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Dierderich a ‘fear-mongerer’

Posted: September 18, 2009 10:23 p.m.
Updated: September 19, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Once again I feel the need to respond to a recent misguided letter ("Sulpizio a ‘rabid Democrat,'" Letters to the Editor, The Signal, Sept. 13). Matt Diederich, who quite apparently was not at John Dean's recent talk, made assumptions simply not based in fact.

First off, Mr. Dean at no time claimed to be an expert on "the authoritarian personality." And he did not say that anyone follows them, but rather that the "authoritarian personalities" are themselves the followers.

Dean relies on true experts in the field, Stanley Milgram and Bob Altemeyer, who, writing and researching separately, point out that "authoritarians" tend to follow "dominators."

I hesitate to name names, but former President Richard Nixon, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and several others in our recent history fit this profile.

This is not clinical psychology but rather social psychology.

Next, yes, Mr. Dean had books to sell, but on another topic entirely: the downfall of the Nixon administration. His comments noting the traits of the "authoritarian followers" were brought about by much of the behavior at recent Town Hall meetings.

It must be further noted that John Dean is himself a very proud conservative, but in a completely different mold than those self-proclaimed social conservatives who have no time for any other viewpoint than their own. Mr. Dean is a Goldwater conservative, unrecognizable in today's Republican Party.

Lastly, it seems Mr. Diederich wants to put personality characteristics on President Obama that have nothing to do with the man himself.

Who is the fear-mongerer here?


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