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The exchange of views below appeared on pp. 175-178 of: S. Modgil C.M. Modgil (Eds.) "Hans Eysenck: Consensus and controversy". Lewes, E. Sussex, U.K.: Falmer, 1986. Both authors had separate chapter in the same book preceding the exchange. The chapter by J.J. Ray is now online here



Ray, as the official 'critic' for the present symposium, has had fulsome fun with Eysenck's scheme. Clearly, he and I agree about a wide range of matters -- especially as to the basic support that exists for Eysenck's theory, as to the need for a more convincing measure of T (or, indeed, P), and as to Eysenck's under-estimation of the true authoritarianism of the Left. At the same time I doubt that he has a valid or integrated alternative to Eysenck's theory; and I am quite certain that the 'libertarian' perspective of fashionable economics does not strictly require a fundamental antithesis between entrepreneurial capitalism and all other (as Ray would have them, 'collectivist') ideologies -- especially that of traditional Christianity with its respect for both law and love.

As riders to our agreements, the following matters deserve remark. (1) Ray's reminders of the apparent emptiness of T-- of its failure to achieve high-loading items in many studies -- sit ill alongside his incomprehension at its correlation with smoking: for smoking, like other historically male habits, correlates with psychoticism (e.g. Brand, 1981). Ray prefers his 'directiveness' scale as a measure of the broadly masculine tendencies that I have referred to as those of will versus affection, but in so doing he simply ignores Eysenck's findings as to the biological bases of both T and P. If he ever finds that quota-sampled supporters of wife-swapping and apartheid are not distinguished by being smokers I will take off my hat to him. (2) Ray's amusing account of Eysenck's (1976) latest full-scale study of attitudes shows a deference to Eysenck's own interpretation of his results that scrutiny of the published data would correct; the more traditional Eysenckian rotation of the axes is the one provided in my chapter (see Figure 1). (3) Ray's enthusiasm for seeing 'conservatives' as Hitler's chief opponents ignores the facts not only that Russia finally bore the brunt of the War and that Roosevelt was a Democrat but that Churchill -- for many years a Liberal -- ran (from May 1940) a National Government from which the Leader of the Conservative Party (together with other 'appeasers') had been forced out of the highest office with the important assistance of Labour Members of Parliament who subsequently were called to serve in the Cabinet. At a bottle of brandy a day, and with a penchant for perusing the titillating magazine "Blighty" while visiting British troops in France (see Gilbert, 1983), Churchill was no simple strait-laced moral conservative, for all that the venerable General Franco -- likewise no totalitarian -- might have been (see Johnson, 1983). (4) It does not disturb me one bit that the authors of "The Authoritarian Personality" were 'entirely Jewish': Jews are over-represented amongst social scientists for some very good reasons, including their unique experience of the de-Christianized West, the genius of their people, and the special position of those who escaped the Holocaust as precocious migrants who had seen what was coming under the various forms of socialism (and especially Nazism) that were on offer in Europe of the 1930s. The Frankfurt School's acceptance of Freudianism and Marxism should not obscure its empirical achievements.

As to serious disagreements, I will await with interest any forthcoming demonstration that three dimensions -- rather than Eysenck's two -- are required to embrace the realm of social attitudes. Ray knows as well as I do that strictly Nobel prize-winning libertarianism is a minority sport; acclaim for it is indeed confined to just as small an elite as ever favoured Communism in the West in the heyday of that ideology. To me it seems more natural to allow that real (as distinct from intellectual) libertarianism is a reasonably flourishing business that makes a dynamic common cause with the traditional Christian belief in the parable of the labourers in the vineyard: viz that labourers agree the terms of their hire with their employers and are entitled to just that and -- in economic terms -- no more. Modern corporatism may try to disrupt this alliance and to issue wondrous rights to workers without any corresponding duties; but there it makes a mistake, as the 'black economies' of the Soviet Empire (and, very sadly, of modern Britain) testify, More futuristically, I suppose that those entrepreneurs who would like to enjoy the freedoms of polygamy, sperm banks, genetic engineering and so forth will have to deal with advocates of traditional Christian morality in some form of legitimistic compromise as to what can be allowed as right and proper. Of course, it would be folly to neglect the influence of intelligence and education in these matters -- as I suspect that Ray has done when 'finding' that high-scorers on the F scale subscribe to simplistic (while apparently liberal) opinions.

