It’s Not Just Putin

Most Americans think of the United States as  different from the rest of the world, with a very distinct political and social culture. That perspective far too often limits our preoccupations to issues within our borders. Academics may engage in comparative studies, but most of America’s “chattering class” confines its chatter to American politics and institutions.

These days, there are numerous articles, books and columns  devoted to the American Right, for example (especially about its current control of the GOP), but aside from a throwaway sentence here and there, there are relatively few efforts to tie that paternalistic, theocratic, nationalist movement to the broader, worldwide culture war that is pitting people who are embracing–or at least accepting– modernity against those hysterically trying to stop the (emerging) world so that they can get off.

Despite the lack of attention to similar movements elsewhere, there are significant similarities–and since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a couple of recent columns have traced the connections between our homegrown cultural Luddites and their fellow resisters around the world.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted Paul Krugman to consider the roots of Putin’s appeal to the American Right.

Krugman locates the sources of the right’s infatuation with a brutal dictator–an infatuation that he reminds us began even before Trump’s rise–to Putin’s championing of  “antiwokeness “— Putin is someone who (to quote Tucker Carlson’s recent defense of his pro-Russian propaganda)  “wouldn’t accuse you of being a racist, who denounced cancel culture and ‘gay propaganda.'”

Some of it reflected a creepy fascination with Putin’s alleged masculinity — Sarah Palin declared that he wrestled bears while President Barack Obama wore “mom jeans” — and the apparent toughness of Putin’s people. Just last year Senator Ted Cruz contrasted footage of a shaven-headed Russian soldier with a U.S. Army recruiting ad to mock our “woke, emasculated” military.

Finally, many on the right simply like the idea of authoritarian rule. Just a few days ago Trump, who has dialed back his praise for Putin, chose instead to express admiration for North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Kim’s generals and aides, he noted, “cowered” when the dictator spoke, adding that “I want my people to act like that.”

In one of his more perceptive columns, David Brooks also delved into the mind-set of the pro-Putin Right. According to Brooks, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is the continuation of identity politics by other means.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found the writings of conventional international relations experts to be not very helpful in understanding what this whole crisis is about. But I’ve found the writing of experts in social psychology to be enormously helpful.

That is because–as Brooks points out–the war in Ukraine is primarily about status. “Putin invaded so Russians could feel they are a great nation once again and so Putin himself could feel that he’s a world historical figure along the lines of Peter the Great.” Along the way, Putin has increasingly portrayed himself as not just a national leader “but a civilizational leader, leading the forces of traditional morality against the moral depravity of the West.”

Right-wing populism hasn’t been confined to the United States and Russia; these movements can be found throughout the Western world –and for that matter, probably in every country that is experiencing significant modernization and liberalization, which are seen as undermining “traditional values.”

Populist movements are generally associated with rejection of science, particularly the science underlying environmentalism, with nationalism and nativism, and with anti-globalization fervor. (Trump’s protectionism fit right in.) As Wikipedia defines the European variant of the populist movement,

 In Europe, the term is often used to describe groups, politicians, and political parties that are generally known for their opposition to immigration, especially from the Muslim world, and for Euroscepticism. Right-wing populists may support expanding the welfare state, but only for those they deem are fit to receive it; this concept has been referred to as “welfare chauvinism.” 

Here in the United States, research confirms that our homegrown populists cling to the belief that only White Christians can be “real” Americans. These people–terrified of losing cultural hegemony– have their analogues around the globe. (It’s one more way in which we aren’t “exceptional.”)

What’s scary is recognition of how widespread that terror is–and how powerfully motivating. Obama’s  much-criticized observation that frightened, disoriented people “cling to their guns and their bibles” may have been politically unwise, but it wasn’t wrong–and the phenomenon isn’t limited to the U.S. Islamic fundamentalist cling to their Korans and bombs…

Global populism is just one more reminder that–despite different geographies and cultures– humans are essentially similar mammals…


  1. Brooks and Krugman aren’t the guys I’d go to for their international analysis. Their bs analyzes the right populists but refuses to look at the Oligarchy calling the shots. Maybe, it’s because the Right Oligarchy is anti-establishment, and Brooks and Krugman are Establishment thinkers and bad ones at that.

    However, to get published in the New York Times, the US Establishment newspaper, I guess that’s only logical.

    Meanwhile, anti-establishment news agencies are getting censored by “private companies” who work closely with the government (Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc.)

