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Tue Sep 4, 2012, 02:03 PM

Are we witnessing a rise in right wing authoritarianism? Look at how we treat the unemployed.

Right wing authoritarianism isn't bad, it's very bad. It's not necessarily conservative, even though it is named as such because it is a trait that people who are ultra-right often have. It was the spirit, if you will behind fascism, behind the Soviet Union, behind the Latin American dictatorships of the Cold War, and more. Just look at Uganda's police state and it's "Kill the Gays" bill as I go through the list, and tell me you don't see it. It leads to some very awful things.

As I was reading though the list, I was starting to see, the long term unemployed face things like this. Read on...

1. Hostility & Fear Toward Outgroups
You know what an outgroup is, right? A group that's on the margins of society. The unemployed and the long term unemployed would definitely be an outgroup. "Lazy", parasites", "mooches", and more are the labels we have heard for the long unemployed. They're bad because they're on food stamps. They can't pay their bills, so of course their credit is going to take a ding, but because they have poor credit there is now a 100% chance they're going to steal from you, no evidence of it, but because people keep saying "I heard someone say they heard a study...", it must be true, right? Fear and hostility. Check.

2. Not-So-Healthy Ingroup Cohesion
There is a clear "Us vs Them" forming in the United States, the "Us" being the 'job creators' and the people who check on their stash in the Cayman Islands. The "Them" are the jobless, the people on unemployment benefits, the people on food stamps, and more. There are also a lot of people in the United States who think they are a part of "Us" when they really aren't. If they are a thread away from bankruptcy and if they have to choose between utilities or groceries, then they aren't "Us", you may be their waterboy, but you aren't a part of their clique, no matter what they tell you. Sorry. Not-So-Healthy Ingroup Cohesion. Check.

3. Faulty reasoning
This runs absolutely rampant in the treatment of the unemployed. First example is above with the credit being used as a hiring filter. No evidence that a person's credit reflects on their likelihood to steal, but "I heard", "There's a study", "I feel it in my gut", "It just makes sense!"; so that means the people who want a job but are going to face an extra hurdle because they can't pay their bills because they do not have a job will have to deal with this new age phrenology. And then here's another thing about faulty reasoning, a person will often have contradictory ideas. Yes, we know that the unemployed should just get off the couch and find a job even though there are five applicants to every job. But what are we going to do about cutting vicious circles that keep the jobless jobless or how about creating an employer of last resort like the Civilian Conservation Corps? Now you're a statist socialist.
One more example, a while back I did a study of what people thought about unemployment benefits and how they supposedly kept people dependent on the government. Basically, looking around for 'What % of people found work how much time before/after their unemployment benefits ended'. A lot of it was in the context that we shouldn't extend these benefits because that percentage of people find work and that people can find work, but they just want to stay on unemployment instead. What I found surprised me, everybody cited a 'study they heard', but not a single so-called statistic was the same. Zero precision, like someone threw a dart at a dartboard and instead hit a stop sign down the block. Got everything from '85% of the people on unemployment find a job (albeit miraclously (sic) in the last 2 weeks of their unemployment running out' to '90% of people on unemployment find work with in 6 weeks of running out of Benefits' and everything in between and outside of that. It was embarrassing.
Faulty reasoning. Check.

4. Profound Character Flaws
Bullying, zealotry, and hypocrisy. Encouraging that people should compete with each other in a cutthroat fashion for a minimum wage job is not a virtue. It's one of those flaws. There was a post on here about something on Facebook, mocking people for wanting an increase in the minimum wage. Because we're all sure EVERYONE on the minimum wage has the minimum skills, education, and motivation. Right? And back to food stamps, more specifically people who attack people who use food stamps to buy snack foods or buy luxuries while on food stamps. This is to people who attack people on food stamps. They cost you a fraction of a penny. You're not doing it because you're concerned for anyone's financial well-being. You're doing it so you can feel better about yourself. And that's what we call a profound character flaw.

5. Blindness To Own Failings
Everything that I've covered appears here. A lot of the people who call people on unemployment "lazy", they don't have any job security. But they think they're better. People like attacking the jobless and people on social programs because it makes them feel better about themselves, it numbs them to the fact that they could be on the chopping block. They don't really have security so they attack the lack of security or ability to advance of others. Another thing is the whole "UNION WORKERS ARE OVERPAID!", we've all heard it, I wonder if these people ever thought if they were underpaid.

It seems like right wing authoritarianism is here. It's in other areas of our culture. The question is, do we really want to see how far it can be entrenched into our country and way of life?

Here are some links explaining more:
http://mydd.com/users/paul-rosenberg/posts/rightwing-authoritarianism-and-conservative-identity-politics-pt-3-in-the-series
http://upload.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=439&topic_id=1976107&mesg_id=1976107
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021258424

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Reply Are we witnessing a rise in right wing authoritarianism? Look at how we treat the unemployed. (Original post)
ck4829 Sep 2012 OP
librechik Sep 2012 #1
woo me with science Sep 2012 #11
Aerows Sep 2012 #2
Aerows Sep 2012 #4
hifiguy Sep 2012 #5
Aerows Sep 2012 #7
Populist_Prole Sep 2012 #3
Cleita Sep 2012 #6
backscatter712 Sep 2012 #8
MyshkinCommaPrince Sep 2012 #9
gkhouston Sep 2012 #10

Response to ck4829 (Original post)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 02:05 PM

1. yes, yes it's terrifying--and both sides are complicit

and I never buy into that "both sides" BS. In this case it is true.

