I have rarely come across such an important and timely book as is The Authoritarians, by Bob Altemeyer. Available, along with his other books on Amazon, Associate Professor of Psychology, at the University of Manitoba, Bob Altemeyer has never the less offered The Authoritarians free of charge – in PDF book form – to the general public, since its publication in 2008.
So this is as much a call to action, as it is a book review. And the first action that needs to be taken, is to download and read the free PDF version of this definitive 261 page book.
As I read this wonderfully eye-opening account, I was reminded, in many ways, of Longshoreman and Social Philosopher Eric Hoffer’s 1951 classic, The True Believer. Except The Authoritarians reveals the psychological nuts and bolts, behind many of Hoffer’s but early observations. And it’s conclusions are supported by scientific fact-finding – gleaned from over 30 years of research and clinical testing – about what makes the Uber-Conservative, Religious Right, Tea-Party factions of the Republican Party, tic. And continue to tic – like some time-bomb in the hands of ideological lemmings – who somehow fail to realistically apprehend the danger of precipitating a world-wide depression, as they charge the precipice, in evermore misguided attempts to both gang-save the honor of their party, and impose their world views on the rest of us.
Written by the man who painstakingly developed the Right-Wing Authoritarian (RWA) psychological survey, and scale – for identifying the definitive traits of Authoritarianism, and basic levels of anal retention (my term) – in subject personalities, it was never the less, written with the idea of communicating this critical information to all members of society. Which is one more trait it shares – in my mind – with Eric Hoffer’s seminal work, which touched on many of the same issues.
Honest to God, folks, you owe it to yourself, to know and understand the nature of this political hydra, and those things that sometimes inadvertently work to guarantee its survival. As well as those things we may wish to do, in order to bring about its demise.
I guarantee you’ll learn more than you ever thought you already knew, about those who share this basic personality trait. As well as one other ‘type’ that – when mixed in the right proportions – represent an extremely lethal sociopolitical combination.
(Be sure to let me know what you think.)