean, and another one by C.T. Whitman.

And yet, don’t you find it ironic that you are complaining about how “we” supposedly need to be led around because we can’t think for ourselves but you are quoting or referencing someone eles’s work?? HUH????

That is a typical liberal tactic. Libs like yourself (and Ray and those “researchers” HE quoted) think we are illiterate, uneducated, ignorant and ill-informed, but YOU find it necesarry to constantly quote books and articles and authors to bolster YOUR position.

WE can explain our beliefs and our moral values and our positions by just (wait, take a deep breath before you go on)…EXPLAINING them, without the need for literary precedent or citation! I don’thave to quote someone else to explain what I believe and why…I can do that by myself. I, and other conservatives and Republicans, have the ability to think for myself (ourselves) and reach a mature, rational, well thought out position on a topic or issue without the dubious “benefit” of someone else’s opinions!!

In other words, just because we don’t agree with you doesn’t mean we are as “dumb” as you would like people to believe. I am so tired of the constant insinuation that conservatives and Republicans are less educated and possessing of less “cognitive” ability, as Ray’s post suggests. Furthermore, even if it were true, that does not make our opinions, morals, values or beliefs any less relevant and important than yours, and I am sick of being made to feel as if they are!!

How you cannot recognize your own arrogant, pompous and elistist attitudes for what they are is beyond me. You have all been talking down your nose at us for so long you don’t even realize anymore that you are doing it. Sad!

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at July 30, 2006 5:36 AM
Comment #171986

“That is a typical liberal tactic. Libs like yourself (and Ray and those “researchers” HE quoted) think we are illiterate, uneducated, ignorant and ill-informed, but YOU find it necessary to constantly quote books and articles and authors to bolster YOUR position.”

ummm… it’s called supporting our conclusions. If you don’t do it, then people here will ask for links to proof of what you say. It’s all part of normal debate.

“How you cannot recognize your own arrogant, pompous and elistist attitudes for what they are is beyond me. You have all been talking down your nose at us for so long you don’t even realize anymore that you are doing it. Sad!”

I think you might want to follow some of Ray’s breathing techniques. You’re obviously upset at people’s opinions towards your political mindset, and if that truly upsets you, you need to find ways to relax or you will blow a ventricle. No one here is calling you stupid. We do not agree with you, but how you take that is up to you.

“Again I will say, as I have in so many posts recently when discussing this topic… give examples! How has this been used against you or anyone you know? I haven’t seen these headlines, if they exist!!”

The point of being American is not to protect our own individual freedom, but the freedoms of all Americans. This all stems from the Constitution - and that must always be protected, even against the dangers not all Americans perceive.

Posted by: tony at July 30, 2006 8:13 AM
Comment #172033

DaveR,
Thanks for your comment. I hope that you enjoyed your video - - - but you know, that will make you go blind - and apparently you are blind to the truth - THE OBVIOUS TRUTH —- “Power corrupts.” See, the problem with your message here is that you are talking out of both sides of your electronic mouth, If I present a well reasoned argument that “Power Corrupts” without chiseled in stone “proof” then my argument is not supported - no links - no references - no validity. On the other hand, if I provide links and references, then I am just being “bookish” and not thinking for myself. So which side of your forked electronic tongue should I listen to.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 30, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #172034

—-DaveR—-

At this the Republicans control all branches of our
Government, an have been for some time. Depending
on who you ask the question, are you better off today than you were five tears ago. Not long ago, Oil Co.
an any other Co. going from millions of dollars to making thirty to forty Billion in three years
would be charged for Gouging by the Gov. Other smaller Cos. are being swallowed up by larger Companies, an we see no Taft-Hartley-Law ever used. An we see a probable escalation of a war some
believe we should not be in!! So DaveR I am
not trying to kill the messenger, Just to point out that Republican in Power today seem to have
no back bone an tell the leaders WE aren’t
gonna take this S—- any more, and just do the right things, for all the people.

Posted by: DAVID at July 30, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #172035

DaveR,
You have got that 2 punch combination going on like my first wife:
You don’t love me - you just love the kids…
It is not true honey - I love you…
That is it. You just love me - you don’t love the kids… and I am going what???

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 30, 2006 1:00 PM
Comment #172052

Ray:

Logically, this would be the part where I respond to your typical liberal post with my typical conservative post. Then we’d squabble back in forth about privacy vs. security and we’d end up at the same place we started.