    Being a Twitter user for independent journalists’ perspective is almost useless as a tool right now because it is flooded by war propaganda from the US establishment. Putin is the “worst war criminal, committing atrocities like targeting innocent civilians.”

    A few months ago, didn’t we kill ten innocent civilians with a drone attack while leaving Kabul after initially calling it a “righteous kill?”

    The only way to understand what is going on is to distance yourself from all the bullshit slung by all those involved and listen to one or two trust international voices writing from independent platforms like Substack.

    Anything from the NY Times is USA state propaganda, just like Sputnik is Russian state propaganda.

    And talk about crazy bs, Zelenskyy addressing Congress. Zelenskyy is a US/NATO puppet who works with the NeoNazis who overthrew his government in 2014.

    For those who didn’t catch it on the “news,” Putin’s goal in Ukraine is to de-Nazify the element in their government. Where did the Nazi element come from? 😉

  2. America and Americans are too isolated to know much about politics of Europe. You can’t go 100 miles without crossing a border here and have to deal with another language and culture. Europe has become what America cannot. Accepting of others despite their religion or culture or language. Sure there are clashes but Putin is wrong. He will always be wrong and is definitely a war criminal. He needs to be stopped. Now, please.

  3. One has to wonder how old Todd was when he learned the word “oligarchy”. Since he uses it daily, it must have been at a very young age. One also wonders if he’s actually met an oligarch.

    This blog has flogged the notion of tribalism for years. That’s what all this “chatter” is about. Now that there are almost 8 billion humans clamoring for rapidly diminishing food, water and fuel resources, what else should we expect from a being still in possession of a caveman brain’s built-in biases? Oh. And let’s not forget all those rare earth elements needed for everyone’s “smart” phone. Until enough people make the intellectual leap that this tribalism will, ultimately, be the thing that creates our own extinction, humanity will continue on this path to its own self-destruction – either in bits like Ukraine, or en masse when some jackass decides to start a nuclear war.

    There is lots of irony built in to this subject/topic, but it won’t be the oligarchs that cause that extinction. It will be the enablers and enactors of them that does it. Putin is NOT an oligarch. He is a despotic dictator. Different mindset. BUT HIS oligarchs have two roles: (1) They have to kiss Putin’s ass so he won’t kill them. (2) Make Putin as rich as possible so his psychopathy is slaked and he won’t kill them. They have, of course, created the monster of their worst nightmares.

    Here’s another word that will work in the coming days: COLLAPSE.

  4. After six years of pondering and theorizing about the draw of right wing dictatorship government I’ve come to believe that the draw is a natural reaction to “too much change too fast”.
    When one’s life seems out of control because of all the fast paced changes, when the rewards for living honestly and working hard are not forthcoming because you cannot keep up, when lifelong beliefs are discounted and ridiculed people seek out stability, predictability and someone to take control and give them the answers and the world they want.
    Dictatorship does slow things down of course. However, the price one pays for such a slow, stable world of uniformity is the loss of freedom, mainly the freedom of personal choice. Without that freedom we are all less human. It’s safe we think, but unknowingly less alive.

  5. Todd; wasn’t that drone attack in Kabul later proven to be caused by faulty intelligence information” Still it was a tragedy which our government accepted blame for. You cannot compare that drone attack with what is going on today in Ukraine; Putin is simply a terrorist whose aim is to destroy and kill whatever and whoever is in his line of fire. Who and what will remain for him to rule over when this is done?

    NOT enacting a “no fly zone” over Ukraine is said to prevent Ukraine from firing back at the enemy which would start WWIII. What is the difference between firing back on the ground to kill Russian troops and destroying military vehicles, weapons and equipment different from having the ability to fire at them in the air? Who does not believe war is already going in today?. Putin stated days ago that the sanctions placed on him by all allies is a “declaration of war” against Russia, projecting blame away from himself. All warnings that the invasion, attack and occupation were coming and were ignored for the most part; foreigners in Ukraine for whatever reasons were told to leave the country but chose to stay and now complain that they are only allowed to leave after Ukrainian nationals. Putin’s intention is not to stop with Ukraine; the world leaders know this but hold back full support of the small country of Ukraine just as Europe did when Germany attacked Poland. Trump’s support of Putin and Russia and his followers goes back to Trump’s FIRST impeachment and his attempts to use Ukraine to aid him in his plan to spend a second term in the White House.

    “And talk about crazy bs, Zelenskyy addressing Congress. Zelenskyy is a US/NATO puppet who works with the NeoNazis who overthrew his government in 2014.” And the United States and UK and all other allies “worked” with Russia to overthrow Germany in WWII; but Russia has never been trusted to be among our allies. No; it is not only Putin destroying democracy in Europe just as it is not only Trump destroying democracy in America by domestic terrorists.

  6. Excellent this morning Sheila!

    I noticed in the thread you use the term “Resister.” Do you know what the Hebrew word is for resister? Satan!

    Job 1:6 actually discusses that very thing. “Now the day came when the sons of the true God entered to take their station before him, and Satan also entered among them.”

    Also, read Job 2:1 – 3.

    Just thought I would throw that in there.

    When a person of compassion and empathy uses circumspection, they consider the results of their actions not, on themselves per se, but for the greater good of all citizenry / humanity.

    Introspection is like a bubble, and when a person uses that especially if they have a position of corrupt authority, they try desirously to push their own beliefs and motivations on everyone else! (Me)

    I would say that being circumspect is more concerned about the general welfare of others/society, where introspect is an ally of selfishness and personal calculations! (We)

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely: Lord Acton!

    Also read; Matthew:20:20 – 28

    As Lord Acton borrowed the thought of William Pitt the Elder, they borrowed the thought from the apostle Matthew.

    They were very well aware of the power religion had, and that religion was the driver in most of the wars in Europe. And, how many purveyors of brutal authority, used religion as the hammer.

    Just take a look around, which war has not really been fought by religious zealots or religious zealotry? It was a rallying cry and the crusades, it was a rallying cry through The dark ages, it was a rallying cry in the age of enlightenment, it was a rallying cry in the building and conquering of civilizations, it was a rallying cry in the world wars, it was a rallying cry in the Middle East and the Gulf conflicts, it was a rallying cry when the IRA was blowing up the Brits, and a rallying cry for Muslim and or right wing terrorists! If you want to have peace, you have to get rid of the Bastardized Religion and all that goes with it.

    Myself? I Try Wholeheartedly to conduct myself like the Good Samaritan and put Judas in the rearview mirror.

    When religious leaders hoist governments on their shoulders, they bless soldiers and weapons. They claim God is on their side. The problem is, God can’t be on all sides. And, Christ said to love your enemy! But you still have hypocrites blessing the slaughter of millions. That’s how you have Catholics murdering Catholics En Masse, the same with the Protestant religions, the same with the different factions of Muslim religion. Hindu and Buddhist sects are not immune to this either, each slaughtering their brothers in faith.

    Man has turned something that could have been uniting into something really really disgusting. And I really believe there will be an end to all of it. Your beliefs should remain in your home, then go out and love your neighbor, love god, and love your enemy, you’ll be the better for it!

  7. Sheila , excellent thoughts and article .
    John Sorg , excellent insight and summation .

  8. For arguments sake, let’s just assume for a moment that Todd is correct and Ukraine was infected with Nazis. Why is Russia allowed to invade and take it over, incorporating it into Russia in the most brutal and bloody way? This makes no sense. Today’s post was about the craziest members of the right wing of America’s culture and their infatuation with Putin. Yet the first post seemingly tries to justify Putin’s actions in Ukraine from the far left. I knew our planet spins but it doesn’t spin that fast. All of this ‘positive’ thinking about Putin is wrong, just wrong.

  9. It made me laugh that Brooks would think Putin compares himself to Peter the Great. Peter the Great was extremely Eurocentric. He was ruthless, but perhaps less so than Ivan the Terrible.

    Putin has misjudged everything about his venture into Ukraine. He has shown his vaunted military to be second rate. That’s probably not his fault. History shows that Russian military might has always been mostly about the weather in Russia, not about exceptional planning, tactics, or equipment. He missed the key lesson Machiavelli had for the Prince: Keep the people on your side. He doesn’t care about the people. If he did, he might have moved toward some sort of détente when they started to suffer economic pain. What he did was shut down all media which didn’t conform to his point of view. The reason 45 and his friends love Putin is that he, too is a sociopath.

  10. if your journies take you the, there was a piece a few days ago where the German goverment has been advised by its courts where they can investgate the AFD. alt for Germany.its cousin to trumps ignornace force,,for the reason of its right wing slant,and divisions its causing,and why? here in America, we have first amendment rights and tort lawyers who (mind you that is a slant to the billboard style lawyers) who,would aggesivly anilate with words in court to preserve thier income. im not singling out all lawyers, but words and thoughts are the backbone of freespeach. hense the ideals some people are drawn into to faciliate thier own mindless orgasms. cheap thrills for them while we suffer and have to defend the very foundation that gives them the right to distroy distroy with out physical violece,hopefully for reading over decades is a mismash of many subjetcs,keep cue on the political scene here in America and finding,when newspapaers and time/life etc were daily sources,and my travels were strewn with leftover local and national news standards. i watched and read and followed central America, from 1978 on, but i also found the funnelling of cash into that war reagan engaged in,thru bush,(king george the first). imagine how one reporter following it and found that the drug trade to America was paying for arms for the contras,and the mercenaries it paid for. Thanks Gary.. finding that story early on,thru a trade publication called high times gave a barometer to where and how much drugs were sold,and when,( the page was called the times high market report)i also was unable to purchase a AR15 due its backorder status. gee where did all the unnumbered guns go?(see spanish war 1880s U.S.federal rule for unnumbered arms to forigen goverments) small pieces gathered over a decade from the times,etc made the story,gracefully denied by william casey and secord..seeing a small subject to many,and countless lives and many goverments effected today. put the pices together over time,follow them,and see what recipe it sure we all have our pets. mine was just a matter of seeing how our goverment supported drug sales in America to suppport a war reagan wanted to make him famous. but,iran made excellant flack.

  11. JoAnn,
    there has been numourous intelligence misinformation on the assasination of people.either drones or otherwise since the iraq/afgan invaision. some of it amounts to trusted sources of such info,targeting who they,believe should die. its ben found at times retaliation in the name of religion or famlies.

  12. My spelling today is bad,im tryin to work and do this, the subject has a special place in me..
    thanks,keep up,the great wrk..

  13. Maximise wealth redistribution up, away from the creators of it. Stop cultural adaptation. Cheaper is better for everyone else because it helps distinguish the economic classes. Honor wealth with power. Those are the ingredients of those who feel entitled and desperate to impose those ingredients on everyone else here and in Russia, China, and North Korea as examples.

    Putin, their spiritual leader, finds that aging has made him more impatient with the speed of political processes and has therefore changed tactics to more military direct approaches. His US disciple, Trump, is, as usual, paying rapt attention.

    Those of us who honor diversity, continuous adaptation to reality, and liberty see the results now in the news 24/7 as well as the analyses of those who focus professionally on what is behind that news globally.

  14. Reality check, Zelenskyy came from entertainment TV before he was installed as a Western security puppet in Ukraine.

    According to the interview with Hillary Clinton last week, Putin was “lured into Ukraine” just like the US “lured him into Afghanistan” to drain his resources.

    Ukraine’s entire propaganda stream is how fabulous Ukraine has done “blocking Russia’s army of young soldiers who were lied to about why they were there.”

    If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that Public Relation Specialists or Hollywood scriptwriters have infiltrated the media companies. It’s all crappola being slung to the consumers of daytime dramas and viewers of Sunday morning “news.”

  15. @ John Sorg – you have to be very selective when you claim, “… The problem is, God can’t be on all sides… .” You are wrong, there is a god for everyone’s side. Even your Christian god cannot decide whose side he’s on. For every “love your enemy” in the Bible there are many commands to slaughter entire peoples. Your Bible is not a source to preach morality.

  16. @ Todd Smekens – when you are not trying to convice others that everything is corrupt, where do you go to find out what is true? What are your sources? Reading list? Your response doesn’t have to be exhaustive. Just a few representative examples will do. Thanks.

  17. Vern,

    You just had to use the extra big mallet today? Collapse! Yes, wholeheartedly agree.


    Don’t worry about the little stuff brother, you say what you mean. You speak from experience, which lends itself to wisdom.


    I think Vern is pretty spot on about a very viable collapse. I suppose in the grand scheme, there is no moral high ground anywhere. But I highly doubt there’s going to be a nuclear exchange, more than likely, all of his inner circle are not willing to commit suicide. So, that leaves, really, the only option. Especially when they’re all living quite large!


    Thanks my brother, appreciate the compliment.

  18. As always, I am impressed with the knowledge of history possessed by most of the respondents on this blog. Thank you, Vernon, JoAnn, Theresa, Peggy , etc. – I learn a lot reading your replies.

