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Author Topic:   Are You an Authoritarian?
Modulous
Member (Idle past 336 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 8 of 181 (501666)
03-07-2009 11:28 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Fosdick
03-07-2009 11:09 AM


Re: A bogus questionnaire
21. Homosexuals and feminists should be praised for being brave enough to defy "traditional family values.

The question seems to be asking about defying traditional views, not sexual identity. If you think defying tradition is something that is praiseworthy you are less likely to be authoritarian, yes?

You'd do better to have pointed at something like point four, I would have thought.

If you want to observe authoritarianism just follow the insecure, aggressive, and political actions of the EvC admins.

The fact that you point out how awful the administration is here on a fairly frequent basis, on the other hand, is obviously a clear indicator of how secure you feel, Fearless Fosdick ;)

Edited by Modulous, : changed 'question' to 'point' since they aren't really questions.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 336 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 10 of 181 (501670)
03-07-2009 11:48 AM


The odd questions
Some of the questions do seem odd. For those curious about them, read the book. OK, that's not much help. One of the characteristics of a RWA is their desire to be normal, to fit in, and their desire that everybody else does and that nobody rock the boat of normality.

Those that are significantly different, or are viewed as such, are often seen as 'bad' in some way since they are upsetting Social balance, which means a threatened collapse of society at the merest whisper of change.

The book goes on to describe strong correlations with high scoring RWAs and certain behaviour and there is a correlation of people with those behaviours and their opinion that homosexuals are in some way immoral.

It is also generally true, that RWAs who hold this opinion are generally those with little or no experience of knowing homosexuals. And limited experience, being kept within the 'safe' confines of an authority sphere (parenthood, a church whatever) is strongly correlated with having issues with those outside of it. The good news is that as people go into the 'real world' and actually meet Arabs, homosexuals and so on, their views on these people mellow considerably. And there are people who start with high RWAs that don't have much hostility towards homosexuals, Altermeyer doesn't claim each element is an absolute indicator.

I'm not entirely sure I'm on board with Altermeyer just yet (heh - maybe its because of my low 40s score...), but its interesting reading. I particularly enjoyed the Global Change Game anecdote: it'd be nice if there was a decent study on that.


  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 336 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 18 of 181 (501776)
03-07-2009 4:51 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by kuresu
03-07-2009 4:10 PM


-2.6?
I scored either a 36 or a 37. It all depends on how you round (-2.6 is -2 or -3, and I went with -3).

When did you need to do rounding?


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 336 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 48 of 181 (501881)
03-08-2009 12:20 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by RAZD
03-08-2009 11:37 AM


LWAs
Simple, rather than come to one's own conclusions, to adapt those of radicals, accepting them as authorities.

Perhaps I just distrust certainty. But why I had a lot of 3's instead of 4's

Does this mean you are not accepting the authorities of those who very strongly disagree or very strongly agree with certain ideas, but instead you are accepting the authorities that only 'strongly agree/disagree' with certain ideas?

The scale under question only measures Right Wing Authoritarianism. While it is presumably true that LWAs would score low on this scale, it doesn't follow that scoring low makes you an LWA. You would have to also score high on an LWA scale.

In other words, if you score high on one of the scales, it would be expected you would score low on another. But it doesn't follow that if score low on one scale you must therefore score highly on another scale. A person that is not any kind of follower of authority would presumably score low on both.

Unfortunately, developing an LWA scale has proven difficult to date, though several have tried.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 336 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 56 of 181 (501985)
03-09-2009 7:07 AM
Reply to: Message 52 by Rrhain
03-08-2009 7:50 PM


I think you need to go back and read the paper. His use of "right" is not the political "right." Rather, it is the use of "right" as in "correct," "proper," "expected." Following "liberal" leaders is just as much "RWA" as following "conservative" leaders. It's just a question of what the status quo is.

Why do I need to go back and read the paper? The section you posted confirms what I said.

You could have left-wing authoritarian followers as well, who support a revolutionary leader who wants to overthrow the establishment. I knew a few in the 1970s, Marxist university students who constantly spouted their chosen authorities, Lenin or Trotsky or Chairman Mao. Happily they spent most of their time fighting with each other, as lampooned in Monty Python’s Life of Brian where the People’s Front of Judea devotes most of its energy to battling, not the Romans, but the Judean People’s Front. But the left-wing authoritarians on my campus disappeared long ago. Similarly in America “the Weathermen” blew away in the wind. I’m sure one can find left-wing authoritarians here and there, but they hardly exist in sufficient numbers now to threaten democracy in North America. However I have found bucketfuls of right-wing authoritarians in nearly every sample I have drawn in Canada and the United States for the past three decades. So when I speak of “authoritarian followers” in this book I mean right-wing authoritarian followers, as identified by the RWA scale.

So yes, you can have LWAs, but this book is not about them, it is about RWAs. An LWA would follow 'revolutionaries' rather than 'traditionalists'. (I use quotes because in later chapters he talks about Social Dominators who may lie about their position in order to get Authoritarian followers to follow them).


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 336 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


(1)
Message 58 of 181 (502032)
03-09-2009 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Percy
03-09-2009 8:08 AM


To be honest, I think the term is unnecessarily confusing as if it was designed to create that kind of confusion so that people can spring an 'aha!' later. But if you read the note attached to that part you quoted you'll see that he made the term 'RWA' up first and then used that as a justification after someone confronted him on it.

quote:
John Dean, who loves words the way I love pizza, helpfully pointed out this early meaning of “right” after pinning me to the wall on why I called this personality trait right-wing authoritarianism.

Conceptually, I define authoritarian followers as persons who submit excessively to some authority, aggress in its name, and insist on everyone following its rules. As I shall quickly explain in the text, both right-wing and left-wing authoritarians exist. A few people
have said that my talking about “right-wing authoritarianism” shows I assume authoritarians are all “right-wingers.” Poppycock! (if I may be so bold.) I call it right-wing authoritarianism for the opposite reason, viz. to distinguish it from left-wing authoritarianism.


There is talk of LWAs from other sources - but there is confusion in terminology here too with people using it to sometimes mean political left-wing, but the LWAs implied by this book are presumably not the kind of people that submit to authorities that stand for 'lawful, proper, correct' behaviour but rather submission the kinds of authorities that stand for the opposite and by scoring very low on RWA doesn't mean you are submissive to authority to those that are 'unlawful, inproper, incorrect'.

This is confusing, but I believe you're correct that he's indicating that in the book he's not talking about political left-wing people high on the RWA scale, but about political right-wing people high on the RWA scale.

He does give examples of them, but he doesn't see left-wing RWAs as a big problem in the States (presumably because the left-wing isn't traditional and established.

quote:
High RWAs in the USSR turned out to be mainly members of the Communist Party. So psychologically they were right-wing authoritarian followers, even though we would say they were, as
Communists, extreme political and economic left wingers

Some people don't think such a creature as a LWA really exists, and those that follow revolutionaries would eventually become RWAs in there own right (Such as in many revolutions such as in France or what would become the Soviet countries) once their cause had become established. So calling these people RW anything is therefore pointless.

Its the fact that this potentially needless bias is in the text, despite the explanations as to why its all OK, that puts me on edge.

Then again, I guess there might be people who both want to overthrow The Establishment regardless of what that Establishment politically stands for and also are followers rather than activists...I'm just not entirely sure that's true.

I'm going to finish reading the book then read what his most qualified critics have to say about it before reaching any solid conclusions.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 336 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.


  
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