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Response to librechik (Reply #1)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 04:23 PM

11. Both sides are in bed with the one percent

on issues that are important to the one percent. That is why policies in the areas of economics, war, and the police state no longer change significantly from administration to administration. It is time to get the corporate money out of politics and force Democrats to return to our traditional values of defending the poor and the middle class. It is time for the 99 percent to have a voice again.

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Response to ck4829 (Original post)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 02:12 PM

2. The right wing

Has said for over a century and a half that businesses would close if X happened that made things more humane for workers. Businesses are still open.

This cartoon says it better than I ever could:



My response is this. If you run a business, and you cannot survive a change in how you treat your employees, how you determine their wages, and can't operate within the law, then you are a horrible business person and your business model sucks.

True business people can find a way to continue forward while treating their employees humanely. Sure, they might not get as much money as somebody else that treats their employees like dog shit, but worker loyalty shouldn't be under-estimated. Workers that are treated fairly are more inclined to treat their employers fairly by contributing 100% to their jobs, and by not abusing their positions by stealing, etc.

Bottom line - if your company has to treat workers like shit to survive, your company and its business model isn't worth a shit, either. I worked for a financial company that didn't treat its employees like shit, and they are still in business, and are considered a fine source of financial research. Why? Because they don't try to screw employees, and they don't try to screw customers, either. A company that screws employees will screw customers, too. Look at Wal-Mart.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 02:29 PM

4. Oh, and when I refer to Wal-Mart?

They do screw their customers. They specifically buy products that don't sell well at cheaper prices, while letting the ones that do sell well go off the shelves because they are more expensive. They get deals on the bad selling versions of certain brands (i.e. a frozen dinner that no one likes, a salad dressing no one buys) and don't stock the items that people like.

That's why you can never go to a Wal-Mart and find the same thing twice. You pay nearly the same thing as you pay in a family run grocery store, but if you find something you like at a Wal-Mart, chances are that next week, you won't see it again because it was a one-off they were able to buy in large quantities.

Bet me $5 that an interesting "new" product that is on Wal-Mart shelves will be there next month. It won't be. It's only there as long as they can get it for cut-rate pricing, unless it is a high demand item, and it will cost MORE than it does in a locally owned grocery store.

And they don't pass the savings on to you, either, if there are no competitive alternatives in that area, while working to actively make certain that there are no alternative competitors via local politics and zoning.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 02:36 PM

5. I know a guy who builds high-end home audio speakers

a consummate luxury good - they start at $16K per pair and go up to $200K per pair. The guy started out in his garage 30 years ago and now his products are distributed all over the world and he's recognized as the best there is at what he does. I had a long conversation with him a couple of years ago and he said two very telling things (1) virtually the only turnover in his company was the result of retirement or when he needs to fill a new position; and (2) "Without these people I would be nothing. I would still be making speakers one pair at a time in my garage." He also said he would never, ever outsource anything to China "ever. That is not the way I do business."

There were no old vehicles in the parking lot of his factory and he is renowned in the industry for how well he treats his employees.

Gee I wonder why he is so successful?

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #5)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 02:40 PM

7. Bang and Olufsen?

Or Grado?

Yep, he's successful because he takes care of the people who make sure he continues to be a leading name in his products. Customers know they can trust the brand because they don't get screwed, and employees know they can trust the brand because THEY don't get screwed, either, and take pride in what they do.

Screwing over your employees is a culture because it also means you will screw over your customers.

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Response to ck4829 (Original post)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 02:28 PM

3. Notice the right's contradiction of itself too

Yes they bash the unemployed as unmotivated shiftless bums, BUT then without missing nary a beat: Complain about how our president is responsible for unemployment and how they would be better at creating jobs. I mean, do we or do we not have an unemployment problem?

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Response to ck4829 (Original post)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 02:37 PM

6. Look at how the homeless are treated by society as a whole.

I'm not talking about those who try to help them with little help from government. Need I say more?

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Response to ck4829 (Original post)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 02:47 PM

8. Does a bear shit in the woods?

This is at the core of why the GOP has gone completely batshit!

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Response to ck4829 (Original post)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 02:56 PM

9. Carrying a cross, wrapped in a flag.

The whole package. They're ready to put all of us on the Kick Me Truck. Make things worse for almost everyone and blame us for it.

Stupid Kick Me Truck. I hate it so much.

It's bad and I don't see any change looming. They're going to get worse. And somehow our side seems to keep letting them.

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Response to ck4829 (Original post)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 02:57 PM

10. The poor are being demonized to "justify" treating taking away what little

assistance they currently receive. Also, it's a goal of the 1% to divide the 99%. If we spend our time fighting each other, we're less likely to realize who's really hurting us... and that we vastly outnumber them.

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