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  •  Glad this included religious fundamentalism (5+ / 0-)

    I wonder if there are any studies correlating the authoritarian mind-set with lack of intellectual prowess.

    Are they, as a rule; dumb-asses?

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 11:01:58 AM PST

    •  No, absolutely not. (6+ / 0-)

      Some of the brightest folks I know have this mentality. It's about a lack of emotional maturity much more than a lack of raw knowledge or intellect. These folks basically never advanced past adolescence. It's like they're still 12 emotionally.

      Think how many middle school whiz kids you've ever known who could probably be Jeopardy contestants, now think of the foolish things they would sometimes do and say because they just didn't have the perspective and wisdom of an emotionally mature adult. That's what being an authoritarian is.

      You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

      by Eric Stratton on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 12:07:43 PM PST

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      •  Yes and no then (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Stratton, Larsstephens

        Emotionally stunted equates to "challenged" in my book, anyway.
        As does holding diametrically opposing opinions and judgments and not recognizing the fallacy of such thinking.

        Purposefully wearing blinders is not smart.

        Mostly due to upbringing in authoritarian households and churches I imagine.

        The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

        by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 01:42:56 PM PST

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        •  I agree, but... (3+ / 0-)

          it is a mistake to think  they're all just a bunch of mouth-breathing dumbasses. There are people like this who can get into the top schools in the nation. As the author points out, exposure to facts doesn't affect them. Why should memorization of facts matter?

          They'll tell their professors what they need to about Charles Darwin to get a passing grade, then go right on thinking he's part of an evil liberal conspiracy against Jesus.

          You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

          by Eric Stratton on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 01:47:44 PM PST

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          •  this thread (3+ / 0-)

            AP and ES - You're tapping into what is for me, one of the most fascinating aspects of the topic. It seems that the main thing that determines which end of the authoritarian dimension one lands is a function of how one comes to deal with novelty and conflict resolution. Andrea Kuszewski's article in Discover Magazine provides a window into this area. If one looks at what goes on in various parts of peoples' brains when they have to deal with novel situations or conflict resolution situations, it turns out that there are two different ways peoples' brains react. One way is when the primitive part of the brain that deals with threat/novelty/challenge controls a person's response. The other is when the part of the brain that evaluates risks and consequences controls the response. Contrast a knee-jerk reaction to a strategic response.

            We know that high RWAs do not do well in unfamiliar or challenging situations . . . From all of the literature available - from social psychology, political psychology, moral psychology, political neurophysiology and cognitive neurophysiology . . . nonauthoritarians have the cognitive functionality that allows them to deal with novel situations and come up with solutions on the fly. On the other hand, authoritarians have to respond reflexively. If they don't have a built-in response to the situation, they have to either turtle-up or fall back to the support of the in-group. It probably doesn't pass through their verbal processing unit, but situations for which they have no pre-programmed response are immediately threatening. Thus they have to fall back to their in-group.

            So the problem does not lie with their "factoid processing unit." They can be smart as hell. They could be Steven Hawkings, but if they are confronted with a situation for which they are not prepared, they're up the creek. And the more intelligent they are, the more they can appreciate how far up the creek they really are . . .

            As long as they are in a non-threatening situation and can stay on-script, they're fine. They just can't ad-lib.

            "The water won't clear up 'til we get the hogs out of the creek." -- Jim Hightower

            by lartwielder on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 12:38:19 AM PST

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      •  Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory (1+ / 0-)

        I've gotten into this show recently and he reminds me of some people I knew in school. Brilliant but emotionally stunted dicks.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:26:09 AM PST

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    •  correlation of authoritarian mindset with . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      Hola AP - Eric is right. As a matter of fact, one of the most paradoxical findings in the research on authoritarianism is that the smarter/more educated the authoritarian is, the more firmly intrenched they are in their (untenable) position. Altemeyer is a good source . . .

      "The water won't clear up 'til we get the hogs out of the creek." -- Jim Hightower

      by lartwielder on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 11:39:25 PM PST

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      •  Emotional intellect? (0+ / 0-)

        I'm unsure what the test should look like, but we sure should find a way to qualify who we put into positions of leadership. George W. Bush was a stunted man both intellectually and emotionally but we could run across a charismatic authoritarian with a fantastic intellect and elect an even worse sociopath.

        I suspect the men running Big Oil fall into this category.

        The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

        by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:40:58 AM PST

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    •  Not at all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10

      Many well-known dictators (who by definition were authoritarians) were brilliant in some way, e.g. Caesar, Napoleon, Lenin, Mao, Hitler. Also many non-dictatorial authoritarians like Hamilton and Jefferson. And it clearly crosses ideological lines.

      And we've all met or know of authoritarian geniuses in non-political contexts, e.g. Edward Teller, Douglas MacArthur--or Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.

      I do think that authoritarians, no matter how otherwise brilliant, do lack certain sub-dimensions of intelligence in terms of self-awareness, emotional intelligence and openness to new or contrary ideas. They can be REALLY dumb in these areas.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 05:24:54 AM PST

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