Authoritarian Personality

#Resisting Authoritarianism — UPDATED

There is no question in my mind that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is an ineffective malignant narcissistic personality disorder. Ineffective because of his incredibly weak executive functioning skills. They are amazingly weak. He barely has any control at all over his impulses and emotions. Malignant because of his obvious anti-social behavior, aggression, and sadism. And narcissistic personality because he fits the DSM-5’s diagnostic criteria so perfectly.

However, there is another aspect of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s personality that should concern us: his tendency towards authoritarianism. The firing of FBI Director, James Comey, has set off alarm bells and caused much consternation and crapping of pants, especially now that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber has admitted to obstructing justice. There’s even talk of constitutional crisis.

Luckily, both political scientists and personality psychologists can give us some insight into the situation, and like I like to point out, a good diagnosis leads to a good treatment which leads to a good outcome. If we can understand the psychology behind the situation, we can make some predictions about what may happen, and, therefore, prevent some of this mishegas.

The Authoritarian Personality

The firing, the way he was fired, and the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s remarks on it have been widely perceived as hallmarks of an authoritarian personality. The term originated with a group of researchers who were trying to explain the rise of fascism and Nazism in Europe during WWII. In 1950 they published their findings in a book by the same name. One of the researchers, Theodor Adorno, devised a scale he cleverly called the F-scale. Of course, the F stood for fascism. They developed these characteristics of an authoritarian. Who does this list remind you of?

  • Aggression towards those who violate conventional thinking or who are different
  • A professed belief that all people are bad and will lie, cheat, and steal in the right circumstances
  • A love of strong leadership and displays of unbending power
  • Using simplistic solutions and polemics to address problems
  • Black and white thinking, an inability to see gray areas
  • Projecting feelings of rage, fear, and inadequacy onto a specific group
  • Being preoccupied with violence and sex
  • Willingness to submit to an authority
  • Conventional morality

It is frightening how well these descriptors fit the Ol’ Pussy Grabber, right? Although the theory has been soundly criticized mostly for its views of the causes of the personality type (not everyone raised by harsh parents is an authoritarian) and its attempts to explain prejudice (not everyone who is prejudiced is an authoritarian). But, Adorno et al. believed that people with these traits would gravitate to nondemocratic totalitarian governments, divide the world into “us” and “them,” and would be highly prejudicial. It not only sounds like the Ol’ Pussy Grabber, but the Repubes and conservatives in general.

The Big Five Personality Traits

A better view of personality is offered by the Big Five Traits — it has been thoroughly tested and found to occur in every culture and society that has been evaluated. The traits can be abbreviated using OCEAN.

  • Openness to new ideas and resistant to new ideas. Obviously the authoritarian personality would be on the resistant spectrum. And, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber isn’t so open to new ideas his ownself.
  • Conscientiousness meaning being aware of the needs of others. The authoritarian, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber, and the GOP ain’t give no shits about the needs of others.
  • Extroversion and introversion. I see no correlation with authoritarianism here, but the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is obviously an extrovert.
  • Agreeableness and disagreeableness describes how someone values getting along with others. Obviously, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber cannot play nice with anyone and neither can your average run of the mill authoritarian. Now, get off my lawn!
  • Neuroticism describes emotional volatility While not particularly authoritarian, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber probably rates pretty high on the neuroticism scale.

Basically, what all these personality traits point to is that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is going to go on grabbing pussies and warring against PoC’s and screaming at the TV and stuff. He’s going to keep on being more and more authoritarian.

One of the facets of the authoritarian personality is a willingness to live under authoritarian rulers, so the many authoritarian Repubes are perfectly happy to have the Ol’ Pussy Grabber grabbing their pussies. It is clear that the Repubes are not big fans of democracy or respecter of minority opinions. They want only to have their way. Nothing is more important to the Repubes than their own power and they definitely do not like it when the rest of us color outside the lines.

The Political Science of Authoritarianism

“Trump [sic] has talked like a would-be authoritarian since day one. … This is the first clear warning sign that he’s attempting to [act like one].”

Yascha Mounk, a respected scholar of democracy at Harvard

A variety of experts on authoritarianism interviewed for the Vox article report that the Comey firing is typical of the slippery slope that democracies trip over on their way down the authoritarian tubes. Apparently, few people run for office dreaming of becoming president-for-life or anything, but once in office start doing authoritarian things because they start jealously guarding and expanding their authority.

One of the ways to expand authority of one person, office, or department in government is by weakening the people, offices, departments, and organizations that limit their power. You know like the other two co-equal branches of government, like the independent press. The Ol’ Pussy Grabber has been assaulting the opposition to him during the campaign, during the transition, and during his first months in office. Let’s review how he’s done it:

  • Look at the people that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber has fired: Preet Bharara (AG of the Southern District of NY and investigating the Russian money laundering efforts of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber), the 48 other AG’s, Sally Yates (the acting AG who had forcefully warned the WH about Mike Flynn), and James Comey (the Director of the FBI).
  • The Repubes in the Congress have been coopted. Devin Nunes the chair of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Richard Burr the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence both were part of the transition. Nunes famously had a manic break and went running around in the middle of the night reading super secret documents that freed the Ol’ Pussy Grabber of all wrongdoing. Senator Burr has not staffed up his committee’s investigation of  Trump-Russia and only recently had his arm twisted into subpoenaing some of Flynn’s documents.  Few other representatives or senators have criticized the Ol’ Pussy Grabber and have only tut-tutted Comey’s firing. In short, don’t rely on Congress to check and balance the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s dumb ass.
  • The Ol’ Pussy Grabber has referred to so-called federal judges and attacked their legitimacy and authority to review his actions. Luckily, federal offices and officials have complied with court orders at least eventually.
  • Apparently, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s attempts at undermining the press have worked with most of his core. We are fortunate that the NY Times and Washington Post and other publications have certainly been aggressively reporting on Trump-Russia.
  • And, then there are the paid protestors of the #Resistance: the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s pathetic attempt at delegitimizing the opposition.

Checking and balancing this mad bastard is directly dependent on not allowing him to be normalized. Everyone of us must take every opportunity to remind ourselves and each other and the Repubes and the Ol’ Pussy Grabber himself that this is one abnormal motherfucker. Every outrageous act has to be shouted about and screamed about and countered.

The citizen #Resistance must continue pressuring Congress to do their jobs! The Resistance has to continue being loud and noisy in the streets. The Resistance has to help organize precincts and districts and register voters. The Repubes are dangerously close to having the 34 state legislatures needed to call for a Constitutional Convention. We cannot let that happen. Those crazy mo’fo’s will gut the Constitution.

UPDATE: Sunday 14 May, former DNI James Clapper appearing on SOTU with Jake Tapper says that Congress is failing to check and balance the Ol’ Pussy Grabber. And he is concerned.

My additional thoughts: There are four checks and balances on the central executive: Congress, the Court, the states, and the media and citizenry. Congress is failing horribly. The Courts have stood up to him but are slow and difficult to pursue. The States are hit and miss. Some are taking advantage and passing laws banning sanctuary cities (Texas), for example. The people have stood up and need to continue stepping up.

Checking and balancing the Ol’ Pussy Grabber depends on keeping the institutions of our government and society strong. Those local, state, and federal institutions and non-profits rely on the citizens to keep them strong. The Repubes have already demonstrated that they are willing to sell us cheap for unneeded and unnecessary tax breaks for the wealthy, to relax regulations on polluters, and give up our public lands. It is clear that without a strong, diverse, vocal #Resistance the Repubes will embrace and promote the authoritarian motherfucker who is currently occupying the White House.

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