"All Americans...need to watch what they say, what they do."
- Ari Fleischer, White House Press Secretary to President George W. Bush

Monday, October 25, 2010

Are You a Republican? You Might Be Sick.

Everyone owes it to their country to learn about Right Wing Authoritarianism, a sickness which seems to afflict only those on the Republican side. One wonders: do people become afflicted with RWA after joining the Republicans, or is the Republican Party a support group for these sick people?

Make no mistake about authoritarians. For all their bluster on Fox News about supporting freedom, these people care little about it. They're dangerous people who want to shackle everyone with some form of handcuff. "Social Conservatism," a staggering misnomer, is nothing but an attempt to turn the country into an open-air prison. Unhappily, the ranks of gun owners are overrun with these sick people, and I mean overrun. By my own crude estimate, I'd peg the amount of RWA's in the ranks of gun owners at 80%.

As I am also a gun owner, seeing my fellow company makes me ponder the hobby I've chosen. I wonder whether gun ownership is always a manifestation of a sickness, or whether guns are merely a mechanical recreation implement, little different than motorcycles, boats or dune buggies. Are there perhaps a few healthy people amidst the gun owners?

Right Wing Authoritarianism is characterized as the convergence of three disturbing personality traits:

1. Authoritarian submission — a high degree of submissiveness to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.

2. Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities.

3. Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities.

RWA's are likely to show the following behaviours:

1: Faulty Reasoning — Right-wing authoritarians (RWAs) are more likely to:

* Make many incorrect inferences from evidence.
* Hold contradictory ideas that result from a cognitive attribute known as compartmentalized thinking, as illustrated by Orwellian doublethink.
* Uncritically accept that many problems are ‘our most serious problem.’
* Uncritically accept insufficient evidence that supports their beliefs.
* Uncritically trust people who tell them what they want to hear.
* Use many double standards in their thinking and judgments.

2: Hostility Toward Outgroups — RWAs are more likely to:

* Weaken constitutional guarantees of liberty such as a Bill of Rights
* Severely punish ‘common’ criminals in a role-playing situation.
* Admit they obtain personal pleasure from punishing such people.
* Be prejudiced against and hostile towards racial, ethnic, national, sexual, and linguistic minorities.
* Volunteer to help the government persecute almost anyone.
* Be mean-spirited toward those who have made mistakes and suffered.

3: Profound Character Attributes — RWAs are more likely to:

* Be dogmatic.
* Be zealots.
* Be hypocrites.
* Be absolutists
* Be bullies when they have power over others.
* Help cause and inflame intergroup conflict.
* Seek dominance over others by being competitive and destructive in situations requiring cooperation.

4: Blindness To One’s Own Failings And To The Failings Of Authority Figures Whom They Respect— RWAs are more likely to:

* Believe they have no personal failings.
* Avoid learning about their personal failings.
* Be highly self-righteous.
* Use religion to erase guilt over their acts and to maintain their self-righteousness.

If you are a gun owner or a Republican, please read Bob Altemeyer's excellent book, and see if you need professional help.

I can assure you that life is happier if you're not an authoritarian.


  1. I thought your earlier post had already explained Jeep Seller's shortcomings quite well.

  2. Ouch! A zinger from Mark, quite right, too.