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View Diary: My Diary is Being Hijacked by a pro-Tancredo website (354 comments)

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  •  Fascism supporters are reactionaries (4+ / 0-)

    They feel that their beliefs, rights, ways of life, etc., are under threat.  Fascism is about uniting as a group behind a central authority figure with the objective of righting perceived wrongs, returning the social order back to some agreed ideal.  It is about power, using the full influence of the state to enforce the ideals of the movement.  

    A glaring example of this is the "Christian" Conservative movement.  These people genuinely feel threatened by secular change.  They feel ridiculed and marginalized by liberal society for their belief in the inerrancy of scripture.  Their support for a new American brand of fascism is part of a perceived fight for survival of their beliefs.  Liberal beliefs of tolerance and permissiveness, support for gays, etc., are seen to be at the root of societal decay and rot.  To the true believers, any and all means are justified to fight this perceived threat in the battle to return America to its place of glory and purity under God.  Unscrupulous movement leaders are only too happy to oblige, of course.

    Fascist movements also tap into primal human urges to belong, to be part of a social "tribe" and to feel secure against outside threats.  Fear of the other is a very powerful force often used by fascist leadship to direct its followers toward militarism, rallying them with symbols of the state and its power.  

    So, what drives people to fascist thinking, where raw power is supreme, authority is absolute, and violence and domination are valid tools of their struggle?  I suggest it is someone who is likely socially insecure (eg. a closet case in a homophobic family) or economically insecure, who feels weak or has a poor self-image, and wants to belong to a strong "tribe" and feel vicariously powerful.  It could also be someone who is reacting against a perceived threat to their religious beliefs, and thus believes they are part of a righteous struggle against an evil enemy: such a powerful sense of mission could provide a much needed sense of validation for individuals who have little self-esteem.

    That's my $0.02

    The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

    by mojo workin on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 01:30:20 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  but (0+ / 0-)

      If you are interested in this subject take a look at the paper I cited above.

      One of things that hasn't come out of the studies is why people adopt an authoritarian personality.

      The first to study the question were Theodor Adorno and his colleagues in "The Authoritarian Personality". This was right after WWII and they were trying to find out why so many "normal" people could be induced into becoming Nazis or fascists. Various Freudian explanations have been given (see some of the comments above, for example), but nothing has been demonstrated in a scientifically rigorous fashion. So "preventing" new fascists from happening is an unfulfilled dream.

      What we need to concentrate on is preventing these people from getting too much political power.

      •  I think John Dean's new book (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tek Jansen

        Conservatives without a Conscience will be a good read in this regard - I plan to get a copy.  From Greenwald

        Dean contends, and amply documents, that the "conservative" movement has become, at its core, an authoritarian movement composed of those with a psychological and emotional need to follow a strong authority figure which provides them a sense of moral clarity and a feeling of individual power, the absence of which creates fear and insecurity in the individuals who crave it. By definition, its followers' devotion to authority and the movement's own power is supreme, thereby overriding the consciences of its individual members and removing any intellectual and moral limits on what will be justified in defense of their movement.

        Dean relies on substantial social science data to illustrate the personality type that seeks out authoritarian movements.

        The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

        by mojo workin on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 02:09:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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