Over the years, my online ex-fundie community has spent a lot of time puzzling over the ways in which fundamentalism arrests the moral, social, emotional, intellectual, and sexual development of anyone who embraces it. (And I could argue that, inasmuch as fundamentalism is authoritarian religion, this observation may well hold true for political and social authoritarians as well.) Specifically, we've come to a consensus that the belief system traps people somewhere around the age of five or six -- and keeps them there for as long as they continue to believe.
[...] Authoritarian followers crave someone who will keep things ordered and safe, someone who will provide and protect and set firm rules and boundaries; someone all-powerful and all-knowing who can teach you right from wrong and keep the harsh parts of the world at bay. Someone, in short, who looks like Daddy looked when you were about five years old.
[Right-Wing Authoritarians] RWAs would far rather curl up in Daddy's lap -- even if it means abandoning reason and taking the occasional spanking -- than try to deal with the world by themselves, on adult terms. This is also why RWA family and community relationships (as Lakoff has explained) are necessarily hierarchical. These people still need parents around, because they don't feel emotionally safe without the presence of a strong authority figure. Egalitarian relationships terrify them, because there's nobody in charge to make the rules and set the boundaries that keep people from hurting each other.
For all their loud talk about responsibility and freedom, these RWAs are terrified of taking responsibility, of being free. That's why they're always looking for somebody else -- the government, Daddy, "Community Values", God -- to tell them how to behave: because they know that, left to their own devices, they'll get it wrong wrong wrong.
Hey, we're all human. We all make mistakes and get things wrong. Adults -- regardless of mere age in years -- learn from their mistakes. Some mistakes are so serious that you can't learn from them, you can only atone for them. And some mistakes are too serious to even atone for them. But adults try, they take responsibility. RWAs avoid responsibility, blame others, deny that they did anything wrong. It's hard enough to get a 61-year-old boy-president to admit that "mistakes were made", let alone to admit who make them.
Being terrified of freedom, the freedom to make mistakes, RWAs are constantly looking for a Real Man to protect them -- except they can't tell the sizzle from the sausage. Talking the talk is more important than walking the walk. Republicans will tell anyone who listens how much they "support the troops", and admire the brave men and women of the armed forces who
( [...] Remember the fuss over Jet Pilot Action Figure Bush's "package"? Damn fool didn't loosen his straps before getting out of the jet. Nobody else on the deck had his crotch trussed up like a Christmas goose; and to them, he looked like a rookie idiot. But Chris Matthews practically had an orgasm on-air while watching him prance and strut.) The fact that so many mainstream and conservative media guys are suckered by this posturing shows that they don't really have a clue about what a Real Man looks like -- though, somewhere deep down inside, they're pretty sure they don't qualify. That's why they're so easily wowed by men who can put on the costume and make it look good.