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View Diary: Authoritarians at the Gate (146 comments)

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  •  you know, J, I read about that research you (2+ / 0-)
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    Joieau, Larsstephens

    mention and until it is repeated by many others and the same conclusion found, I am holding off an opinion about its merit.

    The reason being that there are a multitude of factors that could skew the results that they are seeking, that would have to be definitively proved did not impact the results.

    What was the number in the population pool?  What were the economic conditions of those studied?  Race?  Conditions at home: substance abuse, depression of one parent, etc., etc.  These variables can't be effective tested in just one test.  And then the all time validator:  would another test run by a different group according to their standards give the same results?

    I think it is way too early to latch onto that theory.  It is just from one study....

    On the other hand, the information presented in this masterful diary has come from many studies, many sources, many points of view and there is indeed a remarkable consistency in the findings.

    It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything. ~~Joseph Stalin

    by SeaTurtle on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 12:02:52 PM PST

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    •  Well, I saw it several (2+ / 0-)
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      Lonely Texan, Larsstephens

      places when it came out, first on ScienceDaily. For me, the supposedly newsworthy 'finding' that individuals are innately liberal or conservative was one big laughable 'DUH'. One of those things that are so obvious through the course of life - perhaps especially for mothers/parents - that you've just got to wonder that somebody actually got a research grant to check it out at long last. And deliver the obvious.

      Sure, experience of life on planet earth is going to shape personalities, but each person comes with an innate 'nature' that presents itself from the beginning. My children, born just 14 months apart, had their own unique approaches to the world all along, and grew up to be a strong liberal thrill-seeker and a much more conservative thinker/risk avoider. Have two grandsons that are 4 years apart. The older boy is definitely a free spirit, not afraid of much and full-on for 'new' fun things. The younger boy I call my "little authoritarian." He's all about rules and making sure everybody's following them. I'm not worried about their futures - they'll be fine - but their personalities will most likely play out in how they organize their adult lives.

      None of that means there's no 'crossovers' in the middle of the range from both ends of the spectrum. Just acknowledging that people are born with certain approaches to the world... 'natures'. 2-party adversarial politics is established to represent both ends of the spectrum and be able to do what's best even if it's not optimal to one's embraced liberal or conservative d'ruthers. That is no longer possible in this country because one of the representative parties has gone stark, raving mad. Worse, so have the people they represent. The crazies must be marginalized or none of us will have a future.

      •  reply to SeaTurtle and Joieau (2+ / 0-)
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        Larsstephens, Joieau

        ST and J - I think you (generic) guys have taken the discussion of this topic "out to the edge." To me, that's the really fun place to be. J addresses some of the things I'm dealing with personally around this topic. The Nature-nurture question around this is fascinating and is ripe for research . . .

        "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 10:10:41 PM PST

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        •  You did such a bang-up job (0+ / 0-)

          writing about this subject, I for one would welcome another thoughtful diary (or a few) examining the sideways questions related to nature-nurture, why people are drawn to authoritarianism, how that went so wrong for what's left of the Republican Party, and how the Democratic Party can appeal more routinely across the board.

          Oh... and perhaps get to the question of whether with the demise of the reactionary Rep party, whether we might need a new political party as 'loyal opposition' to represent the left side of the spectrum. The producer of the film Inside Job suggested that very thing would be expected by history and I think it's possible that he's right.

          Great thought-provoking stuff here, lartwielder. Thanks.

      •  Except that it's not that simple. (2+ / 0-)
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        Joieau, tardis10

        I'll just use myself as an example.
        I am averse to * physically * adventurous/risk-taking activities for the most part. Wouldn't dream of bungee-jumping or parachuting; I don't even like rollercoasters.
        Emotionally and (I hope) intellectually, however, I'm always ready to push limits.
        I do get what you mean about temperament, and that it appears to be innate. Yet the quiet, reserved, watchful baby (per Brazelton's schema) may well grow up to be a tolerant and curious one, interested in seeing how different people live their lives, and not so much interested in having people follow rules.

        I'm seeking to organize DKos members in SE Michigan--roughly, from the Ohio line at Lake Erie NE to Port Huron, W to Flint and back S from there. If you'd like to join our new group, Motor City Kossacks (working title), please Kosmail me.

        by peregrine kate on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:51:19 AM PST

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        •  Oh, I agree that it's not (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peregrine kate, tardis10, poemworld

          cut and dried on HOW one's nature plays out in life, as I've known both liberals and conservatives (by nature) whose politics didn't categorize them as one might expect based on the oversimplified labels pundits put on who joins this party or that one.

