Hello, I am Robin, aka Pamina Q, and I have believed a lot of wild things in my 30-odd years of life.

I was born and raised in the rural Midwest, where I was homeschooled with right wing Christian textbooks from Bob Jones University and Pensacola Christian College. I became interested in Catholicism by the end of high school, and joined the Catholic Church officially in 2007. I attended the Traditional Latin Mass for several years, drawn to the familiar fundamentalism and the excellent choir at local parish, and had a lot of existential crises, because being that uptight is actually very exhausting.

The misogyny, anger, obsession, and closed-mindedness wore me down over time, and I moved away from the Latin Mass and its communities in my early twenties.

And I had an epiphany…

Traditionalist Catholicism was essentially the same as the fundamentalist Protestantism I grew up with, but with holy cards instead of chick tracts.

I noticed a pattern — people in both groups were absolutely terrified of outsiders and believed that society was doomed. They also believed that their chosen religious leaders held the capital-t Truth that could save them, as long as they were willing to fight for it. And, like the Proud Boys, they all loved them some white supremacist, antisemitic Western chauvinism and HATED women. *yaaaay*

I poked around online to see whether other people had noticed anything similar, and soon found Robert Altemeyer’s extensive work on the social psychology of authoritarianism, The Authoritarian Specter. Altemeyer’s research and insights made sense of a many of the more baffling behaviors I had seen on the far right, and have become increasingly relevant over the last several years of escalating right wing violence.

So, I’m going to try to share what I’ve noticed and learned.

There are a few reasons for this

  1. Fascists are gonna fash, and we should probably talk about that.
  2. I’ve been thinking about these issues non stop for like ten years and since that’s not likely to change, I might as well have something to show for it.
  3. Understanding the rhetoric, tactics, and goals of right wing Christian movements make it much easier to recognize dog whistles in the wild, and to grasp what moderate-presenting right wingers are actually up to.
  4. Right wing propaganda is usually a hot mess, logically speaking, and dissecting it is a good and healthy practice for us all. Also, it’s funny, because it is often very dumb.

I wish I could promise you all careful editing, but between my ADHD and my children interrupting me to ask for help finding their lost penguin in Toca Boca (don’t ask)… you’re gonna get what you get. Sorry. The good news is that I am open to corrections and revisions, so please weigh in if you feel so inclined.

Finally, if you want to read Altemeyer’s work, head over to https://theauthoritarians.org to download the free eBook edition of his work. NOTE: The graphic design on his website makes it look very suspicious, but he is an actual scholar whose work is widely respected in his field of IRL scholars, i.e., not just weirdos on the internet.

Finally finally, I’m @pamina_q on twitter if you want to come hang out with me. I’ve been there a lot since we broke being outside…

Your philosopher pal!