Authoritarian Control Requires War, a War Mentality, Enemies, and a Vivid Imagination


I guess the authoritarian wars began in 1971 when President Nixon launched the war on drugs to combat the heroine addictions of our Vietnam veterans. This 40 year war has not been won and is only helping make the ONE% more powerful: our prison population has grown (faster than the nation’s population); prison systems have been privatized; and the profit they receive is based on having more prisoners.

Since then, right-wing authoritarians have created more wars against citizens, taken away civil rights, and both militarized our civilian ‘peace keepers’ and increased the ease for using our national military to conduct these wars.

All of these additional wars identify a sworn enemy of the right-wing authoritarians. Most result in the violation or elimination of civil rights of those enemies or moderates their power within American society. Some promote privateering. Some are against institutions and science, while others are pure imagination.

War on Terrorism

In conclusion, Baker and Stack have assembled a thoughtful collection of essays that deal with the difficulty of balancing constitutional rights and security during wartime. The selected essays provide historical background, theoretical insight, and contemporary issues.  This volume would prove useful as a supplemental text in a special topics course or a course on civil rights and liberties. The collection also reminds us of the importance of an informed and vigilant citizenry.


War on Women’s Rights

The 80 abortion restrictions passed this year are more than double the previous record of 34 in 2005 — and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010. Meanwhile, five states have defunded Planned Parenthood, which one in four American women have relied on for health care. To top it all off, fringe proposals are rapidly seeping into the political mainstream, with several states backing “fetal personhood” laws that effectively outlaw contraceptives like birth control pills and criminalize women who miscarry.


War on Consumers – the poor and middle class

It looks like it’s all a part of “screwflation”, which describes how falling wages and rising costs of basic goods are destroying the middle class. What’s happening is even consumer product companies are preparing for an eventual obliteration of the middle class.


War on voting rights

But since the 2010 election, thanks to a conservative advocacy group founded by Weyrich, the GOP’s effort to disrupt voting rights has been more widespread and effective than ever. In a systematic campaign orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council – and funded in part by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankrolled the Tea Party – 38 states introduced legislation this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.
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War on the ill

The third option is that of the Tampa Tea Party mob: Let the young man go to the devil. You can sugar-coat this, as Ron Paul tried to, by suggesting that private charity will step in to help. But we no longer have an extensive system of charity hospitals. If emergency rooms treat the uninsured, whether because of a legal requirement or because they are good Samaritans, they will be passing the bulk of the cost along to the rest of us—and we’re back to our current system of socializing the costs of treatments for the uninsured.


War on homeownership

Implicit in all this – not stated plainly in polite company, but lurking just under the surface – is the idea that things were fine until the wrong people started buying houses. On right-wing blogs the accusation is often more explicit, blaming government programs for putting people of color into homes.


War on Occupy

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.


War on the young

There is a war is raging in the classrooms, on the street corners, and throughout communities across the United States.  This war is particularly pointed at low-income young people and young people from communities of color.  It is a War on Young People, … and the abandonment of a generation. 


War on LGBT life styles

The Religious Right’s mean-spirited and frequently vicious attacks on LGBT Americans are well-known and well documented.


War on a Black President

Now, with the Republican presidential debates producing no clear favorite or obviously strong candidate, many on the extreme right may be hunkering down for another four years under a relatively liberal black president. And that may be simply too much for them to bear.


Conservatism’s ‘War of the Words’

Some people make the mistake of underestimating the importance of these wars, because they’re fought with words and not actions. But people’s actions are shaped by what they believe, and what they believe is shaped by words.

Nobody understands that better than the corporate interests and their minions. That’s why Newt Gingrich wrote a political memo in 1996 entitled, “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.”

Now there’s a word that should strike fear in the heart: “Control.”


Some of these wars have the common goal of privatizing public spaces so that governance becomes corporate and accountability is no longer to the citizen.

War on Worker Rights

This was a banner year in the right-wing media’s campaign to belittle working Americans. In the early part of the year, media conservatives promoted anti-union laws in Wisconsin and Ohio, transitioned to attacking the National Labor Relations Board, and spent the entirety of the year demonizing union workers, low-income Americans, and the unemployed.


