Thursday, April 12, 2012

During the course of my discussions with various US amateurs over the years on the need for sweeping regulatory reform in our Service, it has now become increasingly apparent to me that most of the flames I've been getting for such ideas are coming from a statistically significant number in our ranks who embrace what psychologists call an "authoritarian personality".

People with this type of personality trait tend to seek conformity, security, and stability. And they become anxious and insecure when events or circumstances (or people like me offering "radical" proposals for change) upset their previously existing worldview.

Such persons are also highly intolerant of any divergence from what they consider to be "the norm" (which is often conceptualized in terms of their religion, race, history, nationality, culture, language, or, in our case, all the regulatory trappings of "incentive licensing"). 

As a result, such persons tend to be very dualistic. Their worldview is conceived in terms of absolute right (their way) vs. absolute wrong (anyone else's way) and often requires a "rule book" written by someone (or some organization) in authority in order to determine such "rightness". 

Indeed, respect for (and submission to) authority – parents, teachers, religion, bosses, or any appointed or elected leader or organization is a "must"...hence the term "authoritarian".  In that sense, reverence for those in authority (such as the FCC) becomes paramount.  That is, according to an authoritarian's approach to life, if our great leaders (and/or our enormous government) tells them what to do in all cases then they don’t have to take responsibility for (or run the risk of) thinking or deciding anything for themselves. They simply have to "salute smartly" and do what they have been told to do.

As a result, authoritarians can’t (and usually don't) trust ordinary people to "do the right thing". They firmly believe that people who are different (i.e. CBers) are "no good".  Such a negative view of people who are somehow different from themselves usually leads authoritarians to the conclusion that overly restrictive laws, reams of "rules" and "regulations" along with a strong police force (i.e. the FCC) are absolutely necessary  to maintain order and discipline in the world.

What's more, authoritarian personalities tend to believe it is critically important to have a powerful leader and to be part of a powerful group. Thus, they relish being in the “strongest nation on earth,” or “the wealthiest nation on the planet".  For such persons, this notion is often expressed by such statements as, "My country right or wrong”.  What's more, the way things may be done in other countries is to be dismissed out of hand because it is automatically "bad".  Indeed, if someone in authority (i.e. the FCC…an agency of the United States Government) decided something was "right", then, surely, that must automatically be the best way to do it.

In addition, as most authoritarians  already believe they have a handle on the truth, they tend to oppose new ideas, unconventional solutions, or creative imaginations. As a result, they tend to believe an original thinker is dangerous simply because he or she thinks differently.  It's also considered good to be suspicious of psychologists, writers, and artists (or people like me who offer such radically subversive proposals)...such people are scary and their ideas must be attacked and dismissed out of hand in order to "protect" the status quo.  

On the other hand, governments who observe and report on such subversives are OK because they are doing their authoritarian jobs by maintaining "order" .

The bottom line here is that I've now come to fully realize that what I've been proposing in my various posts on this subject are actually horribly threatening to some persons in our ranks because (in their minds) it all very clearly has the potential to upset their absolutely critical need for conformity, security and stability in their pursuit of the hobby.

That is, instead of looking in Part 97 for guidance on what is "right" in all cases, under the largely deregulated scenario that I've been proposing, such persons might now have to let someone who is NOT a government authority (like the IARU or the ARRL) determine what is "right" all the while running the very real risk (in their minds) that "bad people" might soon overrun their hard-earned slices of artificially walled-off "turf".  

That's because the overarching government agency they have all come to rely on (the FCC) to maintain order and discipline in our Service will no longer be proscribing (in eye-watering detail) "what goes where" on our bands via regulation.

Now, lest anyone infer that I'm levelling attacks against any person in this "tome", let me assure you that NONE of this analysis is meant to be derogatory in any way toward any one person. Indeed, persons who share such authoritarian worldviews are not "mentally ill" or otherwise "wrong" in any way. They (like me) are certainly entitled to their opinions on the way the world should work, and as far as I'm concerned, it's very much OK that such persons continue to hold their strong authoritarian opinions on things.

Their worldview and mine are simply "different".... and that's ALL they are.

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