Saturday, October 08, 2005


We all remember how popular with the Left was the claim that the forged documents used by Dan Rather to attack GWB's military service were "fake but accurate". Given the Leftist tendency to KNOW things regardless of the evidence, it should not be surprising that another "fake but accurate" claim has emerged. In an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Alan Wolfe, a Professor of Political Science, gives a reasonably fair review of how the "authoritarian personality" theory of Adorno (a prominent Marxist theoretician) and his colleagues was discredited academically not long after it was published. The rather hilarious claim of the theory was that it is conservatives who are authoritarian (Lenin and Stalin were really just misunderstood) and that conservatives are psychologically disturbed.

The theory is of course utter catnip to Leftists. They just cannot resist it regardless of the evidence against it -- so it has retained a following to this day among many Leftist academics in the social sciences. Alan Wolfe is one of those. Most authors who still refer to the theory seem unaware of the swingeing criticisms that it has attracted but Wolfe cannot claim that excuse. So it seems that he has a NEED for the theory -- which doesn't say much for his own mental health. A debunked theory is the only way he can make sense of his world. He finds the theory to offer an excellent explanation of current Republican politics generally and of the dreaded John Bolton in particular.

Given his disregard for the facts, I was not the least surprised at this passage in Wolfe's pathetic whine: "One item on the F scale, in particular, seems to capture in just a few words the way that many Christian-right politicians view the world in an age of terror: "Too many people today are living in an unnatural, soft way; we should return to the fundamentals, to a more red-blooded, active way of life.""

That sounds more like a description of Greenie thinking to me but there is a bigger problem with that observation by Prof. Wolfe than you might think: The item quoted is NOT in fact in the F scale. Table 7 of chapter VII in The Authoritarian Personality gives the final form of the F scale and that item is not included. So I think we have to say of Prof. Wolfe that he is both fake AND inaccurate. You can find a detailed account of why the Adorno claims are the reverse of the truth here. (Hat Tip to California Conservative for the link to Wolfe's howl).


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