Authoritarian Followers

Authoritarian Follower: An individual who, for whatever reason, accepts what an accepted authority tells them, regardless of whether or not it makes sense.

Compartmentalization: term describing the ability of authoritarian followers to keep separate the ideas, given by their authorities, that prove each other wrong.

There are different causes for this inability to comprehend reality. One of the more common involves severe punishment of very young children for asking questions or not accepting the statements of their parents. When a child feels like it is in danger, due to anything ranging from frightening yells and screams to extreme “spanking”, because it challenged the words of their parents, they develop a survival mechanism called compartmentalization. This allows them to not have to ask questions, and risk the hurt or fear of hurt they were (usually repeatedly) subjected to. These children become Authoritarian Followers, following the authority of their parents, regardless of their parents accuracy. As the children get older, the mantle of authority gets passed on to the religious and political leaders the parents themselves follow. The fear of questioning is a directly attached to their sense of survival, so anyone trying to reason with them causes a fear reaction, usually masked as anger.

This pattern is often found in members of the fundamentalist churches who teach “spare the rod, and spoil the child”. Political power mongers, realizing the power in numbers, have played on these peoples inability to question discrepancies and turned them into the “religious right”. Their political views are about as full of misunderstanding and deceit as a religion in which Jesus teaches kindness and compassion, but who’s followers practice abuse of their children and hatred for those Jesus said to love.

This is how the Tea Party was formed: by playing on that fear of questioning authority, regardless of how ridiculous the claims may be. I have to remember that their anger is really fear, so I can pity them, instead of hating them.

Published in: on November 3, 2011 at 9:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How To Make A Conservative

I have heard many people wonder how far right conservatives can believe the things that they say. It is conditioning that starts when they are very young. Not all of the far right grew up exactly like described in the video below, but it explains how they can believe the lies, half-truths and mismatched facts that they keep regurgitating. I grew up similar to the lady in the clip. When people hear me (and, I am sure her) describe what life was like, they usually don’t believe it could happen. It is actually worse. The point here is that kids that are exposed to that kind of training learn quickly to not question authority. They also grow up thinking that now that they are adults, they are allowed to force their will on others, like they had done to them. Not all conservatives went through as bad as the video describes… But try to imagine someone growing up like that, with the willpower to have the audacity to actually think something through. Only a few of us manage to have independent thought. The rest join the Tea Party.

(Embedding disabled on YouTube’s end – follow link above to watch clip)

Published in: on August 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm  Comments (4)  
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Does Spanking Teach Respect?

Due to an inability to sleep comfortably, I decided to get up and check the status of some of my Facebook conversations. One of them included the comment “parents need to bust their kids ass when they get out of line. i think we all respect our parents for that.”

People often mistake fear for respect. We have been taught to confuse these words. Respect is a recognition and and acknowledgment of ability. Fear is worry. Spanking causes worry about a repeating spanking. Spanking causes worry about being hurt if they repeat whatever it is that caused the spanking to begin with. The only respect a spanking can cause is a recognition and acknowledgment that the person spanking them can hurt (or embarrass) them into submission. Spanking is, quite simply, a bigger human using physical violence to subjugate a smaller human. Spanking causes fear, not respect.

Children learn respect by seeing their parents work to accomplish things. They learn respect by recognizing the sacrifice and work their parents parents put into raising them. They learn to respect the love and care their parents show them. They learn respect by figuring out “why” parents set boundaries.

Sometimes, children push the boundaries. Sometimes, using physical force is a valid way to enforce these boundaries. An example of appropriate use of physical force is when I smacked my daughters hand away from the hot stove when she was little; sometimes physical violence is necessary to protect them. Another example that I feel was appropriate use of physical force was when my son crossed his arms across his chest and said “NO” when I had sent him to a timeout on his bed. He found himself running to get to his bed to get away from the smacks I delivered to his defiant little butt. Now, he knows to accept the punishments he is given. The first example was necessary. The second example was me, as a parent, not having the intelligence to see a better way to overcome his defiance.

My kids are good kids. They aren’t perfect, but they are much better behaved than many of the kids I see today. Some of that good is because they know that I am bigger than them, and that I will enforce my expectations (fear). Most of that good is because I have taught them that the boundaries are set for real reasons, and they understand that those boundaries were set because of my knowledge and my desire to protect them from harm (respect). The only time they even think about getting spanked is when they are considering open defiance (or lying, which I have told them is the same thing as open defiance). My kids will usually follow the guidance I give them because they have learned that there are usually good reasons for it. Children taught mostly by spanking will follow the rules they were given until they think they found a way to not get caught.

Summed up: Spanking doesn’t teach life lessons, and it doesn’t teach respect. The only real thing spanking teaches is fear. Sometimes fear is a useful tool, but if you want respect from your kids, you need to use it sparingly, or not at all. Use your intelligence and your example, instead of your muscles, to teach them real respect.  

Published in: on August 1, 2011 at 9:18 am  Comments (3)  
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