Saturday, January 6, 2018

Realpolitik III

Jack Miles: God, A Biography; New York: Random House 1996. Presents the Old Testament in the chronological order of the tanach rather than the jumble moderns get in King James, etc.. And in so doing, infers and attempts to demonstrate that the Jews invented the legend of an omniscient & omnipotent diety after the first destruction of the first temple to organize and prod the faithful to rebellion. Because it is clear from reading the books in chron order that "God" kept "shrinking" after He and Moses led them out of bondage and into Palestine where He and They wiped out the local gentiles. 

Jack Miles: Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God; New York: Random House, 2001. Then -- in the era of the trade routes that began to flourish about 300 years earlier -- a new message is invented to soothe the losers' angst about a "God" who wasn't showing up when needed with a new twist on Asian karma and reincarnation.

Stanley Milgram: Obedience to Authority; New York: Harper, 1974. "... strongly vindicated by the scientific community, these experiments attempted to determine to what extent people will obey orders from authority figures regardless of consequences." Famed report of how students were manipulated with authority and social proof to inflict pain on experimental subjects when ordered to do so, regardless of their ethics and moral convictions. 

Arthur G. Miller: The Obedience Experiments; New York: Prager, 1984. "...the book addresses the controversial claim that these experiments help explain the Nazi Holocaust, and that they have disturbing implications for the understanding of human nature."

C. Wright Mills: The Power Elite; London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1956, 2000. From Wikipedia: "Mills calls attention to the interwoven interests of the leaders of the militarycorporate, and political elements of society and suggests that the ordinary citizen is a relatively powerless subject of manipulation by those entities." Well. Money talks...

Jenna Miscavidge (Hill), Lisa Pulitzer: Beyond Belief: My Secret Life inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape, New York: Morrow / HarperCollins, 2013. The best look inside the Sea Org we have at this time? Pretty likely. (Made me cringe at the memories of what I lived through in the mid-'70s.) The author is no less than the niece of the thug who has run the show in the "Church" of Scientology since Hubbard wandered off to organize his memoirs in the late '80s. Her access to the top of the pyramid not only corroborates what others have written; it suggests things may be far worse among the "learned helpless" in the huge compound near Hemet, CA, than anyone ever imagined, including The Los Angeles Times.

Carol Lynn Mithers: Therapy Gone Mad: The True Story of Hundreds of Patients and a Generation Betrayed, Menlo Park CA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1994. Dense (and explosive) as plutonium and dark as a black hole report of the Center for Feeling Therapy that started in Los Angeles during the 1970s and spread nationwide by the early '80s. The CFT was no more and no less than Synanon, est and the CoS, a truly cynical and sociopathic misuse of psychotherapeutic and thought reform techniques by Richard "Riggs" Corriere and others to turn a human potential endeavor into a self-enrichment scheme.   

J. J. Mondak, D. Canache: Personality and Political Culture in the American States; in Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 1, 2013,  DOI:10.1177/1065912913495112.
"...states that were higher in openness to experience had citizenries that tended to be ideologically liberal. States with higher levels of conscientiousness, on the other hand, were very likely to have a political culture more committed to maintaining traditional social hierarchies, and to have populations that were more ideologically conservative. States that collectively showed more openness to experience, for example, had higher rates of women in state legislatures and home Internet access. Those high in conscientiousness had higher rates of violent crime, as well as lower rates of home Internet access."

Carol Morello, Ted Mellnik: Washington, A World Apart, in The Washington Post, Nov. 9, 2013. DC has the wealthiest, best educated and most influential population in the US... by far... as shown in a graphic of the demographics of all Con US ZIP codes.

Allison Mueller, Linda Skitka: Liars, Damned Liars, and Zealots, in Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2017; 194855061772027 DOI: 10.1177/1948550617720272. "People have more leniency for politicians' lies when they bolster a shared belief that a specific political stance is morally right." Those conditioned to authoritarian control imperatives hear what they do through their childhood programming; those conditioned to wanton, irresponsible libertinism and/or rescue by the government... You get the picture. 

Catherine Mulholland: William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles; Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2002. Bill was the wizard of water at the turn of the 20th century. At the behest of the Los Angeles Mayor Fred Eaton and Big Land Speculators (like railroad magnate Collis Huntington) of the otherwise useless scrub in the San Fernando Valley, he moved the snowmelt from the eastern Sierras 200 miles south to make the land owners rich(er). The water (used mostly for water-gobbling, high-profit, citrus agriculture at the time) was stored in about a dozen dammed up canyons in the Tehachepi and Santa Monica Mountains. When one of them broke near Castaic in 1928 -- and 500 people were wiped out as the water roared sixty miles on the way to Ventura -- Bill went from hero to hounded overnight. (Some of the story was lifted by Roman Polanski for his Oscar-winning Chinatown in 1974, though it was substantially revised and repositioned into the 1930s instead of the '10s.)

Steven Lee Myers: The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin; New York: Vintage, 2015. Clarifies the rapid rise of the opportunistic entrepreneurs and the oligarchal politics that Putin has to contend with in a gangster state with far less politesse than we take for granted here... though that is obviously changing. Might even be a disturbing look into America's future.   

Angela Nagle: Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4Chan And Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right; London: Zero Books, 2017. A startling look into the elbow-throwing, anti-politically correct, anti-politesse world of those who believe liberalism -- and the popular media -- have been taken over by rad libs, welfare addicts, sex crazies, New Age cultists and others who are too anti-traditional and anti-authoritarian for a unified, "functional" culture to be able to tolerate.

Franz Neumann: Anxiety and Politics, in Maurice Stein et al (editors): Identity and Anxiety: Survival of the Person in Mass Society; Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960. "...masses sell their souls to leaders and follow them blindly... ... the basis of the power of attraction of leaders over masses... ... the historical situations in which this identification of leader and masses is successful, and what view of history do the men have who accept leaders... ...political economy, Freudian political psychology, and ideology... ...anxiety in the context of alienation: a multidimensional phenomenon consisting of economic, political, social and psychological alienation... ...Caesaristic identification, institutionalised anxiety and persecutory anxiety... ... fascism remains an actual threat in capitalist societies." In short: Lessons learned from the manipulations of the masses in Mussolini's Italy, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia and Mao's China.  

Dimitar Nikolov, Diego Oliveira, Alessandro Flammini, Filippo Menczer. Measuring online social bubbles. Peer Reviewed Journal of Computer Science, 2015; 1: e38 DOI: 10.7717/peerj-cs.38 "...people collectively access information from a significantly narrower range of sources on social media compared to search engines." Translated: Those who occupy themselves on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are narrower-minded and subject to narrower influences compared with those who use Google, Bing, and Yahoo Search.   

Martin Obschonka, Christian Fisch: Entrepreneurial personalities in political leadership, in Small Business Economics, 2017; DOI: 10.1007/s11187-017-9901-7 "This personality was described by Joseph Schumpeter in the 1930s as being very creative, change-orientated, competitive and rule-breaking. The analysis further indicates that Trump has neurotic tendencies, and experiences underlying low well-being." Having worked for a number of big-time entrepreneurs -- mostly in real estate development -- I can attest to their tending to be envelope-pushing "scoff-laws." But... I saw the same thing in "liberal" union leaders.

Norman Ohler: Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany; London: Alan Lane, 2016. Pharmaceutical neurostimulants everywhere. Hardly surprising. Bayer AG invented methamphetamine during WW1 to keep the troops going. Hitler was one of them.  

Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn, Oscar Holmes, Derek Avery: The Subjective Well-Being Political Paradox: Happy Welfare States and Unhappy Liberals; in Journal of Applied Psychology, 2014; DOI: 10.1037/a0037654 Conservatives are happier than liberals, especially in liberal countries.

