Show 318: The Authoritarian Specter

Two -Hour Fund Drive Special!

The Authoritarian Specter

Principle 8 of Humanist Manefesto II reads in part, “We must extend participatory democracy in its true sense to the economy, the school, the family, the workplace, and voluntary associations. Decision-making must be decentralized to include widespread involvement of people at all levels – social, political, and economic. All persons should have a voice in developing the values and goals that determine their lives … People are more important than decalogues, rules, proscriptions, or regulations.
If one had to name a common attribute shared between many of today’s Republicans, “conservative” Democrats, religious fundamentalists, many on Wall Street, many CEOs of multinational corporations, and probably most police officers and military personal, she would be not unwise to suggest authoritarianism. The effort to explain what’s behind the words and deeds of these members of our society may not be fully realized merely by taking stock of their social, political, economic, or even religious ideologies, but of their personality types.

So, one may then ask if authoritarianism is a natural outcome of human nature, a part of human behavior when responding to certain sorts of circumstances, or strictly a learned phenomenon?  She may also ask, if she believes this trait to be dangerous to the survival of the human species – as many of us on the Left do – if there is there a way we can overcome it?

Joining us for this 2-hour special discussion, The Authoritarian Specter, will be Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Robert Altemeyer, and anarchist documentary maker, Jonathan Shockley.

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