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Comment on the Tea Party Movement by Bob Altemeyer, author of 'The Authoritarians'

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Shallah Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 08:30 AM
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Comment on the Tea Party Movement by Bob Altemeyer, author of 'The Authoritarians'
Edited on Mon May-17-10 08:33 AM by Shallah Kali

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His homepage w/link to free PDF copy of his book The Authoritarians /

Athoritarian Followers

If you read the book presented at this website, you‟ll find lots of evidence that, as a group,
social conservatives share the psychological trait of being authoritarian followers.

And you can hardly miss the authoritarian follower tendencies in the behavior of the Tea Partiers. Here are a
dozen that seem pretty obvious.

1. Authoritarian submission. Authoritarian followers submit to the people they consider
authorities much more than non-authoritarians do. In this context, Tea Partiers seem to believe
without question whatever their chosen authorities say. Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, various
religious groups, the House and Senate GOP leaders, Sen. Grassley from Iowa, Rep. Bachmann
from Minnesota, and of course Sarah Palin can say whatever they want about the Democrats, and
the Tea Partiers will accept it and repeat it. The followers don‟t find out for themselves what the
Democratic leader truly said, what is really in a bill, what a treaty actually specifies, or whether
taxes have really gone up. They are happy to let Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin do their thinking
for them. It has gotten so bad that their leaders casually say preposterous things that are easily
refuted, because they know their audience will never believe the truth, or even hear about it.

2. Fear. Fear constantly pulses through authoritarian followers, and Tea Partiers are mightily
frightened. They believe President Obama is a dictator. They also think the country will be
destroyed by its mounting debt. They readily believed the health care proposals provided for death
panels that will euthanize Down‟s syndrome babies, put Grandma in the grave, and place
microchips in each American so the government can track us. When Rep. Paul Brown (R-GA) said
that Obama‟s plan to expand such things as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps was really intended to
create a Gestapo-like, brown-shirt military force in the United States, his followers accepted this.
Conservative leaders especially vilify Barack Obama, recently calling him in the space of two days
(April 7 and 8) the most radical president ever (Gingrich) who is inflicting untold damage on
this great country (Limbaugh) and is inviting a nuclear attack on the United States by indicating
we won‟t hit back (Palin). The people who orchestrate the Tea Party movement know well what
button to push first and hardest among social conservatives, and they work it overtime. And they
know spreading fear works with others as well. Sometimes it seems they are all trying to out-
boogie-man each other.

3. Self-righteousness. Self-righteousness runs very strongly in authoritarian followers, and
combines with fear to unleash aggression in them. The Tea Partiers commonly describe themselves
as the good Americans, the true Americans, the people, and the American Patriots. They
could hardly wrap themselves in the flag more thoroughly or more often than they do. Theirs is the
holy cause. They believe they are the only ones who can save the country.

4. Hostility. Authoritarian aggression is one of the defining characteristics of authoritarian
followers. Do Tea Partiers seem particularly aggressive? The behind-the-scenes organizers of the
protests often provided the words for the protest through talking-points they distributed. But the
protestors put the feeling into the song, and the feeling was often hostility. They angrily called
people who disagreed with them at the town halls Liars, Communists, and Traitors. They
booed and booed until opposing speakers simply gave up. They lashed out at elected representatives
who tried to engage in dialogue. If you look at some of the videos of last August‟s protests, you can
see veins bulging in the necks of some of the Tea Partiers as they vented their fury.

Much, much more at the link


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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 08:40 AM
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1. Re #2: They think anyone who disagrees with them is a brownshirt, because THEY are Brownshirts.
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 09:18 AM
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2. Thanks for this posting!
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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 10:17 PM
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3. K & R
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