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
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.
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.
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!
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.
It's a good book but why isn't his theory more widely accepted or well known? From a research standpoint Dr. Altermeyer has done the research about as well as it can be done. The whole analysis about how the different personality types conduct War Games is splendid. Also, personality research is a notoriously fishy subject due to the fact that you only get out what you put in, but I still can't help but wonder why his theory and research isn't more widely accepted in the academic world? This is important stuff. It seems to me that this particular subject is important and especially relevant because it answers several important questions like: how do we get ourselves into messy wars, and how do we end up with tyrannical leaders like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Obama, and George Bush? It can also tell you where Islamic fundamentalists and Islamic terrorist come from. Personally, I think Dr. Altermeyer is not accepted as credible because his research calls into question and draws attention to things that the mainstream academic powers that be don't want people to know or think about. Because if people did become more aware of the things that are in Dr. Altermeyer's book then they wouldn't be so easily brainwashed by politicians on the left or the right.
Yeah, so read this book at your own risk. Once the corporatist state finds out that you know the truth you will end up in a FEMA camp. I'll see you there :-)
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.
A confirmation and deepening of my understanding of why people accept the drivel which is the currency of American politics. However, in my opinion the author would have better served my needs, and his own, if he had omitted the political analysis. One other comment is that the treatment of the research results was too narrowly applied to American politics, and greater contrasts with international actors would have been very welcome.
"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.
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