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Author Topic:   REMIX: Are You an Authoritarian?
Phat
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Posts: 11154
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


(1)
Message 1 of 6 (823989)
11-20-2017 9:06 PM


Original Topic By Percy:
REMIX: Are You an Authoritarian?

Originally presented by Percy in 2009, this book, combined with a test that determines your personal score, ranks as a great topic for discussion.
***************************************************************
The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer (...)purports to explain why even logic and facts fail to convince religious fundamentalists. At the heart of Altemeyer's ideas lies the concept of authoritarianism, which he describes like this on page 2:

Altemeyer writes:

Authoritarianism is something authoritarian followers and authoritarian leaders cook up between themselves. It happens when the followers submit too much to the leaders, trust them too much, and give them too much leeway to do whatever they want--which often is something undemocratic, tyrannical and brutal. In my day, authoritarian fascist and authoritarian communist dictatorships posed the biggest threats to democracies and eventually lost to them in wars both hot and cold. But authoritarianism itself has not disappeared, and I'm going to present the case in this book that the greatest threat to American democracy today arises from a militant authoritarianism that has become a cancer upon the nation.

Altemeyer has developed what he calls the RWA scale, which measures receptivity to authoritarian influences, and he's devised a simple test, which I reproduce here:

Altemeyer's RWA Test writes:

This survey is part of an investigation of general public opinion concerning a variety of social issues. You will probably find that you agree with some of the statements, and disagree with others, to varying extents. Please indicate your reaction to each statement on the line to the left of each item according to the following scale:

Write down a -4 if you very strongly disagree with the statement.
Write down a -3 if you strongly disagree with the statement.
Write down a -2 if you moderately disagree with the statement.
Write down a -1 if you slightly disagree with the statement.
Write down a +1 if you slightly agree with the statement.
Write down a +2 if you moderately agree with the statement.
Write down a +3 if you strongly agree with the statement.
Write down a +4 if you very strongly agree with the statement.

If you feel exactly and precisely neutral about an item, write down a 0.

("Dr. Bob" to reader: We’ll probably stay friends longer if you read this paragraph.) Important: You may find that you sometimes have different reactions to different parts of a statement. For example, you might very strongly disagree ("-4") with one idea in a statement, but slightly agree ("+1") with another idea in the same item. When this happens, please combine your reactions, and write down how you feel on balance (a "-3" in this case).

  1. The established authorities generally turn out to be right about things, while the radicals and protestors are usually just "loudmouths” showing off their ignorance.

  2. Women should have to promise to obey their husbands when they get married.

  3. Our country desperately needs a mighty leader who will do what has to be done to destroy the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us.

  4. Gays and lesbians are just as healthy and moral as anybody else.

  5. It is always better to trust the judgment of the proper authorities in government and religion than to listen to the noisy rabble-rousers in our society who are trying to create doubt in people’s minds

  6. Atheists and others who have rebelled against the established religions are no doubt every bit as good and virtuous as those who attend church regularly.

  7. The only way our country can get through the crisis ahead is to get back to our traditional values, put some tough leaders in power, and silence the troublemakers spreading bad ideas.

  8. There is absolutely nothing wrong with nudist camps.

  9. Our country needs free thinkers who have the courage to defy traditional ways, even if this upsets many people.

  10. Our country will be destroyed someday if we do not smash the perversions eating away at our moral fiber and traditional beliefs.

  11. Everyone should have their own lifestyle, religious beliefs, and sexual preferences, even if it makes them different from everyone else.

  12. The "old-fashioned ways” and the "old-fashioned values” still show the best way to live.

  13. You have to admire those who challenged the law and the majority’s view by protesting for women’s abortion rights, for animal rights, or to abolish school prayer.

  14. What our country really needs is a strong, determined leader who will crush evil, and take us back to our true path.

  15. Some of the best people in our country are those who are challenging our government, criticizing religion, and ignoring the "normal way things are supposed to be done.”

  16. God’s laws about abortion, pornography and marriage must be strictly followed before it is too late, and those who break them must be strongly punished.

  17. There are many radical, immoral people in our country today, who are trying to ruin it for their own godless purposes, whom the authorities should put out of action.

  18. A "woman’s place” should be wherever she wants to be. The days when women are submissive to their husbands and social conventions belong strictly in the past.

  19. Our country will be great if we honor the ways of our forefathers, do what the authorities tell us to do, and get rid of the "rotten apples” who are ruining everything.

  20. There is no "ONE right way” to live life; everybody has to create their own way.

  21. Homosexuals and feminists should be praised for being brave enough to defy "traditional family values.

  22. This country would work a lot better if certain groups of troublemakers would just shut up and accept their group’s traditional place in society.

To score the test, go to page 13 of Altemeyer's book, the link is at the top of this message. I scored 44.(in 2009)

Are you an authoritarian? Take the test and find out!

--Percy

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Phat, posted 11-20-2017 9:23 PM Phat has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 11154
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 2 of 6 (823990)
11-20-2017 9:23 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
11-20-2017 9:06 PM


Re: Original Topic By Percy:
In today's political and ideological climate, this book and topic are more relevant than ever. I am retaking the test. Looking back, I scored a 53 in 2009, shortly after Obama was elected to his first term. I am curious if my views have changed at all.

Here is a link that provides food for thought: Donald Trump: Strong Leader Or Dangerous Authoritarian?
I wonder how he would do on this test? Also, I noticed that our member Faith was conspicuously absent from this thread. If you are reading this, Faith..it would be interesting for you to take the test. Unless you consider it Left Wing Propaganda, that is. At least, providing counter-arguments to Altmeyer and his observations would provide a decent conversation for this remix.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Phat, posted 11-20-2017 9:06 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Phat, posted 08-18-2018 4:35 PM Phat has not yet responded
 Message 4 by dwise1, posted 09-02-2018 6:54 PM Phat has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 11154
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 3 of 6 (838308)
08-18-2018 4:35 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Phat
11-20-2017 9:23 PM


Comment on the Tea Party Movement
I recently read an added comment regarding the origins, intentions, and characteristics of the Tea Party Movement. Full article found here.

Among the highlights?


  • Today’s Tea Party movement began in early 2009 in reaction to the American government’s efforts to stabilize the banking system and keep the nation from sinking into economic turmoil. In October, 2008 the Democrat-controlled Congress passed a “Wall St. bailout” bill (the “TARP” bill) proposed by the Bush administration, which Bush immediately signed. This bill deeply offended some economic conservatives who held a “let the chips fall where they may, no matter what” view of free market economics. *

    Anger among economic conservatives rose yet higher in early 2009 when Congress responded to President Obama’s call for a massive economic stimulus to keep the recession from turning into a Depression. Almost every major Western government, whatever its political stripe, went deeply into the red at this time to keep its economy afloat. Republicans in Congress voted massively against the bill, and Democrats took the heat for trying to stop a recession that the Republicans had largely caused by deregulating the banking system.

  • Like the student radicals and hippies who joined forces to demonstrate against the war in Vietnam, the Tea Party is composed of disparate groups united more by what they are against (President Obama and Democrats) than what they are for. The public sees them as ordinary people, and Tea Party organizations insist their members are a cross-section of American adults, a nonpartisan mix of Democrats, Independents and Republicans. But the Quinnipiac poll found that 74 percent of the Tea Partiers were Republicans, or Republican-leaning Independents. Seventy-two percent had a favorable view of Sarah Palin, while the sample as a whole disliked her by a 2-1 margin. They were a little less educated than most, more female than male, older (most were over 50), and overwhelmingly white (88 percent).

  • So are the Tea Partiers ordinary people with no political leanings, as they say they are? Definitely not. The findings cited above and other data in the polls indicate that the Tea Party is overwhelmingly stocked with Republican supporters. They are by no means “ordinary people,” although the public’s perception that they are is one of their strongest suits.

    Are they just economic conservatives then? The Winston survey tells us much about Tea Partiers’ economic views, and the “Contract from America” released on April 14, 2010 focuses on taxes, federal spending, and big government. But if you Google the questionnaires that local Tea Parties send to candidates, you will almost always find more than questions about these issues. You will often discover inquiries about religion as well (e.g., Do you support school prayer? Do you recognize God’s place in America?). And often there are questions about abortion and gay marriage and teaching Creation Science in public schools. And you run into queries about gun control, law and order, and immigration. So while Tea Partiers overwhelmingly take conservative economic stands, which bind them together most, many seem to be strong “social conservatives” as well. Local groups often speak of wanting only “pure conservatives” or “100 percent” conservatives as candidates.

    If you read the book presented at this website, you’ll find lots of evidence that, as a group, social conservatives share the psychological trait of being authoritarian followers.

  • Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
    ~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
    You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 2 by Phat, posted 11-20-2017 9:23 PM Phat has not yet responded

      
    dwise1
    Member
    Posts: 3170
    Joined: 05-02-2006
    Member Rating: 4.6


    (1)
    Message 4 of 6 (839076)
    09-02-2018 6:54 PM
    Reply to: Message 2 by Phat
    11-20-2017 9:23 PM


    The Authoritarians by Altemeyer
    In today's political and ideological climate, this book and topic are more relevant than ever.

    I couldn't agree with you more on that. I recently read Bob Altemeyer's The Authoritarians from late May to early August (one of the benefits of a PDF reader on one's phone). Even though it was written in 2006 when the worst US President in memory was Dubya (anyone else seen the meme of Dubya waving and asking "Do you miss me yet?"?), everything Altemeyer describes is spot-on applicable to what we're slogging through now and his points are in line with the talking points of progressive radio talk shows (or rather, they are in line with Altemeyer).

    This should be required reading for everybody, not just all Americans. BTW, he got started in his research in the 1960's in reaction to having gotten wrong a question in his oral exams. Since then, he has published books and articles on his research, all of which were heavily laden with mathematics and statistical analysis. He wrote and published this book specifically to describe his findings without all the heavy math. The result is very readable and vitally interesting. And it's free.

    HINT: read the footnotes. He will make fun of you being a masochist for doing so, but that's where he puts the many examples and the results of various studies. The runs of the "Global Change Game" simulation are very revealing. Players for each run of the game were chosen at random, but when he stacked one game with high RWAs and billions died, the ecology collapses, and they killed everybody in a global thermo-nuclear war (they were given a second change with the clock set back two years, but they still ended up on the brink of nuclear annihilation). Then he stacked another game with low RWAs and ended up with the best outcome that game had ever seen. Because of the low RWAs' general attitude that "we're all in this together so we need to work together for our mutual survival", they were able to respond effectively to environmental crises (eg, the hole in the ozone layer), which the high RWAs with the attitude of getting theirs and to hell with everybody else were unable to do. But then later he learned of other researchers' Social Dominance Orientation scale, so he ran the game with high raters on that scale and the outcome was pure horror.

    I am retaking the test. Looking back, I scored a 53 in 2009, shortly after Obama was elected to his first term. I am curious if my views have changed at all.

    One of the things that Altemeyer did was diachronic studies in order to see how his subjects changed over time. He would test all his incoming freshman students at the beginning of their university experience as well as at the end and inbetween. He was also able to test them later in life (eg, when they were themselves parents). In addition, he got some of their parents to also take the test.

    A basic correlation was that high RWAs tend to be raised that way by their parents. Part of the RWA mentality seems tied in with tribalism, the idea that you are part of the in-group and everybody else outside of your in-group is in the out-group which is antagonistic towards your in-group. One of the factors in lowering someone's RWA rating is to expose him to members of out-groups, which allows him to identify them as individuals no different from himself. That expands his concept of who's in his in-group, which in turn lowers his RWA rating.

    Having mainly been involved with "creation science" since 1981 and seeing so many creationists end up leaving the faith (or very nearly do so), when I learned that many college students who had been raised fundamentalist (and hence also YEC) ended up leaving the faith, I naturally thought that it was because they had learned in science classes that YEC is completely false. But then a blog pointed out that the real culprit was the humanities, especially philosophy but English lit was also a major player. The blog described the students as having been raised to believe that the way they were raised was the only valid perspective, but then the humanities not only showed them many other ways of thinking but lit classes in particular are exercises in seeing things though the perspective of the characters in the story or play. All of which would affect a high RWA's perception of in-groups and out-groups and hence tend towards lowering his RWA rating.

    Interestingly, a former high RWA whose rating got lowered in college will later see his RWA rating go back up (though perhaps not as high as it was before). This seems to correlate with having and raising his own children and might simply be a case of channeling one's own parents (ie, using how he was raised as the model for how to parent) or it could mean something more. I forget what tends to happen with one's rating after the kids leave the nest. Read the book and find out!

    Also, the most rapidly growing religious demographic group is the "Nones" (as in "None of the Above"). They are primarily young adults who had been raised fundamentalist/evangelical/conservative * but who have left the faith with many leaving religion altogether. Christian pollsters (eg, Barna Group) and ministries (including Mr. Hovind's) give figures of 65% to 80% of young people raised in the faith ending up leaving the faith. Hovind blamed public schools as being "hostile to religion" (he cited Jeremiah Films, which is anti-public school, for his 75% figure) and we see where college will lower RWA ratings, but it seems that there are far too many defections for college alone to account for. The Internet is probably a strong factor, given the free and easy access to information and to a wide variety of perspectives and experiences that it provides.

    A lot of Altemeyer's book reports on tests he had done to seek correlations between high and low RWA ratings. So this is not just somebody making assertions to express his opinion, but rather {paraphrase}"Here's the test/survey and the sample population (eg, the parents of his students). Here are the results and here is how those results correlate to the subjects' RWA ratings."{/paraphrase}

    Altemeyer also gets into the Social Dominance Orientation scale, which measures seizing power by any means possible. They and high RWAs are a match made in Hell: High SDOs want to rule and high RWAs want to be ruled. While high SDOs and high RWAs are different, there are those SDOs who also test high on the RWA scale. Those Double Highs are especially dangerous.

    He also looks at how fundamentalists rate on the RWA scale (high, of course). And since the combination of high RWA and a sense of self-righteousness tends to lead to authoritarian aggression, that can be a problem. The chapter on religious authoritarians also discusses the problem of "cheap grace" (page 139) wherein you are saved even if you commit the most heinous crime possible, especially of you can rationalize that you did it for your god. Cheap grace is a huge problem among fundamentalists.

