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Four years ago, reading the agenda of the 2009 Values Voters Summit, I hypothesized a connection between the agenda of the Republican Party base and the values of one of America's four founding subcultures, the northern English and Scots-Irish "Borderers" who settled the Appalachian "backcountry" and highland South, as described by the historical anthropologist David Hackett Fischer in Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. I wrote about this theory in a Daily Kos diary titled "Yo, Pundits! Here's What's Up With the Republicans."

"The more we study the Borderers' folkways in Britain and in America," I wrote, "the more we see how thoroughly the Republican Party has adopted this culture's worldview and purged itself of incompatible elements."

The Republican Party is the party of the South, in culture if not in literal geography. It represents the descendants of the Borderers and the Cavaliers -- but the only vestige of Cavalier influence is the whiff of aristocracy surrounding the party's coddling of the financial industry. . . . In other respects, the Borderers are running the show, and they won't yield an inch to anyone, even their own allies.
That was in the first year of President Barack Obama's administration. Four years later, it's become even more apparent -- as has the party's monomaniacal hostility toward the president.

I suspect that too many people continue to believe either that Republican opposition to Obama is either a simple ideological difference or rooted in straightforward racism. These explanations tell only a sliver of the story.

Obama is viewed a threat by Borderer Republicans because his ways are antithetical to theirs on so many levels: He advocates cooperative partnership and brotherhood, brushes off insults, proclaims a desire to sit down with enemies and talk rather than fight, and projects tolerance and trust. He's highly educated and sophisticated in his speech and has never been in the military. He's in a partnership of equals with a strong, professional wife. His Christianity is of the inner-light variety. And his ambiguous ethnicity can only be a source of frustration to anyone accustomed to seeing the world divided into neat opposites: he looks black, but he's only half-black, and he doesn't sound black or act stereotypically black, and he's also financially successful. Yet looking black, in America, has always been enough to mark one as black -- besides which, his father was Kenyan, which makes him not only black but foreign. Yet he was born in Hawai'i, which is American, but sort of foreign at the same time . . .

The point is, the opposition to Obama doesn't come from just one thing. Even if he were straightforwardly, obviously white, the other aspects of his personality would be more than enough to generate intense hostility among Borderers. (Recall the right's hostility toward Bill Clinton, who had the same cool temper and intellect, the same preference for cooperation, and a similar marriage of equals with a strong, professional wife -- despite being a Borderer himself.) It's the fact that Obama is all these things that elevates Borderer Republicans' antipathy to apocalyptic fear -- and that has led to the emergence of the Tea Party as an opposing force.

It's now four years later. We're in the midst of a government shutdown precipitated by Tea Party Republicans seeking a showdown with the man they've inflated into a towering nemesis of Führeresque proportions, and we're coming up on yet another Values Voters Summit. What can these things tell us about the size, force and nature of the Tea Party bloc and where America can go from here?

Obama, the Borderers and the Tea Party

I should probably begin with a refresher on why I see the Tea Party and Borderer folkways as being so intimately connected. It began with this map from the New York Times:

The map highlights the 22 percent of U.S. counties that voted more Republican in 2008 than in 2004, when George W. Bush was challenged by John Kerry. It was paired with this two-color map that highlighted how the rest of the country voted more Democratic in 2008 than in 2004:
2008 presidential election results: counties that voted more Democratic and Republican in 2008 than in 2004
Interpreting these maps requires knowing the candidates and how they relate to the stereotypical Borderer character. It also requires some knowledge of sociolinguistic geography.
This is a map of American English dialects. See how the Southern Appalachian and South Midland bands parallel the red counties in the top map? This is the path of Borderer migration. Where they went, they took their way of speaking with them, and so we can trace the path of their influence. The counties that voted more Republican in 2008 than in 2004 closely track the settlement patterns of Borderers from Appalachia across the highland South and beyond.

In Albion's Seed, Fischer identified four waves of migration from Britain that combined to form the American character. Two were rooted in the North: the Puritans of New England (communitarian, relatively egalitarian and highly literate, with a strong work ethic) and the Quakers of the Delaware Valley (anti-hierarchical, anti-doctrinal, gentle, tolerant and respectful of conscience). Two were rooted in the South: the Cavaliers of the coastal South (hierarchical, traditionalist and highly authoritarian, with a great love of wealth and sharply divided sex roles) and the Borderers of the highland South (belligerent, clan-centric, deferential to its own leaders but never toward outsiders, evangelical in its religion and suspicious of book-learning). Pre–Civil War, U.S. politics played out on a Puritan–Cavalier axis, but post–Civil War, the Quakers and Borderers -- who already had a seething rivalry -- moved front and center. Today, they form the cultural and moral cores of the Democratic and Republican parties.

Historically, Borderer voters have rarely dominated national politics but have often played kingmaker: their entry into the Revolutionary War turned the tide against the British and their Cavalier Loyalists, and they've been part of the winning coalition in every presidential election from 1932 to 2004. The presidency has been held more often by Borderers (including Truman, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and adopted son G.W. Bush) than by descendants of any of the other four British traditions, yet in living memory, only with the election of George W. Bush has the federal government, and by extension the nation, projected a distinctly Borderer image to the world.

Despite his New England roots, Bush's administration was heavily Borderer-flavored, and John McCain's candidacy promised an extension of the same. McCain, in fact, was an ideal Borderer candidate. According to Fischer, the most esteemed individual in Borderer society was the aged warlord, because in a society accustomed to constant fighting, being an old fighter means that one is a skilled survivor -- strong and shrewd. McCain was not only an old warrior, he came from a family of old warriors. Like the stereotypical Borderer, McCain was quick-tempered and sensitive to insult, academically undistinguished (near the bottom of his Naval Academy graduating class), and ready and willing to take on all comers. Also stereotypically, he had a track record of valuing loyalty above competence. And his vaunted "maverick" character (which we still see occasional sparks of today, though much less than before 2008) was reflective of the characteristic Borderer "Nobody tells me what to do!" assertion of autonomy and disdain for rank.

Meanwhile, Obama, as described above, was essentially the anti-Borderer.

Let's take another look at the electoral maps. Most of the country, I hypothesize, was tired of the Borderer style of leadership and wanted a change. But the highland South liked that style of leadership, liked having a warlord president, and wanted more, more, more. To them, an Obama presidency would be sheer calamity. They turned out in force for McCain. It wasn't enough to win.

Not winning doesn't go over well with Borderers. A lost battle means the war isn't over yet . . . it's just starting.

And that's where the Tea Party comes in. The Tea Party is the Borderer party. The highland South is its cradle. And if Obama is the anti-Borderer president, then the Tea Party is the Borderers' anti-Obama answer.


Geography Is Not Destiny

Looking at maps of Tea Party–held districts today, however, doesn't show any pattern as neat as the maps above do. Tea Party–identified representatives are scattered all over the country, including across the North and in California. The roots may be in the highland South, but the branches reach all over.

