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Kurzon
May 10, 2013


I had a conversation with a friend who asked me why autocratic countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan tend to be socially conservative. I gave him my answer, but since I am not a political science major, I'd like you guys to critique my hypothesis.

When someone says the word "dictatorship", most people think "rule by one man", but really dictatorships are minority rule. In a dictatorship, the leader only requires the support of a narrow sliver of the population in order to stay in power. It's always nice to have more, but he only REQUIRES a small fraction. By contrast, in democracies, a leader needs the support of a much broader section of the population. Democracies are majority rule, dictatorships are minority rule.

In general, for a dictator, the best minority to appeal to for support is what psychologists call "right-wing authoritarians". Right-wing authoritarians make up between a fifth and a third of the population, depending on how you count; either way, they're a minority, and they're the easiest minority to secure. Right-wing authoritarians, by definition, are people who are submissive to their leaders and highly conformist. Right-wing authoritarians readily give their unquestioning loyalty to their leader provided that leader appeals to their base values. Look up the literature of Bob Altemeyer if you want to know more.

And what is it that right-wing authoritarians fundamentally want? Right-wing authoritarians dislike diversity. They like a society where everybody is the same and interactions with outsiders are minimal. Right-wing authoritarians tend to dislike uncertainty. They also like hierarchy; they like to be the dominant group in society, and they don't much care for egalitarianism. And they tend to be highly fearful of threats caused by people, such as terrorists, criminals, and enemy nations. So a politician can appeal to right-wing authoritarians by opposing immigration, feminism, secularism, and so forth (any that promotes equality and diversity, basically).

Once a politician has their loyalty, that loyalty is very secure. Right-wing authoritarians are very forgiving of corruption, brutality, and other forms of misconduct in their leaders, so long as said leaders keep saying the things they want to hear. Whatever proof you offer of their leader's bad deeds, they will deny, downplay or justify them. The old Roman saying was "Caesar can do no wrong". That means that dictators can use foul tactics to oppress the rest of society, the fraction of society that isn't right-wing authoritarian. He can engage in corruption. Right-wing authoritarians will tell you that they hate corruption, but in practice they don't care if it's their guy doing it. He can curb civil liberties, because right-wing authoritarians tend to not appreciate liberty especially when it's not their own liberties. He can use brutality on political opponents; his RWA supporters will either deny it or justify it, especially if he is exerting brutality on groups that they hate.

So this is an efficient strategy for politicians in autocratic regimes: appeal to the right-wing authoritarian minority and use oppression on everybody else. It doesn't work so well in a democracy because a democratic politican needs a much broader support base to stay in power and there just aren't enough right-wing authoritarians to build a viable coalition. Remember, RWAs make up only a fifth to a third of society, depending on how you count. A democratic leader thus needs to satisfy the desires of the non-authoritarian members of society; the liberals, in other words. And what do liberals tend to want? They want more liberty. They are less tolerant of cruel behavior. They want more equality. They want more honesty and accountability. They want more tolerance. And a democratic leader must give them that.

Giving consideration to liberal demands will, of course, irritate right-wing authoritarian voters, and there is always this struggle in any democracy. Generally, the healthier the democracy, the more influence that liberals have in society. In flawed democracies such as America and Turkey, liberals have more influence than they do in countries like Saudi Arabia but less than in countries like Denmark and Canada.

What do you think of my hypothesis?

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Grammarchist
Jan 28, 2013



Kurzon posted:

I had a conversation with a friend who asked me why autocratic countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan tend to be socially conservative. I gave him my answer, but since I am not a political science major, I'd like you guys to critique my hypothesis.

When someone says the word "dictatorship", most people think "rule by one man", but really dictatorships are minority rule. In a dictatorship, the leader only requires the support of a narrow sliver of the population in order to stay in power. It's always nice to have more, but he only REQUIRES a small fraction. By contrast, in democracies, a leader needs the support of a much broader section of the population. Democracies are majority rule, dictatorships are minority rule.

In general, for a dictator, the best minority to appeal to for support is what psychologists call "right-wing authoritarians". Right-wing authoritarians make up between a fifth and a third of the population, depending on how you count; either way, they're a minority, and they're the easiest minority to secure. Right-wing authoritarians, by definition, are people who are submissive to their leaders and highly conformist. Right-wing authoritarians readily give their unquestioning loyalty to their leader provided that leader appeals to their base values. Look up the literature of Bob Altemeyer if you want to know more.

And what is it that right-wing authoritarians fundamentally want? Right-wing authoritarians dislike diversity. They like a society where everybody is the same and interactions with outsiders are minimal. Right-wing authoritarians tend to dislike uncertainty. They also like hierarchy; they like to be the dominant group in society, and they don't much care for egalitarianism. And they tend to be highly fearful of threats caused by people, such as terrorists, criminals, and enemy nations. So a politician can appeal to right-wing authoritarians by opposing immigration, feminism, secularism, and so forth (any that promotes equality and diversity, basically).

Once a politician has their loyalty, that loyalty is very secure. Right-wing authoritarians are very forgiving of corruption, brutality, and other forms of misconduct in their leaders, so long as said leaders keep saying the things they want to hear. Whatever proof you offer of their leader's bad deeds, they will deny, downplay or justify them. The old Roman saying was "Caesar can do no wrong". That means that dictators can use foul tactics to oppress the rest of society, the fraction of society that isn't right-wing authoritarian. He can engage in corruption. Right-wing authoritarians will tell you that they hate corruption, but in practice they don't care if it's their guy doing it. He can curb civil liberties, because right-wing authoritarians tend to not appreciate liberty especially when it's not their own liberties. He can use brutality on political opponents; his RWA supporters will either deny it or justify it, especially if he is exerting brutality on groups that they hate.

So this is an efficient strategy for politicians in autocratic regimes: appeal to the right-wing authoritarian minority and use oppression on everybody else. It doesn't work so well in a democracy because a democratic politican needs a much broader support base to stay in power and there just aren't enough right-wing authoritarians to build a viable coalition. Remember, RWAs make up only a fifth to a third of society, depending on how you count. A democratic leader thus needs to satisfy the desires of the non-authoritarian members of society; the liberals, in other words. And what do liberals tend to want? They want more liberty. They are less tolerant of cruel behavior. They want more equality. They want more honesty and accountability. They want more tolerance. And a democratic leader must give them that.

Giving consideration to liberal demands will, of course, irritate right-wing authoritarian voters, and there is always this struggle in any democracy. Generally, the healthier the democracy, the more influence that liberals have in society. In flawed democracies such as America and Turkey, liberals have more influence than they do in countries like Saudi Arabia but less than in countries like Denmark and Canada.

What do you think of my hypothesis?

Yeah, Altmeyer's general thesis seems to hold water in that regard, though there are almost certainly exceptions to the rule. Even "leftist" dictatorships that develop out of either corruption or (often justified) paranoia wind up cultivating a strong base among the more authoritarian-minded individuals in society, especially when they become the only path to power. Altmeyer even gets into the likelihood that many ardent communists in the late Soviet era probably would have been staunch Reaganites and Thatcherites had they been born in the west, and vice versa. Makes sense considering how easily many old communist functionaries in the eastern Europe wound up adopting or adapting nationalist rancor after the fall, though many did hold onto their internalized communist beliefs and simply faded into obscurity as that was no longer a vehicle to authority.
https://theauthoritarians.org/

OneEightHundred
Feb 28, 2008

Soon, we will be unstoppable!


Minority rule isn't really a requirement, i.e. the authoritarian shift in India under the BJP lately is happening with solid and growing majority support. Dictatorships come with control of the media, allowing the ruling regime a massive degree of control over public opinion, it's not uncommon for them to be popular.

There is a lot of natural alignment in the compliant because-I-say-so nature of traditionalism, the resistance to change, etc. with acceptance of the existing government as the way things are, but dictatorships don't just depend on maintaining their legitimizing their own rule, they also need to de-legitimize any other alternative as unfit to rule. The easiest way to do that is portray themselves as vanguards of the social order, protecting their noble way of living from the forces of moral turpitude. That's a way easier sell than, say, competent governance when they're usually massively corrupt and self-serving.

Kurzon
May 10, 2013


Grammarchist posted:

Yeah, Altmeyer's general thesis seems to hold water in that regard, though there are almost certainly exceptions to the rule. Even "leftist" dictatorships that develop out of either corruption or (often justified) paranoia wind up cultivating a strong base among the more authoritarian-minded individuals in society, especially when they become the only path to power. Altmeyer even gets into the likelihood that many ardent communists in the late Soviet era probably would have been staunch Reaganites and Thatcherites had they been born in the west, and vice versa. Makes sense considering how easily many old communist functionaries in the eastern Europe wound up adopting or adapting nationalist rancor after the fall, though many did hold onto their internalized communist beliefs and simply faded into obscurity as that was no longer a vehicle to authority.
https://theauthoritarians.org/
My hypothesis is a synthesis of Bob Altemeyer's writings on the authoritarian personality and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita's selectorate theory. It was Bueno de Mesquita who taught me that dictatorships are built on small coalitions.

The Soviet Union may have been founded on left-wing ideals and hopes of liberalism, but it succumbed to the usual dynamic of small-coalition regimes that Bueno de Mesquita described in his books on selectorate theory. In the beginning, the Soviet Union was somewhat democratic, but then the people started voting in ways that Lenin didn't like, so Lenin scrapped these democratic systems and made himself a dictator. Then Stalin inherited this system and we know how that turned out. Like all dictators, Stalin saw that the most efficient way for him to secure his power was to rally and energize the authoritarians within the population. This is why when you compare Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, there are so many curious parallels, right down to the parades and banners, even though they're supposed to be on opposite sides of the political spectrum. They were both small-coalition regimes, and both Hitler and Stalin secured their power by building a solid base of authoritarian supporters because that's the optimal strategy in a small-coalition system.

Non-authoritarians (ie liberals) are harder to please and harder to organize. I've heard some say that it's like herding cats. Meanwhile, a group of right-wing authoritarians is like an army of ants according to Altemeyer (or sheep, if you prefer Orwell). If you're a leader, you'd much rather herd the sheep than attempt to herd the cats, and that's what dictators do. Democratic politicians have no choice but to appeal to the cats as well, and work out a balance between the contradictory tendencies of the sheep and the cats alike.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

I'm not sure any of the above is wrong but the simpler explanation is that change of any kind is a threat to a dictator.

Putin has journalists killed for the same reason he oppresses homosexuality; any open dissent is a spark that could potentially enflame a real opposition.

Kurzon
May 10, 2013


Hieronymous Alloy posted:

I'm not sure any of the above is wrong but the simpler explanation is that change of any kind is a threat to a dictator.

Putin has journalists killed for the same reason he oppresses homosexuality; any open dissent is a spark that could potentially enflame a real opposition.
I'm not talking about change, I'm talking about traditional conservative values such as patriarchy, bigotry towards ethnic minorities and gays, a tolerance for wealth inequality, hostility to immigration, etc. It's no coincidence that highly democratic countries like Finland and Canada are also more tolerant of women, gays, and people of other races.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Kurzon posted:

I'm not talking about change, I'm talking about traditional conservative values such as patriarchy, bigotry towards ethnic minorities and gays, a tolerance for wealth inequality, hostility to immigration, etc. It's no coincidence that highly democratic countries like Finland and Canada are also more tolerant of women, gays, and people of other races.

Other side of the coin is that dictatorships need someone to beat up on. Just like a playground bully isn't recognized unless he beats up on a victim, if you don't excercise some arbitrary pain and suffering, how does everyone else even know you're a dictator?

