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Re: [prezveepsenator] Re: The "L" word

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  • THOMAS JOHNSON
    The following is an excerpt from a John Dean interview by Keith Olbermann on last Monday s Countdown. John Dean warns us that we are much closer to fascism
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 15, 2006
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      The following is an excerpt from a John Dean interview
      by Keith Olbermann on last Monday's "Countdown."
      John Dean warns us that we are much closer to fascism
      than this nation has ever been before... fascinating
      stuff from the former Nixon staffer:

      Olbermann: "It's interesting there was so much
      personal in that letter from Mr. Hoekstra to Mr. Bush,
      that it seemed that there was as much offense taken
      that he personally, Mr. Hoekstra did not know what Mr.
      Bush's people were doing as any violation of law
      there. Does this sort of segue us into the topic of
      the book, that there's way too much personal going on
      here rather than politically professional?"

      John Dean: "Well, I think, you know, the question is
      really what had happened at the presidential or the
      vice-presidential level. A lot of these efforts to
      withhold information from the Congress are really
      coming out Cheney's office. It may well be his office
      giving instructions, and the President might have
      given Hoekstra an assurance, 'Hey, I'm going to give
      you everything I've got when I got it,' and he might
      have been offended by that. So it's hard to tell. We
      don't have enough facts yet, but to say again to the
      end of the book there certainly are a number of
      conservatives up there who will march in lockstep when
      they get the word from the authority they are expected
      to follow."

      Olbermann: "That would be the thesis of the book, and
      we'll go into that at length, but I wanted to start at
      the very beginning. You dedicated this book to Barry
      Goldwater. What would he, in your opinion, having
      known him and having dealt with him on these political
      issues, have thought of the current conservative
      movement as it has become? And what would the
      conservative movement have thought of him at this
      point? What do they think of him now?"

      Dean: "Well, that's a, I think right now we can say --
      in fact, I discuss this in the book -- that Goldwater
      Republicanism is really RIP. It's been put to rest by
      most of the people who are now active in moving the
      movement further to the right than it's ever been. I
      think the Senator before he departed was very
      distressed with conservatism. In fact, it was our
      conversations back in 1994 that started this book.
      It's really where I began. We wanted to find answers
      to the questions as to why Republicans were acting as
      they were, why conservatives had taken over the party
      and were being followed, you know, as easily as they
      were in taking the party where he didn't think it
      should go."

      Olbermann: "What did you find? In less than 200 pages
      that the book goes to?"

      Dean: "I ran into a massive study that had really been
      going on for 50 years now, by academics, they've never
      really shared this with the general public. It's
      remarkable analysis of the authoritarian personality,
      both those who are inclined to follow leaders and
      those who jump in front and want to be the leaders. It
      was not the opinion of social scientists. It was
      information they drew by questioning large numbers of
      people, hundreds of thousands of people, in anonymous
      testing where they conceded, you know, their innermost
      feelings and reactions to things. And it turned out
      that these people were, most of these that came out in
      the testing were people who had been prequalified to
      be conservatives, and then they found that this indeed
      fit with the authoritarian personality."

      Olbermann: "Does it really, do the studies indicate
      that it really has anything to do with the political
      point-of-view? Is it, would it be easier to
      essentially superimpose authoritarianism over the
      right than it would the left? Is it theoretically
      possible that they could have gone in either direction
      and it's just a question of people who like to follow
      other people?"

      Dean: "They have found really maybe a small, one
      percent of the left who follow authoritarianism,
      probably the far left. But as far as widespread
      testing, it is just overwhelmingly conservative
      orientation."

      Olbermann: "There is an extraordinary amount of
      academic work that you quote in the book. A lot of it
      is very unsettling. It deals with psychological
      principles that are frightening and that may have
      faced other nations at other times in Germany and
      Italy in the 30s coming to mind in particular. How
      does it apply now? And to what degree should it scare
      us? And to what degree is it something that might
      still be forestalled?"

      Dean: "Well, to me it was something of an epiphany to
      run into this information. First, I'd never read about
      it before, I'd sort of worked my way into it until I
      found it. It's not generally known out there what's
      going on. And I think from best we can tell, these
      people, the followers, a few of them will change their
      ways when they realize what they're doing. They're not
      even aware of their behavior. The leaders, those who
      were inclined to dominate, are not going to change a
      second. They're going to be what they are. So, by and
      large, the reason I write about this is I think we
      need to understand it and realize when you take a
      certain step and vote a certain way and head in a
      certain direction where this can end up. So it's sort
      of a cautionary note. It's a warning as to where this
      can go because other countries have gone there."

      Olbermann: "And the idea of leaders and followers
      going down this path and perhaps taking a country with
      them requires, this whole edifice requires an enemy --
      communism, al-Qaeda, Democrats, me, whoever -- for the
      two minutes hate. I mean, there is, we overuse, I
      overuse the Orwellian analogies to nauseating
      proportions, but it really was, in reading what you
      wrote about, and especially what the academics talked
      about there was that two minutes hate thing. There has
      to be an opponent, an enemy to coalesce around or the
      whole thing falls apart. So is that the gist of it?"

      Dean: "It is one of the things that, believe it or
      not, still holds conservatism together because there
      are many factions in conservatism, and their dislike
      or hatred of those they portray as liberal, who will
      be anybody who basically disagrees with them, is one
      of the cohesive factors. There are a few others, but
      that's certainly one of the basics. There's no
      question that the, particularly the followers, they're
      terribly very aggressive in their effort to pursue and
      help their authority figure out, or there authority
      beliefs out. They will do whatever needs to be done in
      many regards. They will blindly follow. They stay
      loyal too long. And this is the frightening part of
      it."

