is a political discussion blog. Please read the annoying legalese on the "About" page.

Speaking of “psychology”…

The AuthoritariansA few days ago I wrote about the psychology of political figures. Personally I’m inclined to believe most at the highest levels are likely sociopaths (could any normal person handle either the levels of stress they handle or cognitive dissonance, aka lies, required to support all the compromises we require of them?).

In any case, I ran into this book being referenced in a a blog comment and found myself transfixed by its content:

“The Authoritarians”

It’s a free book written on human psychology/sociology by University of Manitoba Associate Professor of Psychology Bob Altemeyer. Now I agree, a book being “free” on the Internet usually is a bad sign – either it’ll be bad writing or serious wing-nuttery (left or right), but the above is neither. It is an intensely interesting book and I was literally (ok, figuratively I guess since it is digital) unable to put it down.

I am not saying it is a perfect book, certainly on the surface it would seem to have enormous liberal bias, however the author goes over considerable effort to show why it’s not bias, but rather unfortunately “how the chips fall”.

Even so, I’m not convinced that it doesn’t suffer from liberal bias. However the points it makes and the studies it elucidates are extremely interesting and valuable. If nothing else, it gives you some potential new ways to look at our would be leaders, and perhaps more importantly, their unquestioning followers (again, both left and right). While yes, it does attack say the more mindless Bush followers directly, I don’t see any reason not to believe it’s equally applicable to Obamabots.

If you enjoy books like Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational” (another book that I highly recommend)(also with flaws as well), then I think you will this one. To note like Mr. Ariely’s book it is not only filled with science, but also with great humor.

If you do read it, make sure you read the chapter notes as well – they are equally illuminating and often highly entertaining.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>