Cult of Personality
November 7, 2004 7:07 PM   Subscribe

This is a political question, so please remove if inappropriate or fatigued.
Is there any academic debate concerning the Bush administration's similarity to the doctrine of Führerprinzip, and how it may be creating a modern American cult of personality?
posted by plexi to Society & Culture (2 answers total)
No, nothing serious anyway. Oddly, the wikipedia mentions it under "similar" doctrines, but I believe it to be a slanted comparison.

The Fuhrerprinzip, if I'm to understand it correctly, creates a military atmosphere in all levels of government and puts absolute faith in its leadership. I don't believe this reflects the Republican party at all. The Republican party is firmly rooted in its convictions, but the leader does not proclaim those convictions. I believe comparisons can be made between the similarities, as comparisons can be made between tuna and whales.
posted by geoff. at 7:48 PM on November 7, 2004

I believe there's something of a leader-worship at play that we haven't seen in the US in a long time, surpassing even the latitude given to Reagan, but I agree with geoff -- so far, it isn't a ruling principle.

> This ... was the law of the Nazi party and later transferred onto the whole German society. Most notable changes include the replacement of elected local governments by appointed mayors and the cancellation of associations and unions, whose leaders were elected, and their replacement by mandatory associations whose leaders were appointed. The private corporations were allowed to keep their internal organisation....

(Distressingly, this is what is happening in Russia under Putin.)

What we have with the Bush administration is an uncanny cession of decision-making authority to the Presidency, a word I don't choose lightly. There are voters -- largely evangelical -- who give GWB himself an aura of religious ordination; but I gather most Republicans today don't go that far, and in fact many understand Bush to be a figurehead under adult supervision, interpreted more generously to be sure. Bush provides the "vision", others (Cheney / Rumsfeld / &c.) the implementation. The trust is placed in the White House coterie, not Bush himself. In the end, I don't think it goes much farther than seeing Bush as the defender of the ideas of movement conservatism.

But the increasing party discipline being exacted even on long-term legislators such as Arlen Specter must give one pause. Just where are they going with this? Part of the answer may come in the approaching months as a successor (Giuliani, perhaps) is vetted for 2008.

Not academic, but compare Dolchstoss Republicans at the dKosopedia.
posted by dhartung at 8:06 PM on November 8, 2004

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