So, long story short, I take security, I don’t believe the President has violated any laws that jeopardize the privacy of Americans, I believe that anyone who doesn’t take the threat of terror seriously is naive, and I’d rather live with the minimally invasive Patriot Act than have terrorists blast me into oblivion.

I beg to differ. It’s about CREATING a dire situation orchestrated by the same bunch of Neo-Cons that cut their teeth creating the Texas republican party agenda:

Kansas:

Typical liberal conspiracy theory, one almost as ill-conceived as the 9/11 conspiracy. So there’s no threat of terrorism, 2,000+ Americans weren’t killed in cold blood, it was all Bush and them gosh darn Texans…how quickly we forget 9/11.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 30, 2006 2:16 PM
Comment #172066

—-Alex—-Once upon a time there was a Republican
party that was not caught up in defending the spinmeisters of the past eight years, an by defending the obvious, errors some have made, you then become the parts of a solution that can’t be
debated nor discussed. Take a group of dirty little people telling dirty little jokes, these people aren’t really are not listening to that joke
vary closely because their trying to think up a
better joke to tell, or Spin. Give us you own point
of view, right or wrong you than can say
that’s My Point of View, an not that of every
other politician.

Posted by: DAVID at July 30, 2006 4:00 PM
Comment #172081

The authoritarian mayor of Las Vegas.Has just passed a law that says,if you feed a homeless person.You will go to jail. Feeding Paris Hilton good,feeding homeless people bad G.W.(Monkeyboy)Bush.

Posted by: thelibertine at July 30, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #172118

Alex Fitzsimmons,

We are clearly talking past each other. You make no response to the fact that warrantless wiretapping will not make us safer. You make no response to the fact that it is not about whether this particular President has been corrupted by the absolute power of warrantless wiretaps yet - but that he or some future President (perhaps Hillary) will be. If the power is there, it is probably being abused, if it is not being abused yet, it will be in the future. It is not that it might be abused. IT WILL BE ABUSED. PERIOD.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 30, 2006 7:55 PM
Comment #172119

9/11 was done by people in the top branches of, our government.The film (World Trade Center) is rightwing propaganda.If you want to know the whole truth on 9/11,watch (Loose Change).

Posted by: thelibertine at July 30, 2006 7:58 PM
Comment #172169

Ray Guest (and all others who see boogie men in every shadowy corner)—

“See, the problem with your message here is that you are talking out of both sides of your electronic mouth, If I present a well reasoned argument that “Power Corrupts” without chiseled in stone “proof” then my argument is not supported - no links - no references - no validity. On the other hand, if I provide links and references, then I am just being “bookish” and not thinking for myself. So which side of your forked electronic tongue should I listen to.”

No Ray, I am not talking out of the corner of my mouth. You have as usual twisted my words to fit your chosen scenario. Let me explain further, since you obviously require that everything be laid out in excrutiating detail for you to understand clearly.

If you say to me “I believe in X” then I say to you “why”? Then you say to me “Here is why”, supposedly after using your God given (or whatever) ability to think and reason and make a decision based on free will and rational deliberation to reach this conclusion.

This is an opinion and does not require, and I have never asked for, verification from outside sources.

If, however, you make claims that “Bush’s policies have resulted in Y”, then yes, I do expect proof. It is kind of like a court of law. If you are going to make accusations they should be based on verifiable facts which I and any other interested party can read for ourselves. But if you are going to say that you simply believe something to be true based on things you have seen, heard or read, then there is no burden of proof because that is your opinion.

Of course, I don’t expect you to grasp these concepts, because once upon a time not so long ago I presented a very well thought out, non-religious based, well written post for my belief that abortion is murder, using science as my sole justification. You in turn did your usual, and twisted my words into something totally different from what they were, making me out once again to be the bad guy, instead of taking me at my word and debating me on the merits of my arguement. So I don’t really expect anything better from you, or most libs for that matter.

You are incapable of believing that anyone could possibly disagree with you without having been led, misled, herded, swayed, influenced, or just plain forced. You are so sure of your own “rightness” that when someone like myself makes a good arguement for our beliefs, you simply can’t accept it at face value. You have to look for some deeper, darker hidden meaning to everything, believing that there must be some conspiracy that “makes” me think the way I do.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at July 31, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #172178

To anyone who truly believes they can do it—-

I say yet again, for something like the 2nd or 3rd time in this thread alone…show me proof that any post 9/11 policy, law or regulation has led to citizens of THIS country having their Constitutional rights violated.

Proof…not conspiracy theories…not wild conjecture…not alarmist rantings that sound they like originate in the mind of some fringe lunatic working out of a locked room in his basement.

Think of it as a challenge…open to any taker. Here’s the ground rules.

1) Present 10 INDIVIDUAL verifiable (ie: any interested person could go to some website, newspaper, magazine, television broadcast or other trustworthy news source and read it for themselves) instances of citizens who have had their rights blatantly violated.

Why so many you ask? Because [a] at last count there were approximately 285 million people in this country, so 10 is a VERY, VERY small number, and [b] because anyone can find 1, 2 or maybe even 3 cases that could be LOOSELY argued to fit the criteria.

It should be relatively easy to find 10…by my calculations that is less than .0000003% of the total population. Source citations or links are appreciated but not necesarry.

2) They must be CITIZENS!!! Not foreigners with student visas, work visas, or suspected terrorist detainees shipped here from other countries (in other words, Guantanamo doesn’t count). They must be full fledged United States citizens, either by birth or naturalization, who have had their Constitutional rights violated under post 9/11 laws or actions.

3) They must have absolutely NO TIES at all to any known or recognized terrorist organization or group. They can’t be terrorists, suspected terrorists, sympathizers, or have ever aided terrorists by providing them money, arms, munitions, safe haven or any other aid that would directly benefit their terrorist actions or allow them to carry out terrorist activities that, without such aid, they would be unable to do. Obvious exceptions would be legitimate medical care such as treatment for wounds incurred in non-terrorist activites, routine health care, dental work etc.

SO, is anyone up to the challenge? You liberals have repeatedly made claims about Bush and his people conducting illegal wiretapping, spying on citizens, etc so now prove it. Show me. Show US.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at July 31, 2006 12:26 AM
Comment #172179

thelibertine—

“9/11 was done by people in the top branches of, our government.The film (World Trade Center) is rightwing propaganda.If you want to know the whole truth on 9/11,watch (Loose Change).”

Conspiracy theories again? Oh I get it…any film that shows that terrorists did it is right-wing propaganda, but any film that shows that it was a big conspiracy planned and executed by the Republicans is the “truth”. If it was such a big conspiracy (conspiracies by their very nature usually being secret), how did you figure it out?

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at July 31, 2006 12:30 AM
Comment #172183

tony—

“I think you might want to follow some of Ray’s breathing techniques. You’re obviously upset at people’s opinions towards your political mindset, and if that truly upsets you, you need to find ways to relax or you will blow a ventricle. No one here is calling you stupid. We do not agree with you, but how you take that is up to you.”

No tony, I am NOT obviously upset at anyone’s opinions about my political mindset. If you don’t like my politics, I couldn’t really give a
sh-t. If you had read Ray’s original post, and the one by Adrienne that I was responding to, you would see that he has used numerous references to studies claiming that “right-wing authoritarians tend to be less educated and less cognitively complex…”, and she said that “I think it is demonstrably true that the GOP is made up of those with authoritarian personalities, followed by those who are most comfortable when people tell them what to think and do”.

If this isn’t an implication that we are dumb and can’t think for ourselves, what is it?

Although YOU PERSONALLY may not have ever called me or other conservatives dumb, your liberal buddies in this blog and elsewhere HAVE…as well as stuff much worse!! Since you all like to lump conservatives and Republicans and “neocons” together into one basket when talking about our politics and our beliefs, I have no option but to do the same, which makes you guilty by association.

Another of my points which I am always making and no one has the balls enough to address or refute, is how often YOUR side complains/admonishes my side about name calling, then resorts to that very same name calling about US, when you are SUPPOSEDLY the caring, loving party of acceptance and diversity.

So pardon me if I get a little irate at constantly being referred to as dumb, stupid, illiterate, ill-informed, uneducated, redneck, bigoted, homophobic, aggressive, authoritarian, with less well developed cognitive abilities than you superior and smarter liberals.

Surely you can see how anyone would get a little pi—ed off at constantly being harassed and beaten down verbally because they don’t happen to believe the same things or support the same things as you supposedly more educated, more caring lefties, and then told to do some “deep breathing” and relax, all because I am upset at the clear and not so subtle implication that we am somehow dumber than you.

I mean after all, how do YOU like it?

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at July 31, 2006 1:00 AM
Comment #172185

DaveR.
You wrote (PS: when you copy a block quote it is helpful to go through and retype all of the punctuation to remove formatting errors), anyway you wrote:

Spying against possible terrorists who live in this country but who ARE NOT CITIZENS of this country, and who might be plotting to do another deed, is hardly the same as actually spying against the citizens of this country. Amazing that for all the accusations made by you and other liberals about domestic spying, gulags, torture, and supposed violations of your Constitutional freedoms, you can’t or won’t provide real examples from your own life.
Where to start? First, I have never said anything about the violation my Constitutional freedoms. I am an insignificant piece of brown fecal cannon fodder on the national scene. Who cares whether the government spies on me or not? This is the brilliant way that the Repubs have spun this story by playing into the self-centered grandiosity of the American people. “If you have nothing to hide why should you care if the government spies on you?” It plays to peoples false sense of importance. You are not important. I am not that important. The aforementioned lesbian soccer Moms are not that important. Who cares if they spy on us? We should be so lucky as to be important enough to be spied on - and as for the soccer Moms… those guys at the NSA work hard and they got to have a little fun - who cares? They are wasting their time on the lesbian soccer Moms, but it is government work. I am concerned about the possibility, possible probability, eventual certainty that government officials, business leaders, politicians, and journalist will be spied on and that the info will be used to subvert the Constitution. You Repubs love your slippery slopes. This is a slippery slope. I have no proof that it is happening yet. So I have never talked about the violation of my Constitutional rights. There are bigger fish to fry. I am too insignificant to matter.

As far as: “Spying against possible terrorists who live in this country but who ARE NOT CITIZENS of this country” It has been widely reported that they are spying on Americans, so I don’t bother with the links, because I assume that we have a certain shared knowledge base - that most informed Americans know that Americans are being spied on without warrants - that the debate is about whether it is appropriate and legal. Article about ACLU Lawsuit
Article about NSA spying on Peace Group

So, there is a certain knowledge base that informed citizens should share and well established facts should not require links.

I wrote:

Lets see… Subverting the Constitution… Spying on Americans without a warrant and without oversight… Cherry picking intelligence to lie us into war… Torturing… Maintaining secret prisons where people can just disappear… Signing statements… Resisting verifiable electoral paper trails…

Subverting the Constitution - just my opinion - I am sure that you disagree - yet I have made a very good case regarding the corrupting influence of unrestrained power which you have not even attempted to answer.
Not gonna waste more electronic ink on NSA spying for now.
Cherry picking intelligence - widely reported in all of the mainstream media - you don’t have to believe it but there is plenty of evidence to support it - it is not quite proven - but there is clearly enough evidence to make it a reasonable belief - and it is my belief - thousands of pro and con books could be written about the evidence - believe what you will - but no links should be necessary - we should all know the info and have our own opinion. I am not trying to persuade anyone who has seen the news and still does believe that intelligence has been cherry picked. There is no point in trying persuade someone like that. They are either smarter and more well informed than me - in which case they should present the evidence to persuade me - either that or allow me to stew in my ignorance - either way is fair and fine. Other possibilities include that those people have a lack of “cognitive complexity” or are not well informed… If that is the case - then they shall have to stew in their own ignorance because I do not have enough electronic ink to lead them to enlightenment. So the evidence is widespread - no links should be necessary - either you believe it or you don’t - either you are smart or you are dumb.

The same logic goes for the rest of what I wrote.

The people that I am trying persuade here who are well informed, intelligent, believe that the evidence shows that Americans have been spied on without warrants, but uncertain what the full significance of it is. The rest are lost causes or Messiahs in waiting. You are certainly one or the other. Save me OH Great One.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 31, 2006 1:35 AM
Comment #172194
You make no response to the fact that warrantless wiretapping will not make us safer. You make no response to the fact that it is not about whether this particular President has been corrupted by the absolute power of warrantless wiretaps yet - but that he or some future President (perhaps Hillary) will be. If the power is there, it is probably being abused, if it is not being abused yet, it will be in the future. It is not that it might be abused. IT WILL BE ABUSED. PERIOD.

