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Paper delivered to a "Principles of Freedom" seminar sponsored by the Centre for Independent Studies at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia on Friday, 8th October, 1976. An abridged version of this paper appeared as the Introduction to "Do authoritarians hold Authoritarian attitudes?" -- published in Human Relations of 1976, 29, 307-325.

Authoritarianism Left and Right, The Assault on Freedom



By J. J. Ray

Authoritarian forms of government are not new to human society. In fact they are characteristic of it. From the Pharaohs of Egypt up until this very day, most of humanity has lived under governments that we in the modern democracies of the West would call oppressive and tyrannical. The governments of Soviet Russia and Hitler's Germany cannot then be regarded as in any sense deviant or especially evil. Like it or not they are very typically human.

This does not mean however that better things are not possible. For all their imperfections, the governments in countries with a strong Protestant background do allow their citizens far more liberties than others. This is perhaps most so in the U.S.A. This is so much so that inhabitants of such countries tend to forget their history and geography and see their own form of government as the norm. This forgetting is obviously dangerous in that vigilance to maintain such a form of government could be weakened. That vigilance is necessary is the thesis I wish to develop in this paper.

Generally speaking, there appear to be two broad sources of threat to the Western democracies: Fascism and Marxism. Of course not all forms of autocratic governments fall into these two categories. Two major exceptions are functional monarchy and military dictatorships. Outside the Middle East, real monarchy has fallen into disrepute and desuetude as a form of government. This is perhaps particularly so in countries such as Australia where monarchy simply provides the trappings for a thoroughly republican form of government. Political appointees such as Sir John Kerr are far from the conception of a traditional monarch. His functions are presidential, not monarchical. Traditional monarchy is then the least likely source of threat to a modern 'Western' democracy.

Military dictatorships are not nearly so moribund however. Although at least as old as Philip of Macedon and Julius Caesar, they seem also to be characteristic of many countries today - particularly in South America and Africa. Although sometimes loosely called Fascist, such governments are in general simple tyrannies with little or none of the ideological trappings of Fascism or Marxism. They are a thoroughly old-fashioned form of government that the sophisticates of the developed world seem to see no attraction in. We return then to Fascism and Marxism.

Both Fascism and Marxism are modern European phenomena. One has an ideology based on ethnicity, the other an ideology based on class. Neither seems ever to have had majority appeal to any European population. Both however have formed tenacious governments. Of the two however, Marxism only has survived as a real threat into the present day. This is because its main exponent, Soviet Russia, has not suffered military defeat -- unlike Nazi Germany, the main exponent of Fascism.

In spite of the huge and overwhelming consensus against any form of racist ideology in the Western world today, there has been a very curious attempt among academics to keep the Fascist bogey alive and I think it is of great relevance here to look at this attempt. The essence of this attempt is to identify authoritarianism with Fascism. In spite of the many forms of authoritarian government that we have seen in human society, some academics in the social sciences would wish to maintain that authoritarianism is peculiarly Fascist or at least is peculiarly associated with the political Right. The main foundation for this attempt is a book by four Jewish Leftists called "The Authoritarian Personality". The authors were T.W. Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, D.J. Levinson and R.N. Sanford. First published in 1950, this book has had enormous impact on the psychological study of politics.

There is no doubt that the prototype of the authoritarian whom Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson & Sanford (1950) had in mind was the German Nazi, Although carried out mostly in California, the work of these authors was directed explicitly toward finding an explanation for the rise of German Nazism. I will for my purposes, therefore, take it as given that by an authoritarian person we mean someone prone to behave as the Nazis did - in an aggressive, domineering, and destructive way toward other people.

The question here is whether the group of people so defined is coterminous with the group of people who hold attitudes identified by Adorno, et al., (1950) in their famous 'F scale' as "Pre-Fascist". Do the attitudes and the behaviour go together? It will be submitted that they do not.

Initially, any challenge to the association between attitudes and behaviour in this field seems gratuitous. There is no mistaking what the Nazis did and there is equally no mistaking that the ideology they held was such as Adorno, et al. (1950) called "authoritarian" (See Eysenck, 1954). As large a swallow as Nazi Germany might have been, however, one swallow does not make a summer, and people such as Shils (1954) have pointed out that authoritarian political regimes may often have egalitarian and humane official ideologies (e.g., Soviet Russia and Maoist China). Official ideology is a poor guide to action.

The real issue, therefore, is not on the national but on the individual plane. The work by Adorno, et al. and their many successors was, after all, done in what we might loosely term Western democracies. Do people living in such societies tend to behave in an authoritarian way if they hold authoritarian attitudes? There is already some evidence that they do not.

For a start, in the supposedly related field of racial prejudice, it has been shown by several authors from LaPiere (1934) to Ray (1971a) that attitudes and behaviour often do not go together. People who acknowledge prejudiced attitudes may or may not behave in a discriminatory way toward members of other ethnic groups. The same is true of people who deny prejudiced attitudes. Overall, there is no relationship. In fact the curious phenomenon that some people who do discriminate against Jews will say, "Some of my best friends are Jews", has given rise to the equally curious myth that this is an anti-Semitic cliche. What genuinely pro-Semitic people (and there are such) are supposed to say we are never really told.

When we turn to work done using attitude scales, we find that most studies assume the basic validity of the scales concerned rather than set out to test it. In spite of the trenchant methodological criticisms levelled at the work of Adorno, et al. (1950) by Christie & Jahoda (1954) and others, the F scale that stemmed from that study is still widely and uncritically used in the belief that it does measure what it purports to measure. It is assumed to tap propensity for authoritarian behaviour.

One study which did directly test this assumed validity was that by Titus (1968). He found that high scorers on this scale were not characterized by authoritarian behaviour. Regardless of how valid the scale may be as a measure of attitudes, it is not valid at all as a predictor of behaviour. What Titus did find, however, was a slight relationship between authoritarian attitudes (F scale score) and submissive behaviour.

Similar findings of "incongruity" between authoritarian attitudes and authoritarian behaviour were reported by Hollander (1954) and in the extensive review of the literature on the F scale published jointly by Titus & Hollander (1957) they repeated "that there may be real differences between acceptance of the authoritarian ideology and authoritarian behaviour as it is traditionally conceived" (p.56).

Studies with other measures of authoritarian attitudes have tended also to give such results. Using a new "attitude to authority" (AA) scale, Ray (1971b) found that school students with pro-authority attitudes were rated by their teachers to be "submissive" (r = .36) but not "aggressive" (r = .05); nor were they seen as students who "liked to push others around" (r = .07).

In a study with university students, Ray (1927a) used yet another index of authoritarian attitudes (the 'A' scale) in finding that high scorers were not seen by their peers as "liking to push others around" or as being "characterized by fixed opinions". To the contrary, they were seen as flexible ("always modifies his behaviour to suit the circumstances of the situation") and submissive ("tends to follow instructions without critical thought"). Yet the scale concerned contained items glorifying Mussolini, war, punctuality, discipline, and the Army. Unlike the F scale, both the AA and A scales were completely counterbalanced against acquiescent set. Moving outside peer ratings to an experimental criterion, high scorers on the A scale were found in the same study to be characterized by conceptual diversity rather than black-and-white thinking (r = .40). The criterion was a modified form of Kelly's repertory grid technique.

In an attempt to salvage from these results something of the conventional beliefs about authoritarianism, one might be tempted to seize on the correlations with submissiveness and identify submissiveness alone as sufficient to explain the phenomena of German Nazism. This would be a substantial watering down of the original concept, as Adorno, et al. (1950) believed authoritarians to be rigid and aggressive as well, but certainly submissiveness can explain a lot of things if the leader is demonic (or is believed with hindsight to be demonic). At the Nuremberg war trials most German officers gave as excuse for their behaviour the explanation that they were "just following orders" ("Befehl ist Befehl"). Submission in the destruction of others could then be a most fundamental form of authoritarianism, and evidence that the F and other scales are sensitive to submissive behaviour could be important predictive validation for those scales.

