Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Righties With Attitude

Maybe this is old news, but it sure got me going. I am referring to Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) as defined by a researcher named Robert Altemeyer. The blog entry which introduced me to this was obviously written by an ardent fan of old Bob. The blogger proceeds to use the RWA ideas to gleefully paint everyone outside of the enlightened left as psychopaths or worse.

Admittedly this is pretty scary stuff and if it were legitimate we might have real cause for concern. I'm no psychologist, but I bet I could craft a survey that painted the left in an equally bad light.

Left or right taken to an extreme pretty much ends up at the same place. Ultimately it comes down to applying the "final solution" and eliminating those pesky elements of society that stand against what is "obviously" the correct path. Whether you are a Marxist, an Anarchist or a Fascist doesn't much matter when your movement gains the critical mass and those standing in the way have to be dealt with.

So come down from your snobby ivory towers and admit one thing. The constitution and bill-of-rights laid down by the founding fathers of the United States was brilliant in recognizing the dangers of any group, right or left, gaining too much power or thinking too highly of themselves. The dangers inherent in human beings are inherent in ALL human beings regardless of political persuasion (and yes that includes YOU). History proves that point quite nicely.

Finally, a couple of pieces I found that counter the RWA premise are here and here.

1 comment:

Freedem said...

I reading your article and the ones you link to, you seem to do a pretty good job of verifying the data of Altemeyer and others.

I know several people who vote politically left, but still fit Altemeyer's RWA, but only do so because they have been specifically at the pointy end of Republican policies, when you look at the way they look at the world it still fits Altemeyer's description.

By contrast most liberals I know are low RWA rather than high LWA. That is why Republicans are almost always better organized, and Democrats are like herding cats.

There is a good description of critical thinking here Guide to Critical Thinking perhaps it could help