Authoritarianism is the product of a certain type of upbringing. The parent demands obedience from the child by giving or (especially) withholding love from the child based on his level of obedience and how much the child satisfies the parents' needs. The parent expect the child to make the parent feel good about himself. The parent's own parents did not give him unconditional love and the parent spends the rest of his life looking for that love from other people. Since only children can experience unconditional love, they are always going to be disappointed. They will look to religion to give them that love--God's unconditional love, which authoritarian religions use to control people; follow these rules and God will love you.
Or politics. You only have to take on look at Republicans en masse to realize that they become involved because they need a group to reinforce their dubious beliefs. Facts, logic and compassion aren't on their side but they can forget all that when they are surrounded by people like them. Which is why they only want to be surrounded by people like them.
But just because authoritarianism is weaker on the left side of the continuum doesn't mean it doesn't exist at all. Liberals seek to feel good about themselves by helping others, because it confirms the positive feelings they have about themselves or because it gives them positive feelings about themselves. The first reinforces self-esteem, the second creates self esteem in people who need outside reinforcement.
If a person backs Obama while admitting that Obama has done things that are against our beliefs, it is not a sign of authoritarianism. If a person backs Obama and refuses to admit Obama has done what he has actually, factually done, then the person is denying reality and is supporting Obama out of need, not pragmatism. The difference is huge because someone who sees Obama as an equal, who knows his own needs are as important as his leader's needs, will not hesitate to push for what he wants. Someone who sees Obama as an authority that must be supported no matter what will not argue the facts, they will argue obedience to that authority.
If we examined whether Obama's policies have helped more than they've hurt, we could figure out what to do. But instead people insist that Obama hasn't done anything harmful, even when the facts say otherwise, or that the gain outweighs the harm, which has not been proven. They accept actions from Obama that they would never accept from a Republican, which of course tilts the scales in Obama's favor. Let's hear the arguments--all of them, from both sides. If the thought make people uneasy or afraid, there is a reason for that fear--avoidance of pain.
Have you read about the Asche conformity experiments?
In the basic Asch paradigm, the participants — the real subjects and the confederates — were all seated in a classroom. They were asked a variety of questions about the lines such as how long is A, compare the length of A to an everyday object, which line was longer than the other, which lines were the same length, etc. The group was told to announce their answers to each question out loud. The confederates always provided their answers before the study participant, and always gave the same answer as each other. They answered a few questions correctly but eventually began providing incorrect responses.
In a control group, with no pressure to conform to an erroneous view, only one subject out of 35 ever gave an incorrect answer. Solomon Asch hypothesized that the majority of people would not conform to something obviously wrong; however, when surrounded by individuals all voicing an incorrect answer, participants provided incorrect responses on a high proportion of the questions (32%). Seventy-five percent of the participants gave an incorrect answer to at least one question.
We put enormous pressure on ourselves to conform. We want people we like and respect to accept us and we want to be part of that group. We want people to hit the like button. So we avoid anything uncomfortable, anything that creates a dissonance between what we know is true and what we want to be true. To do that we have to lie.
We can compromise, we can negotiate, we can even submit, but we can never lie to ourselves. It makes us dependent on outside sources for self-esteem, which leaves us wide open and vulnerable to abuse, as well as abusing others to keep the lie intact. At the very least it makes us indifferent to others' suffering, being so much preoccupied with our own.
All of this discussion of Obama depends on our acceptance of him as our leader and us as his followers. The discussion is entirely confined within the borders of our system, which is set up to extract money from the poor and middle class for the further enrichment of the elite rich. It is a game the rich play to distract us from the Greater Game, their acquisition of wealth through political, social, religious and of course monetary control. I want us all to turn our backs on the present political system, do good and feel good by helping others, especially the poor during these times. It would undercut the rich, enrich our own lives, and give us a reason to hope for better times.
I also want a pony, preferably pink.