Unfortunately, it is doubtful if even this much can be salvaged from the conventional conception of authoritarianism. The correlation between authoritarian attitudes and behavioural submissiveness is adventitious rather than strong, and Ray (1972b) reports yet another study with students wherein no authoritarian behavioural trait - not even submissiveness - was found to go with high AA scale scores. Even more to the point, examinations have been made of the relation between performance in the Milgram experiment and authoritarian attitudes:

The tradition of research in the social psycholcgcal literature that has most directly to do with fascist or Nazi-type behaviour is, of course, the Milgram experiment (Milgram, 1963, 1965). Milgram originally worked with members of the general public but in the hands of his successors the experiment consists of some authoritative figure (usually a member of the Psychology Department staff) instructing a student to press a button which causes a subject (really a stooge) to be given increasing levels of electric shock -- to the point where the subject cries out, screams, and groans with (apparent) pain. Many students continue unsuspiciously to obey instructions even to the point where the imminent death of the subject appears likely. Obviously, this experiment is as near as we can reasonably expect to get in the laboratory to what took place in the concentration camps of Dachau and Belsen. There are some results to show (Kilham, 1971) that dogmatism and politico-economic liberalism do not predict whether or not a subject will acquiesce in or rebel against this situation. Do any of our authoritarianism scales provide a better prediction of how much people will submit to instructions of this sort?

The results to be summarized below in answer to this are derived from a Milgram-type study carried out for another purpose (Sherell de Florance, 1972). There were four experimental treatments given to a total of 47 under-graduate University of Sydney psychology students who took part in the experiment as a course requirement. All subjects received and answered the AA, BF and Acceptance of Aggression (Shostrom, 1964) scales. The latter scale is designed to measure the handling of aggression as an aspect of good adjustment. Its inclusion was designed to provide some test of whether the authoritarian was in fact a person unable to handle aggression adaptively. The BF scale mentioned was a balanced version of the original F scale (see Ray, 1972c).

The experimental treatments are of interest in another context and need not be elaborated on here. Suffice it to say that one of the treatments was the classical Milgram paradigm and only one of the remaining treatments showed any deviation from the mean score obtained with this paradigm. There are two things, therefore, that can affect a person's score (the score being how far he will go in shocking the subject): 1) The experimental treatment; 2) Individual differences between subjects. We are here interested in the latter. For our purposes, the effect of the experimental treatment was controlled statistically so that the only variations left were due to differences between the individuals themselves. This was done simply by dividing each person's score by the mean score of his treatment group.

The results were as follows: The correlation between experimental score and the two authoritarianism scales was BF .04 and AA .09. The correlation between scores on the Shostrom scale and the same two scales was BF .15 and AA .28. Only the last of these four correlations is significant at the < .05 level. "Debriefing" revealed that all subjects were "taken in" by the experimental manipulation and did not suspect the real purpose of the study. See also Milgram (1963, 1965).

Sherell de Florance (1972) has then shown once again that attitudes conventionally called authoritarian do not predict behaviour conventionally called authoritarian. Authoritarians did not obey more in the Milgram situation. AA and BF scores may sometimes predict submissiveness in everyday life but they do not predict the utilization of an authoritative position in a domineering, aggressive, or destructive way. Students of conventionally liberal or radical views are as prone to engage in quasi-concentration-camp behaviour ("S.S." behaviour) as are students acceptant of authority and authoritarian institutions. (See also Kilham, 1971). It was additionally shown that the particular type of psychological problem imputed to the authoritarian by Adorno, et al. (1950) -- adaptive handling of aggression -- is, if anything, the reverse of the truth. High scorers on the AA scale were significantly better at handling aggression, though there was no relation with BF scale scores.

