There exists in the world all manner of political, religious, and social movements which have as their main objective the imposition of their view of reality, their particular version of the truth. Often the object is control over an ever-increasing base of followers. They swallow large numbers of people, if their ambitions are realized, in proselytizing campaigns designed to play on the common fears of the masses. They observe that people are afraid, claim to know why they are afraid, and they offer a solution designed to allay these fears. They are certain they have the key to peace, salvation, safety, and contentment, what Lifton calls “sacred science” (1961/1989, p. VIII).Although the glaring example of this kind of structure is Germany during the Nazi years, it is by no means the only one. Eastern Europe under the Soviets, Iran under Khomeini, or Kampuchia under Pol Pot are but a few others. It is possible to define nationless entities as well; for example the religio-politification of fundamentalist movements such as the Shiite extremists, the Jews for Jesus, the Black Muslims of Louis Farrakhan. Those that also bear close observation are Jerry Falwell and former Moral Majority (or Liberty Foundation), and Pat Robertson, the creator of the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Coalition.Some movement leaders, such as Farrakhan, Hitler, and Khomeini, define an enemy who must be destroyed, an enemy defined as the source of primordial evil (Lester, 1985, p. 11). Others, like Stalin, Falwell and Robertson, see the evil in ideas and life-styles and initially attempt conversion. In either case these movements begin out of moral imperative and change once they achieve power and control. Goodness is an early posture. Later goodness is transformed into destruction as amply demonstrated by the Jonestown example. The struggle for power is one thing, but its attainment and subsequent applications quite another. Initially the identification of both problems and their solutions is oversimplified, thus offering the follower a quick answer to the existential dilemma created by questions such as where did I come from, why am I here, and where am I going. People are offered oversimplified answers that dispel fear created by doubt and uncertainty created by internal psychological conflict and external social forces. This has become particularly dangerous in the 20th century because of sophisticated communication technology and increasing expertise of the psycho-social sciences.One way these forces operate is by discouraging critical thinking and moral speculation in favour of a prepackaged imagery and doctrine designed to create impressions rather than reveal substance, to capture people’s hearts rather than stimulate their minds. Polarization and overzealous fundamentalism, whether derived from movements that are religious, social, or political, right or left, radical or reactionary, psychoanalytic or humanistic, Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, can grip us with a particular intensity. Perhaps it is not yet time for alarm, but surely we must learn to recognize leaders with autocratic tendencies before they attain power, before it is too late.
Q1: The authors attitude towards autocrats is:
(a)objective but disapproving.
(b)biased but polite
(c)logical, rational and critical.
(d)one of strong opposition.
Q2:The author has mentioned the Jonestown example:
(a) to emphasize the danger in autocratic tendencies.
(b) to show that misrepresentation plays a role in furthering a cause
(c)to isolate the reason for mass conning of public.
(d)to underline that simple answers are usually the wrong ones.
Q3: Which of the following titles best describes the passage?
(a)The Hows and Whys of Mass Mesmerism
(b)Dictators A Universal Entity
(c)The Relativity of Truth
(d)Unshackling the Mind
ANSWERS AND EXPLANATION
Explanation: The analysis is objective, but disapproving is too mild a word, because he considers it necessary and urgent to nip autocracy in the bud. Biased implies personal involvement,and there is no indication of that in the passage. While logical and ratonal are correct, critical is again too mild to explain the authors strong reaction illustrated in terms like ‘swallowing people’, ‘destruction’ and ‘dangerous’. Only correctly sums up the authors attitude. Hence, .
Explanation: Refer to the paragraph 3, these movements begin out of … Jonestown example: One can infer that the leaders misrepresent themselves early on, and show their true colours only later, the Jonestown example being such a case. Hence, .