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October 13, 2006


The article brings to mind a book by an inspired amateur written several decades ago called the "The Nazi Mystique," I think. I am forgetting the guy's name. But he talked about the "true believer." Anyway, it is about the appeal of associating with "something larger."

Nationalism, Communism, religion, etc.

In my view, the phenomena is broader than the fear of death.

People like to have a sense of competence, control over their world -- it is related to a sense of self-worth. Wired into the impulse that is human.

In a chaotic world, that sense of competence, of place in the world, is challenged. It causes humiliation and fear. And anger. An example is unemployment. The most drastic impact is humiliation, I think.

Anyway, associating with something larger directly responds to the nature of the wound. It restores a sense of place, of dignity.

But when people start seeing their actions not in terms of the specific consequences before their eyes, but rather in terms of service to some larger good, then they lose the connection between morality and reality. Anything is justified if it serves Freedom, Nationalism, History or God.

Children can be bombed, and it is a good thing, if it is God's Will.

Anwyay, I deplore capital letters.

interesting post. thanks.

Eric Hoffer, I think, was the author's name.

The graph hasn't reached the Rethug spinners on local airways. As soon as the plane hit the building, my local Limbaugh station's local Limbaugh wannabe was evoking 9/11, terror, the world's a dangerous place, etc. etc. Within the hour it was known to be a dreaded Bronx Bomber who'd hit the building... the ink wasn't even dry on the fear-spin. So it'd be a funny thing if the spin's not working and suddenly people are thinking "Democrat" instead of the old "Republican" link they crafted since 9/11. However, I hope the Democratic party doesn't really try to play this game. We have an asymetric advantage after all. We try to just tell the truth.

Thanks DemfromCT. Since we're a "nation at war," I wish the media would start asking Bush why he hasn't reinstituted the draft.

Extremely interesting article. One thing, though. I'll agree that since Democrats are now viewed by a ~majority~ of voters as better on security, those who think Democrats are better on security will become stronger in their views.

But those who have not made the switch and still consider the Republicans better on security against terrorism will still adhere more strongly to the Republicans.

The result is that if it is even possible, the animosity between Democrats and Republicans will become even greater, as ~both sides~ will see the other as part of the existential threat to their lives. I doubt that the right-wing wind-bags spout their blather with a lot of awareness of specifically who is and (more important) is NOT affected by their extremism. It may be counter productive this election cycle, but we can still expect greater efforts by Limbaugh et. Al. to spew their poisons in expectations that they can get more of the base to the polls.

I would also suspect that the people in security organizations like the military, and paramilitary organizations like police and militiaa belong to those organizations at least in part because of that old military saying "Yea though I walk through the valley of Death I will fear no evil, because I am the meanest mother in the valley." They will adhere even more strongly to the accepted norms of those organizations. They tend to be right-wing inherently, and since the military became all volunteer and also became more politically vocal the pressure on people in the military to be outspoken Republicans will get stronger.

While the draft was in place, the cultural norm was that military people not only did not speak of politics, they often did not even vote. This was necessary when people of any political stripe might belong, but when it went all volunteer that older norm was replaced by one in which Democrats are penalized in promotions and assignments.

A very interesting article. Thanks.

Since we're a "nation at war," I wish the media would start asking Bush why he hasn't reinstituted the draft.
John, I guess that Rove recognizes that the draft itself would be considered a greater threat to the personal security of potential draftees, much as was the case during Viet Nam.

The draft was a major reason why there were so many people so actively opposed to the Viet Nam War. It is what created active organizations working to stop the war and even change the American regime. The draft was a major element behind the so-called counter-culture. We kids knew for a fact that the people sending us off to war weren't going to have to go themselves, and the way the draft was run their kids didn't have to go either. The sacrifices were all made by the young and the poor who got no benefit from the war, and in fact saw no reason for it. Whatever benefits there might have been went to the older and the wealthier who paid no price at all for what they imposed on the threatened.

Rove is too smart to recreate the counter culture as opposition to his hoped-for permanent Republican majority. The draft for a war with no obvious reason (they had to lie to start it) would do exactly that.

If you want wisdom in the most covenient and digestible form it's hard to beat Eric Hoffer. His book 'The Ordeal of Change' has 284 of the most briiliant aphorisms anywhere.

Eric Hoffer, "The True Believer." That was his first, and I believe biggest, book.

A comment in a discussion of the WSJ article on TalkLeft led to the following additional references to terror management theory: A May 2006 discussion on www.thoughttheater.com references a wikipedia entry and a Monitor on Psychology article from Jan 2005 on The politics of mortality.

Wishful thinking.

When you are in charge, you get credit for the good and triple blame for the bad. The blame can quickly overshadow the good.

"Not a permanent one, but an effect."

I'm not so sure about the non-permanence of that effect. If it was a one time, one place, one issue campaign over a period of, oh, say a month or so, I'd agree.

But combine a campaign's manufactured appeal to fear with a cosmetic company's manufactured appeal to fear with an electric company's appeal to fear, and, imho, there's a whole new ballgame.

I deeply believe that all this insecurity is deeply felt and exhibited, in overt and covert ways in many things by the "average" person. This issue is definately worth some PhD's research.

This Republican obviously got the "TNT" memo from HQ. This is a short clip of NY-29's incumbent Randy N.(for Not) Kuhl (R-Shotgun Brandisher) in a recent debate against Fightin' Dem Eric Massa.