If you're a dictator, you have to demonstrate you're in power, and the way to do that is beat up some people who can't fight back, just to show that you can and that no one can or will stop you. Traditional minority groups (ethnic minorities, homosexuals, etc.) are a good target, and also reinforce in group / outgroup dynamics among your supporters ("I am defending you from the [x] menace") so why not ?

This is why there aren't any benevolent dictatorships. Being benevolent isn't the point and doesn't work.

I mean, the above analysis by Altmeyer re: authoritarian personalities is also accurate, but at root, a dictator needs to demonstrate power and minorities are a convenient target for that demonstration.

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

A bracing glass of carrot juice!


Ones that aren't get overthrown by the CIA

Kurzon
May 10, 2013


Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Other side of the coin is that dictatorships need someone to beat up on. Just like a playground bully isn't recognized unless he beats up on a victim, if you don't excercise some arbitrary pain and suffering, how does everyone else even know you're a dictator?

If you're a dictator, you have to demonstrate you're in power, and the way to do that is beat up some people who can't fight back, just to show that you can and that no one can or will stop you. Traditional minority groups (ethnic minorities, homosexuals, etc.) are a good target, and also reinforce in group / outgroup dynamics among your supporters ("I am defending you from the [x] menace") so why not ?

This is why there aren't any benevolent dictatorships. Being benevolent isn't the point and doesn't work.

I mean, the above analysis by Altmeyer re: authoritarian personalities is also accurate, but at root, a dictator needs to demonstrate power and minorities are a convenient target for that demonstration.
A dictator beats up on minorities either to disenfranchise them (ie render them incapable of threatening him) or because his supporters like it. Right-wing authoritarians tend to hate gays, so accordingly, dictators will pass homophobic laws just to please their authoritarian followers if nothing else this is what we see in Pakistan.

ronya
Nov 8, 2010

I'm the normal one.

You hate ridden fucks will regret your words when you eventually grow up.

Peace.


"Social conservatism" is a slippery concept. Twentieth-century communist dictatorships prioritized social liberalisms as defined by the lights of the 1910s, when the Russian revolution succeeded: from specific policies like abolition of polygamy and child marriage, family planning, mandatory formal education for women, mandatory selective education for all, caste abolition, various kinds of enthusiastic prohibitionisms (especially on alcohol and opium, but sometimes also on other perceived bourgeois luxuries, like coffee), to wider aesthetic principles like anticlericalism. Thereafter response to changes in liberal ethic varied widely. We might not think of streaming or temperance as socially liberal today, but once upon a time it was radically so.

Likewise, the more recent post-Iran Islamist wave is stridently conservative (along the axes that we generally understand by "social issues", anyway) but also generally prioritizes other issues like mass male education (especially rural literacy), abolishing non-religious restraints on access to higher social status (replacing nepotism with some nominally meritocratic/pious criteria), or protection of the lifestyles of small-time farmers, traders, and cottage industry family businesses from the pernicious impact of industrialization. When we say 'hierarchies' - which hierarchies? Rural/urban? Outside the family unit, or within it?

ronya fucked around with this message at 04:26 on Jun 23, 2021

Staluigi
Jun 22, 2021

thermodynamics cheated

There was a video by cgpgrey, this guy who tries to make wonky infographics-as-videos style narration about complex themes with little comic stickmen, and i first came across him from watching videos that helped make lord of the rings make any sense to me by defining it as "an ecosystem undergoing rapid and turbulent change because of the existing ecology being starved as magic slowly extinguishes from the universe"

He produced this other video which was called "Rules for Rulers" and its the sort of thing that people like me like to mock as being absurdly reductionist and painting with wide brushes about things which are doubtlessly, in application, Far More Complicated, but the video does kind of work as a sort of thought experiment in new ways to experiment with envisioning the structures of power and why they create habits and tendencies in higher office or dictatorial regimes.

