Tag Archives: Bob Altemeyer

Today’s Quotes: Despite Their Cries for Liberty, the Teabaggers Are Right-Wing Authoritarian Followers

Dr. Bob Altemeyer, author of the massive 50-year study on the Authoritarian Follower personality, offers his opinion on the Tea Partiers.

“Suppose slavery still existed in the United States, but the federal government was trying to end it. However Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and so on told their audiences that slavery was a good thing, recognized by the Founding Fathers, endorsed in the Old Testament, the natural order of things, an issue for individual states to decide, protected by an individual’s inalienable right to do what he wanted with his property, and so on. I doubt Abraham Lincoln would find these arguments compelling. But how much trouble do you think the Patriotic Association of Slave Owners would have getting today’s Tea Partiers out to campaign for slavery in America?”
— Dr. Bob Altemeyer, author of “The Authoritarians,” from “Comment on the Tea Party Movement [.pdf file].

“According to research by Altemeyer, right-wing authoritarians tend to exhibit cognitive errors and symptoms of faulty reasoning. Specifically, they are more likely to make incorrect inferences from evidence and to hold contradictory ideas that result from compartmentalized thinking. They are also more likely to uncritically accept insufficient evidence that supports their beliefs, and they are less likely to acknowledge their own limitations.”
— Wikipedia entry on “Right-Wing Authoritarianism.”

“The list of parallels between the research on authoritarian followers and the behavior of Tea Partiers probably extends well beyond twelve. For example, such followers in general have very poor self-insight; they realize almost nothing about how unfavorably they stack up compared to most people. As well, authoritarian followers run away from bad news about themselves; they are highly defensive. Authoritarian followers also have a strong tendency to be zealots, and Tea Partiers seem quite zealous. And authoritarian followers know surprisingly little about the things they say they believe in. It would be interesting to see how much the Tea Partiers actually know about the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and American history. For example Tea Partiers commonly refer to the sanctity of ‘the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.’ Do they not know about all the amendments since 1791, or just don’t consider them part of the Constitution?”
— Dr. Bob Altemeyer, author of “The Authoritarians,” from “Comment on the Tea Party Movement [.pdf file].

[Ed. Note: You can download Dr. Altemeyer’s book “The Authoritarians” (.pdf file) free from this website.]