Listen to the audience guffaw when Kuhl bellows about the prisoners (who have more than enough rights, thank you very much) "WHO ARE TRYING TO KILL ALL OF YOU!!!!!"


Whoever did the clip Max Headroom-ized it.

Ya know, with all the GOP generated scandals which are falling in the lap of the FBI to investigate it occurs to me the GOP is making this nation less safe by the day because the poor FBI just doesn't have enough time to investigate the GOP AND keep an eye out for terrorists.

I've got to call you on that. Where exactly is the good thing? I honestly can't think of one single thing this administration has done well. Bear in mind I'm not one of those who started out opposed to them. They earned it fair and square with me.


I will give you 4 of the more significant good things. Don't get me started on the bad things. My time zone will be different tomorrow, but I do have to sleep.

1. 911 response was pretty good on the whole. Too much money for the victims survivors when the survivors of soldiers who die for this country don't get near as much.
2. Afghanistan was good.
3. Medicare prescription drug plan is a good start for the elderly and disabled.
4. 2 new Supreme Court Justices.

Now I am going to reverse the question somewhat. Can you think of 4 bad things the Clinton Administration did (or even tried to do.)

What do you think of fear when it is being used to motivate people to vote a certain way with regards to global warming or health care?

"Building up your own worldview requires disparaging (even unconsciously) that of others. If beliefs that contradict yours have any worth, then by definition they call into question the absolute validity of your own. The result is stronger feelings of hostility toward those with different values and beliefs."

The quote lept out at me the second time through this article. Sheesh, this is sort of "stage one" consciousness, isn't it. Anyone out there ever heard there are many paths? I have a "world view" but it doesn't freak me out if someone has a different one... it's just a place to talk. Seems like you have to stir in fear and authoritarianism to start punching.

Jodi, you get 2 out of 4. The Medicare Part D was awful for seniors. even those who saved money found it extremely distressing to sign up, many didn't and many more could have saved with money from canada (now rectified as an add-on because they blew it the first time). But it pisses off true conservartives who do not like a big govt. entitlement program.

And The SCOTUS appointments were not good ones, either, they were polarizers, though Roberts gets a pass more than Alito.


first Government was and is too complicated. Second there is a better way to do medical care, but barring that the plan helped a lot of people. And don't define true conservatives as Libertarians.

On the Supreme Court of course they were polarizers because now the Supreme court is viewed by all sides as their own personal weapon, that only they should be allowed to have a permit for.

I understand that things change over time, but most don't.

But don't you admit it is more than just a little selfserving to 1) want a precedent/legacy court, except 2) when you want a new paradigm like 1954, or Roe.

Ginsberg is the last of the quiet humdrum Presidential appointments

I don't want SCOTUS as a weapon. I want fair-minded judges. More Ginzbergs and Souders. Less Alitos. They don't have to be ideological at all.


come on now. "fair-minded judges" mean those who vote your way.

... and primarily on a few base core beliefs.

Jodi, you have a stubborn tendency to make up shit about Democrats, damn the facts. It's because of your indoctrination; you get mad about when I call you on it but there it is in plain view.

Fair minded judges mean fair minded judges and nothing more. it's impossible to know in advance how SCOTUS judges turn out, but if they have a reputation for fairness, i'll go with them even if it's a Bush appointment.

Jody I feel the need to comment on your take that what is happening in afghanistan is good. I wonder if you were aware that the following have occured since we invaded afghanistan.

1) opium production has quadrupled.
2) the taliban is nearly back in charge. (and this is okay with the bush regime because the taliban are not terrorists.) Have you heard about the way they treat women? They kill them on the street for fun. They torture them. They beat them. Any man can beat your wife. They beat and torture children. It's a horrible regime. The least we could have done if we were going in there was to prevent the taliban from taking over.
3) we haven't gotten bin laden or stopped alqueda.

I can't really see how there is anything good about this scenario.


you seem upset. Sorry, but I stand by what I said.

I will repeat but using different words, in case you misintepreted my previous words.

What you call "fair minded judges", may not be someone elses idea of "fair minded judges" and vice versa.

Now what is so bad about that statement" It seems pretty sensible to me.


I respect your opinion, but I don't think that you have ALL the facts correct.

"fair-minded judges" mean those who vote your way implies an inability to be fair minded about fair minded judges. ;-)

There are three ideologues on the court... they happen to be Alito, Scalia and Thomas. Two out of three of them are well qualified... Thomas is an undistinguished loser who never should have made it there. I would be okay with any of the others, including Kennedy and Roberts, as stated, even though i will often not like the way they vote.


don't blame/kill the messenger/observer -(me.)

That is the way it is with the main groups.

1) Democrats, Liberals, Leftists

2) Republicans, Conservatives, Rightists

Sure I have an opinion, but I am not a Senator, and they like who they like and who the folks back home like.

And here an interesting view of some of the Justices that I read-----

The Liberals helped make Thomas who he is today. They gave him so much trouble that most people think it actually turned him aside away from them more.
And an aside, has the real story ever been found about about that law clerk? It is such an incongruous story for either side.

They courted Souder somewhat and got him to slide over toward them, or so I heard.
Perhaps the same with Sandra Day O'Connor

Roberts supposedly has been given up on, he is too clever and well centered in his own identity to be moved by outsiders.

Alito, they have a bit of hope for, and are trying to woo him.

True blue will never stain. Miles.

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