In it there was one salient point about why most of the stable dictatorships in the world are that way because the majority of the wealth and prosperity that the dictator must maintain control of is something like goldmines or oilfields, anything which can be controlled for wealth generation by the dictator with the vast majority of the populace being otherwise irrelevant to it. In these dictatorships there's really no compelling desire to modernize society or infrastructure. There's usually actually even an incentive to prevent modernization because change is fairly bad for autocracies in general and it's usually better for them to keep large portions of the population without any credible hold on power or higher education anyway. You're more inclined to engage in total information control (or as much as you can manage) through state media, the enforcement of various social or religious structures which solidify nationalist adhesion and ideologically excuses authoritarian rule, and loving up anything which risks everything carrying on as usual.

Also, the followup act for serious dictatorships really loves to be either whichever brutally-minded connivers have ruthlessly sniped the transition of power from succeeding at the increasingly disconnected court intrigues of the high corridors of power or ... it just becomes a hereditary monarchy and the next dictator is just your son, Dictator Junior. The first dictator in the line is usually in power because they were the ones who solidified power, Dictator Junior ascends to the throne for virtue of being someone's son. As this process continues in either dimension (Court Intrigue or Born With The Right Sperm, but especially the latter) you end up with rulers who are less and less likely to be in any way inclined towards the greater progress or prosperity of the people and more inclined in More For Me, This Is All Mine.

This is why something like saudi arabia is like the perfect model for late stage modern dictatorship, with every subsequent ruling king growing up in worlds of supremely weird, disconnected privilege and absolutely mindbreaking indolence and being less productive against inequality, less competent or even interested in working against corruption, and less compatible with change overall, and that'll probably just carry on until the oil wells basically pass a threshold of profitable extraction, and then the whole mess will collapse.

i do try to remember that thinking about this sort of thing involves that we're pretty much supposing a lot about what things 'modernize' a population away from social conservatism or what 'progress' actually is in this regard and how much of it is subjective, but i usually substitute pretty basic progressive concepts involving egalitarian personal freedoms from prosecution and assessable minimums of concern for welfare and justice, stuff like i don't loving die the second it is publicly found out i'm not heterosexual, my mom doesn't get publicly caned half to death for violating some policy on wearing properly chaste clothing and actually gets to be a lawyer if she wants to, and/or i don't get disappeared because i might have been posting traitorous dissent (or might not have, but the regional flavor of gestapo has to make a quota). Also, these days there's a hell of a lot more complicated and unstudied ways to become a sustainable dictatorship/autocracy, so not all the old models need apply.

Kurzon
May 10, 2013


CGPGrey's video is an imperfect summary of selectorate theory, which was developed by the political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita.

CommieGIR
Aug 22, 2006

Gamera is friend to all Pumpkins
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Pillbug

Dictatorships are entirely about control, and socially conservative movements help endorse control of the populace to almost a microscopic level. It also helps nip individualism in the bud that tends to undermine dictatorships.

Main Paineframe
Oct 27, 2010

( ̀ ω ́ )✧

Kurzon posted:

I had a conversation with a friend who asked me why autocratic countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan tend to be socially conservative. I gave him my answer, but since I am not a political science major, I'd like you guys to critique my hypothesis.

When someone says the word "dictatorship", most people think "rule by one man", but really dictatorships are minority rule. In a dictatorship, the leader only requires the support of a narrow sliver of the population in order to stay in power. It's always nice to have more, but he only REQUIRES a small fraction. By contrast, in democracies, a leader needs the support of a much broader section of the population. Democracies are majority rule, dictatorships are minority rule.

In general, for a dictator, the best minority to appeal to for support is what psychologists call "right-wing authoritarians". Right-wing authoritarians make up between a fifth and a third of the population, depending on how you count; either way, they're a minority, and they're the easiest minority to secure. Right-wing authoritarians, by definition, are people who are submissive to their leaders and highly conformist. Right-wing authoritarians readily give their unquestioning loyalty to their leader provided that leader appeals to their base values. Look up the literature of Bob Altemeyer if you want to know more.