It is possible, as Ray warns, that collectivism will take over. I rather sympathize with his view that the journalist Mussolini, whose activities were so applauded by Lenin in 1914, might prove to have been the man who first understood the sad fate that awaited the twentieth century. But our century has yet to enjoy its own religious revival; and I would be decently optimistic -- 'more English than the English', as Ray might have it -- that such a revival would take (by way of a 'legitimistic compromise') a freedom-respecting rather than a corporatist form.


Brand, C. R. (1981) 'Personality and political attitudes', in Lynn, R. (Ed.), Dimensions of Personality, Oxford, Pergamon Press.

Eysenck, H. J. (1976) 'The structure of social attitudes', Psychological Reports.

Gilbert, M. (1983) Finest Hour, London, Heinemann.

Johnson, P. (1983) A History of the Modern World, London, Weidenfeld and Nicholson.


Brand puts forward a number of schemata for conceptualizing the dimensions underlying social attitudes which are broadly similar to those proposed by Eysenck. He puts forward arguments based on current political realities that offer some plausibility to his schemata. This type of evidence, however, has always favoured Eysenck. No-one to my knowledge disputes the plausibility of the Eysenckian two-dimensional description of the political domain. The difficulty is in finding psychometric evidence which supports it. The plain and basic trouble is that Leftists in Western countries will never acknowledge support for those authoritarian and totalitarian practices that so characterize their brethren in the poorer countries of the world (including the Eastern bloc). In the West only Rightists have a kind word to say for authoritarianism in government. We thus have the paradox that while politics are clearly multidimensional, attitudes seem to be remarkably unidimensional. Brand offers nothing towards a solution of this problem. New schemata or revised schemata are all very well but what is needed is evidence to support them. Two of his unreferenced assertions are, however, very interesting. The first -- that Adorno-type authoritarians are quite as likely to vote Leftist as Rightist -- is one which I have been pointing out for some time (Ray, 1973, 1983) and readers should be aware that there is extensive evidence for it. The second -- that Conservatives tend to be of much lower intelligence -- is more contentious. The only evidence I know of for it is in the much-flawed work of McClosky (195$). McClosky's scale of conservatism was all one-way worded. People who agree with almost anything thus get high scores on it regardless of whether or not they are actually conservative. That unintelligent people should agree with almost anything seems to me a lively possibility. McClosky's correlations may, in other words, be simply an acquiescence artifact.

It seems to me that the important fact which both Brand and Eysenck have overlooked is that both Stalin and Hitler were socialists -- by both self-ascription and practice. Hitler's political party (abbreviated as 'Nazis') was in fact the "National Socialist German Worker's Party". Hitler was a considerable social welfare innovator (e.g., the Kraft durch Freude movement) and his success at curing German unemployment was through the thoroughly socialist expedient of increased public works. He identified the enemies of his people slightly differently ('Jews' rather than 'the bourgeoisie'), but his use of conspiracy theory for purposes of political explanation is rivalled only by modern-day Leftist conspiracy theory ('the military-industrial establishment' or that ever-serviceable explanation for almost anything untoward, 'the CIA'). Hitler's main difference seems to be that he liked his own people, his 'Volk'. Even pre-war anti-Nazi writers acknowledge that he was the most popular man in Germany (Roberts, 1938) and he did attain power by democratic means. He had a higher percentage of the popular vote in the last election he fought than most recent British governments have had. Stalin, by contrast, never faced a popular election and the paranoia behind the vast purges (mass-murder) he visited on his own people is only too evident.