      Olbermann: "Let me read something from the book. Let
      me read this one quote, then I have a question about
      it. 'Many people believe that neoconservatives and
      many Republicans appreciate that they are more likely
      to maintain influence and control of the presidency if
      the nation remains under ever-increasing threats of
      terrorism, so they have no hesitation in pursuing
      policies that can provoke potential terrorists
      throughout the world.' That's ominous not just in the
      sense that authoritarians involved in conservatism and
      now Republicanism would politicize counterterror here,
      which we've already argued that point on many
      occasions. But are you actually saying here they would
      set up, encourage terrorism from other countries to
      set them up as a bogeyman to have again that group to
      hate here, that group to more importantly afraid of
      here?"

      Dean: "What I'm saying is that there has been fear
      mongering the likes of which we have not seen in a
      long time in this country. It happened early in the
      Cold War. We got accustomed to it, we learned to live
      with it, we learned to understand what it was about
      and get it in proportion. We haven't done that yet
      with terrorism. And this administration is really
      capitalizing on it and using it for its political
      advantage. No question, the academic testing shows,
      the empirical evidence shows that when people are
      frightened, they tend to go to these authority
      figures, they tend to become more conservative. So
      it's paid off for them politically to do this."

      Olbermann: "This all seems to require not merely
      venality or immorality, but a kind of amorality where
      morals don't enter into it at all. We're right, so
      anything we do to preserve our process, our power,
      even if it by itself is wrong, it's right in the
      greater sense. It's that wonderful rationalization
      that everybody uses in small doses throughout their
      lives. But is this idea, this sort of psychological
      review of the whole thing, does it apply to Dick
      Cheney? Does it apply to George Bush? Does it apply to
      Bill Frist? Who are the names on these authoritarian
      figures?"

      Dean: "You just named three that I discuss in some
      length in the book. I focused in the book not on the
      Bush administration and Cheney and the President, but
      I, because they really, I've been there, done that.
      But I wanted to understand is what they have done is
      they've made it legitimate to have authoritarianism.
      It was already operating on Capitol Hill. After the
      '94 control by the Republicans of the Congress, it
      recreated the mood, it restructured the Congress
      itself in a very authoritarian style, in the House in
      particular. The Senate hasn't gone there yet, but it's
      going there because more House members are moving
      over. This atmosphere is what Bush and Cheney walked
      into. They are authoritarian personalities, Cheney
      much more so than Bush."

      Olbermann: "Yeah."

      Dean: "And they have made it legitimate and they have
      taken it way past where anybody's ever taken it in the
      United States."

      Olbermann: "Our society's best defense against that is
      what? Do we have to hope that, as you suggested, the
      people who follow wise up and break away from this
      sort of lockstep salute that, well of course they're
      right, of course there's WMD, of course there are
      terrorists, of course there's al-Qaeda, of course
      everything is the way the President says it, or do we
      rely on the hope that these are fanatics and fanatics
      always screw up because they would rather believe in
      their own cause than double-check their own math?"

      Dean: "The lead researcher in this field told me, he
      said I look at the numbers in the United States and I
      see about 23 percent of the population who are pure
      right-wing authoritarian followers. They're not going
      to change. They're going to march over the cliff. The
      best thing to deal with them, and they're growing, and
      they have a tremendous influence on Republican
      politics. The best thing, the best defense is
      understanding them, to realize what they're doing, how
      they're doing it, and how they operate. Then it can be
      kept in perspective. Then they can be seen for what
      they are."

      Olbermann: "Did any of this ring familiar to you from
      the Nixon administration? Or is this a different
      world?"

      Dean: "No, I must say that about everything that went
      wrong with Watergate, you could really count to
      authoritarianism, as well."

      Olbermann: "Give me an example. In other words, not
      getting away with it was a result of it, too?"

      Dean: "Take Gordon Liddy and his following whatever
      Nixon wants, even a hint of anything he wants. Salute,
      yes sir, let's do it."

      Olbermann: "And the story that he has told about you
      and you've told about him about him saying I have all
      of this knowledge in my brain that could bring the
      President of the United States down, tell me to go and
      stand in a corner and what was the rest of it?"

      Dean: "Tell me where you want me shot. He said I don't
      want you shooting me in my house because I've got
      children. But shoot me on the street corner. That's a
      loyal right-wing authoritarian follower in action at
      the extreme."

      Olbermann: "You've been an historian, you've been a
      part of history. You've been at one of the central
      moments of history in the 20th century. What kind of
      danger, are we facing a legitimate threat to the
      concept of democracy in this country?"

      Dean: "I don't think we're in a fascist road right
      now. We are so close to it though, Keith. That's why I
      wrote the book. Because I want people to understand
      exactly what is going on and why it's going on."

      Olbermann: "It is an extraordinary document. All the
      best with it. John Dean, former counsel, White House
      counsel to Richard Nixon, author of the new book,
      Conservatives without Conscience. As always, sir,
      great thanks for coming in."
      --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

      > > "Long ago, there was a noble word, liberal, which
      > derives from the
      > > word free. Now a strange thing happened to that
      > word. A man named
      > > Hitler made it a term of abuse, a matter of
      > suspicion, because those
      > > who were not with him were against him, and
      > liberals had no use for
      > > Hitler. And then another man named McCarthy cast
      > the same opprobrium
      > > on the word. Indeed, there was a time - a short
      > but dismaying time -
      > > when many Americans began to distrust the word
      > which derived from
      > > free." - Eleanor Roosevelt, Tomorrow Is Now
      >
      > Some 40 years later, a new generation of Hitlers and
      > McCarthies are
      > still demonizing the word "liberal" when love and
      > peace and tolerance
      > are needed more than ever in our world. How much
      > does it take for
      > people to wake up?
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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