Daily Archives: April 20, 2009

The Origins of Political Hate

Over the last twenty years the social sciences have made inroads into understanding bias and the forms of hatred that lead to discrimination and overt mistreatment of minority groups. Two theories emerge as being particularly helpful in understanding these virulent forms of intergroup prejudice: Right wing Authoritarianism (via the work of Altemeyer and colleagues) and Social Dominance Orientation (from the work of Jim Sidanius and Felicia Pratto).

The authoritarian personality construct developed by Reich and others in the 1940s, was an appealing theory that offered promise in understanding the Fascism that developed internationally in the 1930s. Reich’s authoritarian personality theory had its empirical and measurement limitations and was pretty much abandoned by the 1980s. Altemeyer in the 1990s revived this theory and developed empirically defensible methods of measuring a construct related to Reich’s, which Altemeyer termed Right-Wing Authoritarianism. During the same decade, Sidanius and Pratto developed their construct of Social Dominance Orientation which arose from their Sociological theory, Social Dominance Theory.

People who scored high on Altemeyer’s Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) scale

  • tended to be submissive to authority (they did not like to take charge);

  • were punative to those who were considered unconventional and minority groups;

  • were more conventional in their attitutes and behavior regarding issues such as sex, religion, and social customs.

Also according to Altemeyer, authoritarians are more accepting of illegal acts by government officials such as wire-taps, and searches without warrents. In one survey authoritarians expressed belief that Nixon was innocent of wrong-doing. Interestingly in mock jury experiements, authoritarians tend to be more punative to unconventional type defendants but more lenient with “establishment-type” white collar offenders. Authoritarianism is a quite strong and direct predictor of prejudice and discrimination.

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Filed under GLBT Rights, hate groups, libertarians, Radical Rightwing groups, Republicans, Research, World Politics

Moran v. Tiahrt: The Freepers Share Their Thoughts [sic]

I found an interesting summary and comparison of Tiahrt [man, spelling that name always bothers me] and Moran on this Free Republic site.  They see the two candidates as  essentially equal in terms of conservative credibility.  I contend that Tiahrt wins on conservative ideology hands down over Moran – so I see this GOP primary race a little differently.

The Freeper folks were starting to lead me into questioning my position until I read this sentence:  “At the same time, Tiahrt has written fundraising letters claiming that he will not run or hide from a tough challenge, while strongly inferring that his opponent will.”

Anyone who has ever read anything I ‘ve written will  know that I fall way short of qualifying for a position on the grammar/spelling police force, but  even failing undergraduates know the difference between “imply” and “infer”, do they not?

Iggy Donnelly

What to you fellow bloggers think? …  any non-monitary wagers on how this race will come out?


Filed under Other blogs, Primary Elections, Republicans

What’s really behind Obama’s so-called “irresponsible” behavior with foreign leaders?


“Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, told CNN Sunday it was “irresponsible” for President Obama to have been seen “laughing and joking” with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas on Friday.

“This is a person who is one of the most anti-American leaders in the entire world,” Ensign told CNN’s John King on State of The Union. “He is a brutal dictator and human rights violations are very, very prevalent in Venezuela. And you have to be careful.”

“When you’re talking about the prestige of the United States and the presidency of the United States, you have to be careful who you’re seen joking around with,” he also said.”

But is Sen. John Ensign correct in his assumption, or is this just another attack on Obama and his attempts at reconciling America’s position as a world leader after the failed Bush doctrine of slamming the door on political negotiations? My personal thoughts are by opening dialog with known socialist leaders, like Chavez, he is limiting Chavez’s attempts to portray the United States as the fall guy for everything wrong with his (Chavez) country. If the people of these oppressed countries see an American President opening up lines of communication, that have previously been shut down, won’t they have to take a second look at what we stand for?

Bush’s policy of no relation has done this country no good at all, and set back whatever gains we may have made over the years by years, if not decades. Nothing good can come from non-relations, but good things can come from open dialog.



Filed under Diplomacy, Political Reform, Republicans

Monday, 04/20/09 Public Square



Filed under The Public Square