Donald Trump could be just the first of many Trumps in American politics. (Amanda Taub)

Whether or not you care about American politics, watch this chilling video:

Amanda Taub outlines a concept political scientists have labelled “authoritarianism”. She illustrates with brutal news clips how Donald Trump is appealing to people who are looking for “authoritarian” leadership and how the Republican Party in the US has been captured by people who can generally be designated as “authoritarian.”

This is not about “dictatorship.” It cannot be clearly demonstrated, according to social researchers that, at this point, Trump supporters are actually looking for a new Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, or Saddam Hussein. What they are looking for is a “strongman leader” (nb: the term is “strongman“). This “strongman” leader will be “punitive” and will target “out-groups.”

He will present

a simple, forceful leadership style that makes people feel strong.

People to whom authoritarian leadership appeals are people who have

a worldview that values order and authority.

And they

distrust outsiders and social change.

How do you assess who are the voters who will be attracted to the “strongman leader”? It turns out, you cannot ask them directly. But there seems to be a striking correlation between those who seek a “strongman leader” and their expressed preferences when asked about childrearing. So researchers ask:

Which is more important for a child to have:

                             independence or
                             respect for elders

                             obedience or

                             curiosity or
                             good manners

Of course these are not mutually exclusive, and ideally one would hope for both in one’s children. But adults who choose “respect for elders,” “obedience” and “good manners” over “independence”, “self-reliance” and “curiosity” are vastly more likely to find the “strong man” leader appealing.

It is no mistake that James Dobson, founder of “Focus On The Family” and certainly a man in the “authoritarian” camp, titled his first book, Dare To Discipline.

“Authoritarianism” is founded on insecurity and driven by fear. Those to whom “authoritarianism” appeals find the changes taking place in contemporary culture profoundly unsettling and deeply threatening. The world feels like an unsafe place. The ground seems to be constantly shifting. “Authoritarians” are drawn to apocalyptic visions of the world. Society is a machine that is running down. The barbarian hordes are at the gates. We must resist and fight against the decline of our culture.

Someone needs to step up to the plate and take charge, lest we find ourselves engulfed in chaos.

The “authoritarian” worldview does not do well with ambiguity, nuance and paradox. “Authoritarians” are uncomfortable with uncertainty. They have a low tolerance for difference.

The problem is that the human condition is filled with ambiguity, nuance, paradox, uncertainty, and difference. And this is a good thing. The natural world thrives on diversity and adaptation; change is essential for the well-being of all life forms.

A worldview that divides people into good guys “like us” and bad guys “who are different” and seeks to eliminate all difference, is fundamentally out of touch with reality and terribly dangerous.

“Authoritarianism” can only look after its own. Anyone who does not fit the mold must be forced to conform or must have their behaviour controlled by a powerful authority figure. But, not everyone will conform. So, the “authoritarian” is driven to greater violence and increasingly draconian measures to enforce the only authorized vision of the world. Hence, although those seeking authoritarian leadership may not start out looking for a dictator. Dictatorship is where they are headed. The “first Trump” may seem benign next to the one who is likely to follow.

Trump Authoritarian


nb: “If you think the white-guy grievance movement will die after Donald Trump’s likely landslide defeat this November, think again. There will be plenty of filterless, self-pitying dunces to carry the torch in Trump’s place.”