    The final chapter discusses Stanley Milgram's infamous experiments testing how far a subject will go to endanger someone else's life under the direction of an authority figure. Milgram is profiled in the independent film on Netflix, Experimenter.

    Again, this should be required reading.


    * FOOTNOTE:


    What do we call these people? Fundamentalist Christians, evangelicals, conservative Christians, Calvinists, an-entire-bag-of-related-theologies? I'm an outsider, so they all look the same to me. I know someone who is a member of such a sect and she takes extreme exception to being confused with one of those others with almost identically same theology except for one particular theological point that completely escapes everybody else. So then anything we call them will undoubtedly insult them -- eg, I just simply mentioned a Calvinist belief to a fundamentalist YEC and he went ape-shit ballistic at the very thought that he'd be associated with Calvinism.

    It's like a Bertrand Russell quote I once read four decades ago (reconstructed here entirely from memory): "If you are a freethinker and a Catholic, then you become an atheist, since any deviance from Catholicism is heresy. If you are a freethinker and a Protestant, then you simply form a new church."

    So what theology-neutral term can we use to refer to this large mixed bag of cats?

    Edited by dwise1, : Changed subtitle


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 2 by Phat, posted 11-20-2017 9:23 PM Phat has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 5 by Phat, posted 09-03-2018 5:43 AM dwise1 has not yet responded

        
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 11154
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 1.2


    Message 5 of 6 (839083)
    09-03-2018 5:43 AM
    Reply to: Message 4 by dwise1
    09-02-2018 6:54 PM


    Re: The Authoritarians by Altemeyer
    I scored a 69. My score has gone higher. And Trump has caused me to mistrust authority more...wonder what happened?

    Here are my scores on a question to question basis:

    quote:
    3Our country desperately needs a mighty leader who will do what has to be done to destroy the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us. -4 1
    4Gays and lesbians are just as healthy and moral as anybody else. +1 4
    5It is always better to trust the judgment of the proper authorities in government and religion than to listen to the noisy rabble-rousers in our society who are trying to create doubt in people’s minds -4 1
    6Atheists and others who have rebelled against the established religions are no doubt every bit as good and virtuous as those who attend church regularly. +3 2
    7The only way our country can get through the crisis ahead is to get back to our traditional values, put some tough leaders in power, and silence the troublemakers spreading bad ideas. -4 1
    8There is absolutely nothing wrong with nudist camps. -1 6
    9Our country needs free thinkers who have the courage to defy traditional ways, even if this upsets many people. +1 4
    10-Our country will be destroyed someday if we do not smash the perversions eating away at our moral fiber and traditional beliefs. 0 5
    11-Everyone should have their own lifestyle, religious beliefs, and sexual preferences, even if it makes them different from everyone else. +3 2
    12-The "old-fashioned ways” and the "old-fashioned values” still show the best way to live. 0 5
    13-You have to admire those who challenged the law and the majority’s view by protesting for women’s abortion rights, for animal rights, or to abolish school prayer. +3 2
    14-What our country really needs is a strong, determined leader who will crush evil, and take us back to our true path. -4 1
    15-Some of the best people in our country are those who are challenging our government, criticizing religion, and ignoring the "normal way things are supposed to be done.” +1 4
    16-God’s laws about abortion, pornography and marriage must be strictly followed before it is too late, and those who break them must be strongly punished. -1 4
    17-There are many radical, immoral people in our country today, who are trying to ruin it for their own godless purposes, whom the authorities should put out of action. -3 2
    18-A "woman’s place” should be wherever she wants to be. The days when women are submissive to their husbands and social conventions belong strictly in the past. -1 6
    19-Our country will be great if we honor the ways of our forefathers, do what the authorities tell us to do, and get rid of the "rotten apples” who are ruining everything. -3 2
    20-There is no "ONE right way” to live life; everybody has to create their own way. 0 5
    21-Homosexuals and feminists should be praised for being brave enough to defy "traditional family values. 0 5
    22-This country would work a lot better if certain groups of troublemakers would just shut up and accept their group’s traditional place in society. +2 7

    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
    ~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
    You can "get answers" by watching the ducks. That doesn't mean the answers are coming from them.~Ringo

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 4 by dwise1, posted 09-02-2018 6:54 PM dwise1 has not yet responded

      
    Hyroglyphx
    Member
    Posts: 5583
    From: Austin, TX
    Joined: 05-03-2006
    Member Rating: 2.1


    (1)
    Message 6 of 6 (839141)
    09-03-2018 7:25 PM


    Am I an Authoritarian?
    Yes, now KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!!!

    "Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it" -- Thomas Paine

        
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