I believe there are a couple of reasons for this. One is Borderers' willingness to migrate wherever opportunity presents itself. My own maternal ancestors were Borderer descendants who migrated from Arkansas and Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression. One study, in 2010, found that Tea Party affiliation was strongest in boom counties. Early Borderers came to America less for religious freedom than for "material benefit," according to Fischer. "In the early 18th century, many surveys of their motives found the same pattern of concern about high rents, low wages, heavy taxes and short leases" that we see echoes of in Tea Party antitax protests. The other reason is that people are drawn to movements that appear to be ascending in power and will catch a ride on them in the hope of advancing their own related agendas.

Tea Party politics is woven from three strands that are found together in Borderer culture but that also exist on their own outside that culture: libertarian conservatism, evangelical Christianity and right-wing authoritarianism. It's important to note here that not all Borderers are libertarians, not all are evangelicals, and not all are authoritarian followers, and some are none of the three. Historically, however, all three have been at the heart of Borderer culture to some extent.

I created this diagram to illustrate how they come together in the Tea Party:

Venn Diagram of Tea Party/Borderer Values
The maps up above show where the Tea Party was born, but this diagram is a map of what it's grown into: a confluence of libertarians, evangelicals and authoritarian followers from across the nation, coming together to thwart President Barack Obama and his army of socialist zombies by any means necessary. Tribal affiliations have superseded physical geography: you don't have to be a highland Southerner to get on the bus. (Although, as Michael Lind points out in Salon, it doesn't hurt.)

A few notes about the diagram:

First and most important, the RWA conception of hegemonic freedom does not originate with the Borderers, but rather with the Cavaliers, and is actually more neoconservative than Tea Party. I've included it in the chart anyway because right-wing authoritarianism is a significant and increasing ingredient in the Tea Party recipe, and because the RWA conception of freedom overtly reserves it to some and would deny it to others, a pattern we can observe in Republicans' state-level voter suppression efforts. A purely Borderer Tea Party would comprise just a dash of RWA compared with large portions of libertarian conservatism and evangelical Christianity. The full three-ingredient mix is what we get when propaganda organs like Fox News, demagogues like Rush Limbaugh, clandestine manipulators like the American Legislative Exchange Council, and opportunistic backers like FreedomWorks and the Koch brothers attach themselves to the movement.

Second, I use the phrase "libertarian conservatism" because its meaning is widely understood, but I believe it's at least partially a misnomer. Modern libertarianism exists along a spectrum from the authentically conservative "don't mess with what's working fine on its own" attitude to a radical "tear it all down" mentality. If "conservative" means the desire to preserve and maintain existing institutions and ways of life, and "radical" (fr. L. radix "root") means the desire to uproot and replace existing institutions and ways of life, then it's primarily Democrats (along with some holdout moderate Republicans) who are the true conservatives now. Those who would uproot more than a century of progress by dismantling successful government programs, reversing regulatory protections, and seizing back hard-won civil rights and liberties are not conservatives but radicals. Tea Party libertarianism is much more of the radical (and juvenile) "tear it all down" variety than it is akin to simple Jeffersonian self-sufficiency.

Third, you may already have seen a contradiction between the libertarian concept of freedom (freedom from interference/control) and the evangelical concept of freedom (freedom to evangelize and legislate doctrine). To someone who's already an evangelical Christian, like much of today's Tea Party, it's not a contradiction: no one is making her do what she wouldn't choose to do herself. Similarly, there's no contradiction between the libertarian concept of freedom and the RWA concept of freedom (freedom to dominate others, not to be dominated) for one who has attained a position of authority -- and according to Lind, in another Salon article, many self-identified Tea Partiers fit this description too. But both non-evangelical libertarians and non-libertarian evangelicals exist within the movement, as do non-authoritarian libertarians and non-libertarian authoritarians, and this is the source of one of the tensions within it (more on this below).

The Borderers' mentality was forged by literally a thousand years of violent oppression. They had damn good reasons to turn out the way they did. Their trust-no-one, survival-at-any-cost warrior ethic surely served them well in unpredictable, dangerous times. But the culture that evolved in response to the oppression and insecurity they faced is maladapted to modern values and living conditions. Unfortunately, its psychology acts as a sort of immune response against any sort of change, as nonconformists and dissenters are "hated out" and any outside influence or contradictory information is met with fear and suspicion. They perceive themselves to be perpetually under siege, even as they themselves lay siege to the U.S. system of government.


Circus of Values

In my diary of four years ago, I cited a list of presentation topics from the 2009 Values Voters Summit that read like "a litany of Borderer preoccupations":

SPEECHLESS - SILENCING THE CHRISTIANS
THUGOCRACY - FIGHTING THE VAST LEFT WING CONSPIRACY
DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD
ACTIVISM AND CONSERVATISM: FIT TO A TEA (PARTY)
THE THREAT OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
OBAMACARE: RATIONING YOUR LIFE AWAY
MARRIAGE: WHY IT'S WORTH DEFENDING AND HOW REDEFINING IT THREATENS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
THE NEW MASCULINITY
WAIT NO MORE: FINDING FAMILIES FOR WAITING KIDS
TURNING THE TIDE IN YOUR GENERATION
What's on the agenda this year? It's not all that different, but a few things stand out:
The Erosion of Religious Liberties in the Public Square
The Erosion of Religious Liberties in the Military
Responding to the Tough Questions on Marriage, Religious Liberty and More
The Hispanic Community: Messaging and Mobilizing
Values and Obamacare: The Threat to Religious Freedom, Life and the Family
Standing Up to the Assaults on Our Faith
Is It Too Late to Reclaim America
The War on Football: Saving America's Game
Common Enemies: Given the Foes We Face, Why America Must Stand With Israel
War of the Worldviews: Understanding and Responding to Belief Systems That Compete for the Soul of Our Nation
Where Do We Go From Here? Challenging Tyranny
From Bible Banners to Public Prayers: Defending Religious Liberty Rights in Churches, Schools and the Public Arena
The People Chasm: How Demographic Decline Endangers the Future of Freedom
No fewer than four -- possibly five -- sessions donated specifically to the idea that the freedom to worship (really, the freedom to evangelize and legislate doctrine) is threatened. "Is It Too Late to Reclaim America," which implies that America is now in the possession of someone other than the convention attendees and must be seized back. "Where Do We Go From Here? Challenging Tyranny," whose implicit premise, objectively false, is that America is governed by a single ruler vested with absolute power, wielded harshly and arbitrarily. (That is the definition of "tyranny." Were Obama actually a tyrant, the current shutdown could not occur; he could simply declare it over. The fact that it is occurring disproves the premise of tyranny.)

Two sessions suggest that not everything on the agenda is the fruit of paranoid delusions of persecution. "The Hispanic Community: Messaging and Mobilizing" and "The People Chasm: How Demographic Decline Endangers the Future of Freedom" reveal a recognition that the Tea Party Republican agenda does not have the support of a majority of Americans and that the Republican Party will have to overcome its demographic disadvantage to remain a political force.

Lind touches on this topic in "Tea Party radicalism is misunderstood: meet the 'Newest Right'":

From the 1970s to the 2000s, white working-class voters alienated from the Democratic Party by civil rights and cultural liberalism made possible Republican presidential dominance from Reagan to George W. Bush and Republican dominance of Congress from 1994 to 2008. Because their politicians dominated the federal government much of the time, the conservative notables were less threatened by federal power, and some of them, like the second Bush, could even imagine a "governing conservatism" which, I have argued, sought to "Southernize" the entire U.S.

But then, by the 2000s, demography destroyed the temporary Nixon-to-Bush conservative majority (although conceivably it could enjoy an illusory Indian summer if Republicans pick up the Senate and retain the House in 2016). Absent ever-growing shares of the white vote, in the long run the Republican Party cannot win without attracting more black and Latino support.

That may well happen, in the long run. But right now most conservative white local notables in the South and elsewhere in the country don't want black and Latino support. They would rather disenfranchise blacks and Latinos than compete for their votes. And they would rather dismantle the federal government than surrender their local power and privilege.

Demographic decline doesn't endanger "the future of freedom," as the Values Voters Summit session suggests -- it endangers the future of the Tea Party–driven Republican Party. But it's noteworthy that the conference planners are no longer trusting in skewed polls that show them to have solid majority support. They know the numbers are against them. It's not that they themselves are threatened, or that their freedom to worship is threatened. Their power to dictate is threatened. And as they know they would use whatever power they had to persecute those who fail to conform to their values, they naturally assume, and fear, that anyone else with power would wield it to persecute them.

Consequently, political victory is not just the opportunity to implement an agenda. It's also a matter of survival. They can't take any chances; they have to win.

(I can't help but giggle at "The War on Football: Saving America's Game." Football, which was adapted from English rugby, is arguably less American than basketball, which was invented from scratch in New England. I think what the conference planners see as uniquely "American" about it is the way it rewards size and strength and carries the risk of debilitating injury, two things that Borderers have always relished in their sport.)


The Tea Party vs. Obama

Isn't it kind of incredible to hear Republican leaders complain that President Obama is unwilling to negotiate over the budget during the federal government shutdown when they themselves rejected 19 previous invitations to negotiate? Isn't it amazing to hear them complain that Democrats are unwilling to compromise when they themselves have not yielded on a single point of their agenda since they won a majority in the House of Representatives in 2010?

"When an intelligent man expresses a view which seems to us obviously absurd, we should not attempt to prove that it is somehow true, but we should try to understand how it ever came to seem true," Bertrand Russell wrote in A History of Western Philosophy. In that spirit, I conjecture that the Republicans' complaints are logical within a system of thought that's constrained by binary thinking -- a system without differences in degree, in which everything must be one of two opposites. This is an exceedingly easy mode for the Tea Party to slip into with respect to Obama, since he is their opposite in so many ways. (But not in every way: To us, for example, Obama's rejection of absolute laissez-faire capitalism makes him simply a more moderate capitalist. To the Tea Party, which considers itself capitalist, he must by definition be anti-capitalist, therefore socialist or communist. He cannot be a Christian, because the Tea Party is Christian; ipso facto, he must be a Muslim. This is also how a mainstream conservative Republican yesterday, by publicly disagreeing with the rest of his party, becomes a hated "liberal" today.)

The Borderer culture out of which the Tea Party springs is a fighting culture, preoccupied with victory and defeat. In a binary mentality, there can be no such thing as a partial victory or a partial defeat. The survival imperative does not allow the possibility of defeat, especially not permanent defeat: one cannot give up fighting and expect to survive.

Compromise, which is not victory, must therefore be a form of defeat. And since to compromise is to yield willingly on one or more points of contention, it must be willing defeat -- in other words, surrender. So when Democrats seek compromise from Tea Party Republicans, they naturally refuse, because to do so would be a form of surrender. They'll take whatever the Democrats are offering, because giving things up is what cheese-eating surrender monkeys do, but however much they're given, they won't give anything back in return. Only one side can win, and if someone wins then someone else must lose, and the Tea Party will not accept losing; therefore, it's the Democrats who must surrender. The Tea Partiers will keep fighting until they win it all.

But now, suddenly, the cheese-eating surrender monkeys aren't giving up anymore, and the Tea Party Republicans find themselves at an impasse. They call on Democrats to "compromise," the polite word for "surrender," but the Democrats say they're done with that, and weirdly, they're sticking together this time and not budging, so the usual pressure tactics no longer work.

The Tea Party's authoritarian impulse dictates that the way to get the desired response from the Democrats is to increase the pressure. And so the government comes to a halt, and soon the debt limit will be reached, and surely the Democrats will have to cave if they care about those things.

It's important that we take stock of the implications of this psychology and the pattern of political behavior it creates. The Tea Party Republicans will not yield. Their values and their way of thinking will not allow it. I can see this situation going one of only two ways: Either some other element in the Republican Party detaches itself from the Tea Party and helps Democrats break the impasse, probably at the cost of the Republicans' electoral future; or this crisis will continue to escalate until we find ourselves embroiled in a second civil war or a Shock Doctrine–style putsch.

It pains me to contemplate it, but we need to be prepared for either of those eventualities.


After the Party

The ramifications of a civil war or a putsch are too numerous and complicated to consider. It's much easier to imagine the fracturing of the Republican Party, even though such a thing has happened only rarely in American politics. It seems to me that the two most likely fault lines are between libertarians and evangelicals and between conservatives and radicals. Both of these are "God vs. Mammon" splits, but in the former case, I think God ends up with more of the power in the resulting equilibrium, whereas in the latter, the lion's share goes to Mammon. Whichever side loses will probably end up shut out of politics for a while. Proportional power isn't feasible in a winner-take-all electoral system.

Let's suppose the Republican Party does fracture along conservative vs. radical lines, and the current logjam is broken up in Democrats' favor -- from our point of view, probably the best-case scenario. Even if this happens, it's crucial to keep in mind that the people who make up the Tea Party base will not go away, and they will not change. They will still seek outlets by which to express their political will, which will still have been shaped by Borderer psychology, demagoguery and right-wing propaganda. And they are Americans -- this is their inalienable right. We cannot write them off as nobodies.

But can the U.S. constitutional system withstand the inclusion of a regressive, revanchist element that constitutes 20 to 25 percent of its population and is determined to thwart the will of the majority when it differs? Can any representative democracy withstand that, let alone one as diverse as ours?

America was conceived as a pluralistic society, was born as a pluralistic society, flourished and prospered as a pluralistic society, and came nearest to the brink of death when its pluralism was violently rejected by a geographical faction determined to have its way over all others' objections. The problem is, we're facing another rejection of pluralism right now: the Tea Party refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of its opponents' victories.

The motto on the seal of the United States, E pluribus unum, "one out of many," expresses what unites us: the consensus belief that we are united. Without this consensus, what's left to unite us? What is "America" then? Not its people -- not if we can't agree on who's American and who isn't, not if some people are designated "real Americans" and others, despite being full, legal citizens, are not. Not its government -- not when a segment of the nation blithely rejects the results of legitimate democratic processes and uses manipulation and sabotage to subvert them.

