On the eve of Scott Walker's announcement for the presidency from the white citizens' stronghold of Waukesha, Wisconsin (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal), it's apt that the New York Times runs a preview of a film on Philip Zimbardo's social psychological Stanford Prison Experiment (Murphy, New York Times).
The capacity of 'normal' human beings to inflict sadistic actions and suffering onto fellow human beings had astonished and repulsed thinking human beings, emphatically after the Holocaust and the United States invasion of Vietnam, and social psychologists have studied this phenomena of systematized savagery.
But for Scott Walker (and political allies, such as former governor Tommy Thompson [1987-2001]), demonizing and inflicting suffering onto disfavored citizens have been the vehicle by which these two Wisconsin governors have launched political careers and presidential campaigns.
Assaults on the working-class citizens of Wisconsin abound in Scott Walker's administration: the right to collective bargain; massive cuts for the University of Wisconsin; bans on abortions after 20 weeks, regardless of rape or incest; drug testing for aid recipients; repeated targeting of the city of Milwaukee, maintaining it as the most segregated urban area in the United States; attacking the open records laws; and avoiding and evading the populations' right to ask him questions about any of these policies (Walker has held no listening sessions for any of this legislation, even though none of it was mentioned in his election, recall, or re-election bids).
Super-max prisons, Thompson's vow to make inmates' lives a "living hell," and former State Rep. Walker's (1993-2002) peripatetic legislative push to create harsh prison sentences, expand the criminal code, create the authority to send nonviolent 'offenders' to out-of-state private prisons went on with little opposition from the Wisconsin citizenry or the Democratic Party.
"Walker pushed dozens of proposals in the state house to lengthen criminal penalties, for everything from perjury to privacy invasion to intoxicated boating. In just the 1997–98 legislative session, Walker authored or co-sponsored twenty-seven different bills that either expanded the definition of crimes, increased mandatory minimums for offenders, or curbed the possibility of parole," notes Scott Keyes in The Nation.
Walker openly bragged about his bill, the infamous Truth-in-Sentencing law, which limited early parole, as having come from the corporate bill mill, the American Legislative Exchange Committee.
Scott Walker is the classic "double high authoritarian" who takes pleasure in deceiving and hurting perceived incarnations of the wrong [black] type of people, while also marked by the inclination and "willingness to submit to established authority, (and) their aggressiveness on behalf of that authority" (Dean, part one, CounterPunch and Dean, part two CounterPunch).
To understand Scott Walker is to comprehend the history of Scott Walker's inclination to lie and evade.
As a profile in racism, Scott Walker presents to social psychologists an experiment in how a superstitious, cruel and callow politician with little understanding of public policy can rise to the level of serious discussion of becoming the nominee for a major party for the presidency of the United States.
Now that Walker is in the national arena, the heartless and senseless changes he has wrought in Wisconsin will be exposed to a wider audience and shown to be consonant with twentieth-century fascism and the "double high authoritarianism" discussed by Dean.