Authoritarianism

This blogger just finished listening to the podcast Point of Inquiry.  This week's episode focused on an interview with Jonathan Weiler regarding his new book, which he co-authored with Marc Hetherington, entitled Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics

The main point of the book is that the rigid, non-compromising and authoritarian worldview of the Conservative side of the political spectrum has polarized the USA.  The book appears to be well-referenced with empirical evidence for the views stated.  The point that fear of change is a prime reason for the authoritarian worldview seems quite reasonable as well.  Unfortunately, the book seems to be more descriptive than prescriptive in changing a large segment of the population to a more reasonable approach to solving problems.

This blogger thinks that the following review of the book sums up the issues presented quite well:
"Where political science has a long tradition of seeing political conflict through the lens of 'issues' debates about public policy, Hetherington and Weiler see the fundamental sorting process as instead a matter of personality. For them the new defining reality of American politics is a choice between authoritarian and non-authoritarian styles of reacting. The widely noted polarization of American politics is from their viewpoint a polarization between people, some of whom hold a worldview where issues are simple, choices black and white, and tradition a reliable guide to action, and others who prefer complexity, nuance, and change. Because these differences of worldview involve cherished symbols, they produce a party politics of deadlock."
-James A. Stimson, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 

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