Saturday, November 18, 2006

Clarification Regarding "The Authoritarian Dynamic"

In my Is There an Inborn Authoritarian Disposition? I wrote that Karen Stenner, author of The Authoritarian Dynamic, "doesn't really have much to say about the origins of authoritarianism, i.e., whether it is inborn temperament or not." Dr. Stenner has kindly corrected me on this stating:

I do in fact state explicitly and provide a good deal of empirical evidence (e.g., see Chapter 6!) that authoritarian predisposition is an "inborn temperament" (it is much like a personality disposition, and is in fact substantially related to lack of "openness to experience", one of the 'Big Five' personality factors). I argue and show that it is substantially genetically 'programmed', heritable, immutable. There are even studies of identical twins reared together or apart that provide pretty conclusive evidence on this point. So the predisposition sits there, latent, in a fair chunk of any country's population, and the key is that it can either remain quiescent and relatively innocuous, or else be activated and expressed openly in aggressive, racist and intolerant stances...

This is very interesting. Stenner presents data (see her pp. 91-2) supporting the interpretation that perhaps 59% of any national population could have an "authoritarian predisposition" while 39% could be predisposed to a libertarian stance. If I am reading this correctly it could give pseudo-conservative politicians an edge in working up the approximately 60% majority of authoritarians with their messages of fear and 'toughness'.

1 comment:

flixanodal said...

For over 125,000 years we lived in non-authoritarian, women-centered clusters of ever more communicating civilization all around Planet Earth. With the more rapid disappearance of the tundra shelf in the Caucasus Mountain region in Southern Russia by 5000 BCE, the Aryan Kurgan People, living under the ecological stress they experienced while trapped on the ice shelf they perforce called home, were able to migrate and maraud west, south and east. They brought with them their barbarian ways of rigid male-centered hierarchy, subjugation of human women and herd females, and worship of warrior violence, and with it, an attendant death worship and objectivity.

Concomitantly the rising temperatures and steady salinization of irrigation waters widely employed in the flourishing neolithic cultures of Old Europe, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures caused widespread crop failure and loss of agricultural production, resulting in another climatically induced stressor causing social upheaval, again leading to a transformation in society from the natural, women-centered, non-hierarchical civilization of the Paleo, Meso and Neolithic to a warrior-, violence- and male-centered hierarchical one.

Exit the Goddess Civilization, Enter Sargon I, II, and III.

The last 5000 years have been so marked as the sharks took over the goldfish pond. It is environmental stressors which cause transformations of natural social arrangement into "emergency" arrangements such as hierarchical, authoritarian social structures.

See Gimbutas, Eisler et alia