---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 06:38:07 -0700
From: Helen Gore <email@example.com>
Subject: Wild Card Authoritarians
Martin Schaaf replying via my partner's account cause mine is F***ed up... :<
>> But we, in the sixties, did do stuff that fueled the backlash and,
IMHO, made it a lot more severe than it needed to be.
>Who is "we." *Every* movement that has ever existed or that is ever going
to exist attracts innumerable fringes of one sort or another (and if it
does not provide enough, the cops will always send infiltrating provocateurs).
You're both right. Bob Altemeyer (U of Manitoba) writes about "Right-Wing
Authoritarians" in his books (Enemies of Freedom, The Authoritarian
Spectre). In his research he attempted to find the alleged "Authoritarian
of the Left." He couldn't find any, but could find plenty of what he
called "Wild Card Authoritarians" who were just as authoritarian, racist,
et cetera as their brethren of the ultra-right, but hanging out in
left-wing organizations. As he put it, those in the front lines, shouting
the loudest and being most provocative are probably WCA's.
He found that two thirds of society are conventional personalities and
potential or actual authoritarians. He also found that, when told just how
extreme their views are, 50 percent of authoritarians say they don't want
to be extreme, they want to be "average."
Other professional literature suggests that authoritarians may be highly
hypnotizable (i.e. religious conversion "born again" experience correlates
with high hypnotizability) and therefore is treatable by the same
psychotherapeutic methods as PTSD (which also highly correlates with
As one who doesn't mind being on the extreme democratic, unconventional end
of the spectrum, I conclude that right wing authoritarians have a
_human_right_ to rehabilitation that we must honor. The 50 percent who
want to be "average" are nothing more than the "middle" who's hearts and
minds both ends are fighting for.
By switching from non-violence to violence (even if only symbolic) the
provocateurs among us gave the ultra right everything they needed to win
the hearts and minds of the middle. We had them, gave them away and have
nobody to blame but ourselves.
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