Evan Osnos: The God of Gamblers: Why Las Vegas is Moving to Macau; in The New Yorker, April 9, 2012. From the Chinese government's POV, Macau (still a Portuguese colony) sucks in immense sums of money that flow back through Chinese investment into the Chinese economy and tax revenues. It also provides a very attractive place to do business with (and fleece) foreign investors.

Arkady Ostrovsky: The Invention of Russia: The Rise of Putin and The Age of Fake News; New York: Penguin, 2017. The author's thesis is that the control of mass propaganda in the former Soviet Union and now the Russian Federation has passed through three phases since the late 1980s: 1) the Everyone Knows it's All a Big (and relentless) Lie phase of the communist era, 2) the Information Free-for-All phase of peretroika and glasnost of the Yeltsin era, and 3) more or less back again to the Everyone Knows... and Just Shrugs phase of the Putin era. The Major Point for American readers is that the EK... model is pretty much what one gets here on one of the cable news channels, while the IF4A model is pretty much what one gets here on the others. (With the American President trying to play many of the same cards as the Russian one, albeit rather poorly by empirically observed comparison... and the opposition media starting to get... boring.) 

Richard Overy: The Times Complete History of the World, 8th Ed; London: The Times of London, 2010. Exhaustively complete, well illustrated (in large, atlas format) and easily understood reference piece one can actually read like a book from cover to cover and get a very solid grounding in what happened when, thought not so much why. But, at $150 or so a pop for a used one, it should be good.

Vance Packard: The Hidden Persuaders; orig. pub. 1957; New York: Ig, 2007. Thesis: TV and feature films are full of subliminal advertising in the form of five-to-eight-frame, sub-second-long flashes of instructions to "Buy Lucky Strikes"  or "Watch Milton Berle." Most of the research on its effectiveness has suggested it didn't actually work that well.     

Elaine Pagels: Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelations; New York: Viking, 2012. The lively (and violent) metaphors in the closing book of the New Testament reflect the Judean and Eastern Mediterranean political struggles against the Roman occupation of the period... and not the Second Coming, which, in fact, may not have even been thought of at the time. (Recent research suggests the SC was pretty likely an invention of Roman church theologians in the third century AD during the worst of Roman persecution.)   

Harvey Palmer, Bryan Dettrey: Partisan Differences in the Distributional Effects of Economic Growth: Stock Market Performance, Unemployment, and Political Control of the Presidency; in Journal of Elections, Public Opinions and Parties, Vol. 25, No. 1, February 2015. Republican administrations tend to hurt the working class and benefit the shareholding class; Democratic administrations do not hurt the shareholding class but do benefit the working class... plus a lot more.

Talcott Parsons: Social Systems and The Evolution of Action Theory; New York: The Free Press, 1975. Thesis: The purpose of the social system is to "adapt, integrate, attain goals and maintain patterns." Thus, social constructionism. (Not to be wholly confused with social constructivism which has to do with language and social proof via their use to propagate and spread common beliefs about "supposed" -- but not necessarily actual -- "realities.") (One is often used to finesse the other, however.) 

Michael Bang Petersen, Ann Giessing, Jesper Nielsen: Physiological Responses and Partisan Bias: Beyond Self-Reported Measures of Party Identification; in PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (5): e0126922 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126922 "Only among those who also exhibited a strong physiological response to the logo of the party were biased towards the proposals from their own party. It was the physical reactions of the body that determined the subject's degree of bias. Our partiality seemingly stems from instinctive emotional reactions." Shocking. (Hmm.)

Pew Research: Political Polarization in the American Public: How Increasing Ideological Uniformity and Partisan Antipathy Affect Politics, Compromise and Everyday Life, June 2014, at and 1) Donkeys and Elephants were far more ideologically divided in 2014 that at any time since the McCarthy era. 2) Far more in both parties view the other party as a "threat to the nation's well-being." 3) Far right and far left are more likely to contribute and vote than in the '90s and even early '00s. 4) Polarization is greater since 1994 with more skew to consistent ideological views on both ends of the spectrum. 5) Republicans have shifted further to the right and Democrats further to the left since 1994. 6) Each party's members see the other party's members with greater antipathy. 7) Increasing numbers of members of both parties (though considerably moreso among conservatives) want to live where others share their views and restrict friendships to those who share their views. 8) Liberals increasingly prefer urban environments in "city scapes," while conservatives increasingly prefer the wide open spaces (limiting discourse). 9) Willingness to compromise to achieve some favored policies at the expense of others is disappearing on both sides of the fence. More than 10,000 persons were surveyed by telephone on the basis of geographical weighting in this project.        

Pew Research: America’s Changing Religious Landscape: Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow, May 2015, at 1) The "I am a Christian" share of the population fell by more than 10% from 2007 to 2014. 2) Old brand Protestants fell by 20% while new brand Protestants (including "evangelicals") also fell  by 5%. 3) Non-Christian faiths rose by 20%, albeit on a small base that is still under 6% of the total population. 4) Catholics shrank by 15%. And 5) "Atheists, agnostics and 'nothing in particular'" grew by almost 40% on a small base to about 6% of the total.

Pew Research: U.S. Religious Groups and their Political Leanings, February 2016, at Mormons, Nazarenes, Southern Baptist (including "old school" and "new school" evangelicals), Lutherans, Assemblies of God, Conservative Presbyterians (Calvinists), High Church Anglicans (though not Episcopals in general) and United Methodists were (in order) the most Republican. African Methodist Episcopals, National (mostly Af-Am) Baptists, Unitarians, Church of God folks, atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, agnostics and Jews were (in order) the most Democratic. Jehovah's Witness were far and way the least likely to be politically affiliated ("because politics is 'worldly,' and we're not"). Catholics were about 10% more likely to be Democrats.   

Kevin Phillips: The Emerging Republican Majority; Arlington, VA: Arlington House, 1969. The plan of attack to capitalize on LBJ's "sell-out" of the south (to finesse racial equality) back of Nixon's and Reagan's "southern strategy" was drafted by a Poindexter who leveraged increasing conservative and liberal disgust about the Vietnam War... and ultimately switched sides (see below). 

Kevin Phillips: The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics, & The Triumph of Anglo-America; New York: Basic Books, 1999. Thesis: The English Civil War, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War are all examples of the unification of force behind the common values of the Protestant (work) ethic and "the morality of free choice" to motivate the thinking, emotions and actions of the working class for the sake of elite wealth accumulation. And in so doing, turned "a small Tudor kingdom into a global community with... a hegemonic grip on the world..." (Behind the green curtain: "Give them a small piece of the pie so that we may enjoy the large one." Well. A small piece is better than no piece at all.)

Kevin Phillips: American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money; New York: Penguin, 2007. From a review: "An uncompromising view of the current age of global overreach, fundamentalist religion, diminishing resources, and ballooning debt under the GOP majority." Compares the rise and fall of ancient Rome, Spain, Holland, and the UK to modern America through the lens of the very similar evolution of investment banking in each culture.  

Kevin Phillips: 1775: A Good Year for Revolution; New York: Viking, 2012. From The New York Times Review of Books: "[After a decade of ever-increasing taxation and ignoring the locals]...a defiant mentality congealed in 1775, called rage militaire, that described American independence as both inevitable and providential. ...this mentality was illusory and irrational, as the vastly superior British Army and Navy were soon to expose. But... American colonists embraced the conviction that their cause had the winds of history at its back, and could not be defeated." Fortunately, France declared war on England (yet again) in time to draw the far superior teabags away from the North American theatre. There are still smug folks out there who opin that the French are scumbags whose asses American blood saved in 1918 and 1944, but they seem to be ignorant of The Fact that, had it not been for the French in 1777 and 1812, we'd all be living in Baja Canada enjoying their version of "national health care."

