Psychological Self-Help

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3. They take their anger out on someone safe. In an authoritarian
environment (family, religion, school, peer group, government), the
compliant, subservient, unquestioning follower stores up unexpressed
anger at the authority. The hostility can't be expressed towards the
authority, however, so it is displaced to an outsider who is different--a
scapegoat. Unconsciously, the authoritarian says, "I don't hate my
father; I hate Jews (or blacks or unions or management or ambitious
women or Communists or people on welfare)." The "good cause" to
which one is dedicated often dictates who to hate, who to be prejudice
4. They can't trust people. They believe "people who are different
are no good." If we believe others are as bad as or worse than we are,
we feel less guilt: "Everybody looks out for #1" or "Everybody would
cheat if they had a chance." Such a negative view of people leads to
the conclusion that harsh laws and a strong police or army are
necessary. Also, it leads people to foolishly believe that humans would
"go wild" and be totally immoral if they lost their religion. 
5. Because they feel weak, authoritarian personalities believe it is
important to have a powerful leader and to be part of a powerful
group. Thus, they relish being in the "strongest nation on earth," the
"master race," the "world-wide communist movement," "the wealthiest
nation," the "best corporation," the "best part of town," the "best-
looking crowd," the "best team," etc. The successful, the powerful, the
leaders are to be held in awe. And the authoritarian says, "When I get
power, I want to be held in awe too. I'll expect respect, just like I
demand it from my children." 
6. Over-simplified thinking. If our great leaders and our enormous
government tell us what to do, if our God and our religion direct our
lives, then we don't have to take responsibility for thinking or deciding.
We just do what we are told. And, in general, we, "the masses," are
given simple explanations and told the solutions are simple by
authoritarian leaders. Examples: "The source of the trouble is lenient
parents (or schools or laws)," "God is on our side," "Get rid of the Jews
(or Capitalists or Communists or blacks or Arabs)." For the
authoritarian if things aren't simple, they are unknowable, e.g. he/she
endorses the statement, "science has its place, but there are many
important things that can never possibly be understood by the human
7. Guard against dangerous ideas. Since the authoritarian already
has a handle on the truth, he/she opposes new ideas, unconventional
solutions, and creative imaginations. They believe an original thinker is
dangerous; he/she will think differently. It's considered good to be
suspicious of psychologists, writers, and artists who probe your mind
and feelings--such people are scary. Governments who observe
subversives are OK, though. Indeed, censorship of the media may
become necessary, especially if the media becomes critical of our
leaders or sexually provocative. A businessperson produces needed
products; an intellectual is a threat. 
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