Authoritarians have Baked in Advantages

4 mins read
Public Domain: German Troops March Through Warsaw by Jger Hugo, 1939. Public Domain. National Archives via pingnews.

Psychologists tell us that 33% of the population is inclined toward Authoritarianism. Stats back this up: Hitler came to power with 33% approval. Huey Long & Joe McCarthy had 30-35% approval.

Jane said:

Authoritarians have always exerted power beyond their numbers because of their nature.

Advantage #1: Authoritarians fall in line. Non-authoritarians (particularly liberals) are disorganized and tend to splinter.

My information about the right wing authoritarian (RWA) personality comes from “RWA Scale” (Saunders & Ngo), essays in Authoritarianism in America, and other sources as noted.

Authoritarians (also fascists) tend fall in line behind a leader. They move in lockstep and like to have sort of uniform or identifying clothing. Source: Paxton:

Red MAGA caps, perhaps?

They will give up their individuality for the sake of the group.

Consider the well-oiled media loop including Fox, Trump, Hannity, and those energetic Russian bots and Fox Viewers.

Conspiracy theories happen on both ends of the political spectrum, but those those on the far right in America are more dangerous and extreme.

In Max Boot‘s heartfelt mea culpa, he explains how, in the name of unity, those on the right will overlook all kinds of evils:

Prior to the Civil Rights movement, RWAs (right wing authoritarians) in America were spread between both parties. Now they are not only concentrated in the GOP, they have taken over the GOP. This makes the Republican Party dangerous.

For how the shift occurred, click here.

Non-authoritarians, on the other hand, value individuality, so they tend not to fall in line behind a single leader. They like to debate, pontificate, split hairs, and analyze. They don’t stay on message as well as RWAs.

Another advantage: Right Wing Authoritarian are also reactionary: They want to go back to a bygone era. To get there, there are willing to destroy.

Being willing to destroy makes them willing to break rules and norms.

Obviously the side that cheats has an advantage.

On the other hand, there are way more non-authoritarians who want to preserve democracy. It’s 65% against 35%. 🙁

Actually right now, because of the effectiveness of the right wing organization, and how complacent so many people are, it seems like it’s more like 60/40 

Because we have numbers on our side—and because our institutions are holding out—we can get through this, just like we’ve gotten through other authoritarian uprisings, if we remain active and engaged.

The abolitionists, Susan B. Anthony, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., and all the progressive heroes have been fighting the same enemies since the start of the nation.

The fight is always hard.

That’s why they’re heroes.

Originally posted at Musings about Law, Books, and Politics.
Re-posted with permission.

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Teri has written novels, short stories, nonfiction for both young readers and adults, and lots of legal briefs. She is currently working on a book on disinformation to be published by Macmillan Publishers. Her political commentary has appeared on the NBC Think Blog and Her articles and essays have appeared in publications as diverse as Education Week, Slate Magazine, and Scope Magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in the American Literary View, The Iowa Review, and others. For twelve years she maintained a private appellate law practice limited to representing indigents on appeal from adverse rulings. She believes with the ACLU that when the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled. She also believe with John Updike that the purpose of literature is to expand our sympathies. Teri lives with her family on the beautiful central coast in California.

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