75 Comments

Looking forward to Friday's Zoom meeting. This was a great essay on how strongmen use public humiliation and how Republicans capitulate to the bully.

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fascinating, thank you Ruth.

thanks for the reminder of Trump's way of firing people and how many he fired. seems autocrats are born, not made—Trump certainly didn't study these things but he's a textbook autocrat to his rotten marrow.

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Thank you for framing these behaviors through the lens of authoritarianism.

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Rudy Giuliani's second wife, Donna Hanover, learned she had been replaced by a younger model watching Rudy on TV. Even strongman wannabes employ the humiliation tactic.

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Authoritarian figures feed off of degrading others, especially in a public arena! Putin and Trump share this trait!

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Your description of the strongmen - and especially comparing Trump to ALL of them and their qualities was perfect. That IS exactly Trump - to humiliate his staff, and the firing of Tillerson via Twitter (I just learned that!). It wasn't just "now and then," it was ALL THE TIME. This is also part of the malignant narcissist disorder description as well.

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I look forward to the zoom call meeting Friday.

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Fascinating Ruth. A strongman has to humiliate others like a schoolyard bully. But why do they have the constant supply of followers willing to be humiliated? Do you know what the dynamic is for them?

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Brilliant! Thank you Ruth.

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Putin very much enjoyed publicly humiliating Trump in front of a global audience, didn’t he?

I still cannot believe Trump survived it with the American polity.

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“Russia has nothing” Absolutely this from Merkel, she’s so right on many levels.

But Russia does have a lot of oil and gas profits, illegally embezzled and to clean it, the kleptocrats send it abroad to be laundered. So they do have that.

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If political tyrants are like other sociopaths, it's a good bet that they "learned" how to ridicule and humiliate others by being ridiculed and humiliated themselves, repeatedly, in early childhood. Some by profound neglect, like Trump and Putin, and some by severe abuse, like Hitler.

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And speaking of humiliation, you have a southern black man sucking up for a job with a white guy who wanted to lynch his last vice president.

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Keep cranking out this gold, Professor. I saw today that the pro-Russian Republicans in Congress are shilling for Putin by hyper-inflating a new space defense by Russia. My gut tells me this is the old Reagan Star Wars gambit in reverse.

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I understand that public humiliation is a tactic of authoritarians--and a particularly cruel one at that. But what is "ritual" about it? The target doesn't appear to be participating voluntarily.

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Stalin was a virtuoso at this technique. Putin has sought to rehabilitate Stalin.

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