John Dean, author of Conservatives without Conscience, penned a pair of short pieces evaluating Scott Walker as a conservative without conscience and finds that Walker fits his template quite nicely.

Just to refresh everyone on Dean’s research, he and his co-researcher, Robert Altermeyer find that

This testing reveals, in varying degrees, that social dominators (authoritarian leaders) have the following recurring traits: They’re typically men; they are dominating; they oppose equality; they are desirous of personal power; they are amoral, intimidating and bullying, faintly hedonistic, vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, and dishonest; they will cheat to win; they are highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, and/or homophobic), mean-spirited, militant, and nationalistic; they tell others what they want to hear, take advantage of “suckers,” and specialize in creating false images to sell themselves.

They may or may not be religious, but usually they are both political and economic conservatives and/or Republicans.

In turn, recurring traits that, in varying degrees, are found in authoritarian followers—a group that includes both men and women—are as follows:  They are submissive to authority but aggressive on that authority’s behalf.  They are conventional and highly religious, with moderate to little education. They trust untrustworthy authorities, exhibit prejudice (particularly against homosexuals, women and followers of religions other than their own), and are mean-spirited, narrow-minded, intolerant, bullying, zealous, dogmatic, and uncritical toward chosen authority.  Moreover, they are hypocritical, inconsistent and contradictory, prone to panic easily, highly self-righteous, and moralistic.  They are strict disciplinarians, and are severely punitive; they demand loyalty and return it; they exhibit little self-awareness, and they, too, are usually political and economic conservatives and/or Republicans.

He goes on to identify authoritarian leaders who demonstrate both traits.  These people are called Double-High Authoritarians.

Double Highs are endowed with a host of negative personality traits, and, it seems such traits, in Double Highs, are always present in excess.  For example, Double Highs are not merely prejudiced, they are doubly so.  Their orders are to be followed, but not by them.  They are not merely dogmatic, but defiantly insistent upon their dogmas.  They are not only manipulative of others, but talented at their manipulation.  As you go through various authoritarian traits, if you view the trait in its more extreme form, then you are usually talking about a trait that is likely to be possessed by a Double High authoritarian.

For Dean, Nixon remains the prototype for the Double-High Authoritarian.  Dean served in the Nixon White House and has had ample exposure to this kind of leadership.

So what evaluation does Dean make of our beloved Governor Walker?  It’s not a pretty picture, Wisconsin.  Let’s just say he doesn’t hold out much hope for Governor Walker’s leadership (in fact he titled his article Good Luck Wisconsin, You’ve Got A Classic Authoritarian Governor)

I have merely summarized, in the broadest of terms, the work of social science in exploring the authoritarian disposition at work in government and politics.  Similarly, I have only sketched in digest terms the reporting I found on Scott Walker’s political career.  To me, it is clear that Wisconsin has a double high authoritarian governor, a conservative without conscience.  If I lived in Wisconsin, I would be uncomfortable with this man, whom I find more Nixonian than even Richard Nixon himself (the authoritarian leader with whom I was, and am, so very familiar).

Democracy and democratic institutions do not function well with dogmatic, unbending authoritarian leaders.  Authoritarians are great as dictators, and even at times benevolent.  They are often outstanding at running businesses, and when serving as high-ranking officers in the military, not to mention law enforcement.  But they are failures as presidents and governors, and as Bob Altemeyer’s work has shown, they can be dangerous to democracy.

Scott Walker is, temperamentally unsuited to serve as an executive in any capacity at any level of government.  As a Double-High Authoritarian, he is incapable of effective, collaborative leadership.  His failures in Milwaukee County as County Executive and now his failures as Governor should give all voters pause before sending him back to the Governor’s Mansion.

Recall and Reboot, Wisconsin!  Time to get it right this time.

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18 Responses to Scott Walker: A Conservative Without Conscience

  1. tom harlen says:

    Wisconsin property tax bills are falling, I think normal people will like this fact.