It seems to me, then, that the multidimensionality of politics is more apparent than real. What we have is a single continuum stretching from respect for the individual and his rights at one end to socialism and love of State power at the other. People at both ends believe that they act in the name of maximizing human welfare but the means are very different. Extreme socialists (such as Stalin and Hitler) believe that mass-murder of the unworthy can maximize welfare. Less extreme socialists (as in Leftist governments of the Western world) find it sufficient to tax the unworthy into insignificance. If theft is having your property taken from you against your will, then taxation is simply legalized theft. Both theft and murder are crimes that can be committed by both governments and individuals. In all cases they reduce the rights and liberties of individuals. Socialists believe that such crimes by the State can be justified by the greater wisdom or the more compassionate objectives of the State. Old-fashioned Liberals (now mostly to be found in 'conservative' parties) doubt the wisdom of the State and point to the costs of its compassion. Fortunately, in a true democracy neither extreme of policy is very likely. Individuals are generally left some rights and there is generally some minimum guarantee of care for all. Historically we had an excess of individualism in Victorian times followed by an excess of socialism in the early and mid-twentieth century (i.e., Hitler and Stalin). Perhaps we can be optimistic and now believe that some countries have settled on a balance between the two. Just exactly what balance is optimum, however, will probably always be a source of dispute.

The major problem for psychologists must be the paradox that the people who are least likely to voice support for authority or authoritarianism (i.e., Leftists) seem to be the most extreme practitioners of authoritarianism when in government. Labour Party governments expand the role and power of the State faster than Conservative Party governments. Stalin was more totalitarian than Hitler (Unger, 1965). Pol Pot murdered a greater proportion of his country's people than any Argentine junta would ever dream of. Communist tyrannies never give way to democracy but conservative tyrannies (e.g., Galtieri, Franco, Papadopoulos) always do. It must all lead surely to the conclusion that denial is the besetting psychopathology of the Left, but how and why this pathology arises must be a deeper enquiry.


Brand, C. R. (1985) 'The psychological bases of political attitudes and interests', chapter in this volume.

McClosky, H. (1958) 'Conservatism and personality', Amer. Pol. Sci. Rev., 52, pp. 27-45.

Ray, J.J. (1973) Dogmatism in relation to sub-types of conservatism: Some Australian data. European J. Social Psychology 3, 221-232.

Ray, J.J. (1983). Half of all authoritarians are Left-wing: A reply to Eysenck and Stone. Political Psychology, 4, 139-144.

Roberts, S. H. (1938) The House That Hitler Built, New York, Harper.

Unger, A. L. (1965) Party and State in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. The Political Quarterly, 1965, 36 (4), 441-459


1). Some brief comment on Brand's characterization of Churchill above may be appropriate. It is true that Churchill had a flirtation with the Liberals in his youth but moving from Left to Right with age is of course quite common (Ronald Reagan being perhaps the best-known example of that) and the Liberals in Britain at the time were much more deserving of that name than the so-called "liberals" of contemporary Britain and North America. It was as Minister of War in a Liberal government, for instance, that Churchill was largely responsible for Britain's armed intervention against the Bolsheviks in 1919. By 1925, however, Churchill had not only converted to the Conservatives but was in fact Chancellor of the Exchequer (treasurer) in a Conservative government. And Churchill's tough treatment of strikers (again reminiscent of Reagan) at that time may be noted. And it was as a Conservative that he spent the 1930's warning against Hitler. He was also of course Prime Minister of a Conservative government in post-war Britain. He was undoubtedly not always happy with the British Conservative party but in the 1930's that dissatisfaction was principally over their attempts to avoid war by appeasing Hitler -- a policy common to all British political parties at that time.

2). My reference to Adorno and his collaborators being all Jewish was of course simply making the obvious point that objectivity about Nazism was a big ask from such authors. And there is certainly no doubt that their conclusions were far from objective. Whether Jews generally are prominent in the social sciences or not is however a matter of indifference to me one way or the other.

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