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Forum Post: The Authoritarians

Posted 5 years ago on June 25, 2012, 9:07 p.m. EST by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

In his on-line book The Authoritarians Canadian psychologist Bob Altemeyer utilized test subjects in an experiment to determine the effects of what Altemeyer calls Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA).

First, the subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire designed to measure the level of RWA they possessed. Those with scores deemed as low RWA results were placed in one group, and those with scores deemed as high RWA were placed in another.

Next, each group was asked to participate in a game simulation designed to determine the results of their decisions and actions (the low RWAs and high RWAs performed the simulation separately on different occasions so as to produce clear comparisons between the two groups).

Go to this link:


and scroll down to page 30 (book page 30, not pdf page 30). Read pages 30 thru 34. There you will see the description and results of how the two groups performed in the game simulation.

In a nutshell... "the low RWAs do not typically see the world as "Us versus Them". They are more interested in cooperation than most people are, and they are often genuinely concerned about the environment. Within their regional groups, and in the interactions of the Elites, these first-year students would have usually found themselves “on the same page”--and writ large on that page was, “Let’s Work Together and Clean Up This Mess.”  The game’s facilitators said they had never seen as much international cooperation in previous runs of the simulation. With the exception of the richest region, North America, the lows saw themselves as interdependent and all riding on the same merry-go-round."

Contrast this with the results of the high RWAs:

"The authoritarian world ended in disaster for many reasons. One was likely the character of their Elites, who put more than twice as much money in their own pockets as the low RWA Elites had. (The Middle East Elite ended up the World’s Richest Man; part of his wealth came from money he had conned from Third World Elites as payment for joining his alliance.) But more importantly, the high RWAs proved incredibly ethnocentric. There they were, in a big room full of people just like themselves, and they all turned their backs on each other and paid attention only to their own group. They too were all reading from the same page, but writ large on their page was, “Care About Your Own; We Are NOT All In This Together.”



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