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Author Topic:   Are You an Authoritarian?
Percy
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Posts: 18875
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 61 of 181 (502070)
03-09-2009 1:39 PM


This thread has itself proved to be an effective RWA test. Just it's mere existence sent two of our highest scoring RWA members (I feel sure of this even though they were so outraged they never took the test, their sense of righteous indignation is more than enough of an indicator) over the edge, past their breaking point, and into permanent suspension. What amazing predictive power this RWA scale has!!! :D

--Percy


    
Modulous
Member (Idle past 393 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 62 of 181 (502283)
03-10-2009 5:20 PM


One of the things sat in the back of my mind was a protest about this book and the experiments contained within. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but the final chapter seems to have given voice to it:

quote:
Experiment after experiment demonstrates that we are powerfully affected by the social circumstances encasing us. And very few of us realize how much. So if we are tempted by all the earlier findings in this book to think that right-wing authoritarians and social dominators are the guys in the black hats while we fight on the side of the angels, we are not only falling into the ethnocentric trap, we are not only buttering ourselves up one side and down the other with self-righteousness, we are probably deluding ourselves as well. Milgram has shown us how hard it is to say no to malevolent authority, how easy it is to follow the crowd, and how very difficult it is to resist when the crowd is doing the bidding of malevolent authority. It’s not that there’s some part of “No” we don’t understand. It’s that situational pressures, often quite unnoticed, temporarily strike the word from our vocabulary...

...research shows it takes more pressure to get low RWAs to behave shamefully in situations like the Milgram experiment than it takes for highs. But the difference between low and high authoritarians is one of degree, I repeat, not kind. To put a coda on this section: with enough direct pressure from above and subtle pressure from around us, Milgram has shown, most of us cave in. Not very reassuring, huh. But it makes crystal clear, if it wasn’t before, why we have to keep malevolent leaders out of power.


So yeah - I was sat there thinking that this book makes me feel all the kinds of things that the book decries in those that I feel are others. Those damnable RWAs. They aren't part of my group etc etc. The fact that my initial reaction was along these lines basically yelled at me that there my some kind of petard that this book might be hoist upon.

I'm still trying to find a flaw in all of this, but I'm glad the author at least raised this issue.


  
Thugpreacha
Member
Posts: 13043
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 63 of 181 (538280)
12-05-2009 5:47 AM


Great Book & Very Relevant
I just recently read this book (scored a 53 on the chart) and just read the post script for the 2008 presidential elections. My views on life are changing. I read this and thoroughly agreed with it, as the people at church confirm this finding unequivocally.
2008 postscript writes:

As noted in the book, high RWAs travel in tight circles, getting their information
from each other and sources that tell them what they want to hear. That’s why so many of
them believe Obama is an Arab and a Muslim and a terrorist and so on. Their friends tell
them he is, and they tell their friends.

You would not believe the number of emails that I get from my conservative businessmen christian acquaintances from church.

They can't wait to get back into power here in the U.S. but I fear for the future if they do. The End Times that they so fervently believe and preach will become a self fulfilling prophecy!


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 20156
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 64 of 181 (538301)
12-05-2009 11:44 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by Thugpreacha
12-05-2009 5:47 AM


Re: Great Book & Very Relevant
Interesting. I've gone down to a 41 from the previous 45 ... but there is likely some variance from day to day in responses people will make.

It seems to me that the tenor of some questions have also changed by changing times:

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.

I think about the immoral people that caused the Enron debacle, the immoral people of the Shrubbia misadministration, and the immoral banks and financial institutions that caused the current financial crisis by caring more for personal gain than whether the loan\mortgages were good ideas.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
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Minnemooseus
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Posts: 3766
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 65 of 181 (538303)
12-05-2009 12:11 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
03-07-2009 9:10 AM


Links in message 1 and 5 not working again
This seems to be an ongoing problem with the "data drop site" files - The "evcforum.net" portion of the URL data keeps getting dropped. Even in the "Peek" mode, such can not be "sited".

Note how "///" (triple slashes) show up. Something to search for to fix.

Moose


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Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5828
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 66 of 181 (538319)
12-05-2009 3:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
03-07-2009 9:10 AM


Test scores
The lowest total possible would be 20, and the highest, 180, but real scores are almost never that extreme. Introductory psychology students at my Canadian university average about 75. Their parents average about 90. Both scores are below the mid-point of the scale, which is 100, so most people in these groups are not authoritarian followers in absolute terms. Neither are most Americans, it seems. - pg. 14 "The Authoritarians"

I scored an 73.

I'm not too keen on the verbiage though. It seemed to be primarily focused around religion, but I associated words like "evil" to mean deviant behavior such as crime.

Am I missing something here?

Edited by Hyroglyphx, : No reason given.


"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams

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DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 1390 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 67 of 181 (538330)
12-05-2009 6:07 PM


I scored 23%, reasonably average on the RWA test. I guess that is about right for being a moral optimist, philosophical skeptic, political moderate, a registered Independent and religiously agnostic.

Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.


“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection

"You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe." - Carl Sagan

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World


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Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5828
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 68 of 181 (538461)
12-07-2009 9:13 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by DevilsAdvocate
12-05-2009 6:07 PM


I scored 23%, reasonably average on the RWA test.

Wouldn't a really high score mean totalitarianism and a really low score mean anarchism as being the two extremes of the spectrum?

Edited by Hyroglyphx, : No reason given.


"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams

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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 69 of 181 (567575)
07-01-2010 5:31 PM


I missed this thread the first time, but it's a subject I've been interested in after reading John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience." And I wanted to give a shout-out to research happening here at my own UNL:

quote:
Political Attitudes Vary with Physiological Traits

Although political views have been thought to arise largely from individuals' experiences, recent research suggests that they may have a biological basis. We present evidence that variations in political attitudes correlate with physiological traits. In a group of 46 adult participants with strong political beliefs, individuals with measurably lower physical sensitivities to sudden noises and threatening visual images were more likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, pacifism, and gun control, whereas individuals displaying measurably higher physiological reactions to those same stimuli were more likely to favor defense spending, capital punishment, patriotism, and the Iraq War. Thus, the degree to which individuals are physiologically responsive to threat appears to indicate the degree to which they advocate policies that protect the existing social structure from both external (outgroup) and internal (norm-violator) threats.


http://www.haowomen.info/cgi/content/abstract/321/5896/1667

I think, with further research, it will emerge that Right-wing Authoritarian personality types have an organic basis. Possibly even a genetic one.

That would be a truly astounding - and potentially chilling - discovery for American politics. I think we all know what kind of government results from the attitude that dissent from the dominant political philosophy isn't just a matter of conscience but is actually a mental illness. But - what if it turned out they were right?

Can it be consistent with liberalism to "treat" conservatives for their mental disorder, even if it actually is a mental disorder? I don't see how it can be. But then - how much political power and influence are we expected to turn over to the hands of people who are certified mental cases?


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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 4654
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 70 of 181 (567604)
07-01-2010 9:38 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by crashfrog
07-01-2010 5:31 PM


I think, with further research, it will emerge that Right-wing Authoritarian personality types have an organic basis. Possibly even a genetic one.

Which means that Liberal Left-wing personality types also have an organic basis and possibly a genetic one.

I think we all know what kind of government results from the attitude that dissent from the dominant political philosophy isn't just a matter of conscience but is actually a mental illness. But - what if it turned out they were right?

Scary. But then not a mental illness, but a mental difference?

Can it be consistent with liberalism to "treat" conservatives for their mental disorder, even if it actually is a mental disorder?

But which one is the disorder and which one the norm? The paper doesn't show where either is off into the 2nd deviation from the mean.

If political attitude is more nature than nurture who is to say which one is aberrant?


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DBlevins
Member (Idle past 2065 days)
Posts: 652
From: Puyallup, WA.
Joined: 02-04-2003


Message 71 of 181 (567611)
07-01-2010 10:16 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
03-07-2009 9:10 AM


Not an authoritarian...
Just took the test and scored a 36. Pretty sure that is not an authoritarian but would be nice if there was a scale. Perhaps the page I took the test on just didn't include one though.