          My son the careful 'conservative' thinker type guy - and my oldest grandson who voted in his second Presidential election last month - were/are faithful Democratic voters (even though grandson #1 registered Independent just to reserve his choices). Both have been looked up to by a rich diversity of friends and even teachers as sort of 'wise beyond years'. Conversely, I've a brother-in-law who is a gifted guitarist and notable risk-taker who is so far right on the political spectrum he's almost come back around again. Almost, but unfortunately not all the way.

          It's hard to tell how people are going to side on something so ideological as politics and governing philosophies just by their inherent 'nature' as humans in the world. Things like hatred of others, desire for riches (or just to be a servant of the rich), how the necessary systems of governance are set up and run, etc. are, I think, far more influenced by social group experience than one's basic approach to life is.

          All I think I 'know' for sure about the current political situation is that one of the two objectively important parties in our system has gone completely nutz chasing religio-simpletons and die-hard haters - the reserves of unreasonably fearful and insecure people no matter how they were born - and that's all they've got left at this point. Political suicide writ large.

          •  RE: oh I agree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peregrine kate, poemworld

            Great comment!

            All I think I 'know' for sure about the current political situation is that one of the two objectively important parties in our system has gone completely nutz chasing religio-simpletons and die-hard haters - the reserves of unreasonably fearful and insecure people no matter how they were born - and that's all they've got left at this point. Political suicide writ large.
            I wish could say that I disagree . . . It's getting really scary out there . . .

            "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 06:05:55 PM PST

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        •  Re: It's not that simple (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peregrine kate, poemworld

          Hola Kate - I understand what you're saying that you are "selectively adventurous." :) I think what the authors were talking about when they said openness to new experience, etc., they're talking about things on general terms as measured by questionnaires. I think you'd probably end up toward the higher end of the openness to new experience scale . . . :)

          "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 06:01:18 PM PST

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          •  Yes, probably so. And in general, I think there's (0+ / 0-)

            merit in considering the topics you're raising here. I get a little nervous when we discuss the hard-wiring of social attitudes and beliefs, however, because I think the tendency to simplify differences and to underestimate the possibility of change (let alone figure out ways to encourage such change) then comes into play in unhelpful ways.

            I'm seeking to organize DKos members in SE Michigan--roughly, from the Ohio line at Lake Erie NE to Port Huron, W to Flint and back S from there. If you'd like to join our new group, Motor City Kossacks (working title), please Kosmail me.

            by peregrine kate on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 07:25:52 PM PST

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            •  Yes, probably so . . . (0+ / 0-)

              Hi Kate - I hear what you're saying. It didn't come out in this post because I felt like it was getting too long as it was, and it wasn't germane to the topic, but a big chunk of the research is along the nature-nurture question. It's looking like the main aspect of one's makeup that throws one into the authoritarian side of the equation is the degree to which one is open to new experience. And I don't necessarily mean bungee jumping. I mean, how narrow one's universe is and how tightly they feel they have to cling to it. Take evolution, for instance. For some people, to accept that evolution really does happen, would completely blow up their universe because the only explanation for the creation of the universe that they've been allowed to or been willing to consider is Genesis. That person will score very high on the RWA scale. Take another person who has had the same "exposure level," but is open to new experience. This person would be interested in learning about new things so they would consider the idea. After thinking about it, they may decide that they don't have enough evidence to convince them, but they were open to the idea.

              Now, just because a person starts out in life on the low end of the openness to new experience scale doesn't mean they have to stay there forever. Occasionally people have "life-changing experiences" in which they were in a situation in which they had no control and life smacked them in the face with a "Hello! Wakey, wakey!" They couldn't avoid it because they didn't see it coming, and even if they had, they couldn't have done anything about it. So there they are in a completely new world. Their core beliefs have been shattered, so now they've got to put their world back together. They are now open to new experience by definition . . .  :) They have to change their cognitive strategy because their old strategy is no longer helpful for them because it leads them back to ground zero . . . At that point, they have to start taking responsibility for their worldview instead of letting it be dictated by someone else . . .

              So, in the real world, there truly are genetic predispositons, but then, life can get in the way . . .

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

              by lartwielder on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:45:28 PM PST

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