WARNING. THIS THREAD HAS ZIP TO DO WITH TESLA. What it does do is to shed some light on this fight we're having over climate change. Most of us look at the accumulating mountain of data and go "We've got to do something" while some go "What problem?"
Okay, so what do we have with this little questionnaire? You might have thought the purpose is to measure political attitudes or something similar. It’s not. What it does is to score the answers to come up with an authoritarian rating. It’s a personality test developed by Bob Altemeyer, an associate professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. Professor Altemeyer studied authoritarianism his entire career before retiring about a decade ago. He’s an American who worked abroad and is considered a leading authority on the subject. Altemeyer’s questionnaire is considered the standard for assessing authoritarian tendencies in individuals and is widely used.
There are reams of scholarly works available on authoritarianism, including several authored by Dr. Altemeyer. Realizing that few in the general public are willing to wade through studies filled with tables and coefficients and scientific terms, late in his career, Dr. Atlemeyer became concerned with the rise of authoritarianism in North America (yes, Canada to) so he wrote a book on the subject for laymen titled “The Authoritarians.” It’s available for free online. There’s a link at the bottom of the questionnaire page that takes you to where you can download it. I found the book fascinating and enlightening; it changed the way I look at how politics and so forth in our country. If you do nothing else, I suggest you read the link to the first chapter that gives a more complete description of what an authoritarian personality is than in the cliff notes I’m providing below.
“How can answering 22 questions tell definitively that I’m an authoritarian or not? It’s not a big sample.”
One would think, but it actually does a really good job of it. Dr. Altemeyer has decades of experience conducting lab experiments, gathering data, and so forth the prove the veracity of the questionnaire. He has reams of proof that the test is pretty good as long as the person taking it doesn’t intentionally provide false answers. (If you did, you’re cheating yourself and no one else).
What is an authoritarian?
It’s complicated, but here is the basic definition. An authoritarian is NOT a would be dictator or something like that as one would expect. Authoritarians are by personality followers. Maniacs like Mussolini and Hitler would have remained nuts ranting on street corners if they hadn’t amassed followers. The death camps in Poland would have been impossible if otherwise moral, normal people hadn’t willingly carried out Hitler’s orders. Mussolini’s black shirts brawling in the streets took him to power in Italy in 1921.
Altemeyer’s definition of authoritarianism: 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. In my day, authoritarian fascist and authoritarian communist dictatorships posed the biggest threats to democracies, and eventually lost to them in wars both hot and cold. But authoritarianism itself has not disappeared, and 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.