In the nonfiction audiobook The Authoritarians, psychologist Bob Altemeyer shares his research on the aggressive and hostile nature of the authoritarian personality and the rise of the Right-Wing Authoritarian personality in the United States. He wrote the book in 2006, during George W. Bush’s second term as president. In a clear and direct voice, Altemeyer performs his own fascinating work. He details how authoritarianism is destroying traditional conservatism and what this means for the future of American politics and democracy.
The foreword is provided by John W. Dean, former Nixon White House counsel and New York Times best-selling author.
©2008 Bob Altemeyer; (P)2008 Bob Altemeyer
Sited by John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience" (another recommended book), Altemeyer summarizes his studies for non-academic reading. This psychological study explains Authoritarian followers and leaders on today's political scene.
This turned out to be one of my favorite Audible books so far along with The Drunkards Walk. How Randomness Rules our Lives. I think it's actually an important book that's been flying below the radar because it wasn't commercially published. At least not at first, it may be now. Liberals, moderates, and conservatives alike, really need to read it. When you've finished you'll better understand not just Nazi Germany, but the IRA in Ireland, the Cultural Revolution under Mao, the war in Yugoslavia under Karadzic and even Pat Robertson. Explaining Pat Robertson is no small accomplishment but the authors index is the best explanation yet of radical Muslims as well. Have you ever wondered why there seems to be an endless supply of people willing to blow themselves up? Well that's because there is an endless supply and this book explains why that is. It all revolves around a way of thinking called the RWA index. RWA stands for Right Wing Authoritarian. An unfortunate title since it doesn't help his credibility with conservatives and conservatives need to read this as much as anyone. He chose this title I assume because in the US and Canada these people tend to gravitate to the political right more than the left but they're found on the left as well. A better title might have been the Muddle Headed Followers index. The index itself is politically neutral. Everyone knows a few of these of people. They're the ones in the office who don't reason from fact to opinion. Instead, they choose an opinion that fits the way they want the world to be, then select facts that support them. I personally know so many of these people I've begun to think that reasoning from fact to opinion must be something rare and difficult and maybe should be taught as a mandatory part of a civics class. It doesn't seem to come naturally in my area. But then look at where I'm from.
This is a good choice for your next audio book. It's about the psychology of politics, why certain people are so angry when they discuss politics. There is a certain mindset and it is explained here. Very very interesting and read by the author very well.
While Bob Altemayer's personal political stance is occasionally discernable from his analysis of data, and his investigation of the subject is quite America-centric, Altemayer provides us with a paradigm of surprising explanatory and even predictive power.
If you are interested in politics or psychology, I highly recommend this book. If you wind up taking offense at its presentation of scientific data, perhaps you need this book more than anyone. Authoritarianism is a potential danger to all of us, even on the individual level, and if you find you dislike hearing about it, it's a sure sign you need to listen more closely.
If you misinterpret the message of this book, you will find that it appears to be some professor trashing what appears to be single political groups. He isn't. The book does draw parallels between his theories on human behavior and current political issues, but if, upon reading this book, you find that he is getting too political, you are missing the message. These are observations, not opinions (for the most part).
I thought this might be a cheap audiobook because the cover looks like cheap computer generated graphics and clipart, but the inside is pure gold. It is read by the author, which in this case is a good thing because the author has a good speaking voice, has an infectious interest in the topic, and doesn't mind adding side quips that give it a conversational tone.
Besides the good audio, the subject matter and information are revelatory. I have often wished I had a good answer to why certain dogmatic people seem like they can't be reasoned with and this not only gives rational explanations, it also gives the backgrounds to the explanations for clear understanding. I'm glad I bought this audio book!
Whether you consider yourself left-wing, right-wing, tea party, this book is very informative. Without being judgmental, the author (who has been a psychologist conducting scientifically verifiable tests for ~40 years on the subject, with tens of thousands of individuals studied) shows what his research has revealed.
--------------------------------------------- Something to remember: the AUTHOR is right of center. He isn't a hippy or a huge left-winger. He is in an objective position to get objective data, and that's exactly what he does.
---------------------------------------------- I'm only halfway through the book and I already feel like I understand so much more about human nature, why people are the way they are. Seriously a life-changing listen.
One of the points made by Altemeyer is that right-wing authoritarians are viciously intolerant of ideas and opinions that do not confirm the ideas and opinions given them by their masters. Look at statements made by low-scoring reviewers of this book, and you'll see what he means.
Sad that the people who could benefit the most from this book are those who would take the greatest offense.
Yes The information is vital to understanding our future elected officials and their constituents.
The research and the results and how it impacts every one.
It was all very moving .
When John W Dean(you might want to Google that) witnessed some unconscionable behavior by some folks close to him, he sought out to try and explain and understand what exactly was going on. Dean has a lot of respect and close friendships with some very conservative people, one of them being Barry Goldwater (Google if you don't know ), who he wrote a very good book about. Dean had planned to write a book about conservatives and their conscience, with Goldwater but Barry became ill and passed before that could happen. Dean eventually decided to press on and while doing research he was drawn to Bob Altemeyer who was doing extensive research on authoritarianism. This research seemed to explain the behavior Dean was perplexed by. Dean befriended Altemeyer and drew from his research to complete his work. Altemeyer has been awarded the AAAS Prize for Behavioral Science Research but it doesn't seem he takes himself too seriously . The book was very informative, easy to absorb and enjoyable . It's very important materiel that might help some folks explain their own behavior or folks close to them . I chose the audible version of the book that Altemeyer himself narrates quite well and saved me some cash. I learned a lot from this material and recommend it to any and every one seeking a deeper understanding of politics, politicians and those who choose to follow them .
Bob is one of the (if not the principle) Authority on this topic, so you are getting it from the expert. The work of Bob Altemeyer is cited often in scholarly papers including 2 by John Jost, et al. He narrates his own work which allows him to take small liberties with the text and even expand on it somewhat. This also helps you get a feeling for the author's character and political positions.
This is very interesting and important material, regardless of your position. It demands acknowledgement and thoughtful dialog. I have read several authors discussing this topic, in particular Jost and Altemeyer who I do not feel were politically motivated (at least initially), as well as the popular book "The Republican Brain" by Chris Mooney which most likely has a political motive. Regardless, the descriptions of the surprising resistance to even such well verified science as relativity and many similarly untenable position by republicans are difficult to explain. The situation appears to require a broad based psychological explanation, and RWA (Right-Wing Authoritarians) and SDO (Social Dominance Orientation) does provide one possible explanation.
As Bob Altemeyer's book explains, the "Right-Wing" of the RWA did not refer to the political "Right-Wing" during the development, but later it was found that most of the extreme politically right republicans are very high on the RWA scale.
"Brilliant Study of a kind of thinking"
This is a very interesting account of a certain mindset which seem more prevalent in the USA than in Europe. Prof. Altemeyer brings a hint of humour to his own reading of this book, so you get a real feel for a scientist at work, as well as his findings over many years. I would be delighted if there were more of his books available on Audible, as they would bring important work to a wider public - especially in this US election year.
Report Inappropriate Content