Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Give Me Stalin and St Paul

The concept of Left and Right as opposing is long since finished, the two now being indistinguishable. Proof, if any further were needed, comes from the results of the F-Scale test below, which rates me, a Rightwing religious bigot, according to my numerous critics, as a "Liberal Airhead" in terms of post-1945 values. If today I am a Rightwing religious bigot, and if I'm also a Left flakey, then something is wrong in terms of either the test or the times we live in today. It's our postion here that it's not the average person who has become a Rightwing religious bigot but that it is our societies that have become so skewed that only the most outrageous Left dhimmi fascist can be seen in societal terms as normal. That ain't me or those around me. By being reasonable and doing nothing we have seen the centre move so far to the Left that it now meets the Right. Ask Robespierre.

You can score for yourself at the first link below. The test is today almost funny, but it gives an indication of just how screwed up is our world. In the following pieces we'll take a closer look at the F-Scale:

Fifty years ago, the Authoritarian Personality studies attempted to "construct an instrument that would yield an estimate of fascist receptivity at the personality level."

This online, interactive F Scale presents that instrument in its final form. Additional information, including an explanation of the personality variables the F Scale tries to measure, is given below after the questionnaire. So take the F Scale now --- or else!

The F-scale is a personality test (psychometric assessment) that attempts to quantify authoritarian tendencies. The F-scale was designed on the basis of Theodor Adorno's theory of authoritarian personality. The "F" stands for fascism.

The test is designed to measure several variables, including conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, anti-intraception, superstition and stereotypy, power and "toughness," destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity, and sex.

Among the criticisms of the F-scale is its sensitivity to respondents with acquiescent response styles. A number of related scales such as the P-scale and the balanced F-scale have been created in an attempt to fix the shortcomings of the F-scale.

The concept of authoritarian personality denotes a number of qualities, which according to the theories of Theodor Adorno predict one's potential for fascist and antidemocratic leanings and behaviors. These qualities are assessed by a coherent system--the "structure of personality"--which arises out of characteristic experiences in early childhood and the pattern of internal, psychic processing.

Those persons who cling to fascist ideologies, according to the theory, distinguish themselves through their inappropriate, prejudice-laden view of social and political relationships. From this background in their personal history arose the assumption that the emergence of certain phenomena such as anti-Semitism and ethnocentrism stands in close connection with this particular personality structure. Because fascistic groupings get support essentially from the right-conservative camp (although that does not suggest that the right-conservative camp invariably lends these groupings such support) parts of the conservative outlook are likewise judged as an expression of this personality structure. As an instrument to measure this outlook, the AS-scale (for "anti-Semitism") the E-scale (for "Ethnocentrism") and the PEC-Scale (for "political-economic conservatism") are used.

The instrument for assessing the underlying authoritarian personality structure was the so-called F-Scale ("implicit antidemocratic tendencies and fascist potential"). This scale is comprised of the following subscales:

Conventionalism -- the tendency to accept and obey social conventions and the rules of authority figures; adherence to the traditional and accepted
Authoritarian Submission -- submission to authorities and authority figures
Authoritarian Aggression -- an aggressive attitude towards individuals or groups disliked by authorities; particularly those who threaten traditional values
Anti-Intraception -- rejection of the subjective, imaginative and aesthetic
Substitution and Stereotypy -- superstition, cliché, categorization and fatalistic determinism
Power and Toughness -- identification with those in power, excessive emphasis on socially advocated ego qualities
Destructiveness and Cynicism -- general hostility, putting others down
Projectivity -- the tendency to believe in the existence of evil in the world and to project unconscious emotional impulses outward
Sex -- exaggerated concerns with respect to sexual activity

The authors of the study expected a positive correlation between results on the F-scale and being marked by conservatism, ethnocentrism and anti-Semitism.

