From the Necronomicon to The Authoritarian Personality
Introduction to fictional bibliography
Now about the terrible and forbidden books -- I am forced to say that most of them are purely imaginary. There never was any Abdul Alhazred or Necronomicon, for I invented these names myself. Robert Bloch devised the idea of Ludvig Prinn and his De Vermis Mysteriis, while the Book of Eibon is an invention of Clark Ashton Smith's. Robert E. Howard is responsible for Friedrich von Junzt and his Unaussprechlichen Kulten... (nameless / unspeakable / unutterable / inexpressible / unpronounceable cults). As for seriously-written books on dark, occult, and supernatural themes -- in all truth they don't amount to much. That is why it's more fun to invent mythical works like the Necronomicon and Book of Eibon. [ H. P. Lovecraft, "Letter to Willis Conover. July 29, 1936]
Lovecraft and friends created fictional books that had no real existence and then had publishers create real paper and ink ostensible copies; today's rightwing authoritarians take real books and then create fictional versions of them.
The dreaded "liberal" of Republican propaganda, like the witch of the Inquisition, does not exist.
In the new Republican spectrum of politics there is no "center." One moves directly from slightly to the right of Ronald Reagan's navel into the politics of the hate-America, destroy the family, pervert the children, bankrupt the middle class, seize the food (and guns), and all manner of similar -- and largely unsubstantiated -- fears. This is supported by a new circular definition of the "liberal" functioning, were one to graph it, as the "union member = Democrat = ACLUer = socialist = Communist = fascist = liberal = NAACP supporter = NAMBLA defender = the union member ...."
With another similar linguistic slight of hand in support of Republican propaganda, all manner of challengers are thrown together in one giantic monster hiding just behind Uncle Sam where the "1930s Stalinist = black nationalist = gay rights activist = abortion rights activist = feminist = college activist = liberal professor = Stalinist."
In the course of their pseudo-documentation the Republican right has created a legend around Theodor Adorno and the book The Authoritarian Personality.
This site exists to correct the right's falsehoods and to document how their ideological inventions are used to create new fears in citizens in support of the Republican political agenda. We will critique and expose particular myths created inthe works of people like: read more on "... Necronomicon to The Authoritarian Personality
Oslo Terrorist Also Distorts Authoritarian Personality
... a dangerous invention that had almost 100 killed
After the deadly terrorist attacks in Oslo we've been reading the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, arrested for the killings.
It's an odd document, with a sort of mechanical creation of an organization structure to fight the Good Fight against an imaginary series of enemies focused on things like the utterly distorted view of The Authoritarian Personality.
Thus he wrote:
They identified several key dimensions of a protofascist personality, which included favoring traditional morality, close family ties and strong support of religion. It also included aggression, stereotypes, a preoccupation with oppression, dominance and destruction and an obsession with sex. The solution to root out this authoritarian personality was above all to be found in the breakdown and transformation of the traditional family structure..
As this site's regular readers know, the original authors did not link high F-scale traits to simple personality aspects of aggression, oppression, dominance, or destruction. They certainly didn't link high F-scale scores to an interest, let alone obsession, with sex. There was a tendency for those had high F-scale scores to stereotype, but the authors specifically wrote they found little links to religious beliefs among any of the high or low scorers.
Insofar as the authors posed a possible solution, it was hardly to create the "breakdown" of the family nor the transformation of what the rightwing writers like Breivik call the "traditional" family structure.
Yet over these fictions Breivik is reported to have murdered almost 1000 people.
Ignorance Exposed, Once Again"
Arendt As Nazi Gets Recycled With The Authoritarian Personality
Certain themes run through rightwing propaganda. Some are religious; Catholic writers seem to have a special propensity to see Marx as an advocate for "the community of women" and the destruction of the family as the core purpose of his philosophy. Others have a more generic quality, as with the endless claimed discovery of yet another "baby molester" in "The Left." Still other themes are addressed to a more literate audience. Among these are the various tales about Hannah Arendt linking her directly to the Nazis (which is not that unusual) and, now, to The Authoritarian Personality (which is.) Thus LPAC wrote:
It was Hannah Arendt's and Theodor Adorno's theory, which took the privileged, morally weakened offspring of the FBI security-cleared white collar elite of the 1945-57 period, and enabled them to hatch into the fascist Baby Boomers of the Mark Rudd stripe during 1964-68. Arendt and Adorno taught that there is no truth, -- there is only opinion, only "spin." Indeed, it is the man or woman who adheres to the criterion of truthfulness, who is the hated and feared "authoritian personality."
