GOP = Authoritarian
Specifically, authoritarian parent!
That’s the finding of a researcher-author I heard interviewed driving kids around last night. The new car came with a free satellite radio trial and I was trying out some new channels.
“Authoritarian” equals order and control, tradition and therefore fear of and resistance to change such as women and minorities getting the vote, immigrants streaming across a border changing the economy and voting patterns, the competitive rise of other nations in world affairs, same-sex marriage rights, etc.
Hence any challenge to authorities that keep order and control is the ultimate offense.
GOP is increasingly authoritarian because it feels increasingly under threat, which causes emotion to take over cognition in the attempt to resolve those threats and restore “order.”
And apparently an increasingly accurate way to predict American political party by degree of authoritarianism, is to ask not about policy issues directly but about parenting priorities and attitudes. Right up Snook’s alley!
It makes sense then, that loving uniforms and clear hierarchy and rules and order whether military, police, gun-bearing militia (even zero tolerance in school discipline and dress codes) are predictably not Democratic.
And it makes sense that like parenting, politics too can turn coercive and even criminally abusive. When traditional Authority fears losing control, it does in fact lose control!
For parents who are desperate for control over their children, when spanking doesn’t work (and often, it will not), the relationship turns abusive, either physically or emotionally or both.
Their survey instrument was described as a series of forced choices between pairs of words such as curiosity or manners, kindness or obedience. The interviewees choose which they believe is more important of the two qualities or attributes or behaviors, to develop in children. Authoritarian responses were found increasingly to correlate with Republican politics, non-authoritarian responses with Democratic politics.
(They demonstrate that our growing polarization is recent since 2000 — maybe the 9-11 terrorist masterminds knew exactly how to destroy us from within, by hyperactivating authoritarian Americans for life-or-death, black-or-white civil war for control?)
And it makes sense then, that the political “parent rights” movement is FROM the Right.
“Where political science has a long tradition of seeing political conflict through the lens of ‘issues’ debates about public policy, Hetherington and Weiler see the fundamental sorting process as instead a matter of personality.
For them the new defining reality of American politics is a choice between authoritarian and non-authoritarian styles of reacting. The widely noted polarization of American politics is from their viewpoint a polarization between people, some of whom hold a worldview where issues are simple, choices black and white, and tradition a reliable guide to action, and others who prefer complexity, nuance, and change.
Because these differences of worldview involve cherished symbols, they produce a party politics of deadlock.”
-James A. Stimson, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill