Don't Miss

Left Authoritarians?

This Atlantic article entitled "The Experts Somehow Overlooked the Authoritarians on the Left" bolsters the argument I made in Naive Idealists posted on 9/6. All authoritarians, whether on the Left or Right, work with the energies of one-sided Doves, aka Naive Idealists. You don't have to be a Dove like Robespierre or John Brown to be an authoritarian. Stalin and Trump were one-sided Serpents, but even they could not have succeeded without the support of easily inflamed and manipulable Naive Idealists. While the authoritarians of the Left--the Neopuritans in the P.C./Antifa/anarchist crowd--are annoying, they pose relatively little danger, whereas the authoritarians of the Right might very well destroy American democracy, whatever its flaws and limitations.

Another difference between contemporary Right and Left authoritarianism is that authoritarian movements, especially on the Right, tend to require a personality cult to catalyze its latent energies. There is no personality on the Left who performs this function in the way that Donald Trump has done for Right authoritarians. Bernie Sanders might have been recruited for such a role by Left authoritarians, but he's no authoritarian. He's too much of a mensch to have ever assumed the role in a way that could ever have been effective. And the energies on the Left in this moment are not incendiary to the same extent that they are on the Right. In other words, the Left in the U.S. is not ripe for demagoguery in the same way that the Right is. 

The question for me at this point is whether someone like Trump is needed to sustain Right authoritarian extremism in the U.S. If Trump fades from the scene, can anyone replace him? I'm not sure about that. I don't think that Ron DeSantis, Josh Hawley, or a twerp like Tucker Carlson can, but maybe there's someone else lurking on the fringes who will emerge that can. Or it could be that rank-and-file authoritarians don't care who gets in front of their parade. Maybe any figurehead will do so long as he or she tells the mob what it wants to hear. I don't know. We'll see one way or the other. 

No 'fuehrer' emerging in this sense even imaginable in the short-term future on the Left. AOC and Stacy Abrams have the charisma, but imo they, too, are too menschy, too balanced, to play such a role. But I don't know them personally and I could be wrong. Nevertheless, it's hard to imagine the energies on the American Left being catalyzed by them or someone yet to emerge in the way Trump has catalyzed the Right. Whatever the whackadoodle Right says about the threats posed by Left authoritarians, there is very little short-term danger posed by them compared to the threat posed by the Right. 

Lenin pointed out after his successful Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 that the 1905 First Russian Revolution was its dress rehearsal. The same thing might be said about the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Germany. There's good reason to fear that we will come to see J6 similarly as such a dress rehearsal. That's a threat that comes from the authoritarians on the Right, not the Left.  

One of the biggest obstacles to restraining the authoritarian Right at this moment are the one-sided Serpents that dominate the Beltway political class. They are capable of thinking only about what is in their short-term political interests, and are virtually incapable of thinking about the big picture. They see politics as a game, and they are incapable of seeing what they do as having consequences beyond what affects their narrow interests. What distinguishes the various Beltway Insider players is how they have responded to the radical way in which the game has changed since 2008. 

Some Republicans like Boehner, Ryan, Corker were shrewd enough to understand that the game has changed in such a way that they no longer wanted to play it. Others like Susan Collins, Joe Manchin, and Kristen Sinema seem clueless that the game has changed at all and continue to play by the old business-as-usual rules. And others, extreme Serpents like Graham, McCarthy, McConnell, Cruz, DeSantis, Hawley et al., recognize that the game has changed, but they still want to play--even if it their winning means destroying American democracy. They don't care so long as they come out on top. 

I think that most prominent Democrats understand what's at stake. There are few naive idealists among them. (Most Naive Idealists on the Left are in the media or in academia.) Prominent Dem pols--Pelosi, Schiff, Raskin, Sanders, and others--are both shrewd game players who also are sincerely committed to preserve and improve American democracy. The question is whether they will be able to get the clueless snakes like Sinema, Manchin, Collins, et al. to recognize that business as usual is no longer an option. If they don't, the shrewder snakes in the GOP and Right-wing media will continue to demagogue the Naive Idealists on the Right, and if they are effective in focusing the intensity of Right-wing passions, they just might find a way to win.

I don't think they will win, but there's a very good chance that they will.  


Friday, November 11, 2022

Monday, October 24, 2022

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Friday, September 09, 2022

Monday, August 22, 2022

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Friday, August 12, 2022

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Thursday, July 07, 2022