Robert Altemeyer found that three facets of this authoritarian personality were important: conventionalism, authoritarian aggression and authoritarian submission. He has refined the concept of the authoritarian personality into the Right-wing Authoritarian scale, though his conceptualization is in some ways more primitive than that of the Adorno group. The Adorno group did, for instance, try to keep the concepts of authoritarianism and conservatism separate (using different measuring instruments for the two) whereas Altemeyer confounds them inextricably.

Psychoanalytic aspect

Adorno and his colleagues regarded the fundamental basis of this presumed system of personality qualities and its linkage to certain attitudes according to a psychoanalytic viewpoint: experiences in early childhood and their internalization.


Extent of Validity


Despite some methodological deficiencies, the theory of the authoritarian personality has had a major influence on subsequent research. One criticism is that the theory of the Berkeley group insinuates that "Authoritarianism" is present only on the right of the political spectrum. As as result, some have claimed that the theory is corrupted by political bias.


Most academic journal articles that mention the theory, however, assume that it is at least largely true.

It's our postion that the Left is indeed fascistic inside and out. Keeping this test in mind we'll return next day with more on the authoritarian personality and the Left dhimmi fascism that prevails in our time.

The title comes from Leonard Cohen, "The Future."


truepeers said...

well i stopped reading this post when i read Adorno was the author of this authoritarian personality test. As history has now amply proved, fascism and socialism are blood brothers in the same authoritarian cult. The differences between the two do not rightfully allow anyone to play one against the other in the name of freedom. Let's get serious.

Jim said...

Fascism is not a coherent movement. It doesn't have any stated principles. In fact, most fascists will not admit they are fascists, and in fact might not even know it. Fascism is more of a pressure to turn a democracy into a dictatorship by any means that the majority of a particular nation will find acceptable. This usually involves hyper-populism (you describe The Left as elitist, so that one's out), stirring up hatred against a minority (not really The Left's cup of tea), militarism (ditto) and constant appeals to tradition (ditto again), among other things.

Again, let me stress that you can't have an unpopular fascist movement. It just doesn't make sense. So I'm very interested in hearing how The Left, which currently doesn't have one pinky finger on a lever of government, is the biggest threat to our democracy. And, no, "Hitler was a vegetarian" doesnt' count.

dag said...

If we limit our definitions of fascism to Italian and German and Spanish anomolies then we have no dialogue possible. Look at the broader themes of fascism, beginning with Plato, and move on to the reactions against the French Revolution to see the similarities between them and today's actors.

Or, one might look at the roughly 500 posts at this blog that explain in detail the idea that there is no difference between Left and Right.

500 posts. This is not some cranky comment off the top of my head. I might well be cranky but the point remains that there is too much documentation to dismiss out of hand. Learn the nature of fascism and return with criticism, after which time I will be happy to debate.

dag said...

Adorno is one of the worst men to happen to the 20th century. I've written here on him a few times, not any fun for me.

When we look at Adorno's f-scale and adjust for his ideological leanings it seems obvious to me that he shows today's Leftist to be cut from the same cloth as any fascists preceding. Of course, anyone can plead special circumstances and blow smoke, but reality is theere for those who wish to see it.

truepeers said...

Fascism is more of a pressure to turn a democracy into a dictatorship

-that's a convenient definition, i imagine constructed in order to rest in some righteous Bushitler nonsense. Is there no question of the communists of the twentieth century being like fascists unless they came to power in what had been for a time a democracy, like say Czechoslovakia?

As Dag suggests, what ties together the socialists and fascists of the last century is their indulgence in forms of Gnosticism, the belief that one can build totalitarian systems to overcome the uncertainties of human existence and faith, to control human processes of transcending or representing reality. Check out Eric Voegelin's account of the totalitarian mind.

dag said...

I'm going to go back and put some effort into reading Voegelin properly. There is too much to be said about his ideas to overlook them any longer.

For those who want a quicky view of fascism, refer to Umberto Eco. Or take some time and read George Mosse. Or read any number of studies of what it is instead of relying on automatic cliches and silliness. Read Plato. Even think about it for a few minutes. Or look around if it's too much trouble to think.