Why Are They So Sincere?

When certain responsible parties appear before Congress or any other body inquiring rightfully, justifiably, legally, and with a statutory duty to do so and they respond with what appears to be sincere indignation, taking umbrage at “the very idea,” they are sincere. Not that they are not lying through their teeth; they just fail to see how anyone on earth has any right to question them. Where does this nonsense come from?

Deeply held authoritarian beliefs. The authoritarian, looking up and down the hierarchy from his position on it, sees only rights (from the top) and responsibilities (from the bottom). They do NOT see accountability to be expected on the part of anyone in authority. My exemplar for this is Colonel Culpepper on the hill in the big house. It recalls Gilberto Freyre’s Casa Grande e Senzala, the seat of unquestioned authority. In Col. Culpepper’s case is flows from his or his ancestor’s service to the Confederacy and the fact that he owns the factory and farm complex that employs most people in the town. The perfect illustration of this is the old man on the hill in the movie In the Heat of the Night, who slaps Sydney Poitier and demands the chief shoot him when Poitier slaps him back.

For these conservatives, authority means order and order means everything, but only their order. They may violate the law but that is nobody’s business. Nothing they do can be questioned. They are like the British aristocrat who noticed someone reading a book on correct grammar and offered: “If you wish to speak English properly, just listen to me.” Imagine questioning that guy’s usage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *