In his masterpiece, The Authoritarian Personality, Theodore Adorno overlooked one unlikely possibility that has, indeed, emerged in our current political theater. And that is, of course, that at least one current authoritarian aspirant to the White House demonstrates that one can display all the characteristics of authoritarianism without having any personality at all. Enter Ron DeSantis, stage right.
What occupies Ron's psychic space where personality resides in real people is a closed circuit of uncontrolled neuronal firings that consistently manifest as rage, hate, and socially-detached megalomania. Even the simple act of eating apparently does not escape the pattern. As a DeSantis staffer told The Daily Beast, “He would sit in meetings and eat in front of people, always like a starving animal who has
never eaten before… getting shit everywhere.”
But before this thin-crusted authoritarian bully gains his rightful place in history's permanent dustbin of American fascist fascinations, he is sure to do lots of damage, particularly in his home state of Florida. For even though the declared enemies of the "woke agenda" can't tell you what "woke" means, there remains, nonetheless, actionable connotations that allows and encourages terminally-ignorant followers of the corporate media hate channels to keep their torches lit and their pitchforks sharpened. And vague connotations for a word that can't be defined leaves the field open for every fascist wannabe to choose his own favorite bigotry to advance by attacking any effort to reduce bigotry.
DeSantis knows that Fox and its spawn can be counted on to maintain a 24-hour IV drip of hate--enough to keep white economically-oppressed viewers focused on protecting, at all costs, the ideological cryptocurrency of white male protestant capitalist plutocracy (WMPCP).
Rupert Murdoch and his oligarch pals have arrived at a foolproof formula to rake in billions of dollars for making the ignorant more ignorant, the angry angrier, and the hateful homicidal. In short, Murdoch is responsible for creating and maintaining the basest of the Republican base, which gives cover for humorless despots like DeSantis to busy themselves dismantling democratic institutions and snuffing out democratic aspirations in order to undergird social and economic control by the WMPCP.
To create the dystopian fascist future that had remained only a John Bircher wet dream prior to the coming of T---- in 2016, DeSantis as T---- 2.0, along with his army of social DeSantitizers, e. g., Moms for Liberty, have chosen a censorial and abusive strategy to bulldoze democratic principles and practices, equality and equity goals and initiatives, institutional power sharing, and free thought and expression.
Exhibiting the charm of a Florida gator and the subtlety of a bull shark, DeSantis's utterances ooze the rank musk of toxic masculine politics mixed with the smarmy chronic whining of a pampered bully brat. Repulsive, yes, but also effective.
Witness the latest "joke mob" success in Tallahassee, FL, where a tiny band of vigilante parents on the hunt for any potential threat to theocratic fascism have succeeded in having a charter school principal fired for allowing Michelangelo's David to be viewed in a middle school classroom.
From the NY Post:
While Tallahassee Classical is reportedly required to teach about
Renaissance art in the 6th grade, three parents spoke up about the
lesson’s contents and claimed it upset their children.
Two parents said they wanted to be notified about the lesson before
it took place and another parent slammed it as pornographic,
[Principal] Carrasquilla said.
She told HuffPost one parent was “point-blank upset” and “felt her child should not be viewing those pieces.”
So now with the DeSantitizers in charge of school curriculums across Florida, even the Hillsdale College curriculum, permission must be granted by every parent, apparently, for any element of curriculum to be offered. This episode exposes the ramifications of this kind of anarchistic upside down form of authoritarianism now made operative at the institutional level.
The clip below is from a Slate interview with Tallahassee Classical Board Chair, Barney Bishop, which quickly went off the rails when Alice in Wonderland logic of this approach was made clear by the interviewer:
Just to be clear, last year you sent a notice to parents warning them that students were going to see Michelangelo’s David?
This year, we made an egregious mistake. We didn’t send that notice.
Look, we’re not a public school. We’re a public charter. Parents, after
they saw all the crap that’s being taught in public schools during
COVID, decided of their own that they didn’t want their children to be
taught that. Here we teach the Hillsdale Curriculum,
focusing on civic and moral values. We teach a traditional, Western
civilization, liberal classical education. And if there’s controversial
topics or subjects, we tell parents in advance. We’re going to be
sensitive to everybody at the school.
I tend to think of a classical education as being the mode in the 17th, 18th
century, where you study the Greeks and Romans, and Western
civilization is central. A tutor or teacher is the expert, and that
teacher drives the curriculum. You’re describing something where it
seems the parents drive the curriculum. How does your classical
education differ from the classical education as I think of it?
What kind of question is that, Dan? I don’t know how they taught in the 17th, 18th century, and neither do you. You live in New York?
You’ve got a 212 number. That’s New York.
I lived in New York when I got the cellphone, many years ago. Now I live in Virginia.
we’re Florida, OK? Parents will decide. Parents are the ones who are
going to drive the education system here in Florida. The governor said
that, and we’re with the governor. Parents don’t decide what is taught.
But parents know what that curriculum is. And parents are entitled to
know anytime their child is being taught a controversial topic and
choose this school because they want a certain kind of education. We’re
not gonna have courses from the College Board. We’re not gonna teach
1619 or CRT crap. I know they do all that up in Virginia. The rights of
parents, that trumps the rights of kids. Teachers are the experts?
Teachers have all the knowledge? Are you kidding me? I know lots of
teachers that are very good, but to suggest they are the authorities,
you’re on better drugs than me. . . .