And what is it that right-wing authoritarians fundamentally want? Right-wing authoritarians dislike diversity. They like a society where everybody is the same and interactions with outsiders are minimal. Right-wing authoritarians tend to dislike uncertainty. They also like hierarchy; they like to be the dominant group in society, and they don't much care for egalitarianism. And they tend to be highly fearful of threats caused by people, such as terrorists, criminals, and enemy nations. So a politician can appeal to right-wing authoritarians by opposing immigration, feminism, secularism, and so forth (any that promotes equality and diversity, basically).

Once a politician has their loyalty, that loyalty is very secure. Right-wing authoritarians are very forgiving of corruption, brutality, and other forms of misconduct in their leaders, so long as said leaders keep saying the things they want to hear. Whatever proof you offer of their leader's bad deeds, they will deny, downplay or justify them. The old Roman saying was "Caesar can do no wrong". That means that dictators can use foul tactics to oppress the rest of society, the fraction of society that isn't right-wing authoritarian. He can engage in corruption. Right-wing authoritarians will tell you that they hate corruption, but in practice they don't care if it's their guy doing it. He can curb civil liberties, because right-wing authoritarians tend to not appreciate liberty especially when it's not their own liberties. He can use brutality on political opponents; his RWA supporters will either deny it or justify it, especially if he is exerting brutality on groups that they hate.

So this is an efficient strategy for politicians in autocratic regimes: appeal to the right-wing authoritarian minority and use oppression on everybody else. It doesn't work so well in a democracy because a democratic politican needs a much broader support base to stay in power and there just aren't enough right-wing authoritarians to build a viable coalition. Remember, RWAs make up only a fifth to a third of society, depending on how you count. A democratic leader thus needs to satisfy the desires of the non-authoritarian members of society; the liberals, in other words. And what do liberals tend to want? They want more liberty. They are less tolerant of cruel behavior. They want more equality. They want more honesty and accountability. They want more tolerance. And a democratic leader must give them that.

Giving consideration to liberal demands will, of course, irritate right-wing authoritarian voters, and there is always this struggle in any democracy. Generally, the healthier the democracy, the more influence that liberals have in society. In flawed democracies such as America and Turkey, liberals have more influence than they do in countries like Saudi Arabia but less than in countries like Denmark and Canada.

What do you think of my hypothesis?

I think this hypothesis is missing some crucial factors: it ignores preexisting power relationships and inequities in society, and it assumes that the necessary amount of support for a dictatorship is based on how many people support it, rather than who those people are or what positions in society they hold. Basically, I get the sense you're imagining the rise of authoritarianism on a blank slate, rather than considering how it fits into already-existing society. I don't think it makes sense to discuss authoritarianism's relationship with social conservatism without examining the nature of social conservatism itself, or with how dictatorships actually rise in practice. Otherwise, it feels like you're working backwards from an end result without really considering how that result came about in the first place.

What matters isn't just how many supporters a dictatorship has, but also those supporters' relationship to either the military or to traditional social/cultural power structures. And it shouldn't be any surprise that traditional power structures are often conservative by nature, since major elements of conservatism include upholding the cultural traditions and values that those power structures support, as well as opposing social changes that might threaten the status of those power structures. In fact, those cultural traditions and values have often been crafted and spread by those power structures for the express purpose of priming the population to view those power structures as important and necessary. Which is why it's no surprise that both the military and most long-lived social power structures tend to place a fair amount of value on hierarchy and obedience. When those traditional structures find their influence and their follower base shrinking, authoritarianism is an attractive way to prevent an otherwise-inevitable decline in power, or to restore power that's already been lost.

Even in cases where a dictator wasn't socially conservative, it's always wise to look at their sources of power first, how they rose to power and how they maintain it. For example, the Shah of Iran attempted a number of socially progressive reforms, but his relationship with the military and traditional Iranian power-holders wasn't especially strong to begin with; he thought that Westernizing Iran would appeal to the American and British authorities who had installed him on the throne and made him a dictator, and he hoped that it would build support among the general populace as a hedge against betrayal by his foreign backers or rebellion by influential domestic figures. In the end, his reforms were poorly executed, and that combined with his increasingly paranoid and repressive style of governing led to an Islamist-led revolution advocating the restoration of conservative values and the rollback of the secularism he'd enforced.

Warden
Jan 16, 2020


Kurzon posted:

countries like Finland and Canada are also more tolerant of women, gays, and people of other races.

As a Finn, may I just say: rotflmao.

More tolerant doesn't mean exceptionally tolerant. The party which most definitely has issues with all of the above is the second largest in the parliament, and they just had very successful municipal elections, where they almost came in third, increasing their share of votes by a lot.

Also, we had the same dude as president from 1956 to 1981, and he at one point bullied the parliament to pass a special law which skipped the presidential election and extended his term. That's not something democracies are supposed to do.

Edit. Being gay was illegal until 1974 and classified as mental illness until 1981, and marital rape was legal until 1994.

Edit 2. And I remember the 1990s, when there were lots and lots of roving bands of local skinheads loving everywhere looking for brown people to assault in the towns outside the capital area. A group of them were beaten black and blue at our local market by an ex-CCCP basketball player for assaulting the only black man in town, who was also a basketball player.

Warden fucked around with this message at 08:35 on Jun 25, 2021

Mooseontheloose
May 13, 2003



Kurzon posted:

CGPGrey's video is an imperfect summary of selectorate theory, which was developed by the political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita.

Grey's videos on politics while often informative, come from the perspective of someone who is very good at science thinking he is also very smart at policy and politics.

As for the social conservative piece of dictatorships, someone in the thread I think really hit on it. Dictatorships need constant threats to stay in power because if you are constantly under threat, people are more likely to allow bending of civil liberties and rights. Related to that though, I come back to the the Anti-Sex League of 1984. I think there is something to be said for when people can care about other people are can experience happiness sans the dictatorships, it undermines the power of the state who knows what is best for you. If you can care about something that the powers have try to tell you is bad, you question the state and you start believing in things other than orthodoxly of the state/dictator/cult.

reignonyourparade
Nov 15, 2012


Mooseontheloose posted:

Grey's videos on politics while often informative, come from the perspective of someone who is very good at science thinking he is also very smart at policy and politics.

Eh, he uses a lot of the same aesthetics of that sort of Science Dude but he was just a physics teacher before being a youtuber took off and his other degrees are sociology and economics, the extent of his 'science' videos are generally 'here are some astronomical facts.' When he's overestimating his own expertise on policy and politics I don't think it has anything to do with "I must know what I'm talking about because I'm good at science."

Kurzon
May 10, 2013


Mooseontheloose posted:

Grey's videos on politics while often informative, come from the perspective of someone who is very good at science thinking he is also very smart at policy and politics.
Selectorate theory is a scientific theory of power. I read the book on it, there's a ton of calculus in it.

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Kurzon posted:

It's no coincidence that highly democratic countries like Finland and Canada are also more tolerant of women, gays, and people of other races.
Saying that Canada is tolerant of minority groups is a pretty spicy take considering they're still finding mass graves outside residential schools.

Kurzon
May 10, 2013


Alhazred posted:

Saying that Canada is tolerant of minority groups is a pretty spicy take considering they're still finding mass graves outside residential schools.
Compared to autocratic countries, democracies are much better. Remember that in China right now there is a ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs and in Burma there is an ongoing genocide against Rohingya. That sort of poo poo doesn't happen in America or Europe anymore. In Hungary, which is experiencing a backsliding towards autocracy under Viktor Orban, they're passing laws oppressing LGBT people.

Kurzon fucked around with this message at 12:06 on Jul 5, 2021

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Kurzon posted:

Compared to autocratic countries, democracies are much better. Remember that in China right now there is a ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs and in Burma there is an ongoing genocide against Rohingya. That sort of poo poo doesn't happen in America or Europe anymore.

https://twitter.com/jasonintrator/status/1411926052188954624?s=20




I mean if your counterpoint is "America isn't a democracy if you're black" then, ok, you're making an arguable point

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at 12:10 on Jul 5, 2021

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Kurzon posted:

Compared to autocratic countries, democracies are much better.

