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Five Whys

There’s a new study from Texas A&M that says that white bigotry is correlated with authoritarianism:

Since the founding of the United States, politicians and pundits have warned that partisanship is a danger to democracy. George Washington, in his Farewell Address, worried that political parties, or factions, could “allow cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men” to rise to power and subvert democracy. More recently, many political observers are concerned that increasing political polarization on left and right makes compromise impossible, and leads to the destruction of democratic norms and institutions.

A new study, however, suggests that the main threat to our democracy may not be the hardening of political ideology, but rather the hardening of one particular political ideology. Political scientists Steven V. Miller of Clemson and Nicholas T. Davis of Texas A&M have released a working paper titled “White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy.” Their study finds a correlation between white American’s intolerance, and support for authoritarian rule. In other words, when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy.

Their conclusions are pretty scary. It turns out that the white aggrieved voter is more likely to think that if “those people” are going to get stuff, then nobody is going to get stuff. They are more likely to install a strongman who will impose his will on the populace to deliberately make sure nobody gets stuff in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

Now, we weren’t like this 30 years ago. Sure, we were all newly aware of Cadillac driving welfare queens by Reagan. They never really existed or not in great numbers. And I don’t think anyone would disagree with the notion that generational poverty is a problem in need of a solution.

But why are white people so damned angry with the idea that some people might get things from the government? I’m here to tell you, oh best beloveds, that bad things can and do happen to hard working, well educated people who play by the rules. You can’t really appreciate that until you’ve been laid off during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and your kid gets sick and you have to pay medical expenses and everything else out of your dwindling savings. That can happen to anyone, regardless of color or ethnicity or education level.

So why is it so important for white people to push everyone, including themselves off the safety net and at the same time, embrace a guy who cracks down on anyone who steps out of line?

To get to a root cause, you need to use the five whys technique.

First why: why are white people so afraid and angry with people of color, immigrants and poor people?

It’s because the messages they are getting from their media outlets and some of their politicians reinforce that message and encourage it.

Why do they encourage fear and anger of people of color, immigrants and poor people?

Take it from there.

34 Responses

  1. It’s because the messages they are getting from their media outlets and some of their politicians reinforce that message and encourage it.

    I don’t know why they do it but Exhibit A as Reines says:

    • I am not clicking on the NYT article. But Iglesias tweet showed a pic that said ‘unconfirmed accusations’ instead of ‘unconfirmed claims’. Did the NYT change the word? Still not better.

    • Nope, by saying “…unconfirmed accusations/claims…” you are implicitly saying (for him on his behalf) that there is a chance that they may be confirmed at some point which is not the case here. AT ALL. His accusations/claims are baseless and can’t be confirmed or unconfirmed because they are all made up and are lies which is what you should be saying. Learn to write and write well. Go back to journalism school.

  2. A couple of high-profile indictments from Mueller would be good right about now or take away the buffoon’s twitter account. One or the other. Life is not normal in America, these days.

  3. Now, we weren’t like this 30 years ago. Sure, we were all newly aware of Cadillac driving welfare queens by Reagan.

    We’re not like this now either. That “study” is a bunch of pseudoscientific crap dressed up in the language of academia. Its purpose to reinforce your (incorrect) preconceptions about Trump supporters.

    BTW – 30 years ago was 1988. You must be thinking of 50 years ago.

  4. Re-posting from last thread:

    Not A Tea Party, A Confederate Party


    • This is an amazing read, and puts into words all the reasons why I’ve always been so distrustful of “southern” lifestyle proponents.

  5. Also from last thread:

  6. OMG!! This was swift and for a show that never should have started again. Just this morning, I was thinking about how everyone is failing to do their duty in protecting and safeguarding this democracy. But this reasonably quick resolution to that garbage of a woman is commendable.

    • this wins the thread…

      • Roseanne didn’t have an embittered, and still dangerous, foreign ex-superpower, plus that foreign power’s traitorous tycoons and their political minions here, backing her up.

  7. Yes, we get it: Democrats hate white people. RD, why don’t you check your privilege and turn your website over to a brave woman of color who surely is more deserving than you?

    • No, we despise bigots, Blizzy.

      Not all of us white people are like you.

    • Also, deserving people of color can form their own websites, as many of them have indeed done. One can make a website for free, you know.

    • I don’t run the numbers. But I think you miss the point. It could apply to any dominant group that feels threatened. Once they think they have to share with people that are not them, they’d rather slit their own throats first.

      The idea that I hate white people is ludicrous. I don’t. But the ones who are having the most trouble adjusting to the new reality happen to be white. See the difference??

      Here’s a better question: why do white people feel a sense of scarcity? Ok you work on that and come back when you have an answer.

  8. Barr called a black woman an ape. There’s no explaining that away, she really is deplorable.

    • She has been saying toxic things and her support of trump and promoting conspiracies were damaging enough but finally the day of reckoning did arrive. When is trump’s turn?

      • Her rebooted show’s ratings were great, too. She’d be riding high if she had kept her reactionary opinions to herself.

        • Frankly, I was surprised how swiftly ABC took action after this latest tweet about VJ. She went after Chelsea too.

          • Lord Mouse (h/t Gore Vidal) is not pleased when his servants threaten his profit margins.

            I imagine Mickey Mouse saying in his high-pitched voice, “You have failed me for the last time,” and then Force-choking Roseanne.

    • I love me some Wonkette. 😈

  9. I have seen this in a lot of conservatives. They know their time is running out and so they only see authoritarianism as a solution. They also see being against white supremacy as “hating white people”. To them white supremacy is the natural order of things.

  10. OMG, this is the best of these memes I have seen. trump has released all the crazies, corrupt, uncouth, uncivilized, uneducated who don’t know what they don’t know, who don’t know what they don’t understand into this ‘first’ world and made them warlords.

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