It ought to be, more than anything else, the concept of pluralism itself -- the idea that people with different traits and different values can and should live together under one system that respects the dignity and rights of all of them and gives every one of them a voice. That's what our Founders envisioned, to the extent that the logic of their times would allow. That's what lured generations of immigrants away from repressive monarchies. That's what inspired dissidents living behind the Iron Curtain and enticed many of them to defect. That's what African Americans marched and often died for during the Civil Rights Era. That's what still draws political refugees seeking asylum. If we can't reestablish a consensus behind pluralism now, America as we know it, understand it and revere it is, for all intents and purposes, over.

The Tea Party, I think, is deeply worried that if it loses its grip on power, its dignity, rights and voice will be ripped away. I am deeply worried that if we can't reestablish a pluralist consensus, the tension between the Tea Party and the rest of the nation will cause the political bands that have connected us with each other to snap. I don't consider either of these scenarios acceptable. But keeping these scenarios from coming to pass will be a nearly miraculous accomplishment. I hope we're up to it.

Originally posted to Geenius at Wrok on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Psychology of Conservatives and Liberals.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (106+ / 0-)

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 07:00:27 AM PDT

  •  If you like this article (13+ / 0-)

    I also wholeheartedly recommend "The Republican Base Is the Identified Patient in Our National Family System" by glendenb and today's front-page diary by Denise Oliver Velez, "Are You in a Group That the Teapublicans Hate?"

    We're all addressing the same topic -- what is the Tea Party mind-set, and where does it come from? -- from three different angles.

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 07:03:41 AM PDT

    •  I spent some time on facebook (2+ / 0-)

      the last few days doing use your own brains and use terms correctly battle. I am in the heart of red county. I finally had to call out those who kept calling Obama Hitler and a communist because well...they apparently have no idea about Hitler or communism. I repeatedly ask them to define communism. they either can't or won't. The big complaint is that they feel they are losing their  rights. I ask which rights? Obama is going to take their guns. I am told that they are angry. They are angry that they are poor but they wont admit that they are poor. They are angry that not everyone has the same views that they do. They are angry at being told what to do even if it is in their best interests. They are angry at all politicians but the talking heads have made Obama the Devil incarnate which is worse. They don't like bankers or wall street but they don't want regulation. Only someone who is not a "politician" can save them but they don't understand the process. Someone who is not a politician is pure, but won't understand the process of government. They really don't understand the process of government. Either they haven't been taught it or they were chewing gum during government class. I ask them over and over to explain the process, to drop the cute quotes, "ha ha you're just a typical liberal. I won't throw my pearls before swine, etc. etc" and tell me what kind of ideas they might have to solves these problems and to tell me exactly what their problems are. Use four or five sentences instead of just saying over and over I've lost my rights, Obama is like Hitler. I ask what rights? Many can't do it. They just fall back on name calling. Some actually start talking and that's what we need. I say I feel the same way too. This is what I think, it's not that different from you. These are my values. How are they different from yours? I also posted a link to the 1956 Republican platform to show them that what progressives want is not that different from what Republicans wanted in 1956. We need to find a way to break through to get these people to think, to talk about their problems and listen to them in a way that makes them feel listened to and teach them how to participate. They really don't know how. Some of them write me personal messages but won't say what they really think in front of others. I have to tell you that sometimes I am afraid to do this "work" because I am afraid that their anger might be directed at me and a local boycott organized or something. I think the democratic party needs to put on their boots and get out there and work the hostile crowd. That anger needs to be expressed and released in a safe way. The other thing that really bothered me was the way that some assume that because I am a liberal, I am a god hating communist. I don't understand where that comes from unless it comes from their preachers. If that's the case the the Democratic party needs to organize it's Christian members to hit the streets preaching and really, isn't that what moved the civil rights movement forward?

      •  Just when I was starting to think the 'other' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice

        could never be converted, you've given me new hope.  'Listen to them in a way that makes them feel listened to' is exactly what they (and we) need.  Unfortunately where I live they're invisible, so I can't do much directly except encourage wise folks in places where 'they' live.  And Christianity could well be the key - good luck with the missionary work...and bless you.

        Armed! I feel like a savage! Barbarella

        by richardvjohnson on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 02:22:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I wish I had read this diary when it was first (9+ / 0-)

        published two days ago. I would love to rec this comment.

        A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. - Greek proverb

        by marleycat on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:46:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  great piece! have had similar "discussions" (0+ / 0-)

        ...but without any let-up in the ignorant din of their heaped abuse;  it's the double-down, effect, I fear - not only "don't tell me what to do/think/etc", but "don't tell me I'm ill-informed, don't embarrass me with questions I can't answer, don't make me feel stupid instead of powerful".

        This, BTW, is the answer to the ancient question:  "how did Hitler manage to sell his obscene shit to the sensible, stable German populace?"  Nurture the butt-hurt, coddle and enhance their sense of injury, build up their sense of entitlement as the "bedrock/volk of the nation".  Help them organize into bands of roving savages (we only have that on the net, around here (thankfully)....

        No matter how the immediate crisis resolves, something fundamental has been broken in our national unity and our shared sense of being citizens together.  There are 'friends' I will never speak to again, and maybe even one family member;  there are 'friends' I want never to see or hear from again:  decades of increasingly deranged and increasingly personal attacks from folks in my personal inner circle as well as co-workers, TOTAL strangers and family members have made me quite reactive to the I'm-not-listening;  and having been beaten, deprived, ostracised and otherwise punished for every show of independence of thought or action since I was a very small child, I've finally achieved a place where I'm just not going to take it anymore.  Those who would do such things - to me, to my friends, to my neighbors, to my community - are not themselves my friends:  they have no good in their hearts for me or for anything that matters to me.  I do not need them around to make sure I get my nose rubbed in the latest shit from talk-radio, from the online echo-chamber, from Freako Jones & his planetary prison, or from the gawdstruck.

        Done now.  I've GOT the message:  they WILL NOT HEAR FROM ANY OTHER POINT OF VIEW...that based on the last 20 years, plus.  taken plenty and it's starting to come back out now.

        One of the greatest Westerns is a John Ford film, "Fort Apache";  there is a scene in which the fort's commander prefaces his response to Geronimo:  "don't fancy it up, give it to him straight:  they're recalcitrant swine, and must be made to feel it."  "Col. Thursby's" choice leads to short-order disaster.

        I NEVER had any sympathy for this character before...but now, amid the current horrific prospects, the sneering faces and contemptuous voices of the grass-roots hateful superimposed, the near-constant reminders the gleeful REFUSAL to listen, or to even think - on the other side...I find myself, with a shock, recognizing that tragic martinet in myself:  THEY ARE RECALCITRANT SWINE, AND MUST BE MADE TO FEEL IT

        Maybe this will pass;  it certainly interferes with my zen-like calm and cultivation-of-stillness and all that, and for me that's tragedy all its own.  I wish better luck to you, and to anyone who still has the heart for that particular effort.

        trying to stay alive 'til I reach 65!

        by chmood on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 08:12:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They only learn limited catch phrases (0+ / 0-)

        from the echo chamber.  They are not taught to understand what they are against... only told what they are against.

