Undemocratic Authoritariansby Jeremy on 9/08/2011
Columnist John Dean argues that Tea Partiers are “undemocratic authoritarians” and summarizes writer Bob Altemeyer’s findings of authoritarian traits in the Tea Party movement:
(1) They are more submissive than most to their leaders, and they take direction without question; (2) they are easily frightened and their leaders keep them that way; (3) they wear their self-righteousness on their sleeves, e.g., with their assertion that they are “the true Americans;” (4) they are highly aggressive, so they lash out at those with whom they do not agree; (5) critical thinking and logic escapes them, and they rely upon simplistic slogans to answer complex questions; (6) they inflate problems, and they find an endless supply of our “biggest problems”; (7) they hold conflicting and contradictory beliefs, which does not trouble them, because their thinking is compartmentalized; (8) double standards are totally acceptable to them, so they can be highly critical of others who do exactly what they do, or have done; (9) they feel empowered when in groups, and gain strength by remaining together with like-minded others; (10) they are highly dogmatic, since they do not know why they believe what they do, and they do not question themselves; (11) they are ethnocentric and constantly judge others and events from an “us versus them” point of view; and (12) they are prejudiced, and often racist, although some do not realize it or believe it when confronted.
You could definitely spot some of those traits during the debt ceiling fight. Many vowed to vote against raising the debt ceiling, regardless of the US economy being brought to its knees by not doing so. Since then, Standard and Poor’s downgraded the US’ credit rating from AAA to AA+, specifically citing political uncertainty due to Republicans’ insistence on not allowing any revenue increases as a reason. Also, new polling shows public disapproval of Republicans at a record high. So where does the Republican party go from here? If you go by the above criteria, the Tea Party won’t be backing down any time soon. And while the public obviously doesn’t care for the them, the Tea Party will have a large say in who’ll become the Republican nominee. That nominee must then earn votes from Independents as well as court a Tea Party movement that seems to move more to the right everyday.