~ 1 min read

The Authoritarians

Why in the world would anyone follow an authoritarian leader?

Guernica, Pablo Picasso

26% of the U.S. population qualified as highly right-wing authoritarian

One of the most mystifying things in political science is the question, “why would individuals support a right-wing authoritarian movement?” Superficially, it makes no sense - especially to anyone with even a passing familiarity with history.

The other side of the question, “why would someone want to be an authoritarian leader?” is relatively simple. Combine a few grim psychological traits with the opportunity for graft and power, and it’s pretty straight-forward.

It’s the followers that are the tricky part. Fortunately, Bob Altemeyer, a researcher based in Canada built a model for assessing right-wing authoritarians (RWAs) and conducted extensive research over a forty year career.

He summarized his researching in a book, which he made available for free at theauthoritarians.org. I would strongly recommend either the Audible audiobook or the audio available on YouTube.

It’s a must read or listen.