David Pietraszewski, Oliver Scott Curry, Michael Bang Petersen, Leda Cosmides, John Tooby: Constituents of political cognition: Race, party politics, and the alliance detection system; in Cognition, Volume 140, July 2015. DOI:10.1016/j.cognition.2015.03.007 "Research suggests that the mind contains a set of adaptations for detecting alliances: an alliance detection system, which monitors for, encodes, and stores alliance information and then modifies the activation of stored alliance categories according to how likely they will predict behavior within a particular social interaction. Previous studies have established the activation of this system when exposed to explicit competition or cooperation between individuals. In the current studies we examine if shared political opinions produce these same effects. [We found that] participants will spontaneously categorize individuals according to the parties they support, even when explicit cooperation and antagonism are absent.

Nicholas Pileggi: Casino: Love & Honor in Las Vegas, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Non-fiction upon which the memorable, Martin Scorcese blockbuster was based. A former girlfriend of one of the Spolotro gang members told me the film was pretty close to reality. The point, however, is that "Ace's" (nee "Lefty's") disquisition at the end of the film asserting that the town had gone corporate, and the "golden age" was over is simply not the case. 

Steve Pincus: 1688: The First Modern Revolution, New Haven: Yale U. Press, 2009. Details (exhaustively) the so-called "Glorious Revolution" in England that ousted Catholic Francophile James II in favor of Episcopalian William of Orange. The author disputes (exhaustively) the popular notion that the exchange of monarchs occurred (anything like) amicably. But more importantly, he (exhaustively) examines 1) the popular push-back against the restoration of Jesuit popery after a century of high church Anglican dominance, and 2) the similar -- if more limited -- upshots of deluded, self-righteous, divine-right-ism to those of a century later on the south side of the channel, as well as to those in the southern US during and after Reconstruction.  

Eric Plutzer, Mark McCaffrey, et al: Climate Change Education in U.S. Middle and High Schools, in Science, February 2016. DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3907

Sal Polisi: The Sinatra Club: My Life Inside the New York Mafia; New York: Gallery Books, 2012. Small-time crime & culcha in the Gotti era. The author did his time but continued to romance The (evidently socialized and normalized) Life.   

Karl Popper: The Open Society and Its Enemies; orig. pub. 1945; Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2013. Blamed Plato, Hegel, Marx, et al, for utopianizing and -- as a result -- authoritarianizing Aristotle and Socrates into dystopian totalitarianism... though his arguments have been widely criticized. Be that as it may, the book is decidedly a defense of open society in an age full of closed ones. The first volume, btw, was subtitled The Spell of Plato, and established the continuing criticism of the thentofore almost totally revered Plato (whose Republic influenced folks for almost 90 generations) for the Greek philosopher's "lying, political miracles, tabooistic superstition, the suppression of truth, and ultimately, brutal violence," including the misogyny that ostensibly influenced the Apostle Paul and the Roman Church to suppress the role of women in Christian congregations for almost 20 centuries.  

Neil Postman: Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business; New York: Penguin, 1985. From a review: "Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.." Orwell's characters (in his dark, futuristic novel, 1984) were suppressed, repressed, and depressed automatons; Huxley's (in his equally dystopian Brave New World) were drug-sedated, sex-addicted zombies. 

Virginia Postrel: The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion; New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013. A dialectical examination of the instrumentalistic (and cynical?) utilization of visual imagery to motivate the cult-urally conditioned masses to spend, spend, spend on often hopeless efforts to be like the fantasy people they see in the popular, commercial, mass media.

Cait Poynor, Stacy Wood: Smart Subcategories: How Assortment Formats Influence Consumer Learning and Satisfaction; in Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 37, No. 1, June 2010; DOI: 10.1086/649906 People who consider themselves experts in a domain generally breeze past potentially new and important information, while novices employ all of their cognitive capacity when making a purchase decision. Explains at least some of hard-core political polarization and a lot about impulse buying.   

Seth Prins, Lisa Bates, et al: Anxious? Depressed? You might be suffering from capitalism: contradictory class locations and the prevalence of depression and anxiety in the USA; in Sociology of Health & Illness, Vol. 37, No. 8, November 2015. "...occupants of contradictory class locations [e.g.: poor folks who live in wealthy cities and vice versa] have higher prevalence and odds of depression and anxiety than occupants of non-contradictory class locations." The conditioned expectations -- and requirements -- of the middle class can set underachievers up for depression and anxiety. Duh.

L. Fletcher Prouty: JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy; New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 1992, 2011. The dot-connecting on the Kennedy assassinations may be over-reaching. Prouty, an Air Force officer involved in Special Ops during the Vietnam War was pretty much the originator of the CIA conspiracy theory in the late '60s... and the source of at least some of Alfred McCoy's notions linking the financing of the war with secret, CIA-controlled opium growing in northern Laos to the JFK & RFK murders. Useful on the pre-history of the Vietnam War, however. One of several books that influenced Oliver Stone's hugely influential feature film of 1990.    

Ethan Rarick: California Rising: The Life & Times of Pat Brown; U. California Press: 2005. Interesting to me largely because: 1) Two-term Gov. Pat was Jerry's father, a San Francisco attorney who rose to power in the post-war era of the state's upswing on the back of the media, aircraft, agriculture and real estate industries; and 2) it was a northern Californian who presided over the lengthy battle to move water from the peaks of the Sierras above Redding all the way down to Los Angeles, the OC and San Diego. Without Pat, SoCal would be a lot "smaller." (See immediately below.)

Marc Reisner: Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water; New York: Penguin, 1993. Epic history of the Army Corps of Engineers as the instrument of Big Land Development's control of Congress to bring water to farmland in the arid Pacific Southwest in the early 20th century. Monumental in both scope and significance. El Lay, San Diego, Phoenix and Vegas would still be wide spots in the road were it not for all this.  

Richard Rhodes: The Making of the Atomic Bomb; New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986. Not the first, but probably the best (thus far) of the histories of the science, engineering, technology and politics that converged when it appeared that Hitler might get the thing before we did. As with Groueff's earlier book -- and two later ones on project boss Robert Oppenheimer -- the tale is as epic as the immense, multi-location infrastructure required to manufacture the tiny amounts of uranium 235 and plutonium 239 to make the Fat Man and the Little Boy dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. (Would it have been possible without the Tennessee Valley and Columbia River rural electrification projects FDR pressed for in 1932? Actually, yes... but with considerably greater difficulty and environmental destruction, as well as poorer security and secrecy.)    

Richard Rhodes: Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb; New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. The next chapter in the saga focuses on 1) the emergence of Edward Teller -- who worked on the earlier project but did not get on all that well with Oppenheimer -- when the latter was deemed to be a security risk for suggesting that the Russians should share in the technology to assure that the US would not misuse the weapons as some asserted it did in Japan; 2) Julius & Ethel Rosenberg's transfer of secrets to the Soviets for that reason; 3) the USSR's spy-assisted catch-up game; and 4) the Cold War paranoia and resulting political pressure to build a bunch of 900-pound gorillas that have occupied the White House, the Kremlin and a lot of other places ever since the mid-1950s.      

Al Ries, Jack Trout: Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind; New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000. Typical -- but very functional -- "how to" guide for communicating to a skeptical, media-blitzed public, (from a review) "Positioning describes a revolutionary approach to creating a 'position' in a prospective customer's mind; one that reflects a company's own strengths and the weaknesses of its competitors." Widely read by GOP political operatives in the ad & PR industry, influencing those who ran the Bush 43 and Trump campaigns.