        They don't know what a communist is;  they don't know what "socialism" is;  they for some reason believe that if they can't play by the rules, they just change the rules, or upset the board and all its pieces.  

        They don't know what Christianity is;  theirs is a bastardized, paternalist-hyped, mangled "version" of out-of-context Old Testament quotations NOT endorsed by Jesus.  When asked, using nothing but red-letter (aka Gospel) quotations, about how they justify their hatred of others;  their reverence of wealth; (didn't you LOVE those "Christians" praying in 2008 during the economic collapse, at the golden bull? http://www.youtube.com/...);  their support of war -- they quickly (and deftly -grin-) change the subject by calling you a "libtard."  Sometimes they throw in a "pearls before swine" quote (isn't that adorable?) but they NEVER answer the question.

        They haven't a clue about government;  politics;  real life;  or dealing with people whose views are different than theirs because they have not had to do so outside of their little bubbles.  

        Until the internet came along.  They have grown more rabid and uncontrollable since then -- like cornered rats -- they are getting desperate and dangerous.

        I sincerely hope the GOP leadership pulls its head out of its ass and starts recruiting moderate (or at least rational) candidates.

    •  THANK YOU for bringing this back; I was looking (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chmood, Larsstephens

      for this info about the Borderers just last week, but failing to remember any of the specific terms or the author, my Google Fu was terrible.  Now I have it hotlisted.

       

      It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

      by Leftcandid on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:35:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting read... (4+ / 0-)

    As are the diaries you have recommended, which I have already read. It helps explain teabaggers and their mindset.

  •  Eminently rec-worthy. Thank you. (7+ / 0-)

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 07:30:06 AM PDT

  •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koseighty, wilderness voice

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 07:31:15 AM PDT

  •  For the First Time (2+ / 0-)

    For the first time, I'm starting to get the tea party.

    Thanks.

  •  complex and fascinating (6+ / 0-)

    Props for referring to David Hackett Fischer - I read Albion's Seed about four years ago.  Colin Woodard published a book exploring a similar concept - he identified 11 distinct nations within the US which have historically made a series of governing coalitions.  Utah, where I live, is part of what he calls an internal colony.  His description of it is surprisingly apt - culturally conservative, economics based on exploitation of natural resources, a sense of resentment toward cultural elites.  

    Whichever way we look at it, we're dealing with a massive political dysfunction with potentially shocking consequences.  I keep coming back to the idea that Republican leaders promised, in one form or another, that Bush's re-election was supposed to mean republican dominance of American politics for decades; it was supposed to mean Republicans and conservatives had a generations long lock on leadership.  When that dominance ended so quickly and the rest of America supported a man with a foreign sounding name, it was too much too fast for the tea parties.  

    •  I would love to read that book. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, wilderness voice

      Do you remember the title?

      There are many angles on subcultural politics that I would have loved to include, but this diary is pretty overstuffed already. :-) I will say, though, that one thing I find frustrating is the way the Borderer claim to be the "real America" goes unchallenged. Couldn't the Quakers and their cultural descendants make the same claim? Why must Borderer values be taken for granted -- how are their stories the only ones that get told? Where are the full-throated challenges from our other traditions?

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 07:57:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Found it (5+ / 0-)

        "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

        by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 08:08:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "real Americans" (3+ / 0-)

        I've been working on a post about American identity and the nature of Democracy and one of the concepts I'm struggling to articulate to my satisfaction is simply the notion that functioning democracy requires acknowledging the legitimacy of other participants.  The great failing of today's conservatives is their absolute refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of Democrats in general and liberals in particular in our political processes.  They reject Democratic victories as illegitimate, constructing complex narratives in which people who shouldn't be permitted to vote have voted for Democrats.  All these laws making it harder to vote are based on the idea that certain people should not be voting and their votes shouldn't count.  The real American rhetoric of the right is all about creating a definition of American that includes only people with whom they agree.  The rest of us aren't legitimate; it's a full
        scale attack on democracy as an idea and practice.

        We, that is anyone not a teabagger, have to find ways to frame and repeat arguments about wider participation validating democracy.  

        I'm still working on it in my head.

    •  Sure. Invent a disastrous foreign war has, thru (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      history, been an HOV-lane ride to the ashcan.

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:30:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  damnit, man !! (3+ / 0-)

    i had to hotlist your diary ...
    and join a gym just to anticipate re-reading it.
    it's 'weighty,' and i mean that in a good way.

    Addington's perpwalk? TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes. @Hugh: There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.

    by greenbird on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 08:10:20 AM PDT

  •  Another Possible Outcome? (3+ / 0-)

    This essay is fascinating and persuasive, except for the conclusion: that the end of American Constitutional Democracy is the likely outcome.  While I certainly agree that this is possible given the unwillingness of 25% of the population to accept pluralism, I think there may be one strand of Borderer/Tea Party psychology that is being given short shrift.  

    This is the possibility of retreat from the public/federal sphere into redoubts of self-segregation.  In other words, they will head for the hills to lick their wounds, and red precincts will become redder and more concentrated into specific states and regions of states.  The Borderers will then focus on winning in their own zones of dominance and step back from fighting at the federal level, where they simply won't be able to win.  

    If this happens, the test for the future will be the degree to which the federal system -- the pluralist majority -- can tolerate these red zones of defiance.  Obviously, when the issues are very big -- slavery, voting rights -- there will be conflict.  But there may be more willingness on the part of pluralists to let Mississippi be Mississippi, within tacitly negotiated bounds, if Mississippi will just leave the rest of us alone.

  •  This is really well written (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Naniboujou

    I enjoyed reading it immensely, and it's given me a lot to think about. But do demagogues like Rush exacerbate this psychology they have? Or make it worse? Because it would seem like Fox News simply reinforces their viewpoint. Not make it stronger.

    •  The culture is prone to demagoguery to begin with (6+ / 0-)

      In my earlier diary, I talk about the tradition of "macocracy" -- the adoption of charismatic leaders -- and the norm-reinforcing role played by Fox News:

      "Macocracy" is a coinage derived from the "Mac-" prefix on the names of Scottish clans, defined by Fischer as "a structure of highly personal politics without deference to social rank" (772). In other words, it's not a man's title that gives him power, but rather his personal leadership and ability to influence others. Charismatic leaders drew fanatical personal followings among Borderers, who placed a heavy premium on personal loyalty. We see this in elected officials' deference to media figures such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, to organizational leaders such as James Dobson and to political operatives such as Karl Rove.

      Also, Borderer culture was intensely conformist. Those who broke the rules of Borderer society were "hated out," or ostracized; "[d]eviance from cultural norms was rarely tolerated[, and] opposition was suppressed by force" (781). The Borderers' libertarian conception of freedom did not include the right to disagree or dissent.

