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Had there been a couple decades of real apolitical, toady-free analysis of the roots of the Reich, it would have been apparent early on that the German patriarchal, authoritarian cast of mind produced an elite that is strikingly successful at passing along predatory ideology as well as political power, from generation to generation.

There was some insightful analysis, both before and after WW II. The first was Wilhelm Reich's Mass Psychology of Fascism, originally published in German in 1933, summary from wiki:

The question at the heart of Reich's book was this: Why did the masses turn to authoritarianism which is clearly against their interests?[3] Reich set out to analyze "the economic and ideological structure of German society between 1928 and 1933" in this book.[4] In it, he calls communism "red fascism" and groups it in the same category as Nazism, and this leads to him being kicked out of the Communist Party.

Reich argued that the reason Nazism was chosen over fascism was sexual repression. As a child, members of the proletariat had learned from his or her parents to suppress sexual desire. Hence, in the adult, rebellious and sexual impulses caused anxiety. Fear of revolt, as well as fear of sexuality, were thus "anchored" in the character of the masses. This influenced the irrationality of the people, Reich would argue.

This clearly wouldn't do, so Reich was effectively banished into the Universal Orgone Ether, which he had hypothesized. The Murder of Christ was equally offensive. Erich Frome, writing from Mexico City, re-presented and extended Reich's analysis of fascism in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, but both works are tainted by the disrepute into which psychoanalysis fell in the '70s and '80s.

I am very glad for the brain science and the psychological insights it has provided, not least because it makes the use of psychological insights scientifically respectable. But I refuse to believe that no good understanding of human psychology was possible from the hermeneutics based earlier approaches and I still find value in some of the insights. But that is just me. But I don't expect ANY university or even foundation originated grants to study such questions from a current perspective. Bob Altemeyer's The Authoritarians is the closest we have, and he gives it away in PDF form.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 01:07:56 PM EST
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