Ray:

The preceding, as David Remer would put it, is based not on empirical fact but on a belief system, and therefore there is no point in arguing a belief system. And while I don’t exactly buy that theory entirely, I will say this: you fear that the the President has been granted too much power with too little oversight…I disagree. Therefore, you fear that the President could abuse his power b/c of the inadequate amount of oversight, while I believe that there is sufficient oversight currently.

Also, you don’t believe that tapping into potential terrorist phone calls is going to help the war effort, however erroneous that may sound, and I believe otherwise.

But are we ever going to change each others minds? Probably not. Why? B/c you choose to believe that since the opportunity is there, it will inevitably be exploited, whereas I believe that more than mere opportunity is needed to wholly revamp my opinion…I need facts…maybe David was on to something…

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 31, 2006 2:32 AM
Comment #172209

Ray—

The mission statement for the source you used about the NSA spying on the Quaker peace group (The Raw Story) says that they are “an alternative news nexus…” and that they “…select those stories we think most intriguing to a audience seeking news underplayed by the mainstream media.” I hardly think that qualifies as “widely reported”…as a matter of fact it would seem to be just the opposite. They purposely pick those stories which they deem HAVEN’T been widely reported by the regular media.

Furthermore, they are only 2 years old (founded in 2004)…hardly what any sane person would consider a credible news source at this point.

In addition, how do you figure that Bush is somehow at fault for the alleged actions of the NSA, an agency with a track record of invading privacy and stepping over the bounds of legality long before 9/11? It is entirely possible that they took these actions without any say so from the president and in fact maybe even without his knowledge. It isn’t like they haven’t done so before, and why would they all of the sudden feel the need to start getting the approval of the boss just because of 9/11 and some changes in how we handle security in this country? I think they are perfectly capable of breaking the law on their own. You still haven’t shown me any connection between these allegations of misconduct by the NSA and President Bush…in other words you haven’t proven to me that he in fact ordered, or even gave his tacit approval for, these actions. You are still operating on mere speculation.

Lastly, I question the objectivity of any source which prompts readers to switch their wireless to one which the NSA “…hasn’t tapped…”, and which has anti “neocon” advertisements on their home page. They are clearly an agenda driven organization, and certainly qualify as a member of what we conservatives usually call (and you libs vehemently deny) the liberal media.


As for the lawsuit by the ACLU…”After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Bush authorized the NSA to intercept communications between people inside the United States, including American citizens, and terrorism suspects overseas, without obtaining a warrant.” (from the article you linked). The key here, as I see it, is that this supposed eavesdropping would be occurring, like the article says, on communications BETWEEN people in the Unites States AND terrorist suspects overseas. It is clearly designed to allow the NSA to catch terrorists before they can plan or execute any more attacks, and also to make it so they cannot become citizens and then use that citizenship as a way to “protect” their conversations about killing more Americans from being intercepted.

You made the somewhat sarcastic comment that (Republicans are saying) if we have nothing to hide, why should we care if they spy on us? I say…absolutely!! Because if you have nothing to hide (ie: you are not personally involved in the planning of a terrorist attack) the NSA won’t need to spy on you in the first place. In other words, if you ain’t doing anything wrong, there’s no reason to be listening to you.

Are you for allowing this spying…lets say only under the condition that we insert some wording into the law to clearly delineate the boundaries and force accountability (ie: any president using this process had better be able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he/she has a valid reason to be listening to those American citizens who are being spied on)…would that appease you? I could certainly support that sort of concession.

But as for totally blocking the idea of spying altogether…at the risk of another 9/11 or worse? Nope, gotta say I think I would rather risk violations of my privacy than a chance that my wife or kids would be in the middle of the next attack. After all, I am not a terrorist and I have nothing to worry about.

Anyway, the ACLU would sue their own mothers if they thought there was a chance to get their names in the paper. Seriously though, how can you trust an organization which actually lends its protection to sexual predators and deviants to spread their filthy ideas and propogate their vile activities, all under the guise of freedom of speech? I think you should get new “friends”.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at July 31, 2006 5:23 AM
Comment #172289

DaveR,
I have been intending to send some money to the ACLU. I am proud of my friends and their fight to protect our Constitution. Yes, the links I gave were not the best.
I took five seconds to find them because the info is so widespread. I was just illustrating that it was out there. After this whole detour, you write:

Bush authorized the NSA to intercept communications between people inside the United States, including American citizens, and terrorism suspects overseas, without obtaining a warrant.
Apparently, you accept that fact, and that is all that I have been saying - if that is not spying on Americans - what is? Now I strongly suspect that the program has not been so tightly limited. It is reasonable to suspect - but pure speculation. You no doubt think that the program has been tightly limited. I would argue that - that is less reasonable to suspect - but in any case is pure speculation on your part. Your is faith based - faith in Lord Bush based. My speculation is also faith based - faith in skepticism based. Given the fact that the Attorney General refused to assure the Congress that the full extent of the program has been revealed - I think my skepticism is well founded. There is plenty of evidence of other spy programs as well - including the circumvention of Constitutional restraints by using Choice Point. Do your own research on that - or not - believe what you like. But the constant drumbeat of spying justifies my speculative skepticism.
Now you say:
In addition, how do you figure that Bush is somehow at fault for the alleged actions of the NSA, an agency with a track record of invading privacy and stepping over the bounds of legality long before 9/11?
OK, I thought that you Authoritarian Republicans were the ones that were all “up” about personal accountability. I am going to have to go and revise my whole article now - doggone it. Trying to hold the President accountable for things that he “either knew or should have known” is an example of liberal Authoritarianism. If the President was not responsible for these spy programs, then when they came to light, heads should have rolled. No heads rolled, instead the President blocked investigations.

Finally, you write:

Are you for allowing this spying… lets say only under the condition that we insert some wording into the law to clearly delineate the boundaries and force accountability (ie: any president using this process had better be able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he/she has a valid reason to be listening to those American citizens who are being spied or… would that appease you? I could certainly support that sort of concession.
For the love of GOD, that is all that I have been screaming for these last months… We had to waste all of this electronic ink, to come to the point of agreeing that there needs to be checks and balances on unbridled Presidential authority? Now I am sure that I want a much tighter bridle than you do, but at least we agree in principal.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 31, 2006 12:14 PM
Comment #172317

DaveR:
“You write “…by those who are most comfortable when people tell them what to think and do.” Then you follow that up by talking about a book you just read by Dean, and another one by C.T. Whitman.

And yet, don’t you find it ironic that you are complaining about how “we” supposedly need to be led around because we can’t think for ourselves but you are quoting or referencing someone eles’s work?? HUH????”

No, I don’t find it ironic at all. I was not complaining that those who consider themselves conservative Republicans NEED to be led around, just that (generally speaking) they tend to feel most comfortable when they are. This is backed up in Dean’s book with him citing fifty years worth of studies on this very subject. Furthermore, it isn’t that he (or I) thinks they CAN’T think for themselves, it’s that they don’t LIKE to. This is due to the fact that people with this personality type (again generally speaking) feel that their own identities are somehow being threatened when others don’t comform to what is considered “normal”, “traditional”, and previously accepted by society. As a result, these folks tend listen to their leaders (who are considered the embodiment of “normal”, “traditional” and accepted) and allow them to define things for them, rather than try to think for themselves.
As I said, and will repeat, I believe that what Dean and Whitman are trying to do in their books, is to get Republicans (despite their tendency to follow their leaders) to think about the direction they’re allowing themselves and their party to be lead in — and in so doing, perhaps get these people to realize that it isn’t where they truly want themselves, their party, or the entire country with them, to go.

“That is a typical liberal tactic. Libs like yourself (and Ray and those “researchers” HE quoted) think we are illiterate, uneducated, ignorant and ill-informed, but YOU find it necesarry to constantly quote books and articles and authors to bolster YOUR position.”

We are discussing Dean’s writings in this article and thread, so naturally we’ll be talking about his books and articles. If you feel illiterate, uneducated, ignorant and ill-informed, then perhaps you should read some of them, in order to be able to intelligently join in this type of discussion.

“WE can explain our beliefs and our moral values and our positions by just (wait, take a deep breath before you go on)…EXPLAINING them, without the need for literary precedent or citation!”

Well, of course you can, but that doesn’t mean we have to take them seriously.

