A few thoughts before we look at the event cited in this entry’s title…
Studies indicate that roughly 30% of people have what is called an “authoritarian personality,” signified by three correlative traits:
Authoritarian submission — a high degree of submissiveness to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.
Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities.
Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities, and a belief that others in one’s society should also be required to adhere to these norms. (Source: The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer)
You can spot this syndrome easily enough, especially in these days when an entire “news” network is designed to cater to that personality. Lately I’ve been seeing it in some people’s comments regarding the TSA’s pointless and Draconian screening of American citizens in airports.
An author who’s one of my Facebook friends posted this as his status:
So tired of all of the body scanner bitching. Scan me. Pat me up and pat me down. I don’t care as long as I don’t get blown up. This is the world we’ve made for ourselves, and it’s not changing anytime soon. If you don’t like it, don’t fly.
That’s very much an authoritarian statement (though not evidence in itself of an authoritarian personality, I don’t know the guy well enough to pin that on him).
Someone else replied to his post:
I agree. I rather be safe. Unfortunately, this politically correct world is what it is.
Woven firmly through both statements is an assumption that what is being done is just fine because those in authority have decided it’s what must be done. Continue reading →
A book came out earlier this year that needs to find its way into every house, every library, and especially every young reader’s hands, though even older folks should read it because it’s one of those works which speaks to its time in very important ways.
The book is Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. It’s about what happens when some tech-savvy teenagers are victimized by the national security cult running the USA these days, and the kids’ resulting stand against that cult and the government itself. It’s bracing, intelligent, important stuff, and it reads like a high-quality pulp page-turner.
Little Brother is widely available in bookstores, and of course on Amazon. But Cory has also made it available for free: