Analysis of Right-Wing Authoritarian (RWA) Followers: An Insight into WHY Donald J. Trump Won

The Milgram Authoritarian Obidience Experiment

THE EXPERIMENT'S SET-UP
THE EXPERIMENT'S SET-UP | Source
STANLEY MILGRAM
STANLEY MILGRAM | Source

Who is a RWA?

I have brought up the idea of Right-wing Authoritarian (RWA) followers in many of my political hubs because of their importance to the Conservative movement. This personality characteristic provides the army used by the Social Dominator (SD) leaders. Now I am not making these names up out of thin air. They actually are labels developed from research that began when scientists started studying why otherwise intelligent people blindly followed such obviously, in hindsight, terrible leaders. The prototypical example that got the ball rolling in this research was the German people's fascination with Hitler. Hitler is the poster child of what has become to be know as a Social Dominator (SD) (not to mention a sociopath) and the people of German, en masse, were what would become to be known as Right-wing Authoritarian followers; someone willing to follow authority figures without questioning the SDs directions even though it may not pass the common sense test. (The Right-wing part of the label actually comes from where the more conservative members of the French parliament sat.)

There was a very famous experiment carried out in 1963, by Stanley Milgram, a professor in social psychology, who showed that a majority of people are susceptible following an authority figure beyond their personal comfort lever.

The experiment went thusly: An Experimenter, the Authority figure, had a Teacher, the unsuspecting Subject, administer electric shocks of increasing voltages up to 450 volts to the Learner who, unknown to the Teacher, was part of the experiment. The Learner had previously let the Teacher know he had a "heart" condition. Also, in the beginning, the Teacher didn't know he would be the Teacher, he thought he could have been the Learner.

The Teacher gave the Learner, whom he couldn't see, things to learn and with each wrong answer, the Teacher administered a shock, one which he had been given the chance to experience earlier. After each shock the voltage was increased 15 volts. After a certain point, the Learner, which is now a recording, began to make sounds of distress, which increased in agony and finally went silent. Somewhere along the line, the Teacher began to get uncomfortable and told the Experimenter so. There came a point where the Teacher said they didn't want to continue, but the Experimenter would prod the Teacher first with "please continue", then "this experiment requires that you continue", after that it was, "it is absolutely essential that you continue", and finally, "you have no other choice, you must go on".

If the Teacher refuses at that point, the experiment is over or, if the Teacher administers a final third 450-volt shock, the experiment ends. Teachers even offered to give their money back to be allowed to quit, to which the Experimenter might reply "Although the shocks may be painful, there is no permanent tissue damage, so please go on" or "Whether the learner likes it or not, you must go on until he has learned all the word pairs correctly, so please go on".

Before the experiment began, Milgram surveyed students, where the test subjects came from, and other professors what they expected the likely outcome to be; though groups were clear they thought almost all subjects would quit when their comfort level was exceeded and only thought maybe 3 out of 100 would reach the 450-volt level.

In fact, 26 out of 40 did, or 65%! An astounding result. Another social psychology researcher, Associate Professor of Psychology, Bob Altemeyer, later dubbed a person who exhibits this kind of personality characteristic as a Right-wing Authoritarian (RWA) follower.

(In the middle of this The Atlantic article titled simply The Mind of Donald Trump, you will find a great, more expert discussion of Authoritarianism.)

The Man Who Popularized RWAs

JOHN WESLEY DEAN III WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT NIXON
JOHN WESLEY DEAN III WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT NIXON | Source

BUY THIS BOOK - Says the Social Dominator

John Dean of Nixon Fame, a Conservative in His Own Right

JOHN DEAN, IN HIS BOOK, "Conservatives Without Conscience", introduced me, last year, to the concept of RWA followers and Social Dominators. He was attempting to distinguish between the Conservatives of his era, the Barry Goldwaters, Richard Nixons, Bob Doles, etc, and the Conservatives of the new generation, e.g., Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Mitch McConnell, and the like, as well as the people who became their supporters.

Dean's book, which I keep trying to plug, unsuccessfully so far, I might add even though it is extremely interesting and easy to read, is not so much an opinion piece but a presentation of Professor Alteman's research, in detail. While I will only summarize it here, Dean does a wonderful job in bringing the reader to a clear understanding of what drives the army of supporters of today's conservative movement, for they are quite different than those who support the Conservatives of the past.

What are the RWA Characteristics?

NOW, WHILE I briefly describe the 12 traits of a Right-wing Authoritarian, think to yourself if you know anybody or have seen anybody on television or heard on the radio anybody who might fit some or all of these characteristics. If you have, my bet is they will score very high on Bob Altemeyer's Right-wing Authoritarian assessment. Hopefully, you don't find yourself coming to mind, but if you do, don't despair, that can be a good thing because the research also shows that once a RWA discovers this about themselves, they can often change.

The 12 traits are as follows:

  1. Fear: RWAs are afraid of many things. It can be said that many people are afraid of many different things, but RWAs carry this to the next level of irrational fear, even when there is no factual basis for it. They are afraid that Obama is a Socialist, a Communist, or will become a dictator; they are afraid of teaching secular science to our youth, they are deathly afraid the burgeoning national debt will spell the end of America; they are afraid that a single regulation on guns will lead to a total prohibition of gun ownership in America, and the list goes on. No amount of reasoning or facts will dissuade high scoring RWAs of their fears so long as their Authoritarian leaders tell them to be afraid.
  2. Self-Righteous: If you run into someone who appears inordinately self-righteous, then you are probably observing a snob or a RWA follower. If that self-righteousness takes on a holy-than-thou or "more patriotic than thou" flavor, then most likely you have a high scoring RWA.
  3. Dogmatism: This characteristic is a clear signal a person is likely to be a high scoring RWA, whether on the extreme Right or the extreme Left. What they are told to believe is set in stone and nothing short of a nuclear blast is going to move them from their core beliefs. All of the provable, clear, certain facts in the world will not change an RWAs mind. If, for example, Rush Limbaugh says 1 plus 1 now equals three because 1 plus 1 equals 2 is a left-wing liberal subversive plot to destroy America, the RWA will, until Rush says differently, believe 1 plus 1 equals 3 and will do his or her best to twist and turn their logic and arguments to support this view.
  4. Authoritarian Submission :This is the characteristic I just described in Milgram's experiment. If we are talking politics, however, instead of Teacher-Learner, what this means is that whatever people like Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, Senator Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Boehner, or Representative Bachmann from Minnesota have to say, it becomes gospel, it is simply the Truth to those who follow them. No further thought or reasoning by the listener is needed for the authority has spoken, if the listener is a high-scoring RWA. In religious terms, this might be the late Jerry Falwell, the late Jim Jones, the late Martin Luther, the Pope, any evangelical or fundamentalist preacher. RWAs will accept, without questioning its reasonableness, what is said, they will repeat it, and they will defend it.
  5. Hostility: RWAs frequently become hostile when confronted. It is not because they are naturally mean, far from it. It has more to do with extreme frustration with their inability to logically defend their positions, which are often contradictory. Because they accept their position as gospel from their SD authoritarian leaders, they have not reasoned through why this position makes sense. So, when questioned about it, all they are left with are slogans and anger. There were many examples of this hostility at many of the Town Hall meetings held around the country leading up to the November 2010 elections.
  6. "Biggest Problem" Syndrome: RWAs tend to focus on the Big Problem of the day, be it drugs, the liberal take-over of America, the national debt, drugs, or other such crisis conjured up by their Social Dominator leaders.
  7. Compartmentalized Thinking: RWAs accept what they are told; lock, stock, and barrel, and file it away in their memory; this is a function of taking their lead from their Social Dominator Authoritarian leaders. Many of these positions end up being contradictory with each other or with reality, but, that is OK, because all of the ideas, since they are not processed mentally and only memorized, are not integrated in that persons thinking. Therefore, you have an individual who ends up believing they are living under an Obama/Democratic dictatorship with no rights at all while, at the same time, expressing their opinion about this by freely using their 1st Amendment rights.
  8. Double Standards: This is included as an RWA characteristic but I am not sure why. It has been my observation that double standards in society is ubiquitous and not just isolated to one group or another.
  9. Feeling Empowered Within Groups:Again true on the extremes, because RWAs are followers of authority figures, if follows they must be conforming individuals. Because they don't think for themselves, they have to look toward others to let them know how they should be acting. Consequently, alone, a RWA may even be timid, but with a demonstrating group, the RWA feels empowered to demonstrate vigorously alongside his fellow RWAs; high scoring RWAs feel most comfortable with groups where they get support and validation.
  10. Prejudice:Most RWAs honestly do not believe they are prejudiced when, if truth, their actions and speech clearly show they are. Why? Because this type of personality does not believe all people in the world should be equal, inequality is a natural state of affairs to a high scoring RWA. They sincerely believe that equality is not good for society. This simply makes sense to them and doesn't derive from meanness; the women being "bare-foot and pregnant" syndrome (meaning women should be subservient to the man). There is still a significant portion of American society, mainly fundamentalist Christians, both men and women,who still believe this, because the most authoritarian figure of all says so ... God, Himself. They don't see a problem because they believe this is simply the "natural" order of the universe. much the same way that Aristotle believed, and argued for, the idea of "natural" masters and "natural" slaves. (Slavery, in his time didn't have quite the same connotation as it does in our time; for one thing, it wasn't race based.) This view becomes a basis for their politics.
  11. Ethnocentrism:This is a characteristic in all people, but it becomes more pronounced as you move to either extreme, Left or Right. It is more prominent with RWAs, again, Left or Right, however. There has to be a "Them vs Us" paradigm in order to validate what they believe. They rarely go beyond their circle of believers to receive information while characterizing others as very biased, e.g., the left-wing or liberal mainstream media.
  12. A Lack of Critical Thinking:This characteristic is central to the RWA type for if a person exhibited critical thinking regarding what they were being told regardless of source, including the Social Dominators, then they would less likely be blind followers of Authority figures. One of the most stark exemplars of this is that most Tea Parteyers, who are middle class, absolutely believe their taxes have been raised under President Obama when, in fact, they have been noticeably reduced. The only reason for this unreasonable belief is their total, unthinking reliance on what they are told by their SD leaders. If the "Teachers" in Milgram's experiment had really thought about the implications of what they were doing, most would not have kept increasing the voltage when told to by the scientist. This is also where frustration can build when confronted about opposing positions such as asking an RWA how, in one breath, they can say "America is the best country in the world" but yet in the next breath say "Obama is now a dictator".

