Monday, September 03, 2007

The Authoritarian Mind

"Research reveals that authoritarian followers drive through life under the influence of impaired thinking a lot more than most people do, exhibiting sloppy reasoning, highly compartmentalized beliefs, double standards, hypocrisy, self-blindness, a profound ethnocentrism, and -- to top it all off -- a ferocious dogmatism that makes it unlikely anyone could ever change their minds with evidence or logic."

- Bob Altemeyer


Authoritarian thinkers are not limited to any one ideology. Lately, in America, the most prominent authoritarian thinkers have tended to be right wingers, but that is only an accident of history. Not too long ago, the most prominent authoritarian thinkers in the States were left wingers. So, it is a mistake to associate authoritarian thinking with just one ideology.

I propose we regard authoritarian thinking as a pathology. It is in so many ways highly dysfunctional, as the quote from Altemeyer points out. Perhaps someday it can be treated, as one would treat any other debilitating disease.

3 comments:

Rambodoc said...

Paul,
Authoritarianism is important only when you talk of Institutions (like the State). It certainly needs to be said that whichever side of the political spectrum the State belongs to, it is philosophically against the individual and his rights. In other words, this is an important and visible form of collectivism or statism.

amuirin said...

I had one authoritarian parent, and it's kinda weird how you come to react to it. When you don't feel like your ideas are respected as a kid, you grow up to kind of ignore the authoritarian source as you mature into an adult. All the brute force behind the declaratives that make you obey as a child seem to disintegrate, and as you get older, since you never developed respect for their approach or their outlook, you kinda lose connection with that parent altogether.

Braveheart ( Ela) said...

hmm, don't you think that in a perfect world everyone would follow rules and it would be authoritanian, sort of?

There is a time and place for everything, and if rules were followed, I think we could achieve a great place to live.

We sort of have these youngsters now and young adults that are actually big babies, that have no rules, no responsibilities, and they are more disabled then the one with authorithanian mind.

These days we discover new disorders because we need to name whatever is happening to people, to make them think it is a legitimate problem. For example they came up with restless leg syndrome and gave it a pill to cure it.
Of course, it has side effects. But who cares?
People are obssessed with going to the doctor and are in need of attention, and want a quick fix, and do not want to excersize, so they take the pill!
Restless leg syndrome?? or attention deficit disorder in kids?? it is becoming a circus, and we are becoming brainless donkeys.
I totally got off the subject.
Would there be a special place for me, in the world of authoritanian minds? maybe dictator I have in mind would not be a killer and destroyer?
Becoming a great leader isn't easy, as there are always people who do not accept the vision, and great vision takes time to flower so others can smell the sweet success.