I have decided to give you mouth watering diaries on each chapter of The Authoritarians so these trailers will make you run over to his site where his ebook is published. My diary yesterday resulted in no one from Kos going to the site today so I will whet your appetite again today and tomorrow and tomorrow and so on until March 24th when Bob Altemeyer and John Dean will be with us for all the millions of intelligent comments that will result from reading his ebook at http://www.theauthoritarians.com
So some excerpts from the Introduction:
From the Preface first:
I realize that my making this book available for free on the internet raises questions about my judgment, especially since I am a psychologist. The well-known theory of cognitive dissonance says that people will value something more if they pay a lot of money to get it. So how much will people value what they get for free? Also, if somebody can make money off a book, how much common sense can he have if he gives it away? Why should you read a book written by someone who has so little common sense?
He goes on to say that his one attempt to place it with a trade publisher resulted in a turn down. So instead of resending it to one after another he began reflecting.
I think what I have found is rather important to the survival of American democracy. As such, it should be made available to everyone, and be essentially free. The “www” makes this possible, and that is why we have met here. So how do you do?
So we at kos are not alone in thinking our republic is in grave danger. Here is a respected researcher on the subject joining our fears. Altemeyer goes on to acknowledge John Dean for digging around until he found his research for his book Conservatives Without Conscience which he had planned to write with Barry Goldwater. This book has resulted in Dean constantly bringing up Altemeyer's research to discredit the religious right that has hijacked the Republican party. He also pays tribute to John Brewster, his mentor, who encouraged him when he was young and reviewed his first book with a ringing endorsement, almost 50 years ago.
Altemeyer began receiving a flurry of emails from John Dean in 2005 as Dean was writing his book exposing the neo cons in control of his party. Dean was the first "groupie" to start swimming in Altemeyer's world of authoritarianism and it seemed he wanted to know everything. Altemeyer was only too happy to have an audience at last, even if it was only one person.
Authoritarianism is something authoritarian followers and authoritarian leaders cook up between themselves. It happens when the followers submit too much to the leaders, trust them too much, and give them too much leeway to do whatever they want--which often is something undemocratic, tyrannical and brutal.
So even though the fascist (read authoritarian) dictatorships of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union fell through one hot and one cold war, authoritarianism is still with us on a daily basis.
I'm going to present the case in this book that the greatest threat to American democracy
today arises from a militant authoritarianism that has become a cancer upon the nation.
He says that it is not difficult to figure out why some people want unlimited power so the focus of research has been done on followers as the main underlying problem.
So why read this book? He offers three reasons.
First, if you are concerned about what has happened in America since a radical right-wing segment of the population began taking control of the government about a dozen years ago, I think you'll find a lot in this book that says your fears are well founded.
He says that the success of the 2006 midterm elections do not indicate that they have lost the war.
They came so close to getting what they want, they're not likely to pack up and go away without an all-out drive. But even if they temporarily fade from view, they will still be there, aching for a dictatorship that will force their views on everyone. The country is not out of danger yet.
The second reason you might want to read it is that it is based on hard core scientific research with all the numbers and bells and whistles research can command. Stereotypes and arguments result in nothing gained but he said, you said, etc.
The last reason is that you might want more than just facts,but
understanding and insight into why they act the way they do. Which is often mind-boggling. How can they revere those who gave their lives defending freedom and then support moves to take that
freedom away? How can they go on believing things that have been disproved over and over again, and disbelieve things that are well established? How can they think they are the best people in the world, when so much of what they do ought to show them they are not? Why do their leaders so often turn out to be crooks and hypocrites? Why are both the followers and the leaders so aggressive that hostility is practically their trademark? By the time you have finished this book, I think you will understand the reasons. All of this,
and much more, fit into place once you see what research has uncovered going on in authoritarian minds.
Ready to go exploring?