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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 6/8/22

Authoritarian Republican Self-Diagnosis: WE Have a Mental Health Problem!

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And it's called Right-wing Authoritarian - RWA. The wording of this phrase is specific because research has proven that authoritarianism in American is almost exclusive to the right of the political spectrum.

This was first documented in John Dean's 2006 book, Conservatives Without Conscience (CWC):

"Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds. ... And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going away." John Dean, Conservatives Without Conscience

From that book Dean wrote this three part series in 2007:

Authoritarianism In The Republican Party - Part 1

Part 1 covers How Conservatives Think (Or Fail To Do So), Authoritarian Republicans: Understanding the Personality Type, and Professor Altemeyer's Findings.

Authoritarianism In The Republican Party - Part 2

"Today, the Grand Old Republican Party is controlled by authoritarian conservatives. (As I mentioned in my prior column, the first in this three-part series, to my knowledge no person in the GOP has ever denied that fact - and they are well-aware of my book.) More specifically, as I broadly outlined in my last column, the research of social scientists such as Bob Altemeyer has revealed the personality traits of both those authoritarians who are followers, and those who are their leaders."

"Authoritarian conservatism was growing in force in Washington for a decade before Bush and Cheney arrived at the White House, but their administration has taken it to its highest and most dangerous level in American history. It is doubtful they could have accomplished this, had authoritarian conservatism not already taken hold in Congress and the federal judiciary. In the final segment of this three-part series of columns, I will highlight a few of the aspects of authoritarian conservatism that are troubling for American government."

Authoritarianism In The Republican Party - Part 3

"Authoritarian leaders do not govern when they control the apparatus of government; rather, they rule. And given their worldview, they rule from either the hard or radical right. This can best be seen by looking at the way they operate when in control of the government."

"When Gingrich took charge of the House in 1995 as Speaker, he imposed authoritarian rule unlike that of any Speaker before him. His bullying, demanding style provoked antagonism and incivility, and made demonizing one's opponents standard operating procedure. Gingrich eliminated the seniority rights of Republicans in the House, and he personally selected committee chairs who would be loyal to him - and who could help raise money, using their posts for the good of the GOP. Gingrich lorded over the House, telling members not to bring their families back to Washington, and even suggesting which books they should be reading."

"Nixon created the "imperial presidency." After the public rejected that concentration of power, in the aftermath of Watergate, Reagan restored the imperial presidency in another guise. Now, Bush and Cheney have created the post-imperial presidency. Using the threat of terrorism as their justification, Bush and Cheney have embraced the so-called "unitary executive theory" - which, in truth, is merely another term for an authoritarian presidency."

Dean's most recent follow-up to CWC, is Authoritarian Nightmare, where he warned:

"And even if Trump accepts the will of the majority and the Electoral College and leaves the White House, his backers will remain a very powerful force, ready to give undying loyalty to him for as long as he wants, and then to the next dictator-in-waiting. And the next one will almost certainly be smarter than Donald Trump. You can be sure someone is watching Trump closely, planning to step into his place. Thus, if you want to remain free, you will probably have to outvote today's ardent Trump followers , not only in November 2020 but for some time in future elections. You may have heard that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

Republicans are right, they have a mental health problem and the DSM-5 diagnosis is "Dominance-Submissive Authoritarian Embrace".

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Vietnam Vet, UT El Paso Grad, Retired Aerospace Engineer, former union rep, 60's Republican now progressive, web admin, blogger

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