Since the remain faction had almost complete media support, we must conclude that brexit voters were persuaded by other factors.
I believe this approach of looking at biddability rather than whatever the arbitry set of opinions being pushed at present will lead to better models.
It's interesting to read Dominic Cummings on this. He talks about how Leave thoroughly tested all their slogans, and came up with "£350m for the NHS" as the most effective.
The fact that, after you net out all the downsides of Brexit, that's an entirely fictional number that could never be delivered, never entered into it. This immunity to caring about deliverability is ultimately why the cabinet Brexiteers achieved nothing and eventually have had to resign.
Are you sure? I thought their original plan was to lose the vote and run on "I told you so" for the rest of their careers. Having won, they had to accept positions offered to them out of spite, but they want to be as far away from the result as possible to say the fallout of renegotiating everything as a country with an unknown relationship to every other country is not "their" Brexit.
I for one look forward to seeing what the EU thinks of Britain's difficult to reach internal agreement to steal everything that isn't tied down.. But whether the EU goes hard or soft on them, it leaves a lot of incentives for either a land or individual politicians to try an exit campaign for selfish reasons.
Leave was (still is!) supported by the Sun, Mail, Express, Telegraph, some of the Times columnists, and arguably whoever in the BBC was responsible for UKIP being on BBCQT far beyond their electoral success would merit.
Now, it's different, because it's not a broadcast medium. But people are getting their political opinions from others via Facebook rather than via the BBC or the papers, and so Facebook is now playing the role of media.
> Since the remain faction had almost complete media support, we must conclude that brexit voters were persuaded by other factors.
Only if your belief/premise is right.
You must be joking. Every tabloid was for Leave.
By circulation, 50% of papers backed leave, 33% backed remain. In terms of tabloids it was and is even more skewed.
And to add to your list above, the Economist (not strictly a newspaper but influential) and the FT were pro-remain, as was the BBC.
Every tabloid was for Leave.
That’s the gp comment after all.
'Londoners more neurotic, Villagers more conscientious and authoritarian'
Also - I don't like the term 'authoritarian' in this context as it's ill defined.
If you scroll down a bit in the original article there's a breakdown of subject RWA scores by age and gender. It even has error bars.
I have no idea what this is supposed to measure, but it sounds like garbage to me. It’s literally a test of how people identify themselves (either as establishment or as a “rabble rouser”). Then arbitrarily labeling the earablishment supporters as “autboritarian.”
To see why thia question is ridiculous: Imagine asking this question to people in Tehran during the Shah. In that case, the “proper authorities” were the western-aligned Shah government, while the “rabble rousers” would be the Islamists. But it was the rabble rousers’ view that was authoritarian.
This illustrates both a problem with trying to retroactively jam events into ideological frameworks, and a tragedy of revolutionary parties. At the time, the Shah's government was percieved as authoritarian - that's why there was a revolution in the first place. But it turns out that the violent overthrow of a government (internally or externally) tends to result in the new government exerting extreme force to maintain its position against ""counter-revolutionaries"". Perhaps the unique thing about the American revolution is that it wasn't followed by a Terror, and the civil war was deferred for another century by interpreting "all men are created equal" to mean "not all men".
The Tudeh and Fedaian were more important in finishing off the government than theocracy supporters, and even the powerful People's Mujahedin (which was Islamist) did not want a theocracy.
This is really simplifying a complex thing, but I would not make the claim that Tudeh was more important than theocratic supporters and even still, they supported the creation of an Islamic republic and supported Khomeini.
Yes, the MEK was Islamist, but like the other two you mentioned, they were also Marxist. They were directly opposed to the Ayatollah because he usurped their power with the poor and promoted what they saw as a bourgeoisie agenda, securing property rights and free enterprise.
I am not sure I agree. The "proper authorities" should be understood as whoever the person answering considers "proper". So for a religious objector to Shah's government, the proper authority would be (hypothetical at the time) islamic government.
The point of the question is, some people simply don't believe in "proper authorities", and take no issue with "rabble-rousers". They will answer the question negatively in any setting.
Addendum: Altemeyer IIRC discusses this point in the book, he explains that for example in Soviet Russia, believers in the ruling party can have high RWA score, despite the fact the regime was "different" and not "right-wing" (although the latter can be disputed based on the definition of right).
On its own, it's not supposed to measure anything. There's more than 1 question in the survey for a reason. And incidentally, the questions that people are most likely to criticize -- the first two -- aren't even used in the assessment; they're throw-aways.
> To see why thia question is ridiculous: Imagine asking this question to people in Tehran during the Shah. In that case, the “proper authorities” were the western-aligned Shah government, while the “rabble rousers” would be the Islamists. But it was the rabble rousers’ view that was authoritarian.
From chapter 1 of the book in which this scale was introduced: the test, which was designed to measure right-wing authoritarianism in North America, will probably fall apart in markedly different cultures.
That same chapter goes on to directly address almost all of the criticisms I'm seeing in this thread.
I think it's wrong to construe one measure of