    • Phil Scarr says:

      Whatever you do, tom, don’t engage with the actual subject of the post. That would be too scary…

    • Paul says:

      I’ll engage. Your citation is stupid. Walker’s own numbers, without solid sourcing, show a .4% decrease in taxes on average while home values fell 2.3%. I know that my tax bill didn’t go down noticeably. Of course even if there was some small improvement in property taxes that doesn’t address horrendous impact on schools or the fact that we are dead last in job creation across the entire country. Bragging about a potential .4% decrease, if it is even true considering the source, when you look at it in context, is ridiculous.

  2. tom harlen says:

    I see that you have no answer to that.

  3. Other Side says:

    @Tom: One more time … slowly. Your comment had nothing to do with the post. That’s why no one engages you.

  4. Wingnut says:

    If Walker is a Double-High Authoritarian, then the Wisconsin Left can only blame themselves his him taking power. You have screwed up things in this state so much during your regime that only a Double-High Authoritarian can effectively get us back on track.

    Let’s see, have I engaged with the actual subject of this post?

    • Phil Scarr says:

      Yes, Wingnut, you get points for staying on target.

      But you need to provide some evidence for your assertion that our submission to an authoritarian regime is the result of the left having “screwed things up so much” that only a man more despicable than Nixon can “save” us. I find that your reasoning runs along the same line that “Mussolini got the trains to run on time.”

      Hardly an excuse for handing power to a tyrant.

  5. Other Side says:

    @Phil: Darnit, you beat me to that retort. Don’t forget the Autobahn system and Herr Walker’s dance with construction firms.

    Frankly, Wingnut’s response provides further evidence that there is a minority in this country that would not mind a Fascist takeover.

    • Memory Man says:

      …there is a minority in this country that would not mind a Fascist takeover.

      When the Third Reich was a growth industry back in the 1930s, quite a few Americans were seriously in love with the idea. Not just misled proles or idle dilettantes either. I wonder how the Koch Bros. et al. compare to Henry Ford when it comes to political influence and marketing might.

  6. Wingnut says:

    Surprise! Surprise! I would mind a Fascist takeover. And I would also mind a Marxist takeover — which is more likely to actually happen in this country. Those who value freedom and opportunity are close to being trampled under the hooves of unending herds leftists.

    I can not believe that everyone of you on here truly understands the unintended consequences that will appear if your dreams of a fully progressive society ever came to America.

    • Zach W says:

      You’re certifiably insane if you think the country is anywhere remotely close to a Marxist takeover.

      Also, I cannot (it’s not “can not”) believe that you truly understand the unintended consequences that will appear if your dreams of a fully conservative/free market society ever came to the United States.

    • Phil Scarr says:

      Yet you were just now willing to hand power over to a tyrant?

      If Walker is a Double-High Authoritarian, then the Wisconsin Left can only blame themselves his him taking power. You have screwed up things in this state so much during your regime that only a Double-High Authoritarian can effectively get us back on track.

      You can’t now turn around and say

      I would mind a Fascist takeover.

      and expect to be taken seriously.

  7. Other Side says:

    @MM: If memory serves me right the the German Bund had a rather large membership. It’s difficult to link using my smartphone, so checkout the Wiki article. There is a picture of a poster today’s Teabaggers would be proud to post.

    BTW: Did you get a whiff ot that odor?

  8. Other Side says:

    @Zach: Would you agree that Wingnut’s last sentence does not make sense?

    “I can not believe that everyone of you on here truly understands …”

    It’s painful.

  9. Wingnut says:

    I should have known that grammatical errors are frowned upon in this establishment if not made by a member of the elitist left. There is a plethora of tweedledees and tweedledums on this blog. Anyone who questions any of your assertions is immediately put upon by the tweedledees. If he refuses to leave, the tweedledums appear for cleanup work.

  10. Other Side says:

    @Wingnut: My comment had nothing to do with grammar. The sentence simply made no sense.

    You demonstrated in your last comment some ability. I would think you would pay more attention consistently. Your seriousness is determined by appearances.

    Still, I think you are a lunatic.

    Thanks for your comments.

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