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Dean on authoritarians

Posted: August 28, 2009 9:42 p.m.
Updated: August 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
In his Sunday, Aug. 16 article on Watergate insider John Dean's visit to Santa Clarita ("Watergate whistle-blower John Dean visits SCV, speaks to local Dems"), Signal staff writer Brian Charles quoted Dean on Democrats: "Trying to lead you people is like herding cats."

Perhaps due to space constraints, Charles could not elaborate on Dean's statement. I would like to now.

Much of Dean's talk described his study of psychological research on the authoritarian personality and those who follow them.

Dean read a list which described authoritarians as typically male, dominating, opposing equality, desiring personal power, amoral, manipulative, exploitive, prone to take advantage of the weak, fear-mongering, specializing in creating false images to sell self, not necessarily religious, willing to cheat to win, bullying, vengeful, pitiless, prejudiced against women, homosexuals and anyone of a different religion, mean-spirited, nationalistic, militant, dishonest and faintly hedonistic.

Dean said authoritarian followers can be either men or women, submissive to authority, aggressive on behalf of authority, respectful of those with power, moralistic, trust untrustworthy authorities, uncritical toward chosen authority, gullible, prone to panic easily, moderate to little education, highly religious, highly self-righteous with little self-awareness and bullying.

Dean stated that the major participants in the Watergate scandal were either of the follower or authoritarian personality type.
He said that in the U.S., authoritarians and their followers are typically Republican.

Conversely, Dean described Democrats as thoughtful, introspective, independent types who make their own decisions on issues and who to follow.

Dean closed his remarks on this topic by saying Republicans march in lockstep. On the other hand, he said, "Trying to lead you people (Democrats) is like herding cats."

Without the context of Dean's remarks, it seems Dean was critical of Democrats, when in fact he was not.


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