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View Diary: How to treat conservative delusion? (308 comments)

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  •  The root cause is the beating of children. (13+ / 0-)

    I know that sounds kind of off-topic, but bear with me.

    Children who are beaten are taught that Authority is always Right, no matter how much whatever Authority says diverges from observable reality and logic.

    Children who are beaten learn to divide the world into black and white, with no grey areas. Either you are an Authority (or you do what Authority says) or you are someone who is beaten.

    Since in our culture we still associate white, male, "Christian," straight with Authority and dark, female, non-"Christian," gay/bi/trans with beaten, children who are beaten grow up into adults who make these associations on a pre-rational level. Nothing Barack Obama says makes him anything other than someone claiming illegitimate Authority. Hence the birth certificate nonsense: they're trying to rationalize what is fundamentally irrational.

    It's the same virus that causes religious belief, and has the same cause: you're told over and over again, when you're too young to think back, that "God" exists, and nothing anyone says to point out to you that there's no proof makes any difference.

    You cannot penetrate the worldview of beaten children: they adopted it for survival when very young. They'll hold it til they die, unless they have some kind of traumatic experience or a great deal of therapy. Beating children creates authoritarian followers.

    Fortunately, it's no longer remotely as acceptable to do this. Add in the largely successful struggles for civil rights, and the passage of time, and we'll see the percentage of delusional conservatives drop dramatically over the next couple of decades.

    But it's still probably too late.

    •  An interesting perspective, but (8+ / 0-)

      I'm unconvinced it accounts for the entirety of the problem.  As a child, I was spanked.  Just a hand or paddle to the backside.  I do not consider myself to have been beaten or battered.  It's not a method of discipline I have ever used myself as a parent, so maybe I "escaped" that cycle; but even for me as a child, physical discipline was reserved for more serious transgressions, not a daily or expected occurrance.  I turned out to be a pretty left-of-center fellow.

      I always thought my "Wonder Years" childhood was typical of my generation, and I'd be surprised if there were enough more seriously beaten children out there to account for the stupidity epidemic worhipping the GOP authoritarian model.

      You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

      by rb608 on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 07:51:31 AM PST

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      •  Same here. What constitutes a beating? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JohnInWestland, ivorybill, rb608

        I got hit a few times with a belt, but it was more like this:

        Either stop the bad behavior or wait until I explain to your father what you did wrong. I quickly (like less than 10 times in my life) figured out that getting hit fucking hurts and it really was my bad behavior that would warrant it. As I grew up threats of violence wouldn't work anymore since 1) I would fight back and 2) I knew I could just call the police.

        I turned out a democratic socialist.

        •  in my family (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rb608, FinchJ

          the beatings were considerably worse than the occasional spanking - and yet all of us rejected the  politics of our parents and grew up to be on the left of  the political spectrum.  The damage was worse for some of us than others but that's the thing about any kind of trauma.  You can't predict the effects and shouldn't generalize too much.  Maybe one brother fails to adapt, while the other does.  I suspect that's less a matter of effort as luck.  There are so many myriad variables beyond one's control that can change outcomes - biology, teenage and adult relationships, all the intangible events that make up a life and form a person's adult personality - that I feel uncomfortable generalizing too much about how abuse will affect any individual life.  

          I'm not sure that you can beat someone into a political perspective any more than you can beat a political perspective out of someone.

          •  I was reading (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jbeach, ivorybill

            The Authoritarians that another Kossack linked to in this thread.

            Not done yet, but my brother is pretty RWA. Sadly he doesn't believe anything, no matter the source. Same family. Same treatment. But he enjoyed fighting.

            I think our different choices in universities made a huge difference. He went to a small private college in NC, I went to the University of South Florida. Our freshman class was probably at least 2x as large as his entire school. Even though he was a sociology and criminal justice major, he still turned out to be a little bit of a nut job when you hear about his politics.

            I agree with your comment, although I think the original post that brought this up has a lot of merit.

        •  I hear ya. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          As I grew up threats of violence wouldn't work anymore since 1) I would fight back and 2) I knew I could just call the police.

          After a certain age and size, I could comprehend full well what the intensity or duration of a mere spaking was.  Sometimes I just knew it was worth it.  I think once my parents realized I'd reached that point, the physical stuff was done.

          You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

          by rb608 on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:19:45 AM PST

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    •  Physical abuse can have a different (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      effect.  True, some abused kids become authoritarian followers, or timid and excessively rules-based, both of which may impact political affiliation.  Severe child abuse causes a child to improperly socialize, lose empathy for others, and sometimes to become violent as an adult.  To put it in plain language, severe abuse can  kill a kid's soul.  You can beat empathy out of a kid and create someone who has sociopathic tendencies, if you are brutal enough.  That kid might react against authority, join it, be a follower or be a leader (Saddam, Stalin, Hitler all were horrendously abused as children.)

      I'm unconvinced beating a kid has much to do with political affiliation later in life.  A kid that's beaten may follow his family's political views or reject them.  If you are saying that creating a sociopath equates to creating another GOP voter, well there's maybe a grain of truth in that.   But you can beat a kid, create a sociopath and he may well associate with the politics of the left.  

    •  felagund, sorry I disagree with your (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sinclairtx, Margd

      characterization of beaten children.  My father beat me regularly, even if I did nothing wrong.  He used his hands and then impliments, leaving welts on my back, and treated me like an indentured servant.  I hated him with every bone in my body and cheered when he died of heart disease when I was 19 years old and I LOATHE AUTHORITY TO THIS DAY.  No one can tell me what to do.  EVER.  They can ask me politely, as in "please," but order me around?  Forget it.  If I'm not treated with total respect at all times, I don't stick around.  My husband of 25 years learned this early on and believes it has made him a better person.

      Every beaten child does NOT end up clinging to authority.  In my case, far from it.

      Best. President. Ever.

      by Little Lulu on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 10:54:12 AM PST

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    •  Actually, comedian Chris Rock agrees with you (0+ / 0-)

      on the point of the radical right wing eventually declining, in this Esquire interview :

      [Esquire]: Like many nice Caucasians, I cried the night Barack Obama was elected. It was one of the high points in American history. And all that's happened since the election is just a shitstorm of hatred.
      You want to weigh in on that?

      [Chris Rock]:  I actually like it, in the sense that — you got kids?
      Kids always act up the most before they go to sleep. And when I see the Tea Party and all this stuff, it actually feels like racism's almost over.

      Because this is the last — this is the act up before the sleep. They're going crazy. They're insane. You want to get rid of them — and the next thing you know, they're fucking knocked out.
      And that's what's going on in the country right now.

      [Esquire]: I hope so. Because it seems like a lot of people feel they just can't live with this man being president.

      "..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

      by New Rule on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 02:34:58 PM PST

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