You will find a few of these traits wrapped up in what should be a familiar description many of you may recognize: An RWA when faced with truly logical evidence that contradicts the position of his or her authoritarian leader, rather than say "I'll get back to you" and go back and challenge their leader, they let their intelligence devolve into stubbornness, rhetoric, dogmatism, and finally anger.

How do you Know You RWA Tendency Is?

BY TAKING AN ASSESSMENT, OF COURSE. What the assessment does is ask a series of ambiguous questions that center around each of the traits just described above. The higher you score on this assessment, the more likely you are to be an RWA because you express those characteristics found most often in that personality type. Know that an RWA does not make an SD, a Social Dominator, who is often seen in negative terms.. While RWAs believe they are doing right, and most often are, the SDs generally are not and most often for very selfish reasons. Said another way, one major difference between Social Dominators (the leaders) and the RWAs (the Army) is that the SDs know whether they are lying or not, while the RWAs do not, they simply trust their SD leaders to be telling them the Truth.

The assessment below doesn't speak to your "conservativeness" or "liberalness", or lack thereof for Conservatives and Liberals come in all varieties, including those who think for themselves and are not Social Dominators; I suspect that is the large majority of those who think of themselves as conservative and the vast majority the liberals plus virtually all of those who fall in between, however, they are out of power at the moment. What the assessment does try to predict is the level of acceptance an individual might have in following their chosen authority figure, regardless of their own personal perceptions, just like the "Teachers" in Milgram's experiment who went beyond their comfort level simply because the "Doctor" told them to. The higher the score, the more likely it is for you to fall into this trap. Once aware that you have this tendency, you can guard against it by engaging your mind and weighing what the other side is saying, be it Left or Right (yes, there are high score Liberal RWAs, just not as many of them), their reasoning and their facts, then compare it to what your authority figuring is saying AND to what your own research of both Liberal and Conservative sources brings up.

Now, let's see where you stack up on the RWA scale. The following assessment has 22 ambiguous statements, which are based on the actual assessments, to which you have a bunch of choices for answers as to the degree you agree or disagree with the statement. Be aware that some of the statements have more than one part and you may fell one way about one part, but a different way about another part. What you do in that case is "average" you answer. For example, what if you "Strongly Agreed" with the first part of a statement, but "Strongly Disagreed" with the second part; you answer then would be "Neutral". But then you think to yourself, "but wait, I am not "Neutral" on this whole statement but sort of lean toward agreeing with it; in that case, you might pick "Barely Agree" or "Slightly Agree".

Keep in mind the results of this assessment, just like the actual, professionally given ones, only have validity in the aggregate, not individual results. Granted, your result may give you an idea of where you may rank, it is certainly not set in concrete. Having said that, once there are enough results, even in this survey, because it is a difference survey and because we are looking at aggregate results, the results are valid for comparing the self-identified Left-leaners with the self-identified Right-leaners; and not the "skew" each distribution will show. I am aware the distributions of each graph will probably be skewed to the left (more lower scores) because a few higher scorers will not feel inclined to report their scores; this will probably be more prevalent for the Left-leaners.

Right-Wing Authoritarian Assessment (Modified)

THERE ARE THREE SURVEYS (one brand new one as of 3/16/15) below, one for those who agree with the Right a lot, the second for those who agree with the Left a lot, and the new poll, one who think of themselves as politically in the middle or something else. Please choose the survey which fits your political leanings.

HELP THE READERS UNDERSTAND THE DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION BY TAKING ONE OF THE TWO POLLS BELOW

If you consider yourself a Republican or Repbulican-Leaning Independent, Did You:

  • Score between 75% and 100%
  • Score between 50% and 74%
  • Score between 25% and 49%
  • Score between 0% and 24%
See results without voting

Right-Leaning

After 78 results:

  • # Scored above 74%: .............. 8
  • # Scored between 50 - 74%: . 10
  • # Scored between 25 - 49%:,, 20
  • # Scored below 25%: ............ 40

IF you consider yourself truly Independent, lean Left or Right depending on the issue or something else, DID YOU...

  • Score between 75% and 100%
  • Score between 50% and 74%
  • Score between 25% and 49%
  • Score between 0% and 24%
See results without voting

In The Middle

After 12 results:

  • # Scored above 74%: ............. 0
  • # Scored between 50 - 74%: .. 1
  • # Scored between 25 - 49%: .. 2
  • # Scored below 25%: ............. 9

Come On Y'all, Don't Be Shy, Let Us Know Where You Scored :-)

If you consider yourself a Democrat or Democrat-Leaning Independent, Did You:

  • Score between 75% and 100%
  • Score between 50% and 74%
  • Score between 25% and 49%
  • Score between 0% and 24%
See results without voting

Left-Leaning

After 164 results:

  • # Scored above 74%: ............... 3
  • # Scored between 50 - 74%: .... 2
  • # Scored between 25 - 49%: .. 13
  • # Scored below 25%: ............ 146

A Composite View

After 254 results:

  • # Scored above 74%: ............. 11 (4%)
  • # Scored between 50 - 74%: .. 12 (5%)
  • # Scored between 25 - 49%: .. 37 (14%)
  • # Scored below 25%: ............ 193 (76%)

DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY

Are You -

  • Male?
  • Female?
See results without voting

The Book Behind This Hub

A WORD ABOUT THE ABOVE SURVEY RESULTS

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT some commenters will say my sampling is highly biased due to the filtering effect which takes place as people find their way to this Hub and then decide to take the survey. Normally, that would have to be taken into account when reviewing what the surveys show, such as with my Hub on Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, but not, I think, in this case.

That is because the responses to two surveys are being compared with each other. Consequently, the fact that I don't have a "random" sample of Left-leaning vs Right-leaning responders is no longer important; it is enough that there is a sufficient number of survey takers from each camp to provide meaningful results.

For instance, even if no truly high scoring RWAs from either group were interested in sharing the survey results, it doesn't really matter, although it would be disappointing. What I am looking for in this analysis is to see if the "distribution" or "shape" of the results from each political camp are different or not. My hypothesis is that they are and, so long as the sample size for each self-identified group is large enough, the results should reflect a "typical" distribution for each side. Even if the distributions of a particular political view are off somewhat in magnitude and frequency, it only matters that the distribution itself is roughly right. What is important is the measurement of the comparative shape and parameters between the two systems.

By inspection, the Democratic results appear to be entirely consistent with the philosophy that brings people into the Democratic Party. The fact that there are a few high scores for liberals would not be unexpected for it simply speaks to the diversity of people in general. It is the skewness of the distribution that tells the story.

The Republican results are also consistent with the findings of Professor Alteman.for two reasons: 1) The fact that because, In the general population, high scoring RWA's aren't that common, the distribution will be skewed to the lower scores and 2) the fact the distribution seems "flatter" than the one for the Democrats strongly suggests a different believe-set and one that is more oriented to leaders and control; given the way the survey is scored.

Unlike the top scale of the Social Dominator survey, there is nothing manipulative or spiteful about a high-scoring RWA, it merely defines a particular set of beliefs which are honestly held and, from that person's point of view, with good reason. Nevertheless, it is, as you can see, a system of belief and perception about life that clearly separates those who see themselves as politically Left-leaning and those who think of themselves as politically Right-leaning.

8/16/12: And now there are 40 results, 15 from the Republicans and 25 from the Democrats. Their respective percentages from the top of the scale to the bottom currently are: 7%, 27%, 13%, 53% (R) and 4%, 4%, 4%, 88% (D). Could the distribution of these percentages simply occur by chance? Well, a little yes, but mostly no.

It is almost impossible, when you calculate the probabilities, to get the Democrats results,solely by chance, even with only 25 votes. The probability you can get that type of result is something less that 1 out of 2.2 x 10 -13times. For the Republican survey, the distribution of the bottom three possibilities by chance is more likely, but not much. Only the distribution between the second and fourth rows might be by chance. Further, while the mathematics is a bit more complicated, I can show that the difference in distributions between the Republicans and Democrats is extremely unlikely to have happened by chance either, all of this on just 40 results, isn't statistics wonderful?