War on education

Wisconsin is on the leading edge of a national assault on public education. Walker made a big name for himself with his explosive move to bust public employee unions and take away teachers’ bargaining rights. Now comes the next phase.


War on Drugs

A high-profile group of global leaders declared the “war on drugs” a failure on Thursday and urged governments to consider decriminalizing drugs in a bid to cut consumption and weaken the power of organized crime gangs.


When they aren’t starting wars against other Americans, they are declaring war on institutions they don’t like or science they don’t agree with.

War on The Muppets

How the hell do conservatives find time in their day to get outraged about all the things they insist they need to be outraged about? The War on Christmas, fine, whatever. Oh, and Spongebob might be gay. Also Teletubbies. And the Muppets are godless damn communists, and all of this is an elaborate Hollywood and/or gay and/or atheist and/or communist plot to “indoctrinate” your children.


War on NPR

While most Republicans steered clear of saying that the content of NPR’s programming was the reason they supported restrictions on funding, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) delivered a carefully crafted message along those lines to his base.


War on Global Warming

When scientific findings have big consequences for policy and politics, anti-science ideology and denial flourish. Religious ideology led the Church to deny Galileo’s scientific findings about the motion of the planets and stars and has fed the continuing denial of evolution in favor of fundamentalist claims of creationism. Stalinist ideology denied the science of genetics and led to a crippling of Soviet agriculture and biology for decades. And a mix of anti-government, pro-fossil fuel, and anti-environmental ideology underlies current denial of human-caused climate change.


War on Evolution

This project of teaching evolution in America, some variation of which I have been engaged in for more than two decades, looks increasingly impossible. Polls show no progress of any sort, with about half of the country continuing to reject evolution in favor of young earth creationism — the view on display in the country’s various “Creation museums,” based on a literal reading of the first chapter of the Bible. Only Turkey, with a strong Muslim commitment to creationism, lags behind the United States in accepting evolution.


The war mentality of the right-wing authoritarians is so strong, they even imagine wars against them by their enemies. Authoritarians are such a persecuted lot.

War on Christmas – Jon Stewart

After receiving PolitiFact’s lowest grade for his report on the founding fathers’ attitudes toward Christmas, Jon goes straight to the source.


Not only were issues of child hunger, health care for the elderly and education mentioned, but also the quality of the environment, access to technology and the need for a world summit of the 99 percent. The message overall was that it was time to think big – this global crisis demands a global response, and the suffering of one population in one spot on the globe connects intimately with that of others.




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About Andy Hailey

Vietnam Vet, UT El Paso Grad, Retired Aerospace Engineer, former union rep, 60's Republican now progressive, web admin, blogger.

One Response to Authoritarian Control Requires War, a War Mentality, Enemies, and a Vivid Imagination

  1. Andy Hailey says:

    Henry Giroux sees these wars expanding if Republicans win in 2012 too.

    If they win the 2012 election, they will not only extend the Bush/Obama legacy of militarism abroad, but likely intensify the war at home as well. Political scientist Frances Fox Piven rightly argues that, “We’ve been at war for decades now – not just in Afghanistan or Iraq, but right here at home. Domestically, it’s been a war [a]gainst the poor [and as] devastating as it has been, the war against the poor has gone largely unnoticed until now.”(17) And the war at home now includes more than attacks on the poor, as campaigns are increasingly waged against the rights of women, students, workers, people of color and immigrants, especially Latino Americans. As the social state collapses, the punishing state expands its power and targets larger portions of the population. The war in Afghanistan is now mimicked in the war waged on peaceful student protesters at home. It is evident in the environmental racism that produces massive health problems for African-Americans. The domestic war is even waged on elementary school children, who now live in fear of the police handcuffing them in their classrooms and incarcerating them as if they were adult criminals.(18) It is waged on workers by taking away their pensions, bargaining rights and dignity. The spirit of militarism is also evident in the war waged on the welfare state and any form of social protection that benefits the poor, disabled, sick, elderly, and other groups now considered disposable, including children.