I post this as an ongoing resource on this very important subject. Dedicated to Frank Staheli. May he break the chains.
Altemeyer: The Authoritarians: Harvard Press, 2007
If it turns out you do not like this book, blame John Dean. You never would have heard of my research if he had not recently plowed through my studies, trying to understand, first, various people he knew in the Nixon White House, and then some leading figures of the Republican Party of 2004.
Altemeyer: The Authoritarian Specter
The bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, the emergence of militias and skinheads, the rise of the religious right, the attacks on Planned Parenthood clinics, the backlash against equal rights movements, the increase in poverty…these, according to Bob Altemeyer, are all versions of one story–the authoritarian personality in action. But aren’t authoritarians Nazi types, kooks, the Klan? These are just the extreme examples, he argues. The Authoritarian Specter shows that many ordinary people today are psychologically disposed to embrace antidemocratic, fascist policies.
The book presents the latest results from a prize-winning research program on the authoritarian personality–a victory for the scientific method in the struggle to understand the worst aspects of ourselves. It connects for the first time the many ways authoritarianism undermines democracy. Many of our biggest problems, seemingly unrelated, have authoritarian roots. The scientific studies demonstrating this are extensive and thorough; their powerful findings are presented in a conversational, clear manner that engages readers from all backgrounds.
This is an important, timely work. It explains a growing movement to submit to a “man on horseback,” to attack those who are different, to march in lockstep. Altemeyer reveals that these sentiments are strongly held even by many American lawmakers. These discoveries deserve careful attention in a presidential election year.
- Altemeyer: On the Tea Party Movement
- Altemeyer: The Authoritarian Specter
- Altemeyer: The Authoritarians
- Dean: Conservatives Without Conscience
- Lakoff: Moral politics: how liberals and conservatives think
- Right-wing Authoritarianism
- Why GOP Voters Have Bad Judgment
- Altemeyer: Enemies of Freedom: Understanding Right-Wing Authoritarianism