Right-Wing Authoritianism (RWA) and Social Dominant Orientation (SDO) are two scales frequently used to measure political attitudes. They aim to redefine authoritarianism and equality respectively by redefining common concepts in such a manner that you would be seen as having a mental disorder if you disagree with the tenets of wealth redistribution and forcing equal outcomes — or indeed, if you simply have Right-leaning views.
The RWA scale was devised by professor Bob Altemeyer of the University of Manitoba as an extension and refinement derived from the California F-scale created by the Frankfurt School’s Theodor Adorno et al. to measure the same construct. Altemeyer spent his entire career attempting to redefine hallmark traits of Liberalism, such as submissiveness to authority and aggression towards those who do not follow the Narrative (a hallmark of antifa), as Right Wing traits exclusively. Altemeyer claims only Right Wingers are capable of authoritarianism, and famous examples of Left Wing authoritarians, such as Lenin, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc., were actually crypto-Right Wingers. He further claims it is the Right Wing that consistently exhibit errors in cognition and in reasoning, and that they are the political side affiliated with hypocrisy and tend to have contradictory ideals. In The Authoritarians, Altemeyer describes his own usage of Right and Left Wing as “new-fangled” (p.9). Altemeyer thus openly admits playing with words and manipulating meanings to fit his own narrative. The entire work appears to be an exercise in academic sophistry. According to the RWA scale, if you believe in the American values of hard work, education, loyalty, and honesty, you’re a Right Wing Authoritarian, and quite obviously, a racist.
One of the statements on the RWA scale is Our country will be destroyed someday if we do not smash the perversions eating away at our moral fiber and traditional beliefs. If you agree that we must rid our society of the very things that are subversive to our way of life, and our values, then you’re on your way to being Ring Wing Authoritarian.
The scale Altemeyer devised was created so that the items included right-of-center views intertwined with an authoritarian bent. Consider, for example: There are many radical, immoral people in our country today, who are trying to ruin it for their own godless purposes, whom the authorities should put out of action. This question is worded in such a way that only a religious person would agree because they are triggered by the key words ‘immoral’ and ‘godless’. And then, by including the idea that the government should repress such individuals, Altemeyer has obviously created a scale that “proves” those with a religious conviction are inherently authoritarian in nature.
I could just as easily write a manipulative question that would only apply to those with a Left wing mindset: There are many racist, bigoted people in our country today, who are trying to ruin it for their own hateful purposes, whom the authorities should put out of action. Again, there is the idea that such people should be repressed, but now it is framed in a manner that is all too familiar in recent months as Left Wing Authoritarians have attacked Donald Trump supporters, Alt Right figures, and college speakers, while at the same time advocating “hate crime” laws that would put political dissenters in prison. All that needs to be done is to replace the key words that would cause a person more Right leaning to relate with key words that appeal more to the Left and then include something about suppression. Just as a person who is triggered by “godlessness” might agree strongly with the item and hence with suppression of the godless, a Leftist triggered by words like ‘racism’ and ‘bigot’ would tend to agree with the statement and hence agree with suppression.
Another scale item: Homosexuals and feminists should be praised for being brave enough to defy “traditional family values.” This question is incredibly complex and manipulative. I personally do not have any negative feelings towards homosexuals, yet I despise some versions of feminism. As a result I would not be able to agree with this statement that feminists are brave and deserve any praise. Therefore, according to Bob, I’m a Right Wing Authoritarian simply because I reject some the tenets of the more radical versions of feminism. The same question rewritten for my proposed Left Wing Authoritarian scale: White men and Conservatives should be praised for being brave enough to defy the theory of “White Privilege and the patriarchy.”
Replace immoral with bigot, and replace traditional family values with white privilege, replace homosexual with white men, and voila!: Left Wing Authoritarianism. Cheap parlor tricks indeed.
Is it the Liberal Left or the Right that wants a massive overreaching government and to put away people who commit “hate crimes” by simply criticizing immigration (not yet happening in the US because of First Amendment rulings but increasingly common in Europe)? Which group demands intellectual conformity on pain of ostracism and job loss? Which group uncritically accepts the narratives of the mainstream media? Which group is constantly creating a bogeyman to scapegoat, whether it’s the Russians, or White Privilege, or Systemic Racism, and then promises to protect their eager followers from these invented evils? If we critically examine the different behaviors of the Left Wing and Right Wing ideologies and groups, we see that clearly people reasonable seen as authoritarian can have a wide range of political attitudes.
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Another scale that is frequently taught alongside Right Wing Authoritarianism, is Social Dominant Orientation. SDO comes down to whether or not you believe in forced social equality and egalitarianism. According to SDO, if you do not accept the idea that everybody in society is meant to be completely equal, you’re an authoritarian. The differences here really derive from differing weightings of equality-of-opportunity versus equality-of-outcome. Liberals believe that effort should be entirely irrelevant, that there are no inherent differences between people in success-related traits, and that everybody should have the same outcome no matter what. On the other hand, people living in the real world understand that different life outcomes depend upon a myriad of factors, including traits like intelligence and conscientiousness.
Liberal-defined “equality” is a myth. We are all born equal in our right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness per our Constitution and laws — but not necessarily abilities such as IQ or athleticism that are influenced genetically. Liberals have the notion that if there is inequality found within society, between races, genders, classes — whatever, something must have gone awry, and usually the proposed culprit is White racism. By not taking individual effort and decisions into account, liberals end up thinking that there is no reason why resources shouldn’t be redistributed to lessen any material inequality.
A question from the SDO scale: It is unjust to try to make groups equal. If you think that it is indeed unjust to take from one group and give to another to make things equal, then you are trying to maintain power and dominance over lesser groups. Another scale item: We should strive to make incomes as equal as possible. If you reject the idea that society should even care about incomes being equal, you are again scoring higher on the SDO scale, proving you’re a power-hungry despot. Another: Groups at the bottom are just as deserving as groups at the top. Only somebody living in a fantasy would agree with this. In general, people who have less material wealth have different psychological traits and made different decisions than people in groups that have more. The “dropout” group at the bottom is not just as deserving as the “lawyer” group at the top that spent years in school and had to strive to get ahead. One group put forth very little effort, the other spent nearly a decade in school, sacrificing part of their youth so they may have a better future. Why would both groups be equally deserving of the same amount of income?
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Both RWA and SDO are instruments designed to demonize those of us who hold traditional values, individual accomplishment, and effort in high regard. The implicit values of the RWA and SDO are collectivist and ultimately anti-White (given the increasing presence of low-achievement non-White groups throughout the West) in the invidious sense favored by the left: guaranteed equality regardless of talent (whether inborn or socialized) and effort. They seek to undermine the very values that made America great. RWA seeks to attack and redefine Western values, and denigrates those who still believe in hard work and perseverance.
Those of us who still believe in individual effort and resilience are an imminent threat to the Collective Utopia the Left seeks, where we are all forced into equality. Collectivism and equality did not enable two Ohio men to fly or enable Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel. Dedication, individual effort, and an iron will did. The very values the Left despises most.