It may be noted that the findings in this study seem to run counter to the findings by Elms and Milgram (1966) - who found a relationship significant at the < .003 level between obedience in the Milgram situation and scores on the F scale. The sample taken by these authors was, however, rather heterogeneous as to education and, when the influence of education was removed statistically, the relationship dropped to insignificance. Of potentially even greater importance, however, was the fact that these authors, like so many others, used an unbalanced form of the F scale and the results are hence equally well interpretable as the effects of acquiescence (a variable of obviously great relevance in the Milgram situation) rather than as the effects of authoritarianism. Elms and Milgram did attempt to cope with this possibility by obtaining an independent measure of acquiescence from the MMPI and partialling out this effect. This procedure, however, is vitiated by Martin's (1964) finding that acquiescence in personality scales is independent of acquiescence in attitude scales. Hence the effect of attitude-scale acquiescence was not removed by the authors' procedure, and their work provides no grounds for questioning the Sherell de Florance study. It is perhaps most instructive of all that Elms & Milgram (1966) found a pattern of personality in their 'obeyers' (as distinct from their 'defiants') which is almost the exact opposite to what Adorno, et al. (1950) postulated for the authoritarian. The following is a quote (pp. 234 and 285) from the "Results" section of the Elms & Milgram paper:

"How close were you to your father when you were a child?" Obedient Ss reported Less close than defiants, on a five-point scale from "extremely close" to "extremely distant": (defiant X2 = 1.95; obedient X2 = 2.76; p <.05).

"How were you usually punished?" Several obedient SS reported extremely mild or no punishment at all, and the bulk of the others reported the standard spanking. Defiant Ss more frequently reported physical or emotional deprivation, with several reporting intense physical punishment.


Clearly, this report also undermines the neo-Freudian California account of authoritarianism. It is the rebel, not the acceptor of authority, who has had the harsh upbringing and who is venerative of his father.

In interpreting this repeated failure of attitudes and behaviour to correlate, we must initially acknowledge that there is, no doubt, some pressure for the person to justify the way that he himself behaves. Countering this, however, there are also pressures to disavow such behaviour (See Kelman, 1974). In the case of the authoritarian, this pressure could well be the extreme aversion that the exercise by others of authority on him evokes. A dominant person is unusually resentful when he has to take orders. This more than cancels out (in deciding what he would advocate for the society in general) the satisfaction that he himself gets from dominating others.

After this point, then, it must seem that henceforth any unqualified use of the term "authoritarian" will be ambiguous. Do we mean a person who is authoritarian in attitudes or a person who is authoritarian in behaviour? For Adorno, et al. this ambiguity did not exist. They assumed the two to be identical without proof. The nearest thing they had to such proof was that Hitler's Germany embodied both authoritarian ideology and authoritarian behaviour. As mentioned above, however, with Stalinist Russia we had the phenomenon of egalitarian ideology combined with authoritarian behaviour. Had their consideration of historical data been more careful, Adorno, et al, would have been forced to conclude what has been here concluded from psychological data - that authoritarian behaviour sometimes has associated with it authoritarian attitudes and sometimes egalitarian attitudes. There is no overall association.

It might seem at this point that the question posed earlier in this paper has been answered.: "No, authoritarians do not have authoritarian attitudes". The practical problem that this raises for us, however, is that we are left totally without a predictor of behavioural authoritarianism. We appear to have been taken right back to first base. We are no further advanced than when the California authors first began their studies. There is also the problem that there are at least two ways in which this predictive failure can be interpreted: we could see it as simply a methodological failure, or as substantive information about the true state of affairs. The first interpretation leaves the California hypotheses quite unimpeached. The second interpretation seriously undermines and confutes those same hypotheses.

If we see the results obtained in the literature so far as simply inconclusive, we might do so on the grounds that, after all, a failure of attitudes and behaviour to correlate is no new thing. Attitude scales in many fields have been shown to lack predictive validity (But see Kelman, 1974). The attitude scales are just not good enough and the California hypotheses have so far simply not been adeqautely tested. This line of argument is, of course, a potentially hazardous one in that, carried to an extreme, it would never allow any hypothesis to be rejected. The above summary does include results from four separate authoritarianism scales. When do we stop suspecting that our instruments might be at fault and accept the results obtained with them at face value?

