Political Theatre category archive
At Psychology Today Blogs, Darcia F. Narvaez explores the psychology of cults and how they maintain control over their adherents.
(She uses what I consider an absurd term, “totalist,” in the piece, in order to differentiate from the term “totalitarian”; I think she does so in order to include non-governmental entities. But it’s still absurd.)
Here’s a bit:
To work, totalist structures require an isolating environment, which serves the purpose of coercive persuasion, keeping group members away from other influences. To determine whether or not an ideology or belief system is totalist depends on structure and function. The structure is exclusive, allowing no other truths, affiliations, or interpretations. No dissension is allowed against the leader’s word. The function of the belief system is multiple: to maintain the leader’s absolute control, to establish rigid boundaries between group members and the outside world, to justify loyalty, and to prevent escape.
Mind control occurs thorough an alternation of fear and love within the isolating environment. Followers are threatened by the leader at the same time they are promised love. They are entrapped within the group, glued in anxious dependency to the group, in a constant state of fear arousal but seeking proximity to the group in a failed attempt for comfort.
I commend the rest to your attention.
At the Des Moines Register, Roger Patocka argues that too many of our polity are allowing themselves to be led into a fantasy world by fabulists:
Hannah Arendt, considered one of the most important political philosophers and thinkers of Central Europe during the 20th century, offers valuable counsel to distinguish between truth and lies, or between fact and fiction, in her 1951 book “The Origins of Totalitarianism”:
“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.”
I commend the entire piece to your attention.
(Broken link fixed.)
A self-proclaimed “ex-objectivist” tries to differentiate between Randian “objectivism” and “libertarianism.” Sam suggests that that’s a distinction without a difference.
Below the fold because it’s rated R. Also rated S (for scathing).
At Notes from the Ironbound, Werner Herzog’s Bear makes a compelling case that the United States Senate is an anachronism, and a
dangerous counterproductive one at that. He compares it to France’s Estates-General on the eve of the French Revolution. An excerpt:
This medieval representative body included three groups voting as blocs: the clergy, the nobility, and everyone else. It was an obviously undemocratic system meant to prevent the commoners from wielding real power . . . .
Going back to when I learned about this in high school I had always laughed at the crown trying to gain legitimacy in a changing, modernizing society through such an institution. I have stopped laughing, because I have come to realize that the US Senate as an institution is hardly less farcical.
Follow the link for his reasoning.
Driftglass looks behind the facade. A snippet:
1. America should be ruled by a cadre of morally superior white men.
2. Wealth is proxy for moral superiority.
3. Any means of insuring that America is permanently ruled by a cadre of wealthy men is permitted.
General Milley explains the concept of responsibility to a person incapable of grasping it.
Via Francis Langum at C&L, who has commentary.
Self-described conservative Cameron Smith, writing at AL.com, argues that it’s time for Republicans to return to the real world. A nugget: