Bob Altemeyer, associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Manitoba, has written an excellent book on authoritarianism. I find it particularly helpful for understanding the psychological landscape of contemporary Roman Catholic fundamentalism and the Vatican-sponsored regression to a self-serving nineteenth century style Roman Catholic ethos. The book is free and available online. First an excerpt:

Fundamentalists…are highly likely to be authoritarian followers. They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority, and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily direct toward various out-groups. They are easily incited, easily led, rather un-inclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason, and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs.

They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly compartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times, and are often hypocrites. But they are also Teflon-coated when it comes to guilt. They are blind to themselves, ethnocentric and prejudiced, and as closed-minded as they are narrow minded.

They can be woefully uninformed about things they oppose, but they prefer ignorance and want to make others become as ignorant as they…  

You can download the book here:

Leave a Reply