What this tells us, ta-da, is that something else is going on; there are dynamics taking place to cause the distributions you see within each survey and between each survey and that the dynamics are different the Republicans and Democrats. The general dynamics are explained in the Hub. For details about each distribution, we will need many more results.

12/3/13: We have more results, 131 of them. Compare the distributions with those over a year ago. These is still a significant difference between the shapes of the two distributions, but with over three times a many surveys, I can say those differences are statistically significant. Today, the Republican results from highest score to lowest, are 10%, 15%, 27%, and 49%, a more realistic distribution, although with only 41 Republican returns, the amplitude of these figures will change, there is less likelihood the shape will change much as more results come in.

For the Left-leaning, with 90 results, that highly skewed shape ( 2%, 1%, 8%, 89%) is more certain to remain the same, especially since, it hasn't changed that much from last year. What has surprised me the most is how skewed this distribution remained with 89% of those leaning to the Left scoring in the lowest ranking. The difference between how those on the political Right and those on the Left see the world is remarkable, isn't it. It says volumes about why Congress has come to a stand-still given where the majority of Republicans stand on the political spectrum and the movement of the Democrats to the Left with the defeat in recent years of the more conservative elements.

12/7/14: There are now 55 politically Right-leaning and 128 Left-leaning results. The 91-7-1-2 distribution for those veering Left is still starkly different from the 53-25-13-9 distribution seen on the Right. It is little changed from 2013 and is very strong evidence that the the two political philosophies spring from fundamentally different ideas regarding the relative importance individualism within a societal structure.

2/20/15: With 60 Right-leaning responses, I don't expect the shape of the distribution to change from here on out. Obviously, the same is true with the larger sample for Left-leaning respondents. Has I pointed out in earlier discussion, the point of this Hub was to show that Right-leaning readers respond differently than the Left-leaning ones to the same set of questions. There should be no question now, with distributions of 50-25-14-11 and 88-8-1-3, Right and Left respectively, that they do.

(I took the test for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz answering the questions the way I think they would; when I was uncertain, I answered the same way. And they scored 93% on the SDO test and 83% on the RWA survey.)

Findings From Altemeyer's Studies

  1. Between 1990 and 1993, Professor Altemeyer conducted surveys of American State legislators as well as legislators from his home country of Canada. He sent surveys to legislators in 42 states, forgoing, for whatever reason, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Rhode Island, and West Viriginia; none, I notice have large populations. His findings were from the 1233 who responded, and converting from his scale to the one you just took, you get:
  2. Democrats had a median score of 46%, with a low of 29% and a high of 75%
  3. Republicans had a median score of 62% with a low of 46% and a high of 75%
  4. Lowest four Democratic states were WI, OR, MI, and WA, while the highest four were TN, LA, GA, and way off in the distance, MS.
  5. Lowest four Republican states were CT, MA, NM, WA, while the highest were NC, GA, TN, and KY.

As you can see that, as expected, you have much more dispersion in the Democratic party because it is a much more politically diverse party that has a well defined right, center, and left wings. On the other hand, it was in early 90s where the Conservatives and Religious Right were consolodating there hold on the Republican party. If such a survey were held today, I would be surprised to find the median Republican score greater than 75%.

One final point I offer from this part of Altemeyer's book "The Authoritarian" is this closing paragraph from the State legislature study:

"Stomp Out the Rot.

One last thing: an item on the RWA scale that I used in these legislator studies goes, “Once our government leaders and the authorities condemn the dangerous elements in our society, it will be the duty of every patriotic citizen to help stomp out the rot that is poisoning our country from within.” It’s a ridiculous statement, isn’t it? People usually laugh when I read it out loud to an audience. It sounds like it came out of some Nazi Cheer Book. And a solid majority of the legislators who wrote the laws in American states when I did these studies rejected it. But 26 percent of the 1,233 lawmakers in my samples agreed with this. That's already half-way to a majority. And in terms of later developments, I’ll point out that these studies were all done before 1994."

In the Canadian study, similar results were found. One difference in the Canadian political parties is that the New Democratic Party is about as cohesive on the left is our Conservative Party is on the right today, and it shows up in the following results:

  1. New Democrats median RWA score was 29%, with a low of 19% and a high of 38%, they are much left of the left wing of our Democratic Party
  2. The conservative Alliance Party's median score was 60%, with a low of 48% and high of 67%, very similar to our Republican Party.

Nevertheless, the relationships are still the same, the more conservative you are, generally, the higher a RWA score you will have and will support or champion the kind of authoritarian, non-egalitarian policies that are characteristic of high RWA individuals.

The DOUBLE HIGH

AS DESCRIBED IN MY hub on Social Dominators (SDs), they are a driven bunch, driven to power. The higher on the SD scale they score, the more driven they are and the more likely they are to do whateverit takes to reach the particular pinnacle of power they seek; high scoring SDs hold nothing sacred or honorable. Well, SDs do not have to be high scoring RWAs, but they can be.

When they are, this person is called a "Double High" and will have not only all of the attributes of both the high scoring SDs and the high scoring RWAs; this can be a powerful and potentially dangerous combination which I will discuss in future hubs.

What Professor Altemeyer found was that many of the higher scoring RWAs in his study, that I presented in the last section, also presented tendencies toward Social Dominance orientation as well, however, the scale had not been fully developed at that time so he is only estimating based on questions he asked. Altemeyer noted that it is only natural that political bodies would have a bias toward SD-types because that would a natural next step for a SDs quest for Power.

Note also, this was in the early 90s, I can only imagine how many "double highs" are in the State legislatures and Congress given the 2010 sweep by the Conservatives and the Tea Party.

I will leave this hub at this point and pick it up again with a more in-depth look at what RWAs support and don't support, what positions they adopt and those they find morally objectionable. It should go along way to understanding why we are in the predicament we are in today.

© 2011 My Esoteric

More by this Author


Comments 86 comments

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

ME, I want to first say, I honestly do respect your opinions and your hard work on all of your hubs.

This one, kind of bothers me for one reason....those twelve traits, I can easily relate to a radical liberal.

I do not have time tonight, but I can build an excellent fact based response for each charactoristic as they relate to liberals.

I am more concerned at the crossroads this nation has come against....I see it as 30% left....30% right and 40% in the middle.

but, for tonight I want to leave this hub, with nothing but a warm wish to you and your family to have a happy thanksgiving.

Chris


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Chris, I posted the link to Professor Altemeyer's website at the University of Manitoba where you can also download his book, "The Authoritarians", for free. I meant to put it there before but forgot.

I understand where you are coming from because it can be very hard to except. Yes, you will be able to find examples of each of those 12 traits across the political spectrum from Right to Left, no question. But, it is the aggregation, scoring high in all 12, that is the distinguishing feature. Heck, I score medium in a few that I would rather not.

It is also very true, you are going to find Liberals, and the further Left you go, the more you will find, that will score high on this test, meaning they are scoring high in all 12 traits; but, as Altemeyers survey of State legislatures found, the predominance is on the Conservative side. Altemeyer goes into the reasons why.

I hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving as well!


Sooner28 4 years ago

This is an excellent hub, and you can see this in modern day politics. Many conservatives refuse to vote for gay rights, protecting the environment, or teaching evolution in schools. On gay rights and evolution, they value their Bible and what has "traditionally" been the case over actual scientific discoveries. As for the denial of climate change, I really don't know the exact reasons.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thank you Sooner, for your comment and following me. I suspect the reason for the Social Dominator's view is economic; once they preach a message against climate change, their army of RWA's pick it up and carry it forward without thoughtful analysis.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas

What an excellent hub! You should have listed it by title in your comments on my hub. I am voting you UP and interesting and sharing with my followers.

One problem however was that the quiz you mentioned is not visible. There is nothing but a huge white space where the quiz is supposed to be, so I couldn't take the quiz.

Have to agree that RWAs are definitely conformists very similar to the 'teachers' in the Milgram experiments.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for stopping by Au Fait, and for you comments. That is disappointing about the quiz, that may be why so few people have responded. I wonder what is going wrong that stops it from showing up?


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas

I've had the same problem with hubs that have the new videos on them. Nothing shows up. Wish I could tell you what is wrong, but I have no idea.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

This hub and Professor Altemeyer's research show why many of the U.S. voters for whom Mitt Romney has contempt (part of the 47% that "aren't his problem") will actually vote for the man.

By the way, the quiz is showing up now. I took it. (Scored 2%--definitely not RWA!)

Voted Up++

Jaye


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thank you Jaye, that is very insightful and spot-on. I didn't score quite that low.


GuitarGear profile image

GuitarGear 4 years ago from Youngstown, Ohio

I scored a 4. I thought this hub was very insightful and right on the money. It answered a lot of questions for me. It gave a scientific explanation to some of the behaviors that I found bizarre but interesting. Thanks ME for all your hard work on this hub.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Appreciate it Guitar, I am not surprised by your score and I am glad the hub was useful to you.


jimshorts 4 years ago

Now that people have posted their scores and how they feel about them it becomes an invalid survey.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

How is that so, Jim? Thanks for generating the question, btw.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 years ago from Tasmania

An excellent Hub, and one I will continue to read when I have time.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 3 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks, @Jonny.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 2 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

The Milgram experiment has been creeping me out since Psych 101.

*shudder*

This is fascinating stuff and compelling writing. Awesome that you include the actual test right in your hub, too.

It would be interesting to see the scope of questions broadened to include

some of the other issues our current crop of SDs are peddling (as mentioned in some comments above).

Climate change does not exist. Natural disasters like the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina are God's punishment on sinners,

Redistribution of wealth is wrong, free market capitalism rocks ...

Gay is a lifestyle choice and can be unlearned, everyone not only has a right to, but ought to carry a gun because we can't rely on the police to protect us...

We all know the drivel.

I will have to go and check out more of your hubs.

I love taking personality quizzes:-)!

Another up vote for you, ME!

MM


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas

As a PSCY major I naturally studied the Milgram Experiment. Social psychology is my favorite area of psychology. So many people do not realize how social psychology is used against them by government and big business to manipulate and control their thoughts and behaviors, and that isn't limited to advertising and sales.

This is truly an exceptional article. Everyone should read it and learn.

I'm proud to report that I scored a 2% on your test. Note, the last time I read this article the test wasn't available to me for some reason. Glad I came back. It was very interesting.

Voted up and awesome! Sharing with my followers.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks you very much for your comments @MightyMom and @AuFait, they mean a lot to me. I would like to add those things you suggest MM, but I need to stay close to the verified results of Professor's Altemerey's surveys on RWAs and SDs (a different hub).

Where I go off on my own like with political beliefs (conservative, liberal, socialist, etc), I set it up such that I can do my own validity checking, of a sort, once I get enough people self-reporting and taking the survey.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

Thanks, Au Fait, for sending this hub round again. It is just as relevant as I found it 17 months ago. (I scored exactly the same on the quiz, as well.) It is also quite scary since Ted Cruz is currently making presidential campaign noises. There are WAY too many RWAs voting in elections, and the teabaggers are very frightening.

Jaye


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I think Ted Cruz is a prime example of a Double High, probably would max out both the RWA and SDO surveys.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 2 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Gag me. I forget where I posted it -- a forum, I think, but Ted Cruz is the identical twin of Joseph McCarthy. Uncanny.

I can see 2016 now. A single-issue candidate.

"Shut down the government!"

Uh, ok. But then wouldn't you be out of a job, dude?

*rolleyes*

Gonna be an interesting campaign season, fer sher!


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

:-), you might be interested to know that my preliminary analysis, very preliminary, has the Dems one seat short from taking the House back in 2014 and no change in the Senate, although my hub on it shows Dems losing two seats; but I haven't updated it yet.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 2 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Dear My Esoteric:

I am very interested, ME!

I am praying that you are even better than Nate Silver in the predictions department. Been hearing he's seeing Dems lose Senate.

For me, it's really hard to imagine what issue would rally the sensible centrists to "go right" in the midterms. Tea Party passee.

Kochs apparently pulling out all the stops on negative ads in key states.

What do you think will bring people to the polls in November?

MM


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I am counting on three things, women, gays, and Latinos. The Right is pissing all three groups off and what they don't seem to realize is 1) Latino's are growing in Red states, 2) gays are getting better organized, and 3) women already outvote and lean to the Left more then men. If you look at the Presidential exit polls anyway, men are the minority voter ... well guess what makes up most of the Conservative Party ... white men. For example, because of the Latinos in Texas, I don't give Senator Conyer an easy victory there anymore.

Finally, if the Democrats can mobilize the youth, which I am not counting on, then it is a slam-dunk for they are trending heavily toward the Left.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 2 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

That's counting on an awful lot, EM.

Those white men have a much better vision for our country. And it is well reasoned and certainly best for us all:

Apparently Latinos don't yet know that they are really Republicans.

Catholic, pro-big family/anti-abortion, and would all be millionaires if only the oppressive Democrats would allow them to get off the government teat where they are stuck on welfare and getting free healthcare (all of 'em!)

And gays, well. If they would just admit their poor lifestyle choice is condemning them straight to Hell... Doesn't Michele Bachmann's husband have a cure for that?

Oh yes. Women. Sigh. We are so misguided since women's lib, aren't we? Once America is returned to the golden years of the 1950s and we stop competing with men for jobs, equal pay will be a moot point.

We just need to be reminded our place is barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Or possibly working in factories where the benevolent free-market capitalist employers will be trusted to do what's best for us, sans employment laws. True, a gun isn't much use in a fire, but... with the Con artists back in power, we will all have one with us at all times. If it comes to that and there's a stampede for the exits, we can just shoot whoever gets in our way...

Sorry. I usually save these kinds of rants for the forums during the heat of the campaign. But you just got me going!

Gotta get all these folks fired up and out to the polls.

Don't get mad, get voting!!

MM


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

"...And gays, well. If they would just admit their poor lifestyle choice is condemning them straight to Hell..."

Wow, little Mom. Where did all your bitter ignorance come from?

Please tell me, if someone is hooked on cigarettes; hooked on Coke; hooked on Hot dogs; sits on his/her backside for more than half the evening watching "the Box;" treats his/her partner badly, i.e., cruelly; Would you call that a Poor Lifestyle Choice? Do you think that person is abusing the gifts that your "god" gave them.

And how do you suppose you know anything about MY lifestyle choices? It sounds like you might believe a lot of nonsense, but you know precious little.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 2 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Jonnycomelately. Yikes! Surely you know me better than that?!! At least, I thought so. I'm one of the most vocal "libtards" here on HP and have suffered that label through two presidential elections. (Not sure if they have unpublished by two hubs decrying Sarah Palin, but they encapsulate my utter disgust for the Tea Party).

What I wrote above could not be any further from my personal beliefs on ANY of the subjects or voter blocs noted by EM.

I will know next time to add a smiley face to indicate sarcasm.

Best,

MM


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Consider my hand well and truly slapped! I'm so glad you don't want me to change overnight! lol.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I do hope you were being just as satirical, @Jonny, you do know, don't you, that the gay lifestyle is NOT a choice, while all those other near'do well activities are. ... just checking because those who score high on the RWA surveys actually believe being gay is a choice when genetics clear show that it isn't; not saying you scored high of course.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Speaking of Sarah Palin @MM, I just noticed an ad "Should Sarah Palin Run for Senate? VOTE" posted above, lol.


Depwavid 2 years ago from Panama City Beach

Had a tough time with this.

Some of the questions reference religious beliefs that I hold, but then add a 'poison pill' I disagree with. I'm thinking #6 in particular.

I scored a 33%. Whereas I am concerned with the moral decline of the country, I do not believe government should dictate morality, whether Judaeo-Christian, atheist, or active-state liberal. Whereas I find the act of (male, not female) homosexuality viscerally and morally repulsive, I do not think homosexuals should be subject to any sanction other than ignoring or avoiding them, let alone any government action. Whereas I believe old Solomon had it right that a good [authority figure] threshes the wicked like wheat, I define wickedness narrowly as theft, swindling, rape (hetero- and homosexual), battery, and murder--including the permutations and variations of those actions--rather than religiously.

So I wind up wondering, as I did with the SDO, if there is not a corresponding moralism in socialism (think Proudhon's weird quote about property being theft) that could make a thoughtful collectivist score high on this index. Certainly Progressives consider wealth inequality immoral, and their most common complaint about the current POTUS is that he hasn't been harder on the 'evil rich,' and on other people they consider 'immoral' by the lights of their much different morality. Does that mean that Progressives are authoritarian? Many of them are-against their own shibboleths; they would let people legally buy pot but outlaw firearms.

Going back up to the characteristics of the RWA, I could easily create a mirror list with comparable characteristics of the Left Wing Authoritarian (LWA). For Paragraph 1:

Fear: LWAs are afraid of many things. It can be said that many people are afraid of many different things, but LWAs carry this to the next level of irrational fear, even when there is no factual basis for it. They are afraid that Ted Cruz will become president, undo the Civil Rights Act, and end abortion, they are afraid of teaching religion and morality to our youth, they are deathly afraid that climate change will drown the coasts; they are afraid that a mad militaman will gun them down at Starbucks, and so forth. No amount of reasoning or facts will dissuade high scoring LWAs of their fears so long as their Authoritarian leaders [Clinton, Reid, Pelosi, Waxman, et al] tell them to be afraid.

I could go on, but that's enough to make my point: the problem lies in the authoritarian paradigm. Both the Right and the Left encourage groupthink among their followers or, to put it more humorously: sheeple come with both blue and red wool, which both blue and red authoritarian leaders are eager to shear!

Frustration with the authoritarian leanings of the Democrats made me Republican, and frustration with the equally authoritarian leanings of many Republicans made me Libertarian.

Just for fun, see if you can create an LWA Quiz!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

@My esoteric, sorry I missed your post a few months ago.

I am in fact homosexual. I have never been anything else, but did not know it until later in life....missed a lot of fun and friendships as a result.

If I took up a "choice" of trying to have an intimate relationship with a female, that would be totally false on my part. It would damage more than one other life, besides my own.

So, you can see, I do not see homosexual desire as a choice over heterosexual. It's a part of me that I cannot change even if I wished to.

And, by the way, in response to the latest post above, @Depwavid, homosexual acts are no more repulsive for those engaged in it than for heterosexual acts. And in each camp there are some grossly unfair, cruel acts take place. Nothing to do with the orientation.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

To your fifth para, RWA followers is still appropriate for what you describe of the left wing. There is no doubt there are those on the left who blindly follow Pelosi et al and won't believe 1 + 1 doesn't equal 3 until they say so, and is those 11, so far, that have score in the three higher rankings that tend that way.

But the point of Altemeyer's and others work is the vast majority who do score high on their assessments do fall on the political Right; the empirical evidence is simply overwhelming.

Now obviously, those taking this and the SDO surveys know what it is about, they read the Hub. But those who take it for real in the sociology studies don't know why they are taking it; so gaming it becomes orders of magnitude harder. Then the scientists compare the results with the demographics they obtained from their test takers to keep revalidating their questions and to update the databases.

These surveys are not good on a person by person basis, of course, but only for determining group behaviour. So the fact that you scored high or low is only an indicator, not a statement of fact.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for coming back @Johnie and your comment ... it is a hard subject.


mbuggieh 2 years ago

Great survey!

I happily and proudly scored just 5%...;)


mbuggieh 2 years ago

Depwavid:

So what makes female homosexual acts any less "viscerally and morally repulsive" than male homosexual acts?

And I entirely concur with jonnycomelately.

Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality---male OR female, are repulsive to those engaged in the act unless these acts are contrary to one's sexual orientation or are imbued with violence or an intent to do some harm be its physical or psychological.


Depwavid 2 years ago from Panama City Beach

jonnycomelately and mbuggieh,

I know of very few heterosexual males(at least those willing to admit they watch porno) who don't find female-on-female erotica hot. However, my sample is admittedly small. A possible way to quantify this is to tabulate the percentage of porno marketed to hetero males that includes female-on-female scenes, since pornography is a demand-driven market now. One could also survey straight male porn consumers to see if they like to watch lesbian action in videos. A possible explanation is that males are much more visually oriented than females with respect to sexual arousal and it is a simple case of the more the merrier when it comes to visual erotic stimuli.

A weird subtext of this is found in the Bible(which for the purpose of this post I am referencing as a reflection of the cultural norms of the time and not as divine revelation), where there are several passages that are unambiguously against male homosexual behavior(the most famous is found in the third chapter of Romans), but there is only ONE passage in the entire Bible that MIGHT refer to lesbianism(this can be found as part of that same third chapter of Romans), but might equally well refer to females practicing bestiality--the wording is most ambiguous. I have wondered many times why this disparity exists. Could it be that a polygynous culture tacitly encouraged lesbian behavior to bleed off tension in the harem? Or could it be that males in that roughly milennium-long time when the Old and New Testaments came into being also liked to watch two females going at it?

Regarding the 'viscerally repulsive' part--which in my head personally does NOT extend to woman-on-woman behavior: I do not pretend to speak for anyone but myself there--there is a currently popular psychological theory to the effect that what is now called 'homophobia' arises from a hardwired disgust reaction toward fecal material. (Dan Savage did a great deal to unwittingly promote this theory when he, with a graphic description thereof, defined 'santorum,' as the residue of anal sex.) Possible evidence that this aversion reaction is 'hardwired' may be found in the paradoxical reaction in humans infected with Toxoplasma gondii toward the scent of tomcat urine. The Toxoplasma parasite causes an alteration in the perception of the smell of cat urine to make that scent pleasant to the human host. In rats, Toxoplasma makes an infected animal less cautious and less likely to avoid a prowling cat, thus facilitating the completion of the parasite's life cycle. Although in this case the response is directed at urine rather than feces, it is an example of an instinctual behavior biologically altered by the presence of an outside agent.

On top of my innate disgust reaction, I have a sensory integration disorder, and experience considerable difficulty scooping dog droppings and cleaning cat boxes; changing diapers required considerable conscious overriding of that reaction. Sensory integration disorder goes along with a form of autism which some theorists postulate is the result of excess testosterone in utero, causing the development of an 'extreme male brain.' These factors ramp up my normal excrement aversion reaction by a large and significant degree.

I apologize if it was not clear that my 'viscerally and morally repulsive' comment was rooted in my own personal perceptions. At least two readers have apparently taken this as a personal insult, which was not intended.

That's the great thing about being a libertarian; I'm not a slave to my hardwired perceptions. As I stated in my previous comment, I would not advocate any initiation of force against people of any sexual orientation, my personal, visceral reaction notwithstanding.

I nonetheless insist on my right to feel this way, as much as I would insist on my right to dislike mayonnaise or parsnips. Civilized behavior requires me to tolerate others' behaviors but not necessarily to affirm them. Or, to put it in plainer language, do as you please, straight or gay, in your bedroom, but kindly draw the curtains.

When a culture starts insisting that people have the right to be free from offense, that dubious right can only be enforced by violating the more fundamental rights of free speech and free association. That sword has cut many people in the past, and it has a double edge; better to keep it out of the hands of the State.


mbuggieh 2 years ago

Your presumption that heterosexual males and females do not engage in the types of sexual acts which you associate with male homosexuality coupled with your suggestion that male aversion to such acts [as a function of some "hard wired" aversion to fecal matter] is an explanation for homophobia puzzle me.

I am no expert on heterosexuality, but I am also not so naïve as to believe that heterosexuals do not engage in sexual acts presumed to be the source of male homophobia.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I have to more or less go along with @Depwavid as to the "visceral", meaning "unbidden" reaction to male homosexual acts. With me, it is strong and swift, even hand holding sets my teeth on edge. Then my mind and reasoning takes over and squelches those feelings. I don't think I understood all of the science behind his explanation; mine is a bit simpler - it is a matter of survival of the species. I have talked to many women about this over my long life and found several who have no problem with man-on-man sex but do find woman-on-woman a bit disgusting.

The bottom line is there is a ton of genetic coding that goes into making us who we are, and it gets even more complicated when it is combined with environmental factors which, in many cases, is known to produce different outcomes with different alleles of the same gene. What makes up human sexuality is spread over a myriad of genes. probably over several chromosomes leading to a whole spectrum of outcomes, just like political leanings.


IndependentMind profile image

IndependentMind 2 years ago

Interesting and comprehensive article. The comments are also diverse and passionate. What fascinates me is that the subject of a person's sexual preferences is so pervasive in our society.

We spend way too much time on worrying about, and judging, what other people do in the privacy of their bedrooms, as if it is actually any of our business in the first place.

I am proud to say i scored a whopping score of zero on the assessment polling.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I appreciate you taking time to read the hub and take the survey; I am glad you found it interesting.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

My Esoteric, this is a most interesting Hub, thank you.

Previously in my posts, I was only reacting to other posters, without having read fully through your writings, and without having looked at the survey, let alone taken it.

Now, please excuse me for taking it. I am not America, obviously, but on the world scene I represent an ordinary person, presumably you would agree on this. So, I took the survey as if I was American.

My score was 19. In case it is of any value to your assessment, I am male, 72, born in Britain. Is this in any way significant to the statistics?


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

@Jonny, thank you very much for participating. Actually where you live doesn't matter much; the population I am actually measuring are people who 1) visit Hubpages, 2) have enough interest in this area to read this hub, 3) like to take surveys, and 4) doesn't mind reporting results even though they know what the survey was for.

So long as the test taker understands the philosophy behind Republican-leaning and Democrat-leaning and can adapt their own philosophy to one of those categories, then we are good to go. I created this survey years ago; today, I would use terms like conservative and liberal or progressive. What is important to which survey, R-leaning or D-leaning, you reported your 19 in.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

D - leaning which does not surprise me.

This also gives me better understanding of the RW christian people in these hubs and realise most of them can't help it.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

It is mostly a wiring thing. Keep in mind, RWA is about ones propensity to obey authority figures a particular person accepts as being legitimate; it isn't just any ol' authority figure. The higher one scores on the scale, the more one is "apt", not guaranteed, to follow the leader without questioning why. I have been around military in one fashion or another most of my life, so I have been surrounded by authority figures and I tended to obey them, but not without thinking about it first (except in Vietnam). Nevertheless, I score, depending on how I feel that day, between 20 and 30.

I think scoring very low has as many drawbacks as scoring very high, for given what this measures, very low scores, it would seem to me, indicate an anarchistic streak, which is just as disruptive to a stable society.


mbuggieh 2 years ago

I got a 5, but am rather conservative and very stable. I just don't like arbitrary rules...;)


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

There you go :-) Basically, I think that means you think for yourself and probably don't parrot bumper stickers and sound bites unless you truly believe in them. (I wonder if you aren't libertarian, rather than conservative.)

Thanks for partaking, @mbuggieh


IndependentMind profile image

IndependentMind 2 years ago

Wow. So i am considered an anarchist. That cannot be further from the truth.

Your first question, or statement, cannot be answered as it stands. It is totally contradictory within itself. {"Established authorities generally turn out to be right about things, radicals/protestors are loud mouths and ignorant."}

One cannot agree, or disagree, with both at the same time, as they are totally unrelated. So the only correct response would be 'neutral'.

The other questions are designed to make a person pick a level of agreement but by doing so it puts that person into a specific mental (and judgmental) category. And none of the categories are acceptable to those of us who do not wish to belong to either sides of a losing battle.

It is necessary to have laws and rules to follow, but those rules must encompass every person equally, and making decisions based on any level of either side is doing nothing more than agreeing that any kind of slanted point of view is acceptable to everyone.

It certainly is not. Basic human rights as written in our constitution cannot be categorized by degrees. But rights given people for "speech", "religion", "owning guns" and others, are certainly not subject to the same level of blanket policy as the basic human rights of equality such as......"life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, etc....", that cannot be contingent on whether those pursuits are 'acceptable' by all, or not.

We tend to confuse the concept of basic human rights with the rule of the majority. Those 2 are also totally distinct from one another. The constitution never intended for the majority to be able to decide whether basic human rights would be given to one group of people and denied to another.

So, when someone scores a 0% it is incorrect to assume that it means that person favors anarchy over "middle of the road" common sense.

Having an independent mind certainly is far from anarchy.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

No, I am just wondering about the significance of scoring 1 or 2, I can't remember if there is a zero, on a survey designed to test ones attitude to submitting to authority. I haven't read anything to suggest anarchism would be the case, but to me, it seems to be the other end of the spectrum. I could easily be wrong.

What you say is true, but it is the sum of the scores that drives the result, not any individual question. Take the first one you mention; Professor Altemeyer designs it that way on purpose. There are people who actually agree with both statements and people who disagree with both statements. Most people fall in-between somewhere with varying degrees of certitude. Each answer carries a different weight.

The result is more or less the sum of the weighted answers.

Actually, I take back what I said about anarchy after having reviewed the questions in responding to your other part; most of the questions have nothing to do with that, sorry. One track minds are a dangerous thing.


IndependentMind profile image

IndependentMind 2 years ago

L.O.L. after i posted the comments i wondered if they would be construed as ranting or not. thanks for not taking offense to them.

After i took the assessment quiz it said: congratulations you scored a 0%. When you look at the questions they do in fact cancel each other out if one either totally agrees, or disagrees with each of them.

For me there was no consideration of anything in between since i try to always see things from a total 'middle of the road' point of view; or with an "independent mind" view of life.

I have always thought that not belonging to any group, or category was preferable, but never considered that being totally neutral is, in itself, a category too. I surely never considered that being neutral would be defined as anarchist. l.0.l.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

This, again, is an amazing amount of work. (Do you eat and sleep at all?) You know, of course, that the quiz is squewed simply by who chooses to take it, but it is still interesting. Being a southern, religious, military person, I always alter the curve when researchers attempt to generalize about demographics because I fall more into the Independent/Democratic category in spite of my personal history. I'm sure it has something to do with my years being a professional journalist.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Hi again, Kathleen, thank you. Yes, I get my eight hours but I can watch TV and do this simultaneously, most of the time, lol.

Yes, I'm aware of the bias that introduces, I think I address this somewhere in the hub. So, the raw results only reflect the population of readers, quite biased in itself, who don't mind taking survey's, more limited yet. That is why I ask the additional question about how they lean politically (I wish hubpages allowed my to ask that in the same question without exploding the number of questions asked). Anyway, with that information, I can remove quite a bit of the bias out of the results.

Actually you probably don't alter the curve, so long as the researchers are drawing their sample according the rules and then make conclusions relative to whatever population that survey is examining and not anything more general than that.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I just went back and looked at how I asked for the results to be reported. Normally I ask a 2nd question on political leaning like I said; then I can do some math to remove a lot of bias.

In effect, I took out a lot of the bias, so long as people reported honestly, by asking each major political group to report separately. The reason there is little bias in this method is from the answer I am seeking - "Is there a statistically significant difference in the distribution between the two groups"; clearly there is.

The bias that does exists is limited to those who took the survey but didn't report because they didn't like the answer it gave. So, if anything, the two distributions are skewed to the low side.


bradmaster from orange county ca 2 years ago

My Esoteric

You realize that when you use the term wing, you are describing a political bird that can't fly.

You wrote

1 Fear: RWAs are afraid of many things. It can be said that many people are afraid of many different things, but RWAs carry this to the next level of irrational fear, even when there is no factual basis for it. They are afraid that Obama is a Socialist, a Communist, or will become a dictator;

bm:

One of the things about intelligence is that the smart people don't have to touch the burner on the stove to know that it is dangerous to touch it..

Obama has in the last two years since you wrote this hub exhibited many of the signs of these fears.

---------

You wrote

they are afraid of teaching secular science to our youth, they are deathly afraid the burgeoning national debt will spell the end of America; t

bm:

The government spending has finally been lowered, but by the republicans.

-------

You wrote

they are afraid that a single regulation on guns will lead to a total prohibition of gun ownership in America, and the list goes on. No amount of reasoning or facts will dissuade high scoring RWAs of their fears so long as their Authoritarian leaders tell them to be afraid.

bm:

A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. It is like our privacy that has been chipped away for decades.

--------

You wrote

Self-Righteous: If you run into someone who appears inordinately self-righteous, then you are probably observing a snob or a RWA follower. If that self-righteousness takes on a holy-than-thou or "more patriotic than thou" flavor, then most likely you have a high scoring RWA.

bm:

You need specific examples to sustain this assumption.

---------

You wrote

Dogmatism: This characteristic is a clear signal a person is likely to be a high scoring RWA, whether on the extreme Right or the extreme Left. What they are told to believe is set in stone and nothing short of a nuclear blast is going to move them from their core beliefs. All of the provable, clear, certain facts in the world will not change an RWAs mind. If, for example, Rush Limbaugh says 1 plus 1 now equals three because 1 plus 1 equals 2 is a left-wing liberal subversive plot to destroy America, the RWA will, until Rush says differently, believe 1 plus 1 equals 3 and will do his or her best to twist and turn their logic and arguments to support this view.

bm:

Really reaching in this one.

These are basic traits endowed by politicians period.


bradmaster from orange county ca 2 years ago

My Esoteric

You wrote

Authoritarian Submission :This is the characteristic I just described in Milgram's experiment. If we are talking politics, however, instead of Teacher-Learner, what this means is that whatever people like Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, Senator Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Bohner, or Representative Bachmann from Minnisota have to say, it becomes gospel, it is simply the Truth to those who follow them. No further thought or reasoning by the listener is needed for the authority has spoken, if the listener is a high-scoring RWA. In religious terms, this might be the late Jerry Fawell, the late Jim Jones, the late Martin Luther, the Pope, any evangelical or fundamentalist preacher. RWAs will accept, without questioning its reasonableness, what is said, they will repeat it, and they will defend it.

bm:

This is no different than the left, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton. Obama, and all the black voters that vote in the high ninety percent for any democrat.

------------

You wrot

Hositility:RWAs frequently become hostile when confronted. It is not because they are naturally mean, far from it. It has more to do with extreme frustration with their inability to logically defend their positions, which are often contradictory. Because they accept their position as gospel from their SD authoritarian leaders, they have not reasoned through why this position makes sense. So, when questioned about it, all they are left with are slogans and anger. There were many examples of this hostility at many of the Town Hall meetings held around the country leading up to the November 2010 elections.

bm:

I don't see this as being any different than exhibited by the loyal democrats. Have you not heard Nancy Pelosi speak?

----------

You wrot

"Biggest Problem" Syndrome: RWAs tend to focus on the Big Problem of the day, be it drugs, the liberal take-over of America, the national debt, drugs, or other such crisis conjured up by their Social Domintor leaders.

bm:

Is this any better than the democrats putting healthcare ahead of the economy in 2009. The TARP and the Stimulus were not sufficient as evidenced by the FRB investing hundred of billions of dollars into the same poisoned derivatives that brought down the economy.

The wild goose chase of spending two years on PPACA that is barely visible four years after it was passed, and yet the economy is still very weak.

The more that people think of congress as their local sports team and continue to be loyal to that team when they haven't won a game.

Partisan loyalty is in my opinion the root cause of the steady decline of the US over the last sixty years.

-------------------

You wrote

Compartmentalized Thinking: RWAs accept what they are told; lock, stock, and barrel, and file it away in their memory; this is a function of taking their lead from their Social Dominator Authoritarian leaders. Many of these positions end up being contradictory with each other or with reality, but, that is OK, because all of the ideas, since they are not processed mentally and only memorized, are not integrated in that persons thinking.

bm:

Once again, this is a common trait for loyal party voters of both parties.

--------

You wrote

Therefore, you have an individual who ends up believing they are living under an Obama/Democratic dictatorship with no rights at all while, at the same time, expressing their opinion about this by freely using their 1st Amendment rights.

bm:

You are using circular arguments and ones that are not contained only by the RWA. The old adage that the democrats are for the poor, and the republicans are for the rich makes the poor vote for the democrats, and the rich vote for the republicans.

This causes a problem for the middle class because they are in between the rich and the poor. But the federal government comes to their rescue as they are dissolving the middle class into the poor.

Neither party has the solution to moving the country forward, and the country will not be able to move forward until partisan worship is taken down by intelligent voting. Then once their choices are in office, they need to hold them to the fire, and if their choice didn't help the country, then these politicians shouldn't be kept in office based purely on partisan loyalty of the voter.

Voting Row A or Row B is not an intelligent choice, and it wasn't an intelligent choice to buy bundled derivatives that were filled with bad paper.

-----------


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

@Bradmaster, most of what you say is true ... for high scoring RWAs ... and I point out as much in the Hub. You can be a high scoring RWA whether you are Left or Right, but study after study, including this one, show the incidence of high scorers occur preponderantly, but not exclusively, among those on the Right side of the political spectrum, and that is what this hub is intended to demonstrate.

Also, keep in mind in your calculus that in today's unequal world, the middle class, relative to the rich, are no longer "middle class" like they were in the 60s and 70s. Instead, they are closer to the very well-off poor class (if there is such a thing) of that era. Today, my step-daughter and her husband with two kids are smack dab in the middle of the middle class. Both work, one as a mechanic and the other for cheapskate FL. They are really struggling, but the struggle part is their fault, bad money management. If, however, they managed their money properly and wanted what one thinks middle class families should be able to afford, they couldn't. In order to put away for a good retirement and a nice vacation once a year, they would have to budget very carefully on everything else to able to afford that. A real "middle class" family shouldn't have to struggle like that; and they didn't back in the 60s and 70s. It wasn't until the wealthy took all their money by increasing their own wages, but not to any below them, did the middle class start moving to the poor status. Further, the tax law was changed so that some of that ill gotten wealth wasn't transferred back to the original owners to help bring them back to middle class status.

The adage you refer to may be old, but it is also very true.


bradmaster from orange county ca 2 years ago

My Esoteric

You wrote

@Bradmaster, most of what you say is true ... for high scoring RWAs ... and I point out as much in the Hub. You can be a high scoring RWA whether you are Left or Right, but study after study, including this one, show the incidence of high scorers occur preponderantly, but not exclusively, among those on the Right side of the political spectrum, and that is what this hub is intended to demonstrate.

bm:

Without any real specifics, the hub is really your general opinion. There is nothing to compare.

My solution would be to clip the wings at the extreme of each side.

-------

You wrote

Also, keep in mind in your calculus that in today's unequal world, the middle class, relative to the rich, are no longer "middle class" like they were in the 60s and 70s. Instead, they are closer to the very well-off poor class (if there is such a thing) of that era. Today, my step-daughter and her husband with two kids are smack dab in the middle of the middle class. Both work, one as a mechanic and the other for cheapskate FL. They are really struggling, but the struggle part is their fault, bad money management. If, however, they managed their money properly and wanted what one thinks middle class families should be able to afford, they couldn't. In order to put away for a good retirement and a nice vacation once a year, they would have to budget very carefully on everything else to able to afford that. A real "middle class" family shouldn't have to struggle like that; and they didn't back in the 60s and 70s. It wasn't until the wealthy took all their money by increasing their own wages, but not to any below them, did the middle class start moving to the poor status. Further, the tax law was changed so that some of that ill gotten wealth wasn't transferred back to the original owners to help bring them back to middle class status.

bm:

True, but the government, both parties have not done anything to stop the slide of the middle class. And for the left, it is recruiting with handout to them, to get their vote.

As I mentioned elsewhere, the credit card debts incurred by the average citizen are shackles that prevent good money management. A small purchase that is not paid off in a timely manner incurs a huge interest debt that is made huge because of the high interest rates on credit cards.

At the end of the year, these small purchases add up, and if they are not paid off monthly, the card user is paying for the interest on interest. This is a problem that congress, and the SC ignore to the detriment of the card users.

Without the credit cards many purchases would not be possible. So when you look at the GDP try and factor in how those numbers would change if credit cards were not used for most purchases.

--------

The adage you refer to may be old, but it is also very true.

bm:

And I believe it is the wrong one to follow now, and back then.

It is like faith is to religion, and neither use the intelligence of the human brain. It is more akin to training animals, simple thoughts that can easily be followed. Vote Row X.


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 23 months ago from Oklahoma

Wonderfully written.

I really appreciate the way you break down the psychology of things and keep an even keel.

I'm always taken aback by how much fear plays a role in people jumping to the illogical, and it's these insane belief systems based on positively know critical thought at all that actually wind up making things scary.

Great read


smnoman profile image

smnoman 23 months ago

You have published a awesome article. Thanks for sharing it.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 23 months ago

I am anxious to read this, but time does not permit it at the moment, I have I have it bookmarked. I will read it as soon as possible.

Shyron


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 23 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

BM - "Without any real specifics, the hub is really your general opinion. There is nothing to compare."

ME - Actually, it is not, and the survey proves it; which is why I put it in there. But, in any case, google Altemeyer-RWA to get to the authority.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 23 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

@Larry and Smnoman, thanks for taking the time to read. Truly understanding this one and the one on Social Dominators (SDOs) is, I think, critical to understanding why the far Left and far Right are uncompromising and will never figure out what the other is talking about. If one or both assume political power in their respective Parties, gridlock is guaranteed in a divided government.

If one or the other assumes all three, or even worse, four levers of gov't, i.e., Congress, Executive, and heaven help us, the Judicial, then disaster is sure to follow. In the 2000s, it was the Great Recession; in the 1960s-70s, it was runaway "welfare" which led to a culture of dependence for a small, but highly visible, percentage of Americans that plaques us politically and economically today. Even though that percentage has been drastically reduced, the political fall-out has not.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 23 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

@Shyeon, thanks for stopping by, I hope you get time to read; as I just said, I think it is one of the most important hubs I have written.


adamschwartz profile image

adamschwartz 23 months ago from Syracuse NY, USA

Thanks for the great hub, As someone trained both in Philosophy and as a mental health clinician, it united two areas of profound interest to me, political philosophy and personality traits. The cognitive dissonance I see in many of my otherwise intelligent friends when it comes time to discuss politics has always baffled me. This hub gave some valuable insights.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 23 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks for reading @Adam. I am happy you found the hub useful for it validates the purpose in creating it.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 23 months ago

This is an interesting article. Everyone should read it. I do have issues with the test:

4/22 Gays and lesbians are just as healthy and moral as anybody else.

A. Being Gay does not change who a person is. And being anybody else does not make one healthy and moral.

7/22 Q. To defeat the crisis ahead is to return to old values, elect tough leaders, and quiet troublemakers spreading bad ideas.

A. By whose assessment is someone a troublemaker, and anyone’s idea bad.

14/22 What our country really needs is a strong, determined leader who will crush evil, and take us back to our true path.

A. I have an aversion to the statement “taking us back.” That to me implies that no matter what happened in the past (good, bad or otherwise) is better than what we have now or what we can look forward to in the future.

17/22 Many radical/immoral people today are trying to ruin us for their own godless purposes; authorities should stop them now

A. What is a Radical? Does being radical make one immoral?

19/22 Honor the ways of our forefathers, follow authorities, and getting rid of “rotten apples” leads to National greatness.

A. How does one answer such a question? Who determines who is a rotten apple? I know that most “Right-Wing Authoritarians” consider ALL Liberals/Democrats/Progressives, rotten apples.

Voted up, UAI and shared,

I enjoyed the article

Shyron


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 23 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I appreciate you coming back to read and contemplate the article @Shyron. There are no right and wrong answers to any of the questions. Depending one one's values, the questions can make sense or sound ridiculous. Just to pick on one example you offer ... "going back".

What you said is perfectly reasonable you people who see the world as you or I do; we are on the Left side of the fence, after all. But Conservatives, think "conserve". don't think change, or a least rapid change, is a very good thing at all. "Going back" to the way things were that had been established by tradition and law makes all the sense in the world. Change, which Conservatives do not oppose btw, must happen with much careful thought and slowly.

By looking at the two distributions, you can clearly see that people see each question in different lights, based on their philosophies.


Amanda 22 months ago

There's a soundtrack here? I never heard a peep; need to check my stetings. On something. Somewhere. anyway The second graph, Percentage Change in Family Incomes, was difficult for me to understand, and that made me half-tune-out most of the rest. Dubya's tax policies WERE his economic policies and they were the most irresponsible policies sinc Reagan's. Aitch Dub had it right when he called Reaganomics Voodoo Economics but true to family form, sociopathic lust for power and position, he sold what was left of his soul by renouncing reality, suspending disbelief and common sense and embracing the fantasy. When a person sells something that they don't believe, that IS evil.Obama has his finger in the dike. He's temporarily slowed the hemorrhaging of jobs, but has failed to reverse the ongoing trend of another Voodoo invention, The Jobless Recovery. Jobs are not creted out of thin air. They aren't created by rich people bored with sitting on their money. They are created by demend. Most of all though, no matter how many might be created, they must be retained, and this is done by underlying economic policy, not tax policy or stimulus packages. The economic policies of the conservatards, especially since Reagan, do not inject money into the economy, they draw money out. Wall Street is a DRAIN with their financial innovations that go far beyond stocks and bonds. We have an economy where money does not chase goods as in previous times too much money chasing too few goods equals inflation we have an economy where money chases money: a Paper Chase, unlike the movie. Nothing is created; nothing is left behind; when the value of the paper disappears, there is no collateral beyond more paper. THAT is why they need our social security trust fund.Unless Obama can change this fundamental policy, this Paper Chase, and I see no evidence that ha desires to do so, nothing else he does will matter. We WILL have a depression.


Bella 22 months ago

Ah, i see. Well th'ats not too tricky at all!"


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 21 months ago

I have this bookmarked, so I can come back and read it over and over again.

I love this.. Voted-up across the board and shared.

Blessings and Hugs dear friend.

Shyron


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 21 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

We have such strong differences of political convictions in America these days. I think one of the reasons for this is that we too often look to our government to reflect our religion back to us. A difference of opinion is taken as a personal attack to our core beliefs. The purpose of a party's platform is not to inflict one religion on another person who believes differently. It should be to elevate the opportunities in America for every citizen no matter what they believe religiously.


Straw Man 4 months ago

Hi! I realize I'm two years late, but I just discovered Altmeyer's book and am reading it with delight. A bit of googling around led me to your page.

I'm not a sophisticated stats person, but I ran your survey results through Bayes' theorem and found that, for your respondents, someone scoring above 50% on the RWA instrument has a 71% chance of self-identifying as Republican, and a 20% chance of identifying as Democrat. Similarly, someone scoring below 51% on the instrument has a 27% chance of being Republican, 69% of being Democrat.

This, unlike your analysis above, can clearly not be extrapolated beyond your survey, because your respondents were self-selected and D's outnumber R's by about 2 to 1. The R's that take your survey are probably the ones less likely to get high scores on the RWA instrument. I'd guess it's not a terrible first approximation at least.

I'm interested in this as a recovering right-winger and Fundie (my score was 3%, BTW, on the instrument, for what that's worth, which isn't much). Altmeyer is at pains to say that RWAs can be politically left or right, but he contrasts not R's and D's, but R's and Russian Communists. In other parts of his book he appears to equate RWAs and the political right wing. This may be partly because Bush was president when he wrote it, so "the authorities" at the time were also right-wing.

What I notice, though, is that Obama has continued many of Bush's worst policies--for example, continuing and greatly escalating the drone killings--while my new-found fellows on the moderate/left end of the political spectrum seem to be in denial. Obama claimed to want to shut down Gitmo, but his proposals involved moving the torture elsewhere rather than stopping it. Many liberals seem to give him credit for his stated good intentions, rather than the actual content of his proposals...

In short, today "the authorities" are Democrats, and I'm seeing the same sort of apologies for them as I saw for Bush. Perhaps not the same magnitude; I have no metrics on that. But the pattern is familiar. My perception is that RWAs on the political left and right are distinguished by which "authorities" they regard as "legitimate," but not by their compartmentalization, willingness to believe what they want to hear, etc.

I'd like to understand this better, because I'm not interested in moving from one brand of RWA culture to its equal and opposite. (I replied as an "Independent" to your poll above.)


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 weeks ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I assume you are referring to "The Authoritarian". If so, I think you may be missing Altemeyer's point a bit. The fundamental purpose of his work is to determine what it is about people who are willing to follow authoritarian figures as compared to those who don't. Milgram showed that some people will follow an authority figure well beyond the point they would normally make a different decision own their own. Altemeyer has taken the next step.

So, he began looking for what kind of personal characteristics are common, if any, within each group. Once developed he applies to political orientation. BTW, the term "right-wing" doesn't come from Bush are anybody else. It comes from "one of its earliest meanings, for in

Old English “riht”(pronounced “writ”) as an adjective meant lawful, proper, correct, doing what the authorities said." (from The Authoritarian)

Once established, Altemeyer applied his findings to the political arena all over the world.

Your application to President Obama is, I think, dead wrong. First, the view of the use of drones depends on your definition of self-defense, doesn't it. If you want to wait for the terrorists to build and get stronger while we watch and then react when they attack, e.g. bin Laden.

That is not my idea of self-defense. To me, self-defense is a good offense and a good offensive is killing or capturing the terrorist who are going to kill you and yours; and that is what the drone program does with as few civilian casualties; much fewer, btw, that what we might suffer from another attack or actual warfare in a foreign location.

What makes you think the prisoners in Gitmo are being tortured in any manner, other than being incarceration. Please show me those sources. What PBO wants to do is jail them in America in supermax prisons. Rs and some Ds say "not in my back yard". PBO promised to close Gitmo, but Congress refuses to let him, so he is forced to release a growing number to other nations under various conditions.

His work clearly shows Ds are not, by and large, RWA's or SDOs. That is not in question from his work. But you are correct, the high scoring Rs and Ds do worship different authorities. If you look back on the questions I asked, or any of the other RWA surveys out there, ask yourself, does how you answered fit your impressions of how Ds believe. If you say a lot, then there you have it, Ds are, to a large degree, low scoring RWAs. If some one answered the opposite you did, then that will reflect how high scoring Rs and Ds answer with the majority of them being Rs.

I will have to look at Bayes' Theorem vis-a-vis my survey; your findings are very interesting.

From another hub I wrote on Meyers-Briggs, I found that most of the people who read my hubs are introverted (by a large margin), intuitive, thinkers. That probably holds true for this hub as well.

You might read or reread the section above titled "A WORD ABOUT THE ABOVE SURVEY RESULTS". It explains why the results I get, with enough observations, are realistic and can be extrapolated if you understand I am comparing distributions to see if there is a significant difference between the two. While the distribution of Ds and Rs may not be individually precise, their difference is. Clearly, the Rs have a higher RWA score than the Ds do. (While I don't need to, there are techniques to compensate for the kind of error that is introduced on the R side that you pointed out.)

If you read the Hub on SDOs, the distinction between the two are even more drastic.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 weeks ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Also, Straw Man, keep in mind, re: "because I'm not interested in moving from one brand of RWA culture to its equal and opposite" that Ds are much, much more likely NOT to blindly follow their chosen leader with no critical analysis than your average R.


jackclee lm profile image

jackclee lm 8 days ago from Yorktown NY

The reason Trump won is because the people rejected the progressive policies of the last 8 years. In fact, any Republican candidate would win a landslide in 2016.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 8 days ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Losing by over 2 million votes does not a landslide make. The same is true by barely squeaking by on electoral votes; which are now being questioned.

By being against progressive policies, that means, had you been alive, you would have opposed the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, and 26th Amendments? Each deals with expanding the liberty (the root of liberal) of individual citizens.

Specifically, conservatives (we aren't talking about Ds or Rs here, just political philosophy) opposed the 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 21st, and 23rd amendments. My guess is they opposed the 17th as well.


jackclee lm profile image

jackclee lm 8 days ago from Yorktown NY

Don't bring up history to defend the current administration. The past 8 years is what's on the ballot and that even Obama agrees before the election. Checkout this -

http://hubpages.com/politics/The-Bigger-Story-Behi...

It is a landslide by any measure...


jackclee lm profile image

jackclee lm 8 days ago from Yorktown NY

My esoteric, I don't wish to debate you on this Thansgiving day.

Leave it to another day.

Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday. Giving thanks to our creator with all our blessings once a year is a great tradition.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 8 days ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

You have a great one as well, Jackclee


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 8 days ago from Tasmania

A question for you from a foreign spectator:

If a very patriotic American is a-theist, to whom does he/she give thanks at Thanksgiving?

If you are theist, do you give equal respect to your a-theist compatriot?


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 8 days ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I assume you meant atheist and not a theist.

I presume an atheist gives thanks to no supernatural entity but may give thanks to the Universe, if they give thanks to anything. Maybe they could give thanks to their parents who brought them into this world ... although that leaves the question of where do you stop that train of thought.


jackclee lm profile image

jackclee lm 4 days ago from Yorktown NY

The answer is they don't celebrate this Holiday as most others. They want to make it a secular holiday to be about the turkey and the Indians and the Fall harvest...anything to avoid the God aspect which is central to this holiday. The public school, does their best to teach a secular view. They will thank everything and anything as long it is not about the Creator.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 days ago from Tasmania

Are you saying that your God is the focus of your thanks?


jackclee lm profile image

jackclee lm 4 days ago from Yorktown NY

Yes, this Holiday is very specific. It was created by George Wasington, our first President, as a day set aside to offer thanks to our God for the many blessings He bestowed on our nation. Did you miss this lession in school?


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 days ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Yes, Washington was the first "President" to declare the last Thursday of Nov 1798 as a day for people to thank God, the Christian one in this case. He did it again in 1795. John Adams continued this nascent tradition, but not necessarily Christian, in 1798 and 1799.

Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, did not recognize this day during his eight years. Madison picked up once in 1814. The celebration lay dormant until Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Every President after that declared a national holiday annually until Congress codified it in 1941.

Only Washington, Cleveland, and McKinley specifically made is a Christian holiday; several others put in Judeo-Christian terms. The rest did not and encompassed all religions.

In the end Congress made Thanksgiving a public (not religious) holiday on par with New Years Day through July 4th through Christmas ... just a public holiday.

https://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/than...

I find it odd that throughout most of our history, Thanksgiving was celebrated on a hit 0r miss basis.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 days ago from Tasmania

Jackclee, with great respect I am viewing this discussion as a spectator. It is not my place to argue the politics of you country; that would be impertinent.

However, the presumptions that America has a christian/religious prerogative to save the the world and its people from itself is a dangerous one. Britain has used it before before you; so has the Roman Catholic church; and other christian denominations in recent history.

You are entitled to your beliefs like anyone else. But to imply those beliefs must be held by others is wrong. Because it's a political ploy, nothing to do with personal faith.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working