essay: Authoritarianism, Corporal Punishment, and Entitlement (and masks) 

I just realized, while making dinner, that there's a direct logical connection between the authoritarian "punishment" model of parenting and the way authoritarian leaders seem to believe that you can screw people over however you like as long as you get away with it.

We raised our kids with the idea that what make an action "right" or "wrong" is the good or harm it does, that you should focus on thinking about what effects your action will have on the world -- not the question of whether or not you will be punished.

On the other hand, punishment-based parenting teaches that what really matters is not the real-world effects of an action, but the "consequences".

...specifically, that is, the consequences to you, the actor.

...not the consequences to anyone else.

...and logically, if nobody finds out what you did, then there are unlikely to be any personal consequences.

Therefore, in this model, an action isn't wrong if you don't get caught.

Not just "whew, got away with it"; it's not wrong

Worse, even if you do get caught, it still isn't wrong if you can pull strings so you don't get punished.

And if you benefit somehow from the action, whether or not it screws other people over, then obviously the action was right -- because you got rewarded.

(If it isn't obvious how closely this matches the behavior of many of our "leaders" -- especially those who hew to the authoritarian Right (US Republicans, Tories, fascists, "free marketists", Trumpists) -- I'll be happy to dig up some examples.)

Anyway, TLDR: authoritarianism is destroying society, thank you for coming to my TED Talk. Please like and subscribe. <curtseys and exits stage Far Left>

P.S. Also this kind of explains why authoritarians are so obsessed with "what the neighbors will think": because (as an adult) your community kind of replaces your parents in determining "consequences" -- and (again) that's all that matters. To them, there is no other measure of "good".

reposted from TwitSpace, September 4

P.P.S. I had thought that this was inspired by a story about a boating accident in which a man thought his tiny pleasure-boat was entitled to right-of-way against a ferry because he was a customer -- but apparently I actually first saw that story two days later

I think it was actually inspired by anti-maskers, whose behavior can be explained by the theory that to them, their social rights and privileges are all that matters, and the natural consequence (increased risk of acquiring or spreading infection) is either nonexistent or morally insignificant.

Also also, I'm going to plug this book again because it really explained a lot of things for me: The Authoritarians. It's a lay detailing of scientific findings about right-wing authoritarianism. Free download, no strings.

(P.P.P.S. I think this is my longest toot evar. Hooray for no length-limits!)

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