Liberal Libertarianism was something unknown to me when I took my first test at Political Compass. I was familiar enough with the well-known ideologies of Liberal and Conservative, enough to know I’m Liberal while my father’s Conservative. But I wasn’t aware of the “perpendicular” ideologies of Libertarianism and Authoritarianism, the former being how free you think we should individually be versus how much control over your life you believe your rulers should have (and note that I did not mention the word “government” there.) The Liberal/Conservative scale would be an economic one, while the Libertarian/Authoritarians scale would be a social one. Go there. Take the test. If you never have before, you’ll learn something about yourself and how you compare to some famous historical figures.
I just did and I scored -8.5 on the Economic Left/Right scale (very Liberal) and -8.46 on the Social Libertarian/Authoritarian scale (very Libertarian). Like Gandhi’s views only more so. (But not his courage. Or wisdom. Or sheer animal magnetism.) So naturally I would not be in favor of a very Authoritarian person taking control of the Executive Branch of our government, the ones charged with enforcing the Law. And a Conservative capitalist, to make matters worse, choosing who will rule over the Economy. Nor would a lot of people. Or should you’d think. Or so you’d hope. People with an Authoritarian bent are very scary. They’ll do whatever the person in charge says to do provided they believe the person in charge will accept responsibility for what happens. (Of course, it may not occur to them that the person in charge was lying about accepting responsibility.) In Stanley Milgram’s famous first experiment into trying to answer why WWII German soldiers were so willing to obey orders to murder defenseless people, he found that 26 out of 40 men were willing to administer lethal doses of electricity to a complete stranger just because an experimental socialist told them to. Humans seem to have a natural disposition toward having someone be in authority provided that person was willing to be responsible. We don’t like someone to be in charge who randomly picks people to die every day, and imposes a death penalty on anyone who complains about it. But we like someone who is willing to face the consequences of his actions, assuming the law provides for significant consequences for those actions that do more harm than good. Unfortunately, too many of us may like Donald J. Trump as such an authority figure. Trump is very appealing to the sort of person who gives in to his Authoritarian side. And he’s also appealing to a large group dubbed decades ago by sociologist Donald Warren as Middle Americans Radicals (MARS), who have a lot in common with, but can be distinct from, Tea Party People. This is not good. John W. Dean can explain a little bit about why here and here.
He checks off every box on the list of authoritarian traits. As I have explained on other occasions these personalities are typically male; they are dominating; they oppose equality; they are desirous of personal power; they are amoral, intimidating and bullying, faintly hedonistic, vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, and dishonest; they will cheat to win; they are highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, and/or homophobic), mean-spirited, militant, and nationalistic; they tell others what they want to hear, take advantage of “suckers,” and specialize in creating false images to sell themselves. They may or may not be religious, but usually they are both political and economic conservatives and/or Republicans.
You might ask, “Who on Earth would want to be put someone like that in charge of our government?” And the answer would surprise you.
“[A]uthoritarian followers are both men and women, who tend to be highly conventional, always and easily submissive to authority, while willing to work aggressively on behalf of such an authority. They tend to be very religious, with moderate to little education, trusting of untrustworthy authorities, prejudiced (e.g., with respect to gay marriage); they are typically mean-spirited, narrow-minded, intolerant, bullying, zealous, dogmatic, uncritical of their chosen authority, hypocritical, inconsistent, prone to panic easily, highly self-righteous, moralistic, strict disciplinarian, severely punitive; they also demand loyalty and return it, have little self-awareness, and are typically politically and economically conservative Republicans.”
Americans. That’s who. So it’s a good thing our Constitutional form of balanced power government prohibits the kind of tyrannical dictatorship Trump’s opponents fear he’ll bring, and Obama’s enemies claims he has. (FTR, Tyrant Obama’s opponents, if he truly was the tyrant you claim he is, I wouldn’t have been listening to you bitch about him these past seven years, because you would have been taken off the face of the planet. You almost make me wish he was half the tyrant you claim he is. Almost.) A Trump Presidency (as I’m sure he refers to it himself) would be a disaster, and not just because of the type of person he is, but because of the kinds of ideas he outs forward.
A wall? Seriously? And would you believe people lap that shit up? Trump loves Construction. I’ve heard him say it in interviews years ago. He loves to build things. So, naturally, he’d say he wants to build a wall on our southern border. And then has the balls to say he’ll make the country on the other side pay for it. And people believe him! Authoritarians, who may or may not also be racists, white supremacists, and bigots in general, are loving it! Never mind that such a wall would never keep people out. You’d be amazed how far people will go to tunnel across a border. And never mind that no foreign government would be stupid enough to agree to such an arrangement without the threat of military force behind it. Do we want yet another war with Mexico? I don’t.
Then there’s the ban on Muslims entering the country, all because about .005% of the world’s population of Muslims has abandoned their religious beliefs to exert power over a region of the world thousands of miles away. As much as I hate to see anyone brutally rule over another, it’s not our problem as a nation. And it would be even less of a problem if we would stop living with the false belief that we need access to fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. We don’t. And the people who would lose a lot of money should this nation pull its giant head out of its overweight ass and switch to renewable sources of energy (such as Charles and David Koch, to name just two such miscreants) are not the kind of people about whom I could give a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys. And neither should you.
So, if you truly hate freedom and liberty, if you think we really should have a tyrant in charge, if you honestly believe we all need to have the heavy hand of government crush our spirits daily, then go ahead and vote for Donald J. Trump. I promise you I’ll fight you every step of the way. And I won’t be alone.
This is our daily open thread. Being the Liberal Libertarian that I am, I’ll simply remind you you’re free to discuss any topic you want.