Kurt Riezler: The Social Psychology of Fear, in Maurice Stein et al (editors): Identity and Anxiety: Survival of the Person in Mass Society; Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960. "The particular relation of our knowledge to our ignorance gives a particular color to our fear." "No individual or group can stand a sudden and radical overturn of the entire system of [supposed, but not actual] permanences which supports the consistency of any meanings, principles of action, norms of behavior, expectations or memories." "The rigid mind is more, the flexible mind less, exposed to an attack of indefinite fear." The tortured (precisely but obscuringly translated) language of the Freudian intellectuals of the time made several of the essays in Stein et al tough -- but worthwhile -- sledding. In this one, Riezler refers to the methods and techniques used by the Germans, Russians, Chinese, Koreans, British and Americans to break their POWs, as well as intimidate and suppress the inclinations of not only the conquered, but their own citizens, as well. It's also about the stuff cults are made of.

Paul Roberts: The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification; New York: Bloomsbury, 2014. Stands on the shoulders of Chris Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism and Al Huxley's Brave New World to suggest how far materialistic American cult-ture has been manipulated by the cynical wealth accumulators into the New Age of Caligula.

Barnaby Rogerson: The Last Crusades: The Hundred-Year Battle for the Center of the World; New York: MJF Books, 2009. Suffice it so say that this was yet another tale of bloody reciprocal reactivity and wealth-chasing on a massive scale. But this one is told more from the perspective of the Ottomans and their warlords than from the lords of Catholic and Orthodox Europe. A very worth addition to any library on the long, sordid history of Christian-vs.-Islamic blood lust. 

Milton Rokeach: The Open and Closed Mind: Investigations into the Nature of Belief Systems and Personality Systems; New York: Basic Books, 1960, 1973. Thesis: People's minds are in-struct-ed, conditioned, socialized and normalized to dogmatic belief -- and disbelief -- systems. A classic in the early days of the cognitive era, and the bedrock of Aaron Beck & Arthur Freeman's later (and equally significant) Cognitive Theory of the Personality Disorders.  

Rick Allan Ross: Cults Inside & Out: How People Get In and Can Get Out; Seattle: CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014. Uneven at points, and sometimes rather oddly worded, but it collects all the essential data on the manipulative mechanics. The author's ideas about de-programming anyone at stage one (outright denial) of the five stage of therapeutic recovery who is not at the fifth stage (acceptance) of Kubler-Ross's five stages of reality processing are plain ludicrous, however. (My own brief exchanges with the author suggested to me that he may be paranoid, but it would -- of course -- be a stretch to make any assertions of such with certainty, though paranoia is common among those who attempt the sort of things Ross has attempted. He is -- to be fair -- One Brave Man.)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Emile, or On Education, orig. pub. 1762; Allan Bloom translation: New York: Basic Books, 1979. "...tackles questions about the relationship between the individual and society and how the individual might retain what Rousseau saw as innate human goodness while remaining part of a corrupting collectivity." (Bloom, btw, is the author of The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students, found here on this list, and which was obviously influenced by Rousseau.) 

David Rothkopf: Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making; New York; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. From a review: "They number six thousand on planet of six billion. They run our government, our largest corporations, the powerhouses of international finance, the media, world religions, and, from the shadows, the world's most dangerous criminal and terrorist organizations. They... are shaping the history of our time." Well. The really rich tend to do that. (Is wealth an addiction? Lemme think...)

Jay Rubenstein: Armies of Heaven: The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse; New York: Perseus - Basic Books, 2011. Though it is not central to the author's presentation, it seems that Book of Revelations apocalyptic thinking had become sufficiently socialized and normalized to rationalize the otherwise pecuniary motives of the landed gentry of northern and western Europe for the sake of adventure, salvation and, well, plunder. In whatever event, it does seem that religious belief was leveraged in a model that continued to serve the elites through at least the 19th century. 

Vincent Ruggiero: Beyond Feelings: A Guide to Critical Thinking, 5th Ed.; Mountain View, CA: Mayfield, 1998. Excellent college critical think class text- and workbook.

Michael Ruppert: Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil; self-published at Gabriola Island, BC, Canada, 2004. Started the age (and rage) of "peak oil" fear... and had plenty to do with scaring the more paranoid among the industry-programmed public. The book (and others that followed) played a role in stiffening the spines of the GOP Congress and many state houses into support of shale fracking, public land reserve exploration and more offshore drilling. This despite the fact that demand for petroleum is now decreasing owing to increasing use of sustainable energy sources like hydro (especially in China), solar, wind and tidal, as well as conversion to rechargeable battery-powered, electromotive transportation systems. Hey! Money talks. And it's hard to think of any industry that has more of it available.

Bertrand Russell: The Impact of Science on Society; New York: Columbia U. Press, 1951. "To modern educated people, it seems obvious that matters of fact are to be ascer­tained by observation, not by consulting ancient authorities. But this is an entirely modern conception, which hardly existed before the seventeenth century." " It is not by prayer and humility that you cause things to go as you wish, but by acquiring a knowledge of natural laws." "Mass psychology is, scientifically speaking, not a very advanced study, and so far its professors... have been advertisers, politicians, and, above all, dictators... Its importance has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called 'education.' Religion plays a part, though a diminishing one; the press, the cinema, and the radio play an increasing part. What is essential in mass psychology is the art of per­suasion."

Gus Russo: The Outfit: The Role of Chicago's Underworld in the Shaping of Modern America; New York: Bloomsbury, 2002, 2008. Splendid account of how the Syndicate (largely but not entirely of Jews, Irish- and Italian-Americans) converts ill-gotten (and -- since the spread of legalized gambling -- perfectly legitimate, but skimmed) mulah into political power. On a par with Denton & Morris's The Money and The Power listed above. Chilling.      

Gus Russo: Supermob: How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America's Hidden Power Brokers; New York: Bloomsbury, 2006. How Beverly Hills became the epicenter of political power during the Reagan Era in Sacramento and Washington.

Henri Santos, Michael Varnum, Igor Grossmann: Global Increases in Individualism, in Psychological Science, 2017 DOI: 10.1177/0956797617700622 "...Armenia, China, Croatia, Ukraine, and Uruguay -- showed a substantial decrease in individualistic values over time [1960-2011], with 39 out of 53 countries showing a substantial increase." That said, most Islamic and other authoritarian religious populations didn't change all that much. (Individualism hasn't played all that well among the masses in places like Iran, Russia or North Korea for several centuries that we know of.)

William Sargant: Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brain Washing, orig. pub. 1957, Cambridge, MA: Malor Books, 1997. The title topic -- seen through the lens of Ivan Pavlov's extensive work on conditioning canines to a semi-functional state of learn helplessness and unconscious victimhood -- tries to connect the dots between Pavlov's research and what was (for him, anyway) unintended consequences. (One may wonder after reading this if the Russian elite is the most sociopathic society on the planet.) Sargant's evidence is limited to the science of the the mid-20th century, but his basic thesis is supported well-supported by what we know now about the autonomic nervous system and the fight-flight-freeze response, as well as the dynamics of cultic political, religious and "human potential" thought reform and mass manipulation. 

Jeremy Scahill: Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army; New York: Nation Books, 2007. Authoritarian, muscular (pseudo-) Xtianity has been manipulated by the elites in a political end run to defend their wealth against the Islamic hoard (and get more?) in the Middle East and horn of Africa. Especially as "radical," anti-imperialist Islam tries to encircle the Western petroleum empire it built on the Arabian peninsula. 

Anne Wilson Schaef: When Society Becomes an Addict; New York: Harper & Row, 1987. Built on the "addictionism" that seemed to grow out of Edward Khantzian's self-medication hypothesis, as well as Lasch's work on obsessive materialism, the author postulates the erosion of Western cult-ure as a direct result of increasing stress and attempts to "take a pill" for it. Her "pills," included everything from excessive exercise and fad starvation diets to pornographic sex and dizzy, Harlequin romance. For Schaef, an urban Jew who shucked the Big City for rural Montana (!), common culture is a commercial con designed to keep us all on one form or another of Aldous Huxley's narcotizing soma.     

Morton Schatzman: Soul Murder: Persecution in the Family; New York: Random House, 1973. Describes the worst of the sadomasochistic, animal-training, psychosis-inducing child-rearing techniques popular in Germany & Austria when Hitler (whose father was reportedly just awful to little Adolph) was a youth, describing the widespread conditioning and normalization to hyper-authoritarianism in that era. Likely influenced Alice Miller's series of books on centuries of willful child abuse in central and eastern Europe.

Edgar Schein: Coercive Persuasion: A Socio-psychological Analysis of the Brainwashing of American Civilian Prisoners by the Chinese Communists; New York: W. W. Norton, 1961. Use of good-cop / bad-cop techniques by the Chicoms, as well as basic, authority-corrupted-Zen Buddhist teacher-student dynamics by the North Koreans. Along with Lifton's work, a watershed for research into cult dynamics.

Phillip Schewe: The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of our Electrified World; Washington DC: Joseph Henry Press, 2007. From Franklin through Edison and Tesla to the sockets we now just take for granted. Prosaic but fascinating, considering how massively it has Changed The World.

Amity Schlaes: The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. The Law of Unintended Consequences gets examined via well-reasoned critique of Rooseveltian welfareism and entitlementism. Far from as radical as Ayn Rand, however. And a nice portal into a more balanced view of reality for your kneejerk liberal acquantances.

M. Schmidt, L. Butler, et al: Young Children See a Single Action and Infer a Social Norm: Promiscuous Normativity in 3-Year-Olds; in Psychological Science, 2016; DOI: 10.1177/0956797616661182. Three-year-old toddlers demonstrate having been in-struct-ed, trained, conditioned, socialized, habituated, normalized and institutionalized by behavioral modeling that does not need to be repeated, questioning a basic behaviorist belief of very long duration.  

Darren Schreiber, Greg Fonzo, et al: Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans, in PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (2): e52970 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0052970. "Democrats showed significantly greater activity in the [stimulus perceiving and "thinkier"] left insula, while Republicans showed significantly greater activity in the [fear-activating and "feelier"] right amygdala. These results suggest that liberals and conservatives engage different cognitive processes when they think about risk, and they support recent evidence that conservatives show greater sensitivity to threatening stimuli."

Irene Scopelliti, Carey Morewedge, et al: Bias Blind Spot: Structure, Measurement, and Consequences; in Management Science, 2015; 150424060229007 DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2014.2096"These results suggest that the bias blind spot is a distinct metabias resulting from naïve realism [also known as direct realism or common sense realism, is the idea that the senses provide us with direct awareness of objects as they really are, rejecting "conceptually informed observation"] rather than other forms of egocentric cognition, and has unique effects on judgment and behavior." ("Common sense" = "culturally conditioned, consensus trance" in the circles I run in.)

Peter Dale Scott: Deep Politics and the Death of JFK; Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1996. Scott may be a flaming liberal, but his densely documented work on the linkage between elite, extremist conservative, Big Business power politics and the assassinations of the '60s is spell-binding. He connected gobs of errant dots in the '90s, '00s and '10s, though each of his books stands on the shoulders of his previous work, as well as that of others like McCoy, Prouty and the more recently-declassified-document-informed conspiracy theorists. A septuagenarian prof. emeritus of English Literature at radic-lib Berkeley when he started, he attracted a small army of grad students bent on showing that American big business and government really is as "immoral" as the rest of the world asserts.     

Peter Dale Scott: Drugs, Oil and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Columbia and Indochina, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. The legend continues -- mostly with updates and new secondary research -- without any disturbance to the overall quality of the product. (Who knows if all the "facts" are facts? But when elected officials, former White House staffers, the CIA and FBI themselves agree they're facts, one tends to take them more seriously.)   

Peter Dale Scott: The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America; Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2007. The hits just keep on comin'.

Victor Sebestyen: 1946: The Making of the Modern World; New York: Pantheon, 2014. On the influence of the UN, the Marshall Plan, the World Bank, and American economic and military hegemony on the post-war "free world" order through the late 1970s. Hey! We got a whole generation out of it, and the boys who went off to war benefited handsomely... materially, at least. (Brokaw's "Greatest Generation" gave birth to the American "Boomers," the real beneficiaries of WW2 and the wealthiest cohort the world has seen, and possibly ever will be.)

Kenneth Setton: The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1571, Vol. 1: The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries; London: Arner Philosophical Society, 1976. The "dark ages" are anything but dark nowadays. Setton was one of the first to shine a very bright light on the period in general and the Crusades in particular. Which is important, because: If one is an Islamic from North Africa or the Middle East, his schooling was drenched in the blood-and-resentment-soaked history of the pseudo-religious (but actually treasure-hunting) war that began in 1096 and lasted until Ferdinand & Isabella shoved the last of then out of Spain in the late 1400s. There are scores of others, but Setton's is among the very most cited as an primary reference.    

Jeff Sharlett: The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power; New York: Harper Perennial, 2008. From a review: "Abraham Vereide built an international network of fundamentalists who spoke the language of establishment power, a 'family' that thrives to this day. In public, they host Prayer Breakfasts; in private, they preach a gospel of 'biblical capitalism,' military might, and American empire. (See Nagle's Kill All Normies and Scahill's Blackwater as results thereof.)

Faith Shin, Jesse L. Preston: Green as the gospel: The power of stewardship messages to improve climate change attitudes, in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/rel0000249. "Christians' attitudes toward the environment and climate change are shaped by whether they hold a view of humans as having stewardship of the Earth or dominion over the planet, and reading material from religious sources advocating a stewardship interpretation can increase their concern for environmental issues..."

Julian Sher, William Marsden: Angels of Death: Inside the Biker Gangs' Crime Empire; New York: Carroll & Graf, 2006. Orig. pub. in the 1990s and as much about Australian as American gangs suggesting most were drug addled and stupid. Mostly anecdotal for the sake of entertainment rather than pattern recognition, but does demonstrate that the Angels (a San Bernardino, California, creation; not surprising to anyone who knows the place) were and are far from the only game in town. 

Margaret Thaler Singer, Harold Goldstein, Michael Langone, et al: Report of the APA Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Techniques of Persuasion and Control; New York: American Psychological Association, 1986. A bedrock of the cult information and education movement that sprung up on the heels of Scientology, est, the Moonies, ISKCON, the Yogic Hindu and Zen Buddhist rip-offs, as well as pseudo-Christian evangelicalism gone bonkers. No one who purports to be an "expert" on what is becoming an increasingly hot topic can claim to be so without having ingested this watershed. 

Margaret Thaler Singer: Cults in our Midst: The Hidden Menace in our Everyday Lives; San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995. Surprisingly -- considering the well-earned reputation of the esteemed author, whose work goes clear back to Lifton, Schein and the returning North Korean POWs -- this is not one of the best of the genre. Which is not to say it's not worth reading; just that others like Galanter, Langone, Ross, Kramer & Alstad, Taylor, Hassan, et al, have at least matched it or come close. That said, owning to her rep, the thing sold about as many copies as all the rest put together, in no small part because it does cover pretty much all the bases as they were arranged at the time.    

