Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
My opinion of the situation in this country is obviously grim if one looks at the themes I tend to write on. As I see it we are either fast becoming a Corporate Feudal Police State, or already have achieved that dubious distinction. I am in favor of a movement towards reversing this situation. There are some issues that can resonate with most Americans and any movement seeking to reverse the anti-Constitutional trends afoot in the U.S. today must find the means to go beyond the falseness of the Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative ideological inanity. We have a corporate two party system, run by an oligarchic elite, whose base disagreement is how to treat those 99% of us, who in their view are the American Peasantry. The Republican Corporatists in effect believe that the majority of Americans should be left to their own devices, while the Democratic Corporatists mildly look for palliatives that won’t disturb their benefactors who are really in charge. Some may say my viewpoint is a radical one and this is possibly so, though the definitions of “radical” have blurred through the years. In my life I’ve spent a number of years as a political activist in one form or another and as I approach the age of 70, I think that my experiences have taught me much about political activism and the potential dangers it brings to the people at large. Right now I find two issues that frighten me for the sake of the future and how my progeny will experience it. The first is the notion of a coming police state and the second is the prospect of a violent, revolutionary upheaval in reaction to it. In other words I see we the People of the United States being between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”.
A study/survey done at Farleigh Dickinson University came out this week done by: Dan Cassino who is a professor of political science it was titled:”BELIEFS ABOUT SANDY HOOK COVER-UP, COMING REVOLUTION UNDERLIE DIVIDE ON GUN CONTROL”. http://publicmind.fdu.edu/2013/guncontrol/
“Partisan divisions on gun control go deeper than the legislation being fought over in Congress. Supporters and opponents of gun control have very different fundamental beliefs about the role of guns in American society. Overall, the poll finds that 29 percent of Americans think that an armed revolution in order to protect liberties might be necessary in the next few years, with another five percent unsure. However, these beliefs are conditional on party. Just 18 percent of Democrats think an armed revolution may be necessary, as opposed to 44 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of independents.
Only 38 percent of Americans who believe a revolution might be necessary support additional gun control legislation, compared with 62 percent of those who don’t think an armed revolt will be needed. “The differences in views of gun legislation are really a function of differences in what people believe guns are for,” said Cassino. “If you truly believe an armed revolution is possible in the near future, you need weapons and you’re going to be wary about government efforts to take them away.”
While Professor Cassino did this survey from the perspective of the gun control issue, that is not my focus in this piece. What concerns me is the amount of people who believe that an armed revolution in this country is necessary and what group in our population these people represent. You see I too believe that the changes needed to bring our country in line with the aspirations of our Founding Fathers would be revolutionary; however, I also believe that “armed” revolution never works towards positive changes.
The “American Revolution” and the subsequent Constitutional Republic derived was the first modern example of a revolution against tyranny that worked. Prior to that “revolutions” were in fact coups, where one “King” was replaced by another “King” and tyranny still reigned, whether or not in a more benign form. However, the “American Revolution” was not a classic revolution; it was an example of an uprising against a foreign imperialist power. History is replete with examples of this type of revolt against a foreign power, from the Egyptians throwing off 200 years of Hittite rule 1,300 years ago to the numerous examples of the Afghan rejecting foreign hegemonic rule of their country. To my mind the first major modern revolution was the French Revolution and in the end that revolution replaced a decadent monarchy with a power hungry Emperor. We have seen many modern armed revolutions all over this world since the French Revolution. How many have ended with tyranny replaced by a better form of government? Those since 1900 certainly haven’t produced salutary results.
The Russian Revolution replaced the despicable Romanov Dynasty, with two arguable sociopaths in Lenin and Stalin. They instituted as system that represented a slight improvement in living standard for the serfs, but that was every bit as much a feudal economy as under the Tzars. The nobility was replaced by “The Party” and things devolved to such a point that the USSR became the world’s largest prison camp. Under the Tzars at last my ancestors were able, if not encouraged to leave their accommodations “beyond the pale” and come to a place offering greater freedom and opportunity. Since the end of the “Cold War” Russia has moved away from Communism and towards Fascism, now under a new sociopath, Vladimir Putin.
