Wednesday, August 16, 2006

They will hang with them forever. They're like lemmings

* john dean on demnow:
"Now, are we on the road to fascism? No. The problem is we're not very far from it. And I’m told by the experts in that area that if it comes here, it will come with a smile on its face, and we'll give up things that we’ll wish we’d never given up.
AMY GOODMAN: What is the response of listeners and viewers?

JOHN DEAN: Well, that surprised me more than anything, because, you know, I understood that a lot of moderates, progressive liberals would say, “Ah, this is fascinating. This is what we always suspected,” and conservatives would reject it. To the contrary. Those who I would call thinking conservatives, conservatives with a conscience, are very aware of this problem. They're very troubled by it. There is no question they recognize it.

In fact, in doing some of the call-in shows, the hosts have expected me to be barraged by hostile callers. Exactly the opposite have happened, where callers have called and said, “John, we realize this is a part of our movement, and we know we're nasty. We know we're mean-spirited, and we do this for whatever reason.” So it hasn't been a rejection of it, and maybe it's spread some understanding of it. Another reason, of course, you do a book like this is, if we ever have another 9/11, God forbid, it will probably -- it could be worse, and it could drive more people into these ranks.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think Bush administration officials should be tried for war crimes?

JOHN DEAN: You know, that's a question -- I’ve been looking and talking to people like John Conyers about the whole question of whether impeachment should be pursued if they gather control. I don't think there's any question in my mind they're going to. Now, whether that will go to the next stage or not, into war crimes or not, you know, I don't think that's realistically going to happen in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: It's interesting that the latest news of the Bush administration attempting to quietly rewrite the War Crimes Act.

JOHN DEAN: Unbelievable. You know, I’ve thought about this. I thought, you know, Richard Nixon in his darkest day, in his worst mood, I can't imagine endorsing or recommending torture. He was in World War II. I watched him handle My Lai and how he felt about that and how he was horrified by it. And yet we have a presidency today that is indeed embracing and still pushing for torture as the norm for how we treat detainees. And it is to me just a classic example of a conservative without conscience. It's the authoritarian at his worst."

AMY GOODMAN: You also have a quote at the beginning of your book by Professor Bob Altemeyer: "If you think the United States could never elect an Adolf Hitler to power, note that David Duke would have become governor of Louisiana if it had just been up to the white voters in that state." A lot of people criticize any references to the Holocaust or Adolf Hitler, when talking about what's going on in this country.

JOHN DEAN: Well, Altemeyer is one of the finest and most leading authorities in this question of authoritarianism. He was most gracious to me to take me where I spent almost a year in this body of science as an outsider. The inexplicable thing to me, and actually to him, is that this science has never been explained outside the academic community. And it's information Americans need. It's something that should be in the public square and for discussion.

Altemeyer makes that point, because it's very real. And he actually, ironically, started writing some of his peer journal material in peer-level books during Watergate, when he was struck at how long so many Americans clung to the Nixon presidency, never willing to say that this man had done anything wrong, down to -- it gets to about 23% to this day thinks he did no wrong. He said, “John, that's a very typical pattern in the demographics in the United States of the hardcore authoritarian followers, that their leaders can do -- or their authority figures can do no wrong. They won't question them. They will hang with them forever. They're like lemmings.”

Unfortunately, those numbers have grown substantially since 9/11. The Republicans, the Bush administration realizes this, not necessarily from this science, but just from their own polling, that fear-mongering works, and they're doing it in spades again. It's going to be the norm for the mid-term election.
hang together, or hang separately.


Miguel said...

How can you "not be very far from fascism" but not "on the road" to it? I think John is worried about being labeled a conspiracy theorist, so he is parsing his words.

lukery said...

it's a formulation that he has used before.

it's a sad reflection of the media environment that people have to use these expressions.

i'm reminded of everytime kean & hamilton get asked the (stupid) question - 'are we safer now than we were then?' - and they answer, always, 'we are safer, but still not safe'

everything's comin up kabuki :-)

Don said...

DEAN: I’ve been looking and talking to people like John Conyers about the whole question of whether impeachment should be pursued if they gather control. I don't think there's any question in my mind they're going to.

Luke:hang together, or hang separately.

I say just hang them as too many of them should have been hung years ago.

lukery said...

they certainly test the strength of my resolve re the death penalty

btw - i was ref'ing ben franklin in case you missed it: "We must hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately."

Don said...

I did catch the reference, but I suspect this bunch would have Ben sending out invitations for kite flying, complete with crowd participation during the dramatic parts.

Hell, I almost hope the wingnuts are right about the Rapture. Considering this pack of rats isn't likely to be catching the A train north, one could hope the founding fathers hang back a bit to kick some righteous ass in Washington before they ascend.

lukery said...


Franklin was all science-y - what would he know.

rimone said...

what y'all said but what Miguel said most.