Nothing could be more obvious than the fact that Leftism is authoritarian. Wanting to "change society" in some way is definitional of Leftism. That wish, in various forms, is what makes you a Leftist. Conservatives want change too but generally in the direction of unwinding Leftist changes. But, as Margaret Thatcher memorably said, there is no such thing as society. There are only people. So the Leftist wants to change what people do. And that is the essence and goal of the authoritarian. And once they gain untrammelled power, socialists such as Robespierre, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot etc show how very authoritarian they in fact are.
But no Leftist seems to be able to see that. They are in fact so heavily defended against reality that they believe it is conservatives who are the authoritarians. I have on my bookshelf a book by Robert Altemeyer which is titled: "Enemies of freedom". Any conservative would immediately identify the Left as the enemies of freedom but to Altemeyer the enemy is a type of conservative. Like most Leftist psychologists, Altemeyer has obviously read nothing of what conservatives actually advocate. Leftists need their cloak of self-righteousness so badly that they have to stay within a mental bubble formed by fellow Leftists -- a bubble into which uncomfortable thoughts must not intrude.
And that malarkey has been going on for a long time. The ball really got rolling with the publication of "The authoritarian personality" under the lead authorship of Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno (born Theodor Wiesengrund) in 1950. And Altemeyer's writings are just an update on that. Adorno identified conservatives as the authoritarians.
In my days doing psychological research, I had over 100 papers published pointing to the holes in the Adorno theory but the papers had nil effect. My findings could not be allowed to penetrate the little mental bubble that enabled Leftists to tar conservatives with what were in fact the traits of Leftists.
Occasionally, however, some courageous person pokes his head above the parapet and endeavours to question the demonization of conservatives. I have commented previously on the work of Yancey, who points out that the flood of hate directed at Christians by Leftists makes claims of "hate" among conservatives look ludicrous. Just to disagree with Leftists allegedly makes you a "hater". To see what real hate looks like you have to see what Leftists say.
And I have just become aware of the work of Jarret T. Crawford, who is at least even-handed in finding fault on both the Left and the Right. It is rather a wonder that he gets away with it, but, like Yancey, he appears to have some African ancestry. So he is at that rate a member of a protected class and can say what he likes. For anybody with social science interests a list of some of his writings is here.
Another reason for the acceptance of his work is that he operates within conventional Leftist parameters -- accepting Leftist measuring instruments such as the RWA and SDO scales at face value. That is rather a pity as both instruments are abortions. Although allegedly a measure of "Right-wing authoritarianism", the RWA scale offers no useful prediction of vote at election time! Not very right-wing, is it? In psychometric terms the scale lacks predictive validity. And the SDO scale is an even bigger joke -- as I pointed out some years ago.
I look forward to Crawford discovering psychometrics. With better measuring instruments there is no telling what he might find. My paper on SDO does offer some alternatives.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).