Moral Contradictions

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Authoritarianism plus conservatism = kinda scary

A few days ago I posted a Sinclair Lewis quote, "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." I was lambasted, quite unfairly, for posting that as a warning. I did not state that fascism would come to America, but I do agree that if it does, Lewis nailed the vehicle on which it would arrive.

Last night I came across a clip from Keith Olbermann's Countdown with John Dean. The clip is over 10 minutes long, but compelling.

First, a bit of an introduction. The person Keith is interviewing is not Michael Moore or Al Franken or even Hillary Clinton. John Dean was the former counsel for the Nixon White House - that's right - Nixon. He's a self-described "Goldwater conservative". I saw him on The Daily Show and he joked that in today's spectrum, that probably puts him just left of center.

He wrote a book, "Conservative Without Conscience", in which he explains how little-known studies on how authority figures have effected and are shaping the course of conservatism. The studies were began over fifty years ago to determine how events such as Communism in the Soviet Union and fascism in Italy and Germany took hold. Communism of course, is authoritarianism from the left and fascism is from the right.

Dean's conclusions could very well reveal the forces behind the takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. An enemy was used to coalesce the group - liberals. Anyone who dared question the leaders were named liberals and thrown out on the street. The ends justified the means - meaning that Christian principles, or consciences, were put aside as individual's careers and lives were sacrificed for the greater group.

Please do not comment until you watch the entire video. You may read a rush transcript and follow along, but you must watch it. Besides, it's compelling to hear how someone from a group starts asking questions about that group and finds answers that are not what they expected - and are open-minded enough to share them.


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