The Authoritarians – 2

Bush Doing His Best - breaking viewsThe Authoritarians
By B. Altemeyer

Part -> 1

From Chapter 1

Over the years I have found that authoritarian followers blissfully tolerated many illegal and unjust government actions that occurred in the United States and Canada, such as:
– a police burglary of a newspaper office to get confidential information.
– drug raids carried out without search warrants because judges wouldn’t give them.
– denial of right to assemble to peacefully protest government actions.
– “dirty tricks” played by a governing party on the opposition during an election.
– immigration office discrimination against radical speakers.
placing agents provocateurs in organizations to create dissension and bad press relations.
– burning down the meeting place of a radical organization.
– unauthorized mail openings.

Authoritarian followers seem to have a “Daddy and mommy know best” attitude toward the government. They do not see laws as social standards that apply to all. Instead, they appear to think that authorities are above the law, and can decide which laws apply to them and which do not–just as parents can when one is young.

But in a democracy no one is supposed to be above the law. Still, authoritarians quite easily put that aside. They also believe that only criminals and terrorists would object to having their phones tapped, their mail opened, and their lives put under surveillance. They have bought their tickets and are standing in line waiting for 1984, The Real Thing. There might as well not be a Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. And when the Military Commissions Act of 2006 is used to deny people the right of habeas corpus,–one of the oldest rights in western law–it is unlikely that right-wing authoritarians will object to the loss of this constitutional guarantee either.

In fact, who even needs the whole Bill of Rights? […]

Here are some items from another scale. How would you respond to them on a -4 to +4 basis?
1. There are entirely too many people from the wrong sorts of places being admitted into our country now.
2. Black people are, by their nature, more violent and “primitive” than others.
3. Jews cannot be trusted as much as other people can.
4. As a group, aboriginal people are naturally lazy, dishonest and lawless.
5. Arabs are too emotional, and they don’t fit in well in our country.
6. We have much to fear from the Japanese, who are as cruel as they are ambitious.

You may be taken aback however to discover that these prejudices usually show up bundled together in a person. But social psychologists found long ago that people who are prejudiced against one group are usually prejudiced against a whole lot more as well. Prejudice has little to do with the groups it targets, and a lot to do with the personality of the holder. Want to guess who has such wide-ranging prejudices? Authoritarian followers dislike so many kinds of people, I have called them “equal opportunity bigots.”


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