Wednesday, July 12, 2006

John Dean: Conservatives Much More Likely to be Authoritarian

Former Nixon administration counsel, John Dean, was on Olbermann discussing his new book, Conservatives Without Conscience, in which he cites an apparently obscure, long-term, academic study that chronicled the characteristics of the authoritarian personality.

Here is some of the transcript (borrowed from The Great Society).

KEITH OLBERMANN: What did you find? — In less than the 200 pages that the book goes into.

JOHN DEAN: I ran into a massive study that has really been going on 50 years now by academics. They’ve never really shared this with the general public. It’s a remarkable analysis of the authoritarian personality. Both those who are inclined to follow leaders and those who jump in front and want to be the leaders. It was not the opinion of social scientists. It was information they drew by questioning large numbers of people — hundreds of thousands of people — in anonymous testing where [the subjects] conceded their innermost feelings and reactions to things. And it came out that most of these people were pre-qualified to be conservatives and this, did indeed, fit with the authoritarian personality.

OLBERMANN: Did the studies indicate that this really has anything to do with the political point of view? Would it be easier to impose authoritarianism over the right than it would the left? Is it theoretically possible that it could have gone in either direction and it’s just a question of people who like to follow other people?

DEAN: They have found, really, maybe a small, 1%, of the left who will follow authoritarianism. Probably the far left. As far as widespread testing, it’s just overwhelmingly conservative orientation.
Makes me want to read the book. Seems like this is support for the SD vision of the Blue Meme, but I'd have to see the book to know for sure.

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