The conclusion that a political scientist would probably draw from this whole body of research would be to say that it represents a vivid proof of the inadequacies of "behaviouralism". By "behaviouralism" he simply means the psychological study of politics. Although I myself am a psychologist by training, I feel that on this occasion I would have to agree. I would have to agree that psychology so far as contributed little to an understanding of authoritarianism in government. Where I might differ from political scientists however is that I am still optimistic that progress will yet be made.

Sociology however might not be quite as barren in this field. Perhaps the fact that I am a sociologist by occupation is some testimony to this. Let us then look at the sociological evidence concerning the sources of authoritarianism in our political life.

I believe that in Australia both the mainstream political Left and the mainstream political Right are thoroughly committed to democracy and individual liberty. As far as their publicly avowed attitudes are concerned there can be little doubt of this. If one were to collect such avowals one would need a very large scrapbook in a very short time.

For all this I believe that there is in this field a very real problem of unintended consequences and unacknowledged motivations and these come out very well when we look at actual behaviour. When we look at deeds not words there do appear to be some very real threats to the democratic process in our society. Even saying this, however, is to assert something that has been true for a very long time. Autocrats and dictators always claim good intentions. It is the deeds where the evil generally lies. Let us then look at one or two categories of good intentions in our society and see where these good intentions lead those who hold them. Let us firstly look at opposition to racial discrimination.

With the scaling down of Western involvement in Vietnam there seems to have been a minor revival of interest on the part of local radical groups in various sorts of racial discrimination (Aborigines, South Africa, Soviet Jewry). The social scientist's value-neutral term for racial prejudice is "ethnocentrism". This term avoids judgment on whether the "prejudice" (a perjorative term) is justified or not. It simply says a person places an especially high value on his own ethnic origin and culture in relation to others. Thus a Jew who would not let his daughter marry a "Goy" (gentile) would be said to be ethnocentric where it might seem slightly odd to call him racially prejudiced.

Recently in Australia anti-apartheid demonstrators saw fit to "raid" Kooyong tennis courts in Melbourne before South African players were due to appear, and gouge holes in the grass and smear paint, oil and turpentine over the centre courts [1]. It seems hard to distinguish this from the members of the Sturm Abteilung who in the early 1930's smashed the windows of Jewish shops. Both groups believed the righteousness of their cause excused the authoritarianism and violence. (The Nazi's avowed concern was to revenge the honest German citizen who was being "manipulated and exploited by the scheming Jew".) It is all the more incongruous that the same anti-apartheid demonstrators turned up next morning bearing placards condemning "Fascism" [2].

The thinking of these demonstrators apparently is: Coercion by South Africans is bad; coercion by us is good. Taken in conjunction with their generally moralistic and presumably pacifistic outlook, this would seem to imply a degree of compartmentalized thinking which is clearly an almost neurotic disorder. It might be noted that the victims of the coercion in each case are themselves innocent or unwitting in offence - the black offends because of his skin colour and the white tennis player offends because of her having been born in South Africa. Neither the ethnocentric nor the anti-ethnocentric seems psychologically capable of considering others as individuals.

At the same time as the above events were going on, the 1971 conference of British Commonwealth Prime Ministers had just finished in Singapore. At this Britain had been strongly attacked by black African States for its inferred intention to sell maritime arms to South Africa. The incongruity in this was that several of the black African States themselves have harshly oppressive official domestic racial policies. This contrasts with an official British domestic policy of notable opposition to racialism. Improbably though it might seem then, we have the phenomenon of racialist countries attacking an anti-racialist country in the cause of racial equality. Perhaps the cartoonist in The Australian newspaper [3] summed it up most aptly by a sketch showing a black African leader declaiming: "The African States will strike a powerful blow against racialism by exporting all Indian residents to Britain!".

From the foregoing it is obvious again that a very clear distinction is needed between ethnocentric attitudes and ethnocentric behaviour. It may indeed be the case that people of right-wing beliefs are more ready to acknowledge ethnocentric beliefs, but it does not at all follow from this that they are more likely than radicals to engage in ethnocentric behaviour. To refer again to the current political scene, the antisemitism programme in Communist Poland seems to be held up only by a lack of Jews -- most of them having perished under Hitler. At the time of writing, the antisemitic policies of the Soviet Union are also a subject of worldwide protest. So much for the negative relationship between avowed egalitarianism and ethnocentric practices.

Thus although intellectuals and the highly educated tend to be characterized by anti-ethnocentric attitudes with a consistenty that one of their number is moved to characterize as "boring" [4], it does not follow that their actual behaviour would characteristically be any less fascist. Ellis (1970) in fact identified a variant of fascist behaviour to which intellectuals are particularly prone. He believes that others should be accepted simply because they are people. The intellectual who fails fully to accept other people of lesser abilities or intelligence is just as offensive as the Nazi who fails to accept others because of their race.

I am not quite as keen as Ellis to condemn such intellectuals as "fascists", but I do believe that a charge of "bigotry" could be made to stick. As a practising sociologist, I am constantly dismayed by the readiness with which both colleagues and senior students reject such things as "Attitude-Scaling" or "Behaviourism" (the names of important enterprises from the adjacent discipline of psychology) and then cheerfully admit that they know little or nothing of the rationale and practice of either. And yet it is equally certain that the same people would believe themselves to be paragons of open-mindedness and would condemn bigotry in round terms.

The charge of bigotry is of course a lesser charge than the charge of fascism. The bigot condemns on inadequate grounds what he doesn't like. The Fascist actually attacks it and explains why it is virtuous to do so. The student activists who have made "smash apartheid" their slogan would seem to be in this sense Fascists. Presumably they have very little information about the sociological and psychological causes of apartheid, and yet they do their best to bring about the goal of smashing it. The fact that a nation of three million ordinary people with genetic and cultural backgrounds closely similar to our own support apartheid appears to provoke no thought in these adolescent radicals at all. John Vorster or Hendrik Verwoerd may perhaps pass muster as bogeymen, but can we say the same of a whole nation of ordinary people? It is highly arguable that outside attacks on apartheid simply drive the South Africans more into a corner and make them more defensive and oppressive towards the Bantu. How many needless Bantu deaths will be caused by the overseas anti-apartheid movement? A more psychologically intelligent policy for people concerned at the plight of the Bantu might in fact be to allay the fears of the white South African minority by international guarantees for their present and future personal and institutional security. It is argued then that apartheid is an admittedly fumbling attempt to secure this end by domestic policy. This proposal is of course not one that the student radicals might be expected to embrace warmly. Its less dramatic character does not perform for them the task of giving meaning and direction to their lives nearly as well as their present simplistic activities do.

We must avoid then a simplistic view of the world which lumps everyone who disagrees with us (particularly in politics) as "baddies" and everyone who shares our views as "goodies". Too often one hears everything brutal and oppressive vacuously labelled "fascist" - something that we (self-righteously) would never be. Perhaps the fact that they lost the war puts the Fascist nations in a poor position to suppress accounts of their brutal behaviour. This should not delude us into thinking that brutal behaviour was characteristic of them alone. One man on the allied side who, through extensive travel, did have the opportunity of seeing what actually went on in the second world war was Charles Lindbergh. His accounts of actual behaviour from servicemen of the "egalitarian" societies of Australia and the U.S.A. are worth reflecting on [6]:

"Australians pushing out Japanese prisoners from transport planes over the New Guinea mountains ..... Americans poking through the mouths of Japanese corpses for gold-filled teeth ..... Japs heads buried in ant-hills to get them clean for souvenirs ..... shin-bones shaped for letter openers and pen trays ..... Japanese prisoners machine-gunned on a Hollandia strip"

It is also a commonplace that the customary source of riots and public violence in our society is the extreme Left rather than the extreme Right. At the height of the political confrontation in the U.S.A. over Vietnam, front page reports like the following were to be seen regularly in the newspapers [7]:

"Thousands of roaming anti-war demonstrators fought running battles with police in New York last night after having been thwarted in an attempt to picket the Secretary of State (Mr, Dean Rusk).
"Police made 38 arrests as the demonstrators surged through Times Square to Grand Central Station and attempted to march on the United Nations building. Two thousand police sealed off the Hilton Hotel creating an oasis of calm -- where Mr. Rusk chastised his war critics in an address to the Foreign Policy Association. Outside, the demonstrators disrupted traffic, stoned police, yelled imprecations and waved peace placards. Several police, and about a dozen demonstrators were injured in clashes. Yelling crowds of youths, waving fists and carrying placards, surged up the broad Avenue of the Americas leading to the Hilton Hotel two hours before Mr. Rusk was due.
"The demonstrators hurled plastic 'bombs' of red paint at police, emptied dustbins, blocked traffic and terrified theatre and dinner-going crowds."

It is customary to explain the left-wing origin of public aggression and violence by saying: "But if it were not in power, it would be the Right who would demonstrate". The truth, of course, is that neither the extreme Left nor the extreme Left is in power. Difficult though it may be for those of genuine Leftist views believe, the extreme Right is just as prone to see the President as a "Leftie" as the Left is to seeing him as a "Fascist" (see for example, Elms, 1970).

In fact the partial success of the anti-Vietnam movement in having the U.S. government adopt their policy seems to have made these same radicals not less prone to public violence and display of aggression but more prone to these. A quotation somewhat later in date than the one given above may serve to illustrate this [8]:

"Demonstrators shouting protests against the military thrust into Laos burnt a Government car and beat up a policeman near the University of California in Berkeley yesterday. The police fought back with tear gas.
"in other incidents the 16-year-old son of a professor was shot in the thigh at Stanford University, an American flag was burnt at Boston post office and 3,000 peace advocates clogged New York's Times Square during the rush hour.
"In Washington, 400 youths and girls marched on the White House shouting: 'Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh', and 'One, two, three, four, we don't want your ---- war'.
"In scattered cities across the U.S. arrests were made in outbreaks of violence and vandalism.
"This first round of demonstrations against broadening the Indo-China war did not match the intensity of the protests after American forces moved into Cambodia almost a year ago.
"A thousand demonstrators, armed with rocks and bamboo sticks and holding aloft Vietcong and Pathet Lao flags, marched for several hours on the University of California campus and nearby Berkeley streets. They were headed off when they tried to enter down-town Berkeley, scene of costly rioting in previous demonstrations.
"The Washington demonstration was peaceful at the start, but when police moved in, a few stones were thrown. Some protestors ran through neighbouring streets, shouting and breaking windows."

"Pacifism" is certainly no name for this behaviour -- however appropriate it may be as a name for attitudes of the people concerned.

The real reason, then, why the Right does not demonstrate while the Left does, would seem to lie in the greater respectability of the attitudes or avowed goals of the Left. If the second world war had been less of a fiasco for the Fascist nations, views like theirs might have remained respectable. That it is not so is thus due at least in part to the contingent facts of recent history. Without this supervening public awareness, we might expect both the Right and Left wings to engage in public behaviour of an intimidatory kind -- as was indeed the case in pre-war Germany and as is the case in the under-developed world of today - particularly in Latin America.

To summarize, it is felt that we may assert that right-wing and ethnocentric attitudes are not necessarily pathological or sick, and that anti-ethnocentric, anti-fascist attitudes are neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for anti-fascist, unprejudiced behaviour.

In value terms, this does not represent a claim that the person of ethnocentric and right-wing ideology is virtuous. It does, however, represent a claim that he is not less virtuous than the person of unprejudiced and radical ideology. I take it that virtue is to be assessed by deeds, not words. At the outside there might perhaps be a claim for greater virtue on the part of the person of ethnocentric views. The subset of Rightists and ethnocentrics who behave in an aggressive way are at least the only group to openly acknowledge this. Unlike the aggressive radical, they cannot be accused of hypocrisy and at least from the behaviour-regulation point of view an overt offence seems more manageable and hence less dangerous than a covert one.

If we were to carry this to its logical extreme, we would have to say that we must prefer the Nazi to the Communist - not because the Nazis were less totalitarian (though this does seem to be true - see Unger, 1965), but because one openly justifies his use of oppression, coercion and violence while the other hides his deeds under a possibly sincere camouflage of humanitarian intentions. This point can perhaps better be seen with the aid of a more distant historical example -- the Spanish Inquisition. This evil could scarcely have been perpetuated if many there involved had not believed its proceedings to be efficacious in the benevolent end of saving men's immortal souls. Humane intentions can lead to most inhumane actions and the very humaneness of the intentions constitutes the most difficult possible obstacle to abolition of the practice.

REFERENCES

{Articles below by J.J. Ray can generally be accessed simply by clicking on the name of the article. I am however also gradually putting online a lot of abstracts, extracts and summaries from older articles by other authors so if an article not highlighted below seems of particular interest, clicking here or here might just save you a trip to the library}


ADORNO, T.W., FRENKEL-BRUNSWICK, E., LEVINSON, D.J., & SANFORD, R.N., The Authoritarian personality. N.Y.: Harper, 1950.

BROWN, R., Social Psychology. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1965.

CHRISTIE, R., & JAHODA, M. Studies in the method and scope of "The authoritarian personality". Glencoe, Il.: Free Press, 1954.

ELLIS, A., Intellectual fascism. Journal of Human Relations, 1970, 18, 700-709.

ELMS, A.C., Those little old ladies in tennis shoes are no nuttier than anyone else, it turns out. Psychology Today, 1970, Feb., pp. 27-59.

ELMS, A.C., & MILGRAM, S., Personality characteristics associated with obedience and defiance toward authoritative command. Expt. Res. Pers., 1966, 1, 282-289.

EYSENCK, H.J., The psychology of politics. London: Routledge, 1954.

EYSENCK, H.J., & EYSENCK, S.B.G., Personality structure & measurement. London: Routledge, 1969.

HOLLANDER, E.P., Authoritarianism and leadership choice in a military setting. Journal of Abnormal & Social Psychology, 1954, 49, 365-370.

KELMAN, H.C., Attitudes are alive and well and gainfully employed in the sphere of action. American Psychologist, 1974, 29, 310-324.

KILHAM, W.J., Level of destructive obedience as a function of transmittor and executant roles in the Milgram situation. Unpublished BA (hons.) thesis, Department of Psychology, University of Sydney, 1971.

LA PIERE, R.T., Attitudes and actions. Social Forces, 1934, 13, 230-237.

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NOTES

1. "Sunday Mirror", p.10, 24 Jan., 1971, Sydney, N.S.W.

2. "Sun-Herald", pp. 1 and 3, 24 .Jan., 1971.

3. 23 Jan,, 1971

4. Phillip Adams, "Muggers Minority of One", "The Australian", p.23, 23 Jan. 1971, Sydney, N.S.W.

6. From: "The Wartime journals of Charles A. Lindbergh", N.Y.: Tudor, 1970.

7. An A.A.P. report carried on the front page of the Brisbane "Courier Mail" under the headline "Running Battles With Police Grip New York" on, 16 Nov., 1967.

8. Quotation taken from a p. 4 report in the "Sydney Morning Herald" of 12 Feb., 1971.



POST-PUBLICATION ADDENDUM

As this is one of my earlier papers, I have retained the usual custom in psychology of referring to anti-outgroup attitudes as "ethnocentric" and Fascist attitudes as "Rightist". In fact, however, as I have shown elsewhere (here and here), pro-ingroup attitudes and anti-outgroup attitudes seem to be completely uncorrelated so one cannot be blamed for the other.

As far as Fascism is concerned, it was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism in its day. Attitudes that are now used to identify Fascism as "Rightist" were in fact in the mainstream of pre-war Leftism (see here and here) and are even to be found in the writings of Marx & Engels.




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