Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Better Know an Authoritarian

After reading John Dean's book, Conservatives Without Conscience, I gained a better understanding of what's been going on in Washington. It explained the authoritarian psychology of those in power, and how many of the Republicans under them could be capable of such abdication of duty. Last week, Dean's column covered an interview he did with Dr. Bob Altemeyer, a leading expert on the psychology of authoritarianism, regarding Tom DeLay's autobiography. Here's a sample quote:
Q: Is this characteristic of authoritarians, to open themselves up to being easily discredited by what they say? Or something pathological about DeLay?

A: I try hard not to call people pathological. Why has he let himself be so easily discredited in this and the other cases? I think it's because he knows his audience, which will be mainly authoritarian followers, who would never doubt what he says, nor check his stories against other accounts. Studies show that authoritarian leaders can say almost anything, and their followers will believe them.

It's a really good read if you have an interest in what's been going on, who was calling the shots, and why folks like Representative Scott Garrett following this guy got us where we are today.

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