• Wallows
    For those of you who don't know the "Kool-Aid" reference is the stuff that right-wingers "drink" or are fed through the media, such as Fox News and other right-wing outlets. I've tried to educate myself about the psychology or mentality of a right-wing-authoritarian, through Bob Altemeyer's book called The Authoritarians. In it, the author describes a highly compartmentalized mind with a deficit of critical thinking skills manifest in asserting/domineering attitude cultural norms and traditions over novelty and progress. That's a brief and rough sketch, so sorry if that distorts the issue.

    I've been following CNN's, C-SPAN, and other news outlets on Facebook, and am somewhat astonished by the comments I'm reading there. People are acting like this guy is some divine intervention in the history of American presidents.

    Anyway, it seems clear that fear and paranoia are being fed to the masses at abnormally high rates (more than usual) directly from the president to his base. One wonders who is writing down all this crap for Trump and orchestrating his policies and agenda? There's something diabolical about all this; but, I can't put my finger on it. Any ideas?
  • Wallows
    Here's a brief sketch of the book referenced in the OP:

  • Mattiesse
  • Pelle
    It's simply a populist agenda that has taken hold in the Midwestern middle class because of their diminishing status on the global market. Examples are how Trump is "bringing back coal and steel". Many Blue Collar Americans become entrenched in this movement out of desperation and subsquently become ideologically possesed.
  • Bitter Crank
    According to this angry woman (there are so many) there are 3 characteristics of the right-wing authoritarian personality:

    Authoritarian submission: submissiveness and acceptance of authorities which are perceived to be legitimate and established in society, such as government or the police.

    Authoritarian aggression: aggression against outgroups and “deviants”–people who the established authority mark as targets. Examples of this includes travellers, immigrants, Muslims and other kinds of scapegoats.

    Conventialism: high adherence to traditions and established social norms. This can manifest in a respect for “traditional family values”, for example.

    Seems like an adequate description of the RW authoritarian. Now, left-wing authoritarians are pretty much the same except their list of deviants is not the same and LW authoritarians require at least some deviance from conventional norms.

    Authoritarians of any stripe also tend to have closed minds. This makes sense because authoritarians know what is good, true, and beautiful. Authoritarians (whatever stripe) tend to be controllers. Not "control freaks" exactly, but they can't accommodate others in decision making unless the decisions are entirely to their liking.

    As for drinking the KoolAid™, "Drinking the Kool-Aid" is an expression commonly used in the United States that refers to a person who believes in a possibly doomed or dangerous idea because of perceived potential high rewards." The origin of "drinking the Kool Aid" is the mass suicide (+ murder) of over 900 people in Jonestown, Guyana on November 18, 1978. The group was started in Los Angeles, if I remember correctly. Jim Jones (the authoritarian running the show) chose grape flavored Kool Aid laced with cyanide and a sedative -- they mixed up a barrel of the stuff, 1/2 of which was used to kill everybody off.

    The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe is an example of "new journalism" and is about Ken Kesey, apostle of psychedelia and leader of the Merry Pranksters, etc. etc. etc.

    Kool Aid Kool Aid tastes great!
    Wish I had some. Can't wait.
  • Bitter Crank
    Does Trump need help making up the stuff he says? "You can't make this stuff up" so the saying goes. It's just too off the wall! No, I think Trump thinks up his own claptrap.

    As for fear and paranoia, you know... "If you are not fearful and paranoid, you're not paying attention." A lot of stuff is going haywire, of which Trump is but one instance. There are good reasons to be at least somewhat fearful and paranoid.
  • Nils Loc
    The Paranoid Style in American Politics (Richard Hofstadter, 1964)

    In American experience ethnic and religious conflict have plainly been a major focus for militant and suspicious minds of this sort, but class conflicts also can mobilize such energies. Perhaps the central situation conducive to the diffusion of the paranoid tendency is a confrontation of opposed interests which are (or are felt to be) totally irreconcilable, and thus by nature not susceptible to the normal political processes of bargain and compromise. The situation becomes worse when the representatives of a particular social interest—perhaps because of the very unrealistic and unrealizable nature of its demands—are shut out of the political process. — The Paranoid Style in American Politics (Richard Hofstadter, 1964)

    Think Pelle said as much but this essay is famous and and will probably be relevant until we go extinct (when all the Kool-Aids have been drunk and we're finally dead).
  • Wallows
    Thanks for the sobering responses everyone.
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