The Politics of Denial


Anger and resentment appear to be playing an increasingly important role in politics, as evidenced by the vociferous opposition to welfare, abortion, and immigrants, and by the rise of the radical Religious Right. The Politics of Denial presents a compelling explanation of these phenomena, providing solid empirical evidence for the role of rigid, harsh childrearing practices in the creation of punitive, authoritarian adult political attitudes. The authors show how political processes in the United States are distorted by the unresolved negative emotions (such as fear, anger, and helplessness) that remain from punitive parenting, and by the politicians and conservative religious leaders who exploit those emotions. Among the many public figures discussed are Patrick Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, and Billy Graham.

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Introduction: What's Missing from This Picture?
  3. 1. Hear No Evil, See No Evil
  4. 2. "No, really, I'm fine"
  5. 3. The Politics of Denial
  6. 4. Honor Thy Father and Mother
  7. 5. The Punitive Society
  8. 6. The Seduction of the Electorate
  9. 7. Denial, Slavery, and Racism in America
  10. 8. Governmental Violence and Denial
  11. 9. Denial and Environmental Destruction
  12. 10. Conclusion
  13. Appendix: Results of 1988 Harris Survey on Spanking
  14. Notes
  15. References
  16. Index