Fanatical Fundies Fear Freedom
you yell at them be a great superpower?
[Note: If you're reading this in a feed reader, you may need to visit my website to see the audio players.]
I discovered a good interview program on the local low-power NPR affiliate. It’s called Your Call. From what I can tell, it’s like Fresh Air, but liberaler.
Friday’s program featured an interview with Max Blumenthal, who wrote Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party. One of the best parts of this interview is Blumenthal gets into the heads of the fundies and tries to figure out what makes them tick. He bases his explanations of their behavior mostly on the psychological theory of Erich Fromm.
Psychology works best when it describes behavior. When it tries to explain the reasons behind that behavior, it can get into some really tenuous territory. Keeping that in mind, Blumenthal’s explanations nonetheless seem like they could at least partially explain some of these wackos’ motivations. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
Blumenthal mentions Erich Fromm’s book Escape from Freedom. Wikipedia says:
Fromm distinguishes between “freedom from” (negative freedom) and “freedom to” (positive freedom). The former refers to the process of becoming emancipated from the restrictions placed on humanity by other people or institutions. This has often been fought for historically but is not of much inherent value unless accompanied by a creative element, “freedom to”; the use of freedom to behave in ways which are constructive and respond to the genuine needs and wants of the free individual/society by creating a new system of social order.
Right off the bat, you can see that “freedom to” leads people away from the dictatorial decrees of God and replaces them with some sort of man-made morality and social structure. Can’t have that!
The Wikipedia article describes Fromm’s ideas of escaping freedom:
As “freedom from” is not an experience we enjoy in itself, Fromm suggests that many people, rather than utilizing it successfully, attempt to minimise its negative effects by developing thoughts and behaviors that provide some form of security.
They then list those three approaches. See if you can guess which approach fundies use (hint: it’s #1!):
Here’s how they summarize Authoritarianism:
Fromm characterizes the authoritarian personality as containing a sadist element and a masochist element. The authoritarian wishes to gain control over other people in a bid to impose some kind of order on the world, they also wish to submit to the control of some superior force which may come in the guise of a person or an abstract idea.
So take that for what it’s worth. I definitely agree that the authoritarians want to gain control over other people and impose their sick and twisted view of reality upon them.
Here they talk a bit more about Fromm and how his ideas relate to the fundies:
Bingo! Look at those last sentences again:
[W]hen they rely on their individual wills, they feel like they can’t moderate their behavior. They can’t control themselves.
You’ve probably heard arguments against atheism that go like this:
Projection is typical fundie behavior. Fundies seem to run amuck and indulge in all their baser desires whenever there is nothing to hold them back.
(Actually, Ted Haggard probably had the benefit of a reach-around to hold him back.)
Just because they can’t be trusted without a punitive authoritarian God hanging over their heads, the fundies assume that no one else can either.
It appears to me that individuals with Fundie Personality Disorder™ require blind adherence to a god-like figure. We would be doing society a grave disservice if we somehow found a way to eliminate religion from America. Sufferers of FPD would find an even more destructive substitute. (Probably fascism. That seems like the closest political structure, and it seems to be the natural direction it flows.)
There’s a lot more good stuff in this interview. You should go to the Your Call website and listen to the whole thing. I’d love to grab more excerpts and comment on them, but I’m out of time. It looks like this book is worth buying. I’ll add it to the pile of other great anti-fundie books that I can never find time to read. (I’m Burgess Meredith; I just know it!)
That last one says:
Republican Gomorrah is a 365-page exposé into the ironic fact that those who wrap themselves in the flag fear freedom the most because of their own personal demons and insecurities, making them pathologically supportive of an authoritarian state that can provide them with the emotional security of being a cog in a … white Christian hierarchical machine.