B. F. Skinner: Beyond Freedom and Dignity; New York: Alfred Knopf, 1971. From Wikipedia: "Skinner argues that entrenched belief in free will and the moral autonomy of the individual... hinders the prospect of using scientific methods to modify behavior for the purpose of building a happier and better-organized society. attempt to promote Skinner's philosophy of science, the technology of human behavior, his conception of determinism, and what Skinner calls 'cultural engineering.'" And others call "social constructionism via social constructivism" though Skinner appeared to have been unaware of much of the work already done on that subject by the late '60s. 

Huston Smith: The World's Religions: The Revised & Updated Edition of The Religions of Man; San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991. (First Ed. 1958.) One of the very best go-to volumes on the structural organizations and beliefs of the world's major religions for those who cannot work their way through Karen Armstrong's dense mazes. Readable and well organized, this book has been a bedrock for the comparative study of religions for almost 60 years.    

John L. Smith: Running Scared: The Life and Treacherous Times of Las Vegas Casino King Steve Wynn; Boston: Da Capo Press, 2001. Yet another in a growing genre. Does a fine job of showing the character and behavior of The Man, as well as his work.  

Herbert Spencer: The Principles of Sociology, in Three Volumes; New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1898. Pretty much established the rules of the "accepted" and "proper" game for the century plus to come, at least for English speakers. But differs substantially from the Frankfurt School in Germany. And, thus, sociology as more conservative authors and professors teach it today (in no small part for those who would be "social workers") vs. the far more deconstructivist social psychology of the German Jews from Hegel through Marx, Weber, Veblen, Adorno, Marcuse, Horkheimer and such to all those guys in Stein, Vidich & White. Suffice it to say that sociology and social psychology should not be confused with each other.     

J. Michael Sproule: Propaganda and Democracy: The American Experience of Media and Mass Persuasion; London: Cambridge U. Press, 1997. Yet another of a genre of academic books trying to parse the utility and risks of mass communication and influence, the "unintended consequences" of which have been the development of highly skilled, rhetorical mass manipulation of the emotions and mindless appraisals according to unconscious beliefs of enfranchised, dangerously stupid simpletons who think they know what's going on because of what cable news tells them. (It was, btw, the GOP that first enfranchised the poor, propertyless and uneducated for partisan political purposes during post-Civil War Reconstruction, followed by the Tammany Democrats in the big cities to their own ends in the era that followed.)

Kevin Starr: Inventing the Dream: California Through the Progressive Era; New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1986. Subtly and obliquely examines the pecuniary, commercial manipulations of Big Rail, Big Agriculture, Big Oil, Big Land Development to leverage their early investments in -- and getting to -- the "golden state." Connects a lot of dots if one knows how to spot them. 

Kevin Starr: Material Dreams: Southern California Through the 1920s; New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1990. Focuses on the explosive growth of the agricultural, motion picture and petroleum industries the first fifth of the previous century. 

Kevin Starr: Endangered Dreams: The Great Depression in California; New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1994. Motion pictures, agriculture and a growing aviation industry carry the state on their backs as millions arrive from the dust bowl.

Kevin Starr: The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s; New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997. The defense industries (aviation, motor vehicle assembly, ship-building and petroleum, along with military training and base development on a grand scale) induce even more immigration and infrastructural expansion... including the very first "freeway" from downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena. 

Kevin Starr: Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963; New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2009. Television, motion pictures, aviation, housing, yet more water flowing from north to south and arrival as one of the nation's three most politically powerful polities.   

Ronald Steele: Walter Lippman and the American Century; New York: Little, Brown & Co., 1980. Middle-of-the-road portrayal of the single most significant and influential, rational-empiricist, liberal newspaper columnist of the early 20th century, only to be equaled by Drew Pearson in the '40s and '50s. 

Maurice Stein, Arthur Vidich, David Manning White, et al (editors): Identity and Anxiety: Survival of the Person in Mass Society; Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960. A hugely edifying collection of essays by the most significant, neo-Freudian analysts of "social psychology" at mid-century, including Erik Erikson, George Orwell, Margaret Mead, C. Wright Mills, Karl Jaspers, Kurt Riezler, Martin Buber and Franz Neumann. One of the most influential college campus tomes of pre-free speech and anti-war era. Still worthy of examination, especially in the modern age of polarized, political extremism and the emergence of harsh, over-reactionary, social Darwinist, "alt right" proto-fascism to push back against progressive overshooting currently so socialized and normalized that few see it for the irrational but "politically correct," unconscious and unrealistic idealism it has become.   

George Stephanopoulos: All Too Human: A Political Education; New York: Back Bay Books, 2008. On the Clintons, not quite warts and all. Somewhat like MacNamara's In Retrospect, a rationalizing apologia, albeit one that is illuminating and explanatory. Over time, the once idealistic liberal ABC News man has become a bit of a "radical centrist," rather like CNN regular David Gergen who came to it from the other end of the spectrum.

Chadly Stern, Tessa V. West, P. G. Schmitt: The Liberal Illusion of Uniqueness; in Psychological Science, 2013; DOI:10.1177/0956797613500796. "Liberals tend to underestimate the amount of actual agreement among those who share their ideology, while conservatives tend to overestimate intra-group agreement. Liberals showed "false uniqueness," perceiving their beliefs as more divergent from those of other liberals than they actually were. Moderates and conservatives showed evidence of "false consensus," perceiving their beliefs to be more similar to those of other members of their political group than they actually were. (Will empirical-observation- -- as opposed to belief- -- based positions ever prevail? My answer? Not so long as rational appraisal built on belief continues to be conditioned, programmed, indoctrineated, instructed, socialized, normalized and institutionalized in the vast majority of human cultures. Because such conditioning serves the purposes of the elite accumulators of wealth who can see outside of the box of belief but who cynically use it to keep the masses stupidified and malleable.
A sufficiently informed, empirically observant majority of the electorate is a requirement for functional policy-making; otherwise democracy remains the sham Adorno, Altemeyer, Arendt, Asch, Bloom, Curtis, Deikman, Domhoff, Ellul, Ferguson, Fromm, Haidt, Hayes, Hedges, Henry, Hoffer, Hook, Huxley, Klaehn, Krishnamurti, Lasch, Lears, Lerner, Lippman, McDougall, Meerloo, Milgram, Mills -- and many in the other half of the alphabet here -- have suggested.) 

Chadly Stern, Tessa V. West, et al: "Ditto Heads": Do Conservatives Perceive Greater Consensus Within their Ranks than Liberals?; in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2014. "Liberals appear to be more motivated to perceive their beliefs as relatively unique, which can undermine the development of a cohesive movement. A stronger desire for shared reality among conservatives may be why the Tea Party gained more momentum than the Occupy Wall Street movement."

Charles Strozier, David Terman, James Jones, Katherine Boyd: The Fundamentalist Mindset: Psychological Perspectives on Religion, Violence, and History; London: Oxford University Press, 2010. "...a radical dualism, in which all aspects of life are bluntly categorized as either good or evil; a destructive inclination to interpret authoritative texts, laws, and teachings in the most literal of terms; an extreme and totalized conversion experience; paranoid thinking; and an apocalyptic world view." 

W. A. Swanberg: Luce and His Empire; New York: Scribner & Sons, 1972. Terse critique of a major, anti-red, American propagandist (and his seductive, elitist spouse, Rep. Claire Booth) who sold the electorate on Chiang & the Tsoongs on behalf of both the missionary evangelicals and the lords of industry and investment banking... making it impossible for Roosevelt and Truman to come to terms with Mao & Zhou (and split them off from Stalin & Krushchev) until Nixon managed to do so 30 years too late. (Talk about "unintended consequences.")