I wish I could remember the url of the 4-square test which was a very similar type of test. It was quite long but measured 4 different attributes and then plotted you on a grid along with ghandi, hitler, clinton, etc.

Ahh, found the url for the grid test. I actually liked it better. Politicalcompass.org

Thanks for the e-book pointer as well.

Edited by DBlevins, : update with url


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Coyote
Member (Idle past 395 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 72 of 181 (567616)
07-01-2010 11:24 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by crashfrog
07-01-2010 5:31 PM


Can it be consistent with liberalism to "treat" conservatives for their mental disorder, even if it actually is a mental disorder?

According to a Gallup recent poll

quote:
Thus far in 2009, 40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. Source

Even though they are in the minority, with half the numbers, liberals are trying to make conservatism a hate crime and a mental disorder.

I guess if you can't win in the realm of ideas, you try to get your enemies outlawed, eh?

(Can you say, "Gulag" boys and girls? I knew you could!)


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 73 of 181 (567628)
07-02-2010 1:07 AM
Reply to: Message 72 by Coyote
07-01-2010 11:24 PM


Even though they are in the minority, with half the numbers

Well, I wouldn't say we're in the minority, at least not if you look to the actual positions. Majorities of Americans support entitlement spending, health care reform, strong protections for workers, and higher taxes on the wealthy (68% in a recent poll.)

What you're looking at is a surprising number of people who are actually liberal but call themselves "conservatives." These self-reported affiliation polls aren't a very good way to get a handle on the American polity.

liberals are trying to make conservatism a hate crime and a mental disorder.

Er, no, no liberals are trying to make conservativism a hate crime and a mental disorder. And I thought I was pretty clear - I certainly share your revulsion at the idea of ruling out legitimate political dissent as "mental illness."

But, I mean, what if it is? It's undeniable that a substantial portion of conservative discourse these days is dominated by delusional, impossible ideas - Obama is a Kenyan Muslim, tax cuts increase tax revenue, Republicans want smaller government and are strong on national defense. Illegal immigration costs jobs and imports crime. Stuff that, objectively, just ain't so.

What if those delusions are actually the result of organic mental disorder? Nobody needs to go to the Gulag, but maybe also we don't need to give the minority party so much power to stall legislation in the Senate?


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Rrhain
Member (Idle past 161 days)
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 74 of 181 (567634)
07-02-2010 2:26 AM
Reply to: Message 72 by Coyote
07-01-2010 11:24 PM


Coyote writes:

quote:
Even though they are in the minority

Hold it right there. You are confusing labels for positions, and they are not the same thing.

Yes, more people label themselves "conservative" compared to "liberal." But if you actually go down the line of positions (environmental protections, consumer rights, abortion rights, etc.), you find that people are actually more likely to be liberal rather than conservative.

It's this disconnect between the label and the position that allows "conservative" people to scream, "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!" and be completely oblivious to the fact that Medicare is exactly what they're hyperventilating over: Government-run healthcare. It's why we continually see people voting against their own interests: Despite the fact that the economy has always performed better under Democratic administrations than Republican ones, we have this vision that Republicans are "fiscally responsible" while Democrats are "tax and spend."

Do not confuse the words people use to describe themselves with their actual behaviour.


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can use mine.

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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 4654
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 75 of 181 (567640)
07-02-2010 4:10 AM
Reply to: Message 74 by Rrhain
07-02-2010 2:26 AM


Rrhain:
You are confusing labels for positions

Crashfrog:
What you're looking at is a surprising number of people who are actually liberal but call themselves "conservatives."

Those who "label" themselves conservative hold liberal views on all positions?

Those who "label" themselves conservative hold liberal views on most positions?

Those who "label" themselves conservative hold liberal views on few positions?

Those who "label" themselves liberal hold conservative views on all positions?

Those who "label" themselves liberal hold conservative views on most positions?

Those who "label" themselves liberal hold conservative views on few positions?

Do you believe people are not aware of their differences in view point to the extent they will alway miss label themselves? Or is their label choice based upon their assessment of the majority of their views?

Is this a phenomenon strictly of those who label themselves "conservative?"
Or do "liberals" exhibit the same patterns in reverse?

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


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