Canada still treats it's minorities as poo poo: https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/

thekeeshman
Feb 21, 2007


I think one other factor is that most of the societies around the world are "socially conservative" by western standards, so that's likely to be the existing paradigm for a society, and it's going to be especially difficult to change social mores in a dictatorship because they aren't going to allow NGOs and civil society groups that have been behind much of the social change in democratic societies.

Yossarian-22
Oct 26, 2014



The liberal first world has enough resources that they've extracted from the Global South that they can sit on their lawn chairs and think about changing social policy, and also allow some measure of democratic rights. That's it really

James Garfield
May 5, 2012

Paleontologists must have looked into it before. Maybe they had, but never ran with it. Or maybe the thought simply never occurred to them. Maybe the stand hunting from a tree strategy had never been applied to T. rex.


Hieronymous Alloy posted:

https://twitter.com/jasonintrator/status/1411926052188954624?s=20




I mean if your counterpoint is "America isn't a democracy if you're black" then, ok, you're making an arguable point

I don't disagree with you, but the US white incarceration rate is already 50% higher than the next highest country and you'd probably want to compare the other rates to minorities in other countries. I mean the black incarceration rate being four times the average is obviously bad, but the other side of that is that if the US were only imprisoning 100 people per 100,000 there would still be way too many black people in prison (even though the national average wouldn't look out of place compared to other countries).

It's not really a fair comparison but fwiw the wikipedia articles say there are about 1.3 million people in Uyghur internment camps and 13 million Uyghurs.

Tuxedo Gin
May 20, 2003

Classy.



Because giving more people more rights and freedoms generally leads to the dictatorship not lasting.

Staluigi
Jun 22, 2021

thermodynamics cheated

good ol' america can still be doing all this clearly hosed up poo poo and still possess a way better floor for minority rights than most dictatorships. it is not surprising that dictatorships are bad but sometimes that point has to be underscored by

1. first discussing that the US is terrible, then

2. not letting people gloss over or do an apologism over the fact that what the dictatorships are doing are way worse along almost any important metric

Enver Zogha
Nov 12, 2008

The modern revisionists and reactionaries call us Stalinists, thinking that they insult us and, in fact, that is what they have in mind. But, on the contrary, they glorify us with this epithet; it is an honor for us to be Stalinists.

Kurzon posted:

The Soviet Union may have been founded on left-wing ideals and hopes of liberalism,
I don't think it's accurate to say the Soviet state was founded on "hopes of liberalism." That applies to the Provisional Government which was overthrown by the Bolsheviks. The latter weren't conservative, of course, but like Marx and Engels they opposed liberalism from the left. They rejected such concepts as natural rights and civil society, with Marx arguing that "the right of man to liberty is based not on the association of man with man, but on the separation of man from man." Hence why you can find plenty of philosophers of a liberal bent (Isaiah Berlin and Leszek Kołakowski to name just two) who argue Marxism is fundamentally illiberal. There's a book titled Marxism and the Leap to the Kingdom of Freedom by a liberal historian making this argument in detail.

I don't think you can find a liberal philosopher who would concur with the following from Lenin: "We reject any morality based on extra-human and extra-class concepts. We say that this is deception, dupery, stultification of the workers and peasants in the interests of the landowners and capitalists. We say that our morality is entirely subordinated to the interests of the proletariat's class struggle." John Dewey didn't, which led to an exchange between him and Trotsky. Bertrand Russell certainly didn't see liberalism in either the theory or practice of Soviet Russia when he visited in 1920.

This obviously doesn't mean Marxists and liberals can't agree on certain subjects (e.g. fascism bad), but Marx, Engels, and Lenin would not like being considered ideological colleagues of someone like John Stuart Mill or John Rawls.

Enver Zogha fucked around with this message at 08:10 on Jul 6, 2021

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Kurzon
May 10, 2013


Thanks, that was educational.

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