Charles T. Tart: Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential; New York: New Science Library, 1987. A far more toothy, as well as Asian- than Western-informed, examination of "social constructivism" and what Tart called the "consensus trance" that such as Berger & Luckman's The Social Construction of Reality and the slew of books that ensued therefrom in the '60s and '70s. Tart knew the Vedas, the Pali Canon, Rumi & the Sufis, Gurdjieff as well as one could at the time to de-construct how most are indoctrinated, instructed, programmed, conditioned, socialized, normalized and institutionalized to being half asleep and willing to follow the leader(s), including propaganda-spouting spin meisters on cable "news" (not) and other subtler pundits. 

Kathleen Taylor: Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control; Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004. Until Ross delivered Cults Inside & Out ten years later, this was the best update available on the work of such as Lifton, Schein, Singer, Conway & Seligman, Kramer & Alstad, Langone, Galanter, Hassan, et al to date. In truth, Taylor's book covers territory Ross's doesn't.  

K. Toner, M. R. Leary, et al: Feeling Superior Is a Bipartisan Issue: Extremity (Not Direction) of Political Views Predicts Perceived Belief Superiority, in Psychological Science, 2013; DOI:10.1177/0956797613494848. "The tendency for people with extreme views to be overly confident is not limited to politics," said Leary. "Any time people hold an extreme position, even on a trivial issue, they seem to think that their views are better than anyone else's."

Natacha Tormey: Cults: A Bloodstained History; London, Fonthill, 2014. Dashed off in most chapters like a typical hot-topic exploitation and without any bibliography or citations to back up its many assertions, the book is nevertheless pretty accurate compared to others I have read covering the same topics, including the Abrahamic warrior religions and the Inquisition. (May I assume that the author read the same ones? Possibly.) The rest of it is a rehash in breathy magazine "journalism" style of some of the cheesier cults most cultophiles already know as much or more about than the author here.  If you're interested in the Egyptian and Mesopotamian ramifications of the Pentateuch, your money may be well spent. Otherwise, not so much. 

Olivier Toubia, Oded Netzer: Idea Generation, Creativity, and Prototypicality; in Marketing Science, August 2016; DOI: 10.1287/mksc.2016.0994 "We found that what makes an idea creative as judged by both consumers and firms' executives is a mix of ingredients (words) that includes a balance between words that commonly appear together (familiar combinations) and words that do not (novel combinations)." Probably because the former seem to "explain" the latter.

Wilfred Trotter: Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War; orig. pub. 1916, New York: Cosimo Classics, 2005. Thesis: We respond instinctively and readily to group suggestions and are thus easily trained to suppress the most basic instincts (survival, sex) in the service of the group. One of the classics, along with Freud's Civilization & It's Discontents, and Hoffer's The True Believer.

Barbara Tuchman: The Guns of August; New York: Macmillan & Co., 1964. Major best seller on the unfortunate, belief-and-royal-marriage-bound failures of diplomacy to halt what was widely believed to be a "limited, quickly completed little war" to resolve the still festering wounds of previous conflicts in Alsace-Lorraine, the Crimea, and South Africa, as well as the "major problem" of Bismarkian Unification of Germany.

Barbara Tuchman: Stillwell and the American Experience in China; New York: Macmillan & Co., 1971. First significant examination of the politics of American evangelicalism and it's manipulation by Luce (see above) on behalf of those fearing communist takeover of the entire Asian land mass before during and following WW2.

Barbara Tuchman: Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour; New York: Alfred A, Knopf, 1976. Early scholarship on the influence of Pope Urban I and ensuing prelates (Anglican, Catholic and otherwise) on the politics of the Crusades and the continuing upshots thereof. Dies not, however, dig in nearly so deeply as later books do on the (mostly French) Knights Templar and their massive financial and trade network throughout the eastern Mediterranean and Levant that drove the Islamic pushback via the Ottoman Turks that lasted until Balfour's day. 

Barbara Tuchman: The Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978. War, war, and more war between the fractious principalities of pre-modern Europe leading to the motivation to look for wealth outside Europe in Africa, Asia and America in the following century. A great dot-connector.

Alexa M. Tullett, William P. Hart, et al: Is ideology the enemy of inquiry? Examining the link between political orientation and lack of interest in novel data; in Journal of Research in Personality, Vol. 63, July 2016.  DOI:10.1016/j.jrp.2016.06.018. "the findings are consistent with previously published studies that conservatives are less trusting of the scientific community... conservatives were simply less convinced that science is a good way to learn about the world."

Jean Twenge, W. K. Campbell, et al: Public Trust has Dwindled with Rise in Income Inequality, in Psychological Science, Vol. 15, No. 3, December 2014. "The notable exception was confidence in the military, which increased."

Christina M. Tworek and Andrei Cimpian: Why Do People Tend to Infer “Ought” From “Is”? The Role of Biases in Explanation; in Psychological Science, Vol. 14, No. 2, July 2016. "...inherence bias in everyday explanations leads people to view what is typical as also being good and desirable..." "...people move seamlessly from factual judgments to value-based judgments, which is consistent with prior evidence of continuity between non-moral and moral reasoning..." "...some people value tradition and custom more than other people..." "...loyalty and respect for authority are central to sociomoral judgment for some people more than for others..." "...the tendency to assign value to what is typical is due in part to a systematic bias in the process of explanation..."

Larry Tye: The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations; New York: Henry Holt, 1998. How Freud's nephew used his uncle's discoveries and concepts to peddle influence and (typically) emotional manipulation of the masses to the highest bidders in the early & mid 20th century. (Bernays helped to sell war bonds... but also convinced a generation of Americans and Europeans that smoking was not hazardous to one's health.) He may have been the ultimate cynic. 

Jay Van Bavel, Andrea Pereira: The partisan brain: An Identity based model of political belief, in Trends on Cognitive Science; in press February 2016. Thesis: We can extend the cognitive-affective-behavioral model to include identity as a explanation of belief in false statements and rationalization of political propaganda. Rather basic, but a fine place to start for freshmen and sophomores. (Their supposed fix, however, is pointless.)

Thorstein Veblen: The Theory of the Leisure Class; orig. pub. 1899, New York: Penguin Classics, 1994. One of the early pillars of social constructivism... as well as Leninistic, (ostensibly) anti-materialistic communism.

Mark Vieira: Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood; New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999. Superior picture book on the use of motion pictures to de-construct the agrarian, religious repression of sexual expression in American urban cultures during the 1920s are early '30s... until the moral perfectionists traded off prohibition of alcohol for prohibition of actual romantic behavior in a political deal with the New Dealers in 1934. A fine illustration of the whipsaw ying & yang / ebb & flow of emotional romanticism since the early 1800s.   

E. V. Walter: The Politics of Decivilization, in Maurice Stein et al (editors): Identity and Anxiety: Survival of the Person in Mass Society; Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1960. Anyone into the pitched battle between the now ultra-extreme polarities of criminals' rights, hyper-legalism, welfare entitlement & sexual freedom vs. elbow-in-the-ribs, alt right re-socialization and normalization to "moral values" and elitist feudalism will surely be able to see that we're not in the first round of this boxing match here. Polarizing radicalism dates back to the Land of the Pharaohs and beyond, it seems.

Diane Raines Ward: Water Wars: Drought, Flood, Folly and the Politics of Thirst; New York: Riverhead/Putnam/Penguin, 2002. Political battles in the American Pacific Southwest, India, China and elsewhere. Follow the money. 

Max Weber, Talcott Parsons (translator): The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism; Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1930. More great stuff on "social constructivism" from the Roman age through Calvin and Luther into the late 1800s. (The book was originally published in German in 1905.) In essence, the first major work to move beyond Marx & Engels to assert in so many words that the masses are trained via public -- but nevertheless Abrahamic Judeo-Christian -- education to be good little producers, consumers, defenders of elite wealth... and striving materialists.