The Chinese Revolution deposed a crumbling empire, ruled by regional satraps into a Communist State, led by another sociopath, “Chairman Mao” and his henchmen/women. Mao died and he was replaced by a faceless group of Communist Party functionaries who embraced “Capitalism”, which in fact seems to have also gone in the Fascist direction. Having known actual American Stalinists and Maoists in the 60’s, these developments since then have given me a kind of bitter amusement at the correctness of my judgment of those I knew and whose blandishments I rejected. They were a humorless lot, who had difficulty relating to people on any genuine level. Perhaps they too were sociopathic in nature, but I really think it was that they were the type of people who needed some authority to follow in their lives and in those instances chose Marx.
Many people, perhaps the majority of the populations anyplace are afraid to stand on their own judgment and seek the authority of some political/economic system, or most especially a religion. I wrote about that awhile ago: https://jonathanturley.org/2012/01/21/the-authoritarians-a-book-review-and-book/ . That guest blog was about the “authoritarian mindset” as detailed by the book “The Authoritarians” which was written by Bob Altemeyer, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. The book is free incidentally and a link to get it is included in the blog. To quote Professor Altemeyer from his book:
“[A] right-wing authoritarian follower doesn’t necessarily have conservative political views. Instead he’s someone who readily submits to the established authorities in society, attacks others in their name, and is highly conventional. It’s an aspect of his personality, not a description of his politics. Right-wing authoritarianism is a personality trait, like being characteristically bashful or happy or grumpy or dopey.
You could have left-wing authoritarian followers as well, who support a revolutionary leader who wants to overthrow the establishment. I knew a few in the 1970s, Marxist university students who constantly spouted their chosen authorities, Lenin or Trotsky or Chairman Mao. Happily they spent most of their time fighting with each other”
I can immediately see an objection raised in the minds of some readers regarding Authoritarians supporting established authorities including government officials. They might well think well the ultra-Conservative Movement is anti-government, so how could they be Authoritarian in personality? The answer is I think easy. ”Authoritarian followers usually support the established authorities in their society, such as government officials and traditional religious leaders.” To many “authoritarians” true authority might come from FOX News, Ayn Rand, Karl Marx, Pat Robertson, or even Adolph Hitler. The innate need that they have driving them is the fact that life itself is and always has been a very scary proposition. To deal with the anxiety that fear produces many people need to reach out for something that will give them a feeling of certainty, whether it is a God, an “Ism”, or even a Glock.
In Salon.com this week the columnist David Sirota wrote about the FDU survey linked above in an article titled Rise of the conservative revolutionaries” he begins:
“There’s plenty of proof of an authoritarian streak and animus toward democratic ideals in today’s conservative movement. There was the movement’s use of its judicial power to halt a vote recount and instead install a president who had lost the popular vote. There is the ongoing GOP effort to make it more difficult for people to cast a vote in an election. There is the GOP’s record use of the Senate filibuster to kill legislation that the vast majority of the country supports. There is a GOP leader’s declaration that what the American people want from their government simply “doesn’t matter.”
Up until today, you might have been able to write all that anti-democratic pathology off as one infecting only the Republican Party’s politicians and institutional leadership, but not its rank-and-file voters. But then this morning Fairleigh Dickinson University released this gun control-related poll showing that authoritarianism runs throughout the entire party.
