The Authoritarian Personality Type:
To have an authoritarian personality doesn’t just mean to be the one who dictates.
In 1950, Harper and Row published a book that had all the earmarks of a blockbuster in the field of psychology. The Authoritarian Personality was an attempt by a group of researchers to explain the conditions that allowed Naziism to gain a foothold in Europe.
The researchers, led by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, used various psychological scales to attempt to explain racism and the atmosphere that led to the slaughter of six million Jews and others in psychological terms.
According to Theodor Adorno’s theory, the elements of the Authoritarian personality type are:
- Blind allegiance to conventional beliefs about right and wrong
- Respect for submission to acknowledged authority
- Belief in aggression toward those who do not subscribe to conventional thinking, or who are different
- A negative view of people in general – i.e. the belief that people would all lie, cheat or steal if given the opportunity
- A need for strong leadership which displays uncompromising power
- A belief in simple answers and polemics – i.e. The media controls us all or The source of all our problems is the loss of morals these days.
- Resistance to creative, dangerous ideas. A black and white worldview.
- A preoccupation with violence and sex
- A tendency to project one’s own feelings of inadequacy, rage and fear onto a scapegoated group