Stanley Weintraub: Long Day's Journey into War: December 7, 1941; New York: Dutton, 1991. Includes the usual pre-Pearl-Harbor drama, but does so along with the back story on Roosevelt's tug of war with Lindbergh and the America First crowd in Congress to rebuild the military in preparation for not only intervention in Europe but protection of US, UK and French interests in Asia. 

Ronald White: American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant; New York: Random House, 2017. More reverent than investigative, White looks at Grant through the man's memoirs, as well as the reports of others close to him. The result is less about Grant as a reflection and response to his times than a rather favorable view of the circumstances from abolitionist and somewhat Romantic, post-Enlightenment, pre-Humanist perspectives. That said, there's enough here about the white, southern push-back against Reconstruction to illuminate the history of the Great (racial) Divide that lingers to this day. Beyond that, the descriptions of the major -- and bloody -- battles in the "west" during the Civil War are chilling. 

Theodore H. White: America in Search of Itself: The Making of the President, 1950-1980; Norwalk, CT: Easton Press, 1986. Examines the effects of the major issues of the time -- including the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, racial equality, free speech, student activism, Johnson's "abandonment" of the Solid South, Nixon's "southern strategy" and (perhaps most intriguingly) the conversion from backroom conventioneering to media-manipulated state political primaries -- on both the candidate selection and national campaign processes.

Hugh Wilford: The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America; Cambridge, MA: Harvard U. Press, 2009. The Dulles brothers and the US Information Agency star in a tale of the control of propaganda that was possible during the Cold War era when the major media played ball with the CIA for the sake of defending the country against the red & yellow perils. Necessary in many ways, but wasting gobs of money and producing major unintended consequences, including multiple blood-lettings in Hungary and Czechoslovakia when it "successfully" fomented attempts at revolution that failed horribly. Most importantly: The model of what the Russians and Chinese have been doing in reverse -- and quite effectively -- for the past decade or so. 

Reid Wilson: The 15 Types of American Political Communities in 2012; in The Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2013. Take a deep breath... and have a look. America may not be what you've been led to think it is.

S. Wiltermuth, F. Flynn: Power, Moral Clarity, and Punishment in the Workplace; in Academy of Management Journal, 2012; DOI: 10.5465/amj.2010.0960 Authoritarian, "money talks," and dualism continues to prevail. The more powerful person evaluates in black & white; the less powerful in shades of gray.

Simon Winchester: A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906; San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2005. Frisco burned down needlessly as the gas mains broke after the quake because the government there ignored what the scientists already knew about fault lines.

John G. Wirtz, Johnny V. Sparks, Thais M. Zimbres: The effect of exposure to sexual appeals in advertisements on memory, attitude, and purchase intention: a meta-analytic review; in International Journal of Advertising, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1080/02650487.2017.1334996 "Ads with sexual appeals are more likely to be remembered... but don't sell the brand or product, according to a meta-analysis of nearly 80 advertising studies."

Michael Wolff: Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House; New York: Henry Holt, 2018. Whatever the critics may say, the author had first-hand access to Steve Bannon, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, Reince Preibus and others. And the author is NOT a New York liberal. The book is a truly fascinating review of the first nine months of what appears to be the most inept and incompetent assemblage of unqualified wannabes racing around a US executive's Karpman Drama Triangle in history. The do-right liberals around Lyndon Johnson had challenges. These poor people had a constantly moving target whose mind seems to be that of an alternately approval-addicted and obstinate five-year-old. 

Christopher Wolsko, Hector Ariceaga, Jesse Seiden: Red, white, and blue enough to be green: Effects of moral framing on climate change attitudes and conservation behaviors; in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2016; 65: 7 DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2016.02.005 "Liberals respond more favorably to moral issues involving harm and care, or fairness and justice, and conservatives respond more favorably to issues framed by loyalty, authority and respect, and the purity and sanctity of human endeavors..."

Bob Woodward: Fear: Trump in the White House; New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018. Similar to, but more expansive, than Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury (also on this list in the first section), Fear sees a boy in a(n old) man's body who is largely unprepared by conditioned nature and experience to be the "leader of the free world." Oddly (for some), however, it makes it easier to see where the Don's instincts are -- if not "right" -- barking up trees the rest of the establishment no longer sees because of the gross normalization of social welfare "rescuing" and what may be too-much-of-a-good-thing-may-not-be globalism. Woodward keeps to professional journalistic (which is to say 1970s style) reportage of the accounts of the many witnesses to the President's stubborn, simplistic deconstructionism, however, and eschews lengthy examinations of the deeper issues, including the less obvious unintended consequences of past and present domestic and foreign policies.  

Colin Woodward: Up in Arms: The Battles Lines of Today's Debates... on Violence-Related Issues were Drawn Centuries Ago by America's Early Settlers; in Tufts U. Magazine, Fall 2013, reprinted in the Washington Post, Nov. 8, 2013. Supports Kevin Phillips's et al's views on cultural geography in US politics. And, it's not so much the content of one's religious and political beliefs as it is the socialized and normalized styles of expression that predominate in any given locale.  

Gary Woodward & Robert Denton: Persuasion & Influence in American Life, 4th Ed.; Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 2000. Even-handed (and like Cialdini, maybe even overly even-handed) presentation of most of the factors. Dry, but useful for those who want to understand the more assertive authors like Ewen, Lears, Lippman, Rokeach, Tye, Wilford, and all the de-constuctivists.

Lawrence Wright: The Apostate: Paul Haggis vs. The Church of Scientology, in The New Yorker, February 14, 2011. The first "celebrity" in the film industry to question the cult's methods, techniques and objectives was -- and continues to be -- pilloried by the Sea Org.  

Lawrence Wright: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief; Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. Rounds up most of the evidence known at the time (there's been plenty more since Mike Rinder defected and hooked up with Leah Remini) to poke more holes into the Whiz's green curtain.

Tim Wu: The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires; New York: Vintage, 2011. What we're seeing in corporate manipulation of the Internet has happened with every new communications technology, at least back to "gilded age." (Hey! There's a lot of money in it!)

Janet Z. Yang, Haoran Chu, LeeAnn Kahlor: Fearful Conservatives, Angry Liberals: Information Processing Related to the 2016 Presidential Election and Climate Change, in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 2018; DOI: 10.1177/1077699018811089. Conservatives fear loss of what they have accumulated; liberals are angry they can't accumulate more. Both stances reflect acquisitive cultural conditioning. 

Daniel Yergin: The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power; New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991. First of the Pulitzer Prize-winning, epic diptych (see below) on the worldwide, liquid goldrush for the fuel of modern economic, political and ultimately military power. Yergin explains how it began in the mid-19th century when the "dinosaur slime" in some Pennsylvania tar pots was found to work better than whale oil for propulsive, as well as lighting and lubricative purposes. As soon as the Royal Navy elected to convert their warship boilers from coal to oil, everything in the world changed. Everything. Dots are connected right, left, up, down and three-dimensionally, explaining all manner of things The Big Boys and their political toadies would prefer no one knew about.

Daniel Yergin: The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World; New York: Penguin Press, 2011. Takes right up where The Prize left off. Equally informative.

Richard Zacks: Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York; New York: Doubleday, 2012. Picking up pretty much where Asbury's The Gangs of New York leaves off, it details the transformation of a morally perfectionistic, high-voiced, Dutch elite into a surprisingly fearless figure of local, then state, then national significance who would become one of America's most revered  -- if controversial -- heads of state.

See also Realpolitik I and Realpolitik II.

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