    I watched Frontline’s “Putin’s Road to War” the other night and was so amazed by the similarities in their styles between Putin and Trump. God help us if Trump gets back in the White House. He no doubt has been taking copious notes in his “I love dictators” journal these past few weeks.

    Thanks to Sheila for maintaining a site for such meaningful content.

  19. How dare Russia invade Ukraine. The only country allowed to invade another is America. There is an abundance of empirical evidence of our exceptionalism. We’re good at invading countries. We love war. America is obviously God’s chosen and revered country. Under God’s command we must arm and protect the Azov Battalion and all Ukrainian Nationalists. Ukrainian supremacy must rein supreme. There’s a charm in having ethnic Russians killed by Nazi Banderists. Besides,the plebes in America are only good for consuming industrial products and as cannon fodder for imperial adventures.

    I’ve got to admit,I’m disappointed that Putin’s army of little Russian Satanic soldiers have not bombed a wedding party. When this happens, There’s no doubt that the Biden Administration will commence copyright infringement upon Putin and Russia for such an innocuous transgression.

  20. Watch Yevhen Karas the leader of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi terror gang C14’s speech from Kiev earlier this month. Straight from the horses’ mouth, he dispels the many narratives pushed by the left, the mainstream media and the State Department.

  21. “I want my people to act like that,” said Trump! Like sheep, but of the scared variety.? Now, he has laid his cards
    on the table!!
    Theresa, you are on the mark with Putin’s oligarchs, now trapped in their own web. A friend recently asked me the difference
    between a psychopath, a sociopath and a War Criminal. The former two are nicknames, if you will for the official “Anti-Social Personality Disorder.” The latter is someone who commits wartime atrocities. It helps to be the former, to do the latter, but it is not a
    requirement. GWB and D.C. do not appear to be suffering from pathology, but that is another story. DT certainly does.

    Change is, can be, scary, and those who “Stand athwart history screaming ‘Stop'” are the resisting conservatives.

  22. All sides agree Putin has his eyes on the making Russia into the once powerful soviet Union. There is one problem with that, that was a generation ago. Many of the subcultures in the Soviet Union including Ukraine are wanting economic and cultural independence from the dictatorship and centralized rule under the Hammer and Cycle.
    Most societies that prosper have a capitalism as their baas to supply the needs of society. As the US tries to move more toward achieving a more socialistic form of governmentvlike that of The Uk, it too will lose its hold as its currency being the reserve currency, just like England did after WWII.
    Zelensky did inherit a corrupt government. The Nazi Azov batttalion was admitted as a branch of the Ukrainian armed forces because it was was so successful, but that does not give Putin the right to invade, only give small responses.
    Biden did the unforgivable in 2 ways by not supplying Ukraine and announce we wont help militarily and second by not securing the MIG transfer before Poland sent them to a NATO base in Germany. Leading from behind has cost the Ukrainian people their livelihoods as well as many lives and casualties

  23. Alfred,

    I appreciate your opinion, although I do not agree with it.

    The 6th commandment, “thou shall not kill”

    In the Parkhurst Hebrew lexicon, the word that was translated by early translators of scripture into kill, was “RATSAHH.” But, the actual translation literally means to dash to pieces. “It denotes manslaughter or murder The accidental or willful taking away of a man’s life.”

    The Hebrew word “ratsahh” is seen more than 45 times in the Hebrew scriptures and over 30 of those involved Israel’s cites of refuge.

    A person could flee to a City of refuge if they had killed another human. If it was found that they were guilty of purposefully and not accidentally taking a life, they would be executed. So, capital punishment was allowed in the case of intentionally with malice or deliberateness, taking a life. (Murder)

    And, many modern translations, instead of using “thou shalt not kill,” they read; “you must not commit murder” or “you must not murder”

    In the Hebrew scriptures, in Deuteronomy and Joshua the Israelites were used to carry out God’s judgment against the Canaanites. They were involved in many unsavory customs and worship. Including child sacrifice. Baal and Ishtar worship for example. They had every opportunity to stop what they were doing but chose not to. So, judgment was passed.

    With the death of Christ, there was not any set plot of land anywhere that was reserved for Christ’s followers. They were told in Romans the 13th chapter to respect the superior authorities as they bring structure and law to the world. The prophet isaiah, and Isaiah 2: 3,4 the states that the law will go out of Zion, and he will render judgment among the Nations and set matter straight respecting many people’s. “And they will beat their swords into plowshares and their Spears into pruning shears Nation will not lift up sword against Nation nor will they learn more anymore.”

    This is actually on the sculpture in front of the United nations.

    Nowhere does it state in scripture, old or new testament, Israelites or Christians, should be involved in blessing weapons of war or murder.

    I would say it’s best not to base beliefs on hearsay, but really to verify it with your own research and translation. To the best of one’s ability if they feel it’s worth it.

  24. “I want my people to act like that.” Tells you everything you need to know about trump. It is the same with Putin. Do what the boss wants and get rewarded. Don’t and go to the gulag or worse.
    I’m pleased to see the Russian army getting bloodied. These folks will never learn that top down control produces incompetence.

  25. @ John Sorg – When people quote the Bible to me they are not telling me about the Bible. They are telling me about themselves. The passages they choose are a reflection of who they are. If you have read the entire Bible, and not just cherry-picked the God-is-Love passages, you would be aware of the atrocities commanded by god – genocide, infanticide, slavery, incest, and rape to name a few. I suspect that you are an honorable man. You don’t need to quote an imaginary, celestial authority to prove your wisdom and decency. It can stand on its own.

  26. Putin is a hero. He is beating back the advances of neoliberalism, wokeism, and globalism.

    He is a force for returning Europe to proud civilization states founded on shared culture, religion, ethnicity, decency, and values. He is driving the Western smut and ideological pollution out of his country.

    Those Putin opposes advance some of the sickest, most twisted ideas that have ever afflicted humanity. I wish Putin a global triumph in defeating those who have polluted society.

  27. Political psychology has been dormant for the past 50 years, but everyone seems to be re-discovering why it’s important. Grievance politics is a gold mine for aspiring scammers who share those grievances. Alabama is drenched in grievance, soaked up by the likes of George Wallace and every Republican running for office here now. It’s about the Lost Cause, etc. And yes, it’s all about status.

    When I was an undergraduate, one of my professors studied politicians’ motivations. Ironically, that’s a rare thing among political scientists. He wrote several books about his interviews with them, eventually categorizing them into seven distinct motivational types, each with their own set of behaviors, behaviors that shape our institutions. Everyone has needs, but highly motivated people have an itch they have to scratch. It’s why they get up in the morning. It’s what makes them highly motivated people. Getting yourself elected requires a high level of motivation. Simply put, most people aren’t highly motivated. Here are the motivational typs that he identified:

    Status Type (William Jennings Bryan): Needs status, recognition, being dominant, caring nothing about policy, just being the most important person in the room.
    Program Type (Benjamin Franklin): A tinkerer, likes to fix things, works on details, a policy wonk. (Boring)
    Adulation Type (Bill Clinton): Wants to be loved by everyone. Prone to jealousy, but not in the weeds on policy like the status type (buzz words only).
    Mission Type (Vladimir Lenin, Che): These people will try to convert you. They write manifestos and will do anything for the cause. They may believe that they are saviors, willing to die for the cause.
    Conviviality Type (Invisible People): They join every club they can find, hate disagreement, want to belong, be one of the group, preferably the in-crowd. They flee conflict. Rotary Club people.
    Obligation Type (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington): They start their careers late, feel an obligation, are pushed into politics, don’t like it, and leave.
    Game Type (Bill Bradley): They pride themselves on winning fair and square. They hate cheaters and want everyone to play by the rules. They’ll explain how they beat you.

    Steve Bannon said that Trump was just like William Jennings Bryan. If you read the first book listed below, you’ll see why.

    Further reading:
    James L. Payne, et al., The Motivation of Politicians, Rowman & Littlefield, 1984.
    James L. Payne, “Show Horses & Work Horses in the United States House of Representatives,” Polity, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Spring, 1980), pp. 428-456.
    James L. Payne, Incentive Theory and Political Process: Motivation and Leadership in the Dominican Republic, Lexington Books, 1972.
    James L. Payne, Patterns of Conflict in Colombia, Yale University Press, 1968.

  28. Yikes! This place is crawling with elitists and trolls, as though we needed more. Go find yourself a blog of your own and just troll away.

  29. Anyone who is interested in understanding the deeper history behind the struggle between authoritarians and free people might benefit from reading the first few chapters of Johnathan Rauch’s The Constitution of Knowledge, a marvelous survey of who has authority to create knowledge from before The Renaissance to the present.

    Also, if you are not aware of the Koch Affiliate Network’s historical and ongoing efforts to bring American democracy down, Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains is a fabulous read.

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