“I don’thave to quote someone else to explain what I believe and why…I can do that by myself. I, and other conservatives and Republicans, have the ability to think for myself (ourselves) and reach a mature, rational, well thought out position on a topic or issue without the dubious “benefit” of someone else’s opinions!!”

Yes, you are entirely free to ignore fifty years of studies, and the fact that someone like Dean has writen a book about those studies, but it’s just too bad then that you’ll have to see others discussing them when you come to the liberal side of this blog.

“In other words, just because we don’t agree with you doesn’t mean we are as “dumb” as you would like people to believe. I am so tired of the constant insinuation that conservatives and Republicans are less educated and possessing of less “cognitive” ability, as Ray’s post suggests.”

If your tired of reading what we discuss, then perhaps you’d be more comfortable reading only on the right side of this blog.

“Furthermore, even if it were true, that does not make our opinions, morals, values or beliefs any less relevant and important than yours, and I am sick of being made to feel as if they are!!”

If it is true that you don’t ever bother to think for yourselves, but follow your leaders blindly, then I’d have to argue that your opinions probably are far less relevant in many discussions. Your morals, values and belief systems are none of my business. And ours are none of yours.
America is country run by the rule of natural law, not positive law.

“How you cannot recognize your own arrogant, pompous and elistist attitudes for what they are is beyond me. You have all been talking down your nose at us for so long you don’t even realize anymore that you are doing it. Sad!”

How you cannot recognize that you carry your own arrogant, pompous and self-righteous attitudes when that you are visiting the liberal side of is blog is beyond me. You’ve been talking down your nose at us for discussing something that obviously makes you feel uncomfortable, so you must attack the discussion, and us, for having it despite your discomfort. That’s not only sad, it’s pathetic.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 31, 2006 1:32 PM
Comment #293722

Bush is an idiot, end of story. Happy he is gone! Sadly this will likely happen again, the US never learns from it’s mistakes it is just sad.

Posted by: Best Political Quiz at January 13, 2010 7:26 PM
Comment #302021

“strong executive branch to impose necessary policies”, very interesting article; but I wanted to point out that I don’t agree with the previous statement about the executive branch. The constitution defines the executive in very limited scope visavis the other branches, the vast majority of ‘power’ rests in the legislative. I think authoritarianism is specifically what the founding fathers intended to avoid. the executive branch is supposed to enforce the law as created by the legislative and/or defined by the judicial. The executive is also the commander in chief, but only AFTER a formal declaration of war by congress. I’m skipping a lot but the constitution seems very clear on this.The unitary theory of the executive, imo, attempts to expand the executive branch by claiming commander in chief status in the absence of a formal declaration of war. Goldwater, who I have a lot of respect for, did not lose in 64 only to win 25 years later; I think he correctly saw the rise of the authoritarians back in the 80’s. A good friend of mine who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal and I spoke about Obama and in the same sentence he spoke about liberty and democracy while saying “the minority eventually becomes the majority”, this sums up the authoritarian credo, democracy is great as long as our side is in control. What I really think would transform our country is if people lived by a saying of mine “spend less time worrying about what other people are doing and more time on what you are doing”, sadly human nature means the opposite is the reality. I can always hope.

Posted by: john at June 10, 2010 11:44 PM
Comment #302023

Oh and yes authoritarian governments are probably more ‘effective’, but you do not want to be on the other side and what I always have feared and conservatives dismiss is that “sooner or later, after they come for your neighbor, they eventually come for you.” Authoritarianism is an easy fix, but just about every auth government I can think if seemed like a great idea initially but has ended in disaster, how about living under pol pot in cambodia? he got a lot done. Hitler, tito, hirohito (more the japanese gov, he was just the poster child) Idi amin, pinochet, mugabe, hell the british monarchy we rebelled against, if you thing auth is good now you’re a fool because eventually they will come for you. Lord Acton said “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Remember that last part because few ever hear it.

Posted by: john at June 11, 2010 12:05 AM
Comment #358652

“It is natural for Republicans and conservatives to be more authoritarian than Democrats and liberals.”

How the hell does this argument follow, when the neoLiberals are the ones who outright proclaim the most boisterous love for statist, supreme executive authority, nonrepresentative taxation, extra-Constitutional rulings, laws and taxes and behavioral dictates and bans?

Posted by: Authoritarian Left at December 12, 2012 4:02 PM
Comment #380570

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