Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Authoritarian Personality


excessive conformity - submissiveness to authority - intolerance insecurity  -  superstition - ridgid, stereotyped thought patterns

Although the argument against the famous study in 1950  by Theodor W. Adorno, et. al., The Authoritarian Personality, was that it echoed the Soviet response to dissent, that "anyone whose political views differed from theirs was insane," many have subsequenty linked the Authoritarian Personality to the stereotypical Conservative follower:  "The authoritarian personality does not want to give orders, their personality type wants to take orders. People with this type of personality seek conformity, security, stability.  They become anxious and insecure when events or circumstances upset their previously existing world view.  They are very intolerant of any divergence from what they consider to be the normal (which is usually conceptualized in terms of their religion, race, history, nationality, culture, language, etc.)  They tend to be very superstitious and lend credence to folktales or interpretations of history that fit their preexisting definitions of reality (thus the Founding Fathers of the US are conceptualized of as supporters of white nationalism.)  They think in extremely stereotyped ways about minorities, women, homosexuals, etc.  They are thus very dualistic- the world is conceived in terms of absolute right (their way) Vs. absolute wrong (the "other" whether African American, liberal, intellectual, feminist, etc.)."



Right Wing Authoritarians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_authoritarianism) have been described in The Three Kinds of "Conservatism,"  by this definition: "Right-wing authoritarians are people who have a high degree of willingness to submit to authorities they perceive as established and legitimate, who adhere to societal conventions and norms, and who are hostile and punitive in their attitudes towards people who don't adhere to them.  They value uniformity and are in favour of using group authority, including coercion, to achieve it."

Andy Hailey, in The Wog Blog, opined, "I think the authoritarian Followers are of least concern.  Take away their enemies and they lose focus.  The real problem is with the authoritarian Leaders who keep the fear and manipulation going."  In the first of a five-part series of articles, Hailey summarized Republican John Dean's treatment of Authoritarianism, expanding the topic to delineate the criminal activities of the Conservative leadership during the Bush-Delay years - a good read. (http://the-wawg-blog.org/?p=92)

But Hailey's observation lends us hope - without their leadership, the sheep stand a chance of being re-educated and becoming a help to our country, rather than a hindrance to the democratic progression called for by our Founding Fathers.

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"Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from
the rich by promising to protect each from the other."

Oscar Ameringer (1870-1943)
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