In a previous post, I briefly mentioned a book I came across online: The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer. I mean to read it when I get the chance. It looks very interesting as it’s a psychologists take on conservative politics of recent history. I’m feeling pretty confident that I’m going to enjoy reading it. I think that there is many connections to be found between psychology and politics (and social behavior in general). I’ve written about personality types before and it’s one of my favorite topics. There is a lot of fascinating research out there.
What particular interests me about Altemeyer’s book is that it touches upon various issues that have drawn my curiosity. I’m fascinated by the shift that has happened in US politics in the last half century with the whole Cold War issue and the rise of the Evangelical right. This shift has been going on for a long time, but the results of it are becoming particularly apparent at the present time.
The reason I’m writing this post is actually about something else but a related something else. I was listening to Coast to Coast AM last night (as I’m wont to do) and the show intrigued me. It made me wonder about potential connections with Altemeyer’s research.
Ian Punnett welcomed award-winning investigative reporter Russ Baker, who discussed the connections between the Bush family and the intelligence community, as well as startling evidence that shed new light on the JFK assassination and Watergate. According to his research, George H.W. Bush’s affiliation with the CIA began as far back as 1953, as opposed to Bush’s “official” joining of the organization in 1976. Two elements that led him to this conclusion were that Bush was briefed on the JFK assassination by the CIA on the day after Kennedy’s murder and he also appeared to be using his oil company to set up “fronts” for the intelligence agency around the world.
However, Baker said, these CIA outlets were merely part of a larger agenda driven by wealthy elites who have designs on shaping the world to their end. Stressing that the Bush family are merely players in this group of power brokers, Baker said, “they’re not the guys running the thing. They are just operatives.” He dismissed the notion that it is an organized group, suggesting that it is more of a collection of like-minded, powerful people working together to consolidate their power. “It’s not this absolute club or anything like that,” Baker explained, “you’re talking about a mindset.” Ultimately, he expressed concern that this coterie continues to exert its power, “I think what we’re looking at is a very sensitive and fragile situation that perpetuates to this day.”
He suggested that the Watergate scandal was one historic event that this faction, including George H.W. Bush (who was head of the RNC at the time), played a hand in orchestrating. Baker put forth the idea that Richard Nixon, previously put into power by these elites, had begun to move away from their influence. As such, the Watergate event was developed as a means to drive Nixon out of office in a “cleaner” fashion than they had eliminated JFK. According to Baker, this explains why the break-in seemed so poorly done, how the story ended up in the press, and why Nixon was so befuddled by what had happened. “It’s almost like a rolling coup d’etat,” he observed, “when you’re in these permanent bureaucracies, you don’t have a lot of use for these elected presidents. They’re an annoyance and a problem for you.”