Right-wing Authoritarians – The Social-issue Republicans and What They Want of You

In 2006, John Dean made the following statements about social conservatives in his book Conservatives Without Conscience:

Social conservatives, whose core members are Christian conservatives, comprise the largest and most cohesive faction of conservatism. They are, by and large, typical right-wing authoritarian followers. Both neoconservatives [social dominator authoritarians] and social conservatives include countless conservatives without conscience within their ranks [Christianists].

Social conservatives are especially susceptible to irrational beliefs ….

… Social conservatives are deeply offended by atheists who want the words “under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, yet … they recite … that pledge and its words: “liberty and justice for all.” For all but atheists [and moderates, liberals, peace mongers, scientists, climatologists, artists, gays, actors, except Fred Thompson, non-Republicans, non-whites, non-Christians, non-conformers, non-feelers or thinkers, hybrid owners, agnostics, union members, dissenters, suspected terrorists and anyone not like them] ….

Another more recent example of irrational beliefs, as shown later in the posting, is that more than 75 percent of them have a “favorable view” of Rudy Giuliani in spite of his lack of support for their social issues.

So, is there anything more current that reconfirms John Dean’s assertions? Based on a recent, October 15, 2007, survey by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the answer is, “Yes.”

According to the survey, “many 2008 Republican presidential candidates are vying for the support of an influential segment of the primary electorate – social-issue voters. These voters are Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, many of whom are conservative Christians, who say social issues such as abortion and gay marriage will be very important in their presidential voting decisions.”

It goes on to report that 43 percent of the Republican voters say they will decide how to vote based on social issues.

43% will vote based on social issues

The survey also shows that these social-issue voters differ in many ways from the rest of the Republican coalition.

  • More religious.
  • More conservative.
  • Less educated
  • Mostly from the ‘working class’ and don’t benefit from Republican tax law changes – more irrationality
  • Attend religious services at least once a week
  • Consider themselves to be white evangelical protestants
  • More are women
  • More consider themselves “strong Republicans”
Portrait of Republican social-issues voters

These social-issuses voters also differ significantly from other Republicans on their issues and candidates:

  • Stridently antiabortion
  • A plurality oppose stem cell research
  • Almost unanimously against gay marriage
  • Most blindly obedient to GWB
  • Favor Giuliani over Romney and McCain
Their issues and preferred presidential candidates

I close with a couple of quotes about these fringe yet powerful Republicans.

In 1994, the same year Gingrich started remaking Congress in his own image, Barry Goldwater said this to John Dean who used it in the preface to Conservatives Without Conscience.

Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.

And now for my most frequent quote from John Dean:

Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds. They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result. … And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going away.

Now for what these Christianists want of you – to be just like them and not any of the following: moderate, liberal, peace monger, scientist, climatologist, artist, gay, actor, non-Republican, non-white, non-Christian, non-conformer, non-feeler or thinker, hybrid owner, agnostic, union member, or dissenter.

Unless you are ready to be remade in their image, you had best keep an eye on them, check Right Wing Watch occasionally.

Anyone know what Karl Rove has been up to lately?



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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.

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