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Home arrow Psychotherapy Cults arrow Re-Evaluation Co-Counselling arrow The Roots of Authoritarianism

The Roots of Authoritarianism

Article Index
The Roots of Authoritarianism
Analyzing RC
First Hand Knowledge Only
RC As An Incest Family
Adultism and Internalized Adultism in Leaders
Overcoming Authority

Adultism and Internalized Adultism in Leaders

Authoritarian leaders are acting out of both adultism and internalized adultism. Leaders feel a strong addictive pull to be admired, to be influential, and to be powerful, because of how profoundly we get hurt in all these areas as children, and will engage in irrational or cruel behavior in order to avoid losing these privileges.

So, for example, Area Reference People in RC will hold on tightly to their positions even after they claim that they're supporting a massive system of sexual abuse, because they finally feel some power in leading their community and feel like they're helping others to live better. So they move desperately to squelch dissent from below and hang onto their precious position in the organization without the internalized adultism, they would realize that they do not have to collude with oppression in order to be powerful. They would also see that no one need to grant them power to do good in the world, because that power is inherent within them, and they would refuse to continue sacrificing what we have to assume to be dozens of women each year to their cause.

 Another way to look at this dynamic is:

Any authoritarian system works by granting fiefdoms (smaller areas Of control) to individual leaders, and getting those leaders invested in the power and benefits they get from having authority over that fiefdom.

The leaders' internalized adultism will convince them that they would be nothing without that fiefdom, that they would return to being alone and inconsequential in the world if they lost it. They also would lose that special connection they feel to the high-up leaders. The leaders' self-image depends on holding on tightly to the belief that the system that has granted them this special status is Good and that its leadership is Good.

The sad result is that leaders control their own fiefdoms in an authoritarian manner, while at the same time submitting to authoritarian rule themselves at the hands of leaders who are higher up than they are. This situation is present to some degree in every authoritarian system. This points out another connection:

Because adultism convinces us as children that children don't really count, it becomes extremely important to us to have the approval of adults and be "in good' with them, even if it means betraying our fellow children.

This aspect of Internalized adultism leads to such phenomena as tattling on our siblings or being the "teacher's pet," to name just two examples.

As we carry this stuff into our adult life, it becomes very important to be "in good" with the powerful, influential, and charismatic leaders in our organizations, communities, and countries. This is our ticket to feeling approved of and noticed, and feeling like we count in the world. Unfortunately, the desire for status has such a strong addictive pull that we will allow ourselves, our morals, and our lives to get grossly distorted in our pursuit of it, or in our protection of it once we have it.