November 29, 2012

Fleecing your constituency is a full-time job

Must read article by Rick Perlstein in the current issue of The Baffler, The Long Con: Mail-order conservatism. In it, Perlstein tries to answer a question not asked often enough:

Political theorist James MacGregor Burns’s classic book Leadership explains that “leadership over human beings is exercised when persons with certain motives and purposes mobilize, in competition or conflict with others, institutional, political, psychological, and other resources so as to arouse, engage, and satisfy the motives of followers . . . in order to realize goals mutually held by both leaders and followers.” Watching charismatic people try to seize their attention and win their allegiance becomes the intellectual whetstone. As political psychologist Harold Lasswell once put it, a successful aspirant to leadership is one whose “private motives are displaced onto public objects and rationalized in terms of public interest.” Watching those private motives at work, the public they seek to convince comes into focus. 
All righty, then: both the rank-and-file voters and the governing elites of a major American political party chose as their standardbearer a pathological liar. What does that reveal about them?


Blogger The Other Front said...

There's the book title:

A Grammar of Mendacity

November 30, 2012 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger First Sea Lord said...

My favorite political expression: "A Thief believes everyone steals."

November 30, 2012 at 2:10 PM  

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