[sixties-l] Wild Card Authoritarians (fwd)

From: sixties@lists.village.virginia.edu
Date: Sat Apr 21 2001 - 21:51:45 EDT

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    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 06:38:07 -0700
    From: Helen Gore <hyg@onemain.com>
    To: sixties@lists.village.virginia.edu
    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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