Looking Left and Right: Our Best Choices? Pt 5

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Following up on last week’s post:

[A]uthoritarians are known to be high on the need for closure, yet another trait thats linked to defensiveness and biased reasoning. The need for closure, notes Arie Kruglanski, means being more likely to look for belief affirmation (confirmation bias). It also means being more likely to defend one’s existing beliefs, to lash out against challenges to those beliefs (disconfirmation bias), and to persist in beliefs in the face of challenge. *

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Life Will Answer – The Book: Ending The Wars? Pt 3

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The biggest fallacy in our modern political discourse is this belief that because one believes in God, one has to involve God’s wishes in your decision-making. The problem with that … is no one actually knows what God is thinking and so they are simply asserting what they believe and assuming God is along for the ride.

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Life Will Answer – The Book: Wars Without End? Pt. 4

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Faith would not be such a negative force in society if it were just about religion. However, the magical thinking that becomes deeply ingrained whenever blind faith rules over facts warps all areas of life. It produces a frame of mind in which concepts are formulated with deep passion but without the slightest attention paid to the evidence that bears on the concept.

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Life Will Answer – The Book: Wars Without End? Pt. 2

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Dogmatic Christians also slide quietly around the fact that there’s no real test that what they believe is right. They simply believe it, on faith. – Robert Altemeyer, The Authoritarians

 

To abide by doctrines that cannot be questioned, against which opposing evidence cannot be posed, is to make oneself exquisitely vulnerable to despotic behavior. [1]

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Life Will Answer – The Book: Wars Without End? Pt 1

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[R]eligious fundamentalists … are highly likely to be authoritarian followers. They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority, and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily direct toward various out-groups. They are easily incited, easily led, rather un-inclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason, and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs. They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly compartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times, and are often hypocrites.
But they are also Teflon-coated when it comes to guilt. They are blind to themselves, ethnocentric and prejudiced, and as closed-minded as they are narrow- minded. They can be woefully uninformed about things they oppose, but they prefer ignorance and want to make others become as ignorant as they. They are also surprisingly uninformed about the things they say they believe in…. – Robert Altemeyer, The Authoritarians

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Looking Left and Right: Authoritarianism Pt 4

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Can you also sense from these items the energy, the commitment, the submission, and the zeal that authoritarian followers are ready to give to their in-groups, and the satisfaction they would get from being a part of a vast, powerful movement in which everyone thought the same way? The common metaphor for authoritarian followers is a herd of sheep, but it may be more accurate to think of them as a column of army ants on the march….
Authoritarian followers want to belong, and being part of their in-group means a lot to them. Loyalty to that group ranks among the highest virtues… – Robert Altemeyer, The Authoritarians

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Looking Left and Right: Authoritarianism Pt 3

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The pessimism within significant sectors of the GOP is more than the unhappiness partisans typically feel when the other side is in power. It’s rooted in a belief that things have fundamentally changed in America, and there is an ominous possibility they just can’t be put right again. [1] 

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Looking Left and Right: Authoritarianism Pt 2

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Authoritarianism is not a new, untested concept in the American electorate. Since the rise of Nazi Germany, it has been one of the most widely studied ideas in social science. While its causes are still debated, the political behavior of authoritarians is not. Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened. From pledging to ‘make America great again’ by building a wall on the border to promising to close mosques and ban Muslims from visiting the United States, Trump is playing directly to authoritarian inclinations. [1]

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Looking Left and Right: Authoritarianism Pt 1

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As we showed in our analysis of the Clinton/Obama primary fight in 2008, in our book, as well as in analysis of election data from 2010 and 2012, what distinguishes Democratic from Republican voters among whites isn’t education level or income level. It’s authoritarianism. The data are consistent in this – low authoritarian white folks with less than a college education, or who earn less than the median income, overwhelmingly support Democrats. Conversely, whites with high incomes and high education levels but who also score high in authoritarianism strongly support Republicans. In other words, it’s not “working-class whites” per se, who support very conservative candidates. It’s authoritarians, whether they are working class or not. This, too, is consistent with the composition of the (not-so-mysterious) Trump coalition. [1] 

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