Arendt and Adorno were, in fact, themselves ideologically committed Nazis, but their friends had to explain to them that their Jewish origin made Nazi party careers impossible for them, and that they had to flee abroad to Britain and the U.S.
Hannah Arendt began an affair with Professor Martin Heidegger when she was 18 and he was twice her age. She continued her close friendship and support of him through the time he joined the Nazi Party, and even through his purging of the Jewish professors from Freiburg University as Rector there under the Hitler regime. After the war, when Heidegger refused to renounce his Nazi activities, and was therefore prohibited from teaching, Arendt's promotion of him helped maintain his status as an international celebrity.
Wasserstein in London Times' Literary Supplement of Oct. 9, and Rosenbaum, quoting Rosenbaum in Salon on Oct. 30, calls attention to Arendt's reliance on actually Nazi anti-Semitic writings, as authoritative on Jews and Judaism, in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism.
"One of her authorities on South African Jews," Wasserstein reports, is an article by Ernst Schultze, "a longstanding Nazi propagandist, that appeared in ... a German publication founded and directed by the prominent Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg." And then, "in a new preface [to The Origins of Totalitarianism] written in 1967, Arendt commends the work of the leading Nazi historian Walter Frank,... whose 'contributions,'" Wasserstein quotes Arendt, "'can still be consulted with profit.'"
"Moreover," Wasserstein writes, "she internalized much of what the Nazi historians had to say about Jews, from the 'parasitism' of Jewish high finance to the 'internationalism' of [Walther] Rathenau."
"Hannah Arendt of the "Authoritarian Personality" Exposed As A Nazi Once Again"
republished by klaatu November 6, 2009
In his essay "Politics and the English Language" George Orwell criticized a ponderous style of some writers on the left, doing so sometimes as a finicky uncle and sometimes with considerable charm. One acquaintance created an illustrative sentence he used regularly when writing on the topic: "The jack-booted fascist octopus has sung its swan-song to the tocsin's clarion call." We used it ourselves, with backhanded credit to him. But we'd not run into "It was Hannah Arendt's and Theodor Adorno's theory, which took the privileged, morally weakened offspring of the FBI security-cleared white collar elite of the 1945-57 period, and enabled them to hatch into the fascist Baby Boomers of the Mark Rudd stripe during 1964-68. Arendt and Adorno taught that there is no truth, -- there is only opinion, only 'spin'."
That is almost certainly to become our new Orwell Standard.
But we mustn't let that dissuade us from a further examination of the article. The author continues the well-established tradition on the political right of not knowing what he's writing about.
To begin with, Arendt had nothing to do with the composition of The Authoritarian Personality. Nor did Adorno write it; many wrote it; Adorno edited the work.
Then we'd be tempted to dismiss the author's claim that both Adorno and Arendt were "ideologically committed Nazis" as the ROTFLMAO claim in a environment already laden with other assertions almost as bad..
But fun as that would be, it would miss two critical points. The first is the otherwise unbelievable levels of both ignorance of fact and illogicality. Both Arendt and Adorno are hardly stupid people to the author of the statement; indeed he credits them with creating the core theory that led to the evils listed in his Orwellian sentence. At the same time, he would have the world believe that those two Jews, even as they supported the Nazi's, did not notice the antisemitism inherent in that ideology, and had to be later informed by friends. ...to be continued
The Authoritarian Personality: Conclusions: ... our findings are strictly limited to the psycho- logical aspects of the more general problem of prejudice. Historical factors or economic forces operating in society to promote or to diminish ethnic prejudice are clearly beyond the scope of our investigation. In pointing toward the im- portance of the parent-child relationship in the establishment of prejudice or tolerance we have moved one step in the direction of an ex- planation. We have not, however, gone into the social and economic processes that in turn de- termine the development of characteristic family patterns.