Take a look at the cross-tabs on page 3 of the national survey. That’s right, you are reading it correctly: Almost half (44 percent) of all self-described Republican voters say they believe “an armed revolution might be necessary to protect our liberties.” Just as bad, more Republicans believe an armed revolution might be necessary than believe one isn’t necessary.” http://www.salon.com/2013/05/01/rise_of_the_conservative_revolutionaries/
In the 2012 election obviously more Americans voted for Barack Obama than for Mitt Romney. In the total vote for the congressional election the majority by far voted for Democratic Congresspeople over Republicans, but gerrymandering skewed the outcome. My point is that currently the population clearly favors the Democrats and in a democratic system one would suppose that the populace would abide by the results of the election. Yet we now see proof, as if it hadn’t been obvious before, that 44% of Republicans believe an armed revolution to support their views might be necessary. Following that the survey also found that including the beliefs of self-described Democrats and Independents a total of 38% of the American populace believes that an armed revolution might we be necessary.
Another way of putting that is that much more than one third of all Americans believe that our system of government and our Constitution has failed, or has been failing. Now truthfully I am among that thirty eight percent, yet I am strongly opposed to the concept of change via armed revolution. This is no dichotomy in my thinking; rather it is my judgment of what I see as the reality of the situation. My background in the social sciences and mental health, combined with my lifelong interest in history and mythology, has led me to the conclusion that most of humanity’s problems are not religious, political and/or economic in causation. Those “Ism’s” are merely the manifestation of the ills of the world, or to put it another way the symptoms. The real cause is rooted in psychological and possibly genetic pathology and is called Sociopathic Behavior. Those who are said to be sociopaths suffer from what is defined in the DSM IV as Anti-Social Personality Disorder. What follows is an overview in the DSM IV “Antisocial Personality Disorder Overview (Written by Derek Wood, RN, BSN, PhD Candidate)”
“Antisocial Personality Disorder results in what is commonly known as a Sociopath. The criteria for this disorder require an ongoing disregard for the rights of others, since the age of 15 years. Some examples of this disregard are reckless disregard for the safety of themselves or others, failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors, deceitfulness such as repeated lying or deceit for personal profit or pleasure, and lack of remorse for actions that hurt other people in any way.”
“People with this disorder appear to be charming at times, and make relationships, but to them, these are relationships in name only. They are ended whenever necessary or when it suits them, and the relationships are without depth or meaning, including marriages. They seem to have an innate ability to find the weakness in people, and are ready to use these weaknesses to their own ends through deceit, manipulation, or intimidation, and gain pleasure from doing so.
They appear to be incapable of any true emotions, from love to shame to guilt. They are quick to anger, but just as quick to let it go, without holding grudges. No matter what emotion they state they have, it has no bearing on their future actions or attitudes.” http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html
Read the overview above and think about how closely that description may well apply to our political leaders, corporate leaders and religious leaders. When we someone like Sarah Palin that description should come to mind. One of the points made in the book “The Authoritarians” which I quoted above is that those who lead those with authoritarian personalities are rarely, if ever true believers in the cause. My take on it is that most of those who lead us humans in the cultural, political or religious sense are sociopaths using a particular doctrine to merely satisfy their own ends. In revolutionary terms they are willing to sacrifice anyone on the altar of their own needs. These leaders then are willing to commit any deed to achieve their ends. Was this not true of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao?
To paraphrase John Lennon “you say you want a revolution well you can count me out”. So we come to my own personal conundrum which is that I see how bad things are, yet I don’t have any real solution to change them. An American Revolution in this current climate will only lead to a Fascist Dictatorship of those who would make the “Tea Party” seem moderate. When one defines the problems in this world in religious, political and/or economic terms one can propose solutions, but I believe that ideological solutions lead to the same dead end, because the problems are the result of sociopathic behavior, with some genetics thrown in. The issue is how do we deal with that successful, yet anti-social behavior and change the country and or the world for the better? I really don’t know, nor have I any long term solutions. I cope with that by trying to report the world around me as I see it and hope that someone much wiser than me, who is not a sociopath, nor a barker of a some palliative nostrum, will come along to help provide ideas that can save us all. Perhaps that someone is you the reader. If so please share your ideas with us and any comfort they may bring.
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger