Friday, November 23, 2012

Conservative Politics And Authoritarian Personalties

Paul Krugman doubles down on his criticism of Mark Rubio's answer to a question on the age of the earth.  He connects Rubio's response to a more general position that Republicans seem to have about the use of data and scientific reasoning to understand reality.  He referenced a study that found a correlation between conservatives and the authoritarian personality

The authoritarian personality is a well known phenomenon in the field of psychology.  There really are people who fit that description.  That does not mean that Republican politicians have authoritarian personalities.  It really means that they understand how to appeal to voters with that personality.  They exist in every country, and many countries have political parties that appeal to that personality type.  I also believe that ignorance and misinformation feeds into the development of strongly held positions on many issues.  When people don't have good information to guide their decisions it is easy for them to fall back upon popular views that dominate in their culture.  That is what I have found by living a red state for the last month.  Its hard to believe that authoritarian personalities are unequally distributed by geography.  On the other hand, the information that is available to most of the public, and the bulk of popular opinion, creates a cultural cocoon into which most people easily adapt. People have a strong tendency to adapt to the particular culture in which they find themselves.  We call that process socialization.  People who live in red states have gone through a different socialization process than most of those who live in blue states.  That is because the major socializing institutions are different in the red states.  I also think that the major socializing institutions are different for a good reason.  They tend to support the positions of the social elite in those states.

No comments:

Post a Comment