      This combination of cultural factors produces a political culture in which people can take marching orders and "talking points" and follow them day in and day out without deviation; in which mores are mutually reinforced (I saw this firsthand at a town hall meeting, where one attendee told another who spoke of something broadcast on local news, "You're supposed to watch Fox News") and dissenters are shunned; in which loyalty is prized over merit; and in which people may frequently defer to the wealthy simply because of their wealth, even in contravention of their own interests.

      The existence of Fox News makes matters worse by playing into the Tea Party's binary thinking: If Fox News is good and correct, every news source that contradicts Fox News must be bad and wrong. If Fox News is fair and balanced, all contradictory sources must be unfair and biased. If Fox News is conservative, all contradictory sources must be liberal. It's part of the informational immune system that makes it exceptionally hard for Tea Partiers to change their worldview.

      Thank you for the follow-up question. I'm hoping to use this and other comments to trot out ideas that I couldn't easily fit into the original diary.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 08:26:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So followup question (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Redfire

        From my understanding, the Tea Party isn't poor. They are affluent, well off individuals. So why hasn't education or interaction with other cultures softened their rough edges?

        •  Just because you're affluent (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Blazehawkins, gzodik, Redfire, kurt, rschndr

          doesn't mean you're interacting with other cultures. On the contrary, it may give you the means to insulate yourself from them. As for education, a humanistic education broadens the mind, but education pursued solely for professional credentialing doesn't, necessarily. Plus, most of us who graduate from college do so before our identities and cognitive capacities are fully formed (around age 25), so there's plenty of time after college to be reindoctrinated into an anti-intellectual, low-empathy mind-set.

          "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

          by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 08:53:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Keep up the good wrok (4+ / 0-)

    This post nicely rounded up a lot of loose threads for me --  many things I have observed, but could not source or align.  I don't often save posts to disk but this is a keeper.

    Guns don't kill people like hammers don't pound nails.

    by rschndr on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 08:42:11 AM PDT

  •  Title changed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Redfire, kurt, serendipityisabitch

    "What Hath God Wrought?" made more sense before I began writing than after. The new one, "E Pluribus Contentio," means, "Out of many, tension" or "quarrel."

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 10:37:54 AM PDT

    •  We'll see "civil war or a putsch" variant too-- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino, wilderness voice

      This is the natural outcome of their authoritarian-contentious worldview.

      It shows in everything they do.

      They world has seen this often--in South America dictatorships; in early 20th century Europe with the rise of fascism and francoism; with the return of the violent KKK in its third wave (1st post-civil war; 2nd in the 1920s; third in 1960s) devolving into armed Tea Partyism (which has attempted to expropriate the US revolutionary Gadsen flag, not theirs to take).

      They are armed to the teeth, as individuals. Yet they will lose as individuals against organized, socialized forces. Kos himself spoke of this when he compared his experience with US armed forces firepower to the retail-sales, shoulder-arms of the rightists.

      So, though your well-thought out essay doesn't go into detail on this variant of the future, we need to consider it at an appropriate time.

      You are right to say, and right on:

      It pains me to contemplate it, but we need to be prepared for either of those eventualities.
      Peace in victory will be the outcome, in the end.

      Venceremos!

      Venceremos! (We shall overcome!)

      by Redfire on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 01:58:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They are armed to the teeth around here and (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Redfire, Sandino, wilderness voice

        they think the military is ready to over throw this Administration at the right moment. I hear it all the time. That is the reason they are so adament about preserving their right to force their religious views in the military. That's why they feel under attack because there is push back at their attempts to force all soldiers to have the same religious beliefs. The religious belief argument is one that that is unwinnable because it's their duty to convert or kill what is perceived as the opposing force. As some said about there is no appeasement. God is on their side. Even when they lose it is God's plan. He's testing their determination.

        •  Batsh*t crazy; Even Jesus doesn't know God's plan- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice

          and Jesus advises those who follow him to leave it to God (Mt 24:36).

          The US military will not join a putsch as a group, though individual traitors will.

          The rightist crazies see all reality through their own distorted vision, the US military included.

          It is we, not they, who shall overcome.

          Venceremos!

          Venceremos! (We shall overcome!)

          by Redfire on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:02:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Fascinating diary, thanks! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, wilderness voice

    I just purchased Fischer's Albion's Seed.  This diary finally brought the nature of our enemy's into focus.  I know that's not a very pluralistic thing to say, but if we've learned nothing more, at least know that the Borderists cannot be appeased into silence.  Appeasment was tried before the Civil War as well, and the result was that the South started a civil war in response to Lincoln's election.  Not for anything he had yet done, simply because the voters chose a candidate they didn't like.  Sound familiar?

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 12:45:42 PM PDT

  •  Wow - Astoundingly good diary here. Thanks! (11+ / 0-)

    Thanks, G.a.W., not only for this fascinating diary but for reposting it so that those of us away on the weekend can see it.

    Totally geeking out over this info.

    •  Me too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Torta, Larsstephens

      I missed it over the weekend.  This is one of the best essays (I can't just call it a diary) that I have ever read on Daily Kos.  Full of information, and thought-provoking.

      "The most dangerous worldview, is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world." Alexander von Humboldt

      by TX Freethinker on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 07:47:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Incredible, amazing diary. (7+ / 0-)

    I don't know how I managed to miss this diary, but I am so grateful to have read it. It is one of the best single pieces I have ever read here.

    Do you ever feel like you live in a cave and someone just brought in a torch? That's the feeling that intellectually illuminating writing gives me. It's a very rare sensation, but I experienced it reading this.

    I love the idea that regardless of how modern we may think we are, we are still influenced by ancestral attributes of character and values that pursue us through the generations.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:57:49 AM PDT

  •  fantastic diary (4+ / 0-)

    You really are a Geenius ...

    Best this about this shutdown (besides the D's resolve) is all the writing about the Tea Party and southern political traditions.

    A few years ago, I read Albion's Seed, and was struck by how much that was previously blank to me was explained.

    My father's side of the family is mostly what Fischer calls "borderers." In our case they were Ulster Scots, who emigrated in the 1730s or so, and wound up in SW Ohio by around 1800. They became Republicans and fought on the Union side in the Civil War. Some of them were bankers and industrialists. They've stayed Republican to this day, passing thru the William Buckley phase, Reagan, etc. They sent their kids to Hillsdale College. Some of them are pretty awful.

    They were not all like this. Some became liberal democrats in the 20th C, supporting Planned Parenthood way back in the day, etc.

    For another great read on how the GOP got like it is, try How Racism Caused The Shutdown by Zach Beauchamp.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:21:31 AM PDT

  •  Fischer's book is a really powerful tool for (7+ / 0-)

    understanding the stone in America's shoe.

    I believe he mentions that Borderers are disproportionately represented in military families with generations of participants.

    You might also posit that assorted military adventures by the US ... Something that objectively has never made a great deal of sense post WW2 ... Are the result of Borderers in DC along with a safety valve for the lowly rank and file.

    Not a conscious policy but a confluence, as it were.

    There was an enormous swell of "filibuster" activity in the US prior to the Civil War, where slave owners (Cavaliers) were interested in expanding to encircle the Caribbean. Clearly Borderer culture played a part since the leaders needed followers and the omnipresent Other was Catholic Spain.

    Swarthy Spaniards and brown people.

    As a final note, a book called The Irish in the American South touches on the social and economic context of what you are describing.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:42:44 AM PDT

  •  This is such a great diary I have nothing to add (3+ / 0-)

    This is such a great diary I have nothing to add. I have been intending to write basically the same thing on my own blog and this morning while I was reading Kos I came across your diary and decided you'd said everything that needed to be said. I put up a small clip/link to your diary over at my site--can't say I have a lot of readers but I urged people to come over and read the whole thing. This is just a great article and deserves wider dissemination even if, for many Kossacks, we've been reading and discussing these issues and cultural crossovers for a long time. Really a great diary. Kudos.

  •  i wonder if those genes, maybe the inbreeding, (0+ / 0-)

    make them more susceptible to sex on the wrong brain?

    there's some in my family...

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 05:56:10 AM PDT

    •  I don't know what that has to do with the diary (0+ / 0-)

      and I'm pretty sure it doesn't belong here.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:02:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  authoritarianism, conservatism (0+ / 0-)

        the need for certainty (avoidance of uncertainty), intolerance, fear, etc

        below are a couple of papers that describe the conservative mindset and this one below suggests a genetic connection.

        i'm suggesting another connected possibility- that humans have been learning sex with the wrong hand and sending satisfaction-demanding sex energy to the logical side of the brain, where it is satisfied in terms of finality/certainty and patience for truth takes a back seat.

        maybe that heritage relates to a genetic intolerance to it- the  religious fundamentalism sure does.  

        Political ideology as motivated social cognition: Behavioral and neuroscientific evidence

        ORIGINAL PAPER
        John T. Jost • David M. Amodio

        Published online: 13 November 2011 Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

        Abstract    Ideology is a potent motivational force; human beings are capable of committing atrocities (as well as acts of generosity and courage) and sacrificing even their own lives for the sake of abstract belief systems. In this article, we summarize the major tenets of a model of political ideology as motivated social cognition (Jost et al. in Psy- chol Bull 129:339–375, 2003a, Psychol Bull 129:389–393, 2003b, Person Soc Psychol Bull 33:989–1007, 2007), focusing on epistemic, existential, and relational motives and their implications for left-right (or liberal-conserva- tive) political orientation. We review behavioral evidence indicating that chronically and temporarily activated needs to reduce uncertainty, ambiguity, threat, and disgust are positively associated with conservatism (or negatively associated with liberalism). Studies from neuroscience and genetics suggest that right- (vs. left-) wing orientation is associated with greater neural sensitivity to threat and larger amygdala volume, as well as less sensitivity to response conflict and smaller anterior cingulate volume. These findings and others provide converging evidence for Jost and colleagues’ model of ideology as motivated social cognition and, more broadly, reflect the utility of an inte- grative political neuroscience approach to understanding the basic cognitive, neural, and motivational processes that give rise to ideological activity.

        http://www.psych.nyu.edu/...
        Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition

        John T. Jost Stanford University
        Arie W. Kruglanski University of Maryland at College Park
        Jack Glaser University of California, Berkeley
        Frank J. Sulloway University of California, Berkeley

        Analyzing political conservatism as motivated social cognition integrates theories of personality (au- thoritarianism, dogmatism—intolerance of ambiguity), epistemic and existential needs (for closure, regulatoryfocus, terror management), and ideological rationalization (social dominance, systemjustifi- cation). A meta-analysis (88 samples, 12 countries, 22,818 cases) confirms that several psychological variables predict political conservatism: death anxiety (weighted mean r =    .50); system instability (.47); dogmatism—intolerance of ambiguity (.34); openness to experience (—.32); uncertainty tolerance (—.27); needs for order, structure, and closure (.26); integrative complexity (—.20); fear of threat and loss (.18); and self-esteem (—.09). The core ideology of conservatism stresses resistance to change and justification of inequality and is motivated by needs that vary situationally and dispositionally to manage uncertainty and threat.

        http://faculty.virginia.edu/...

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:39:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry I missed this excellent diary over (5+ / 0-)

    the weekend. I especially appreciate the "Geography is not Destiny" section, introducing some nuance into what too often becomes a form of environmental determinism. The TPGOP is a sociological phenomenon, a process of "southernization" and the romantic glorification of a reactionary folk-culture.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:01:39 AM PDT

  •  Quakers were powerful after the civil war? (2+ / 0-)

    Perhaps in the keystone state, generally you had to work for a railroad to have power- which is how the Puritans got bought off on into the gilded age. You need to go state by state. Puritan New England colonized the North and also caused a slave- free Kansas. Puritans and Quakers (the maligned carpetbaggers) were run out of the South (like the civilized muslims from backward Spain) during Reconstruction, e.g., outright terrorism against Governor Ames in Mississippi. The border states were majority Unionists, together with East Tennessee, West Virgiinia, upland Georgia, Texas Hill country, etc. As against the apartheid deep South, these borderers are middle class competitors against educated blacks in former slave states, precisely the Obama profile. But as with HRC's 2008 campaign, which scared the Cavaliers, borderers are also partners with the middle class North. The Southern polemicist Helper just before the civil war made the case against slavery on behalf of upwardly mobile whites priced out of the slave market bubble. Central fact of the civil war covered up by lost cause mythology; they broke with the cotton aristocracy to bring about Union victory. Not just Kentucky neutrality but, 300,000 Southern whites fought in the Union army, the South never forgot. The New Deal was popular in the South, George Wallaces's integrationist populist 1983 inaugural address defends the Carterite/ New Deal program against Reaganite  shock capitalism. Tea Party borderer black-white competition is only stressed in the absence of upward mobility per se, a condition the GOP, since Goldwater, requires to remain a major party

  •  their talk radio gods have played a critical role (2+ / 0-)

    in expanding that brand of authoritarianism.

    those minority extremists have always been there to take us backwards but their influence the last 20 years has blossomed along with the use of AM talk radio, which makes them 'acceptable' as mainstream due merely to unchallenged ubiquitous repetition. it's everywhere and no one got in their face so it became acceptable and now we're here. RW radio took it national.

     in those tea zones (and most everywhere else), RW radio is generally the only free alternative for politics while driving and working. and i wonder how those zones match up with RW radio stations per capita.

    the 1% has been using this army of dittoheaded teabaggers to intimidate, enable, and elect. they've been broadcasting the exact same redneck authoritarian 'values' from 1200 think tank coordinated radio stations reaching 50 mil a week, for 20 years- unchallenged by the left.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:21:37 AM PDT

  •  Exceptional and noteworthy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TX Freethinker, Larsstephens

    Spectacular work.  I also recall your original essay 4 years ago and I also liked the diary you recommended (Identified Patient).  

  •  Wrote on this in 2008, from firsthand perspective (5+ / 0-)

    Appalachia: Thoughts on the Land of My Ancestors


    Most of my ancestors are Scots-Irish, some are English but that is heavily diluted over the several centuries since the Kendricks arrived in the middle colonies in the late 1600s and my branch migrated slowly down through the Piedmont and into the Carolinas. On the other side, it's all about the hillbillies, folks who came down from the mountains after multigenerational sojourn to meet other folks and then decide to produce a branch of the family tree that includes the likes of me.

    Point is, the sudden and uncomfortable prominence of Appalachia in politics hits close to home for me. These are my mountains, too. I grew up in sight of them, spent considerable time visiting there, and for me it really does feel like home. But it also feels out of time, in both senses; a part of the country the rest of us (and that is the proper term; I'm an outsider for sure) never waited for as we rushed westward and future-ward.

    And now the hills have cleared their throat and been given a chance to pay back the rest of the country for progressing without its permission by having a unprecedented influence in the Democratic presidential primary race, after long being largely ignored in politics and if the mine safety issue is any indication, being ignored by the protections of the law as well.

  •  Thanks for making me look up revanchist! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geenius at Wrok, Larsstephens

    "I've learned something today!"  /StanMarsh

    This situation should highlight the importance of the federal funding of:
    * access to reliable Internet, TV, & radio across rural America, in addition to some re-regulation of media markets that disincentivize profit-oriented consolidation.  If anything is going to override these long-ingrained morally obsolete cultural values, it's an increased exposure to more evolved social perspectives.
    * very low cost higher education so that their kids can leave, learn, re-educate & possibly return.
    * the diversification of the economic bases of these states/this region.  Diarist Stormin noted this recently.  Easier said than done, but the issue is the magnitude of the realized benefits in culture war progress if accomplished.

    As you noted, this culture initially developed as a legitimate response to a harsh environment/situation, but is now obsolete & thus dangerous.  We must not be cruel to the cruel; we must be kind, & help them climb out of their bad situation so they will stop hurting us all from down in it.  

    It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

    by Leftcandid on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 07:40:24 AM PDT

  •  One of the best diaries I've read on this site... (0+ / 0-)

    ...period.  Very thoughtful analysis.  I think what must be brought to the fore, by not just Democrats but by any American who thinks of themselves as part of a greater whole ("America"), is to point out that the Tea Party is effectively now a collection of kamikazes who will commit suicide trying to sink the Ship Of State.  Point out that they're literally trying to rip the country apart, and revulsion against them will make them politiclaly irrelevant for generations.

    "Life is the crummiest book I ever read - there isn't a hook, just a lot of cheap shots, pictures to shock, and characters an amateur would never dream up." - Bad Religion

    by TheOrchid on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 08:35:21 AM PDT

  •  But can we write them off as "noodleballs"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geenius at Wrok

    Apparently I'm so tired and cranky that my eye to brain communication is... not so much there.

    We cannot write them off as nobodies.
    Back to rereading. Very interesting stuff...
  •  A case for waiving governance (0+ / 0-)

    to the Borderers:

    First, on the idea that Pluralism must be re-established:

    it is not enough that we understand the Tea Party and all of its ‘absurdities’ (as Russell would direct us to in this situation);  as you say, what we need in addition is a ‘miracle’.  I agree: it would take a miracle because Pluralism is merely a concept and so lacks teeth.

    Second, given that a concept is too weak to unite,  what is needed is something stronger, more tangible.  What is needed is empathy  (note: empathy is the ability to put ourselves in others’ shoes).  When we associate other people with our own selves (and unless psychopathic, it is human nature to do so), then the pain they feel is the pain we feel.  Feeling other people's pain as our own, unites.  

    This is what friendship is and friendship (trust, reliance) is no concept: it has teeth.

    Third, no matter how rational it is for everyone to become friends, and, as you’ve explained it, it is just not going to happen with persons of ‘Borderer psychology’ in the mix.

    Yet, they can be overwhelmed; their artificial, meaningless and empty world can not stand in such isolation.  

    Right now the 'Borderers' have the upper-hand.  For the time being, we may want to waive governance to these people.  This would release us from spending the energy in warring with them.  It would create a powerful imperative to develop as many friendships as possible (something we haven’t done because of our own ‘binary’ thought proclivities).  

    We survive the 'Borderers' by spending more time together, by becoming more familiar with each other, by forging relationships with each other that have nothing to do with politics.  We create anew.

    Until each of us makes this effort, then hell, we are all just concepts waiting to be trashed.

    We've reached the point where we're unfazed by things that should shake us to the core. –Bill McKibben (Volva Award recipient)

    by ume on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 04:52:35 PM PDT

  •  I LOVE this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    Marvelous.  I posted it on FB and emailed it to my parents who aren't on there.  Really one of the best articles I've read this year.

    The Democratic Party: Keeping Their Powder Dry Since 1968.

    by punkdavid on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:02:46 PM PDT

  •  I have Borderer blood in my family (0+ / 0-)

    But there are many that are not Tea Party folks.

    In fact, a large number are totally on the Democratic side.

    I think that the key is to promote education in the Borderer groups as much as possible. When they are educated, and many are very smart, they learn how to reason things out a bit more and can see the value in working together.

    That, and encouraging cross breeding the Borderers with less violent groups. Mellows the genetics out some.  :-D You see that happening with the soldiers who marry out of the Borderer group.



    Women create the entire labor force.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 05:39:16 PM PDT

  •  Ok, yeah (0+ / 0-)

    they are neo-confederates without a clue, but they have vast financial support which makes them dangerous.

    hopefully they scared the shit out of their wealthy benefactors by threatening to destroy that wealth, and these moneybags will decline to ride that tiger any more.

  •  It's even more fundamental than that (0+ / 0-)

    "The Tea Party, I think, is deeply worried that if it loses its grip on power, its dignity, rights and voice will be ripped away. I am deeply worried that if we can't reestablish a pluralist consensus, the tension between the Tea Party and the rest of the nation will cause the political bands that have connected us with each other to snap. I don't consider either of these scenarios acceptable. But keeping these scenarios from coming to pass will be a nearly miraculous accomplishment. I hope we're up to it."

    Yes.  The internet can be thanked for much of this threat.  For centuries/decades the TP types have been in total control of the narrative to their children.  As your chart shows, many of them come from paternalistic hierarchical families, where daddy's version of the Bible is what they l'arned.  These perceptions handed down over generations, built the echo chamber in which they live.

    However, thanks in large part to the Internet, the CONTROL they so long had over the "world view" of their children, is slipping away!  Real life intrudes!  The echo chamber is threatened!  They feel their true minority status and that is scary.  Worse... their children now face living in a world where they are bound to discover that the stuff their parents said was true, might not be so true...

    It's pretty overwhelming and I understand their fears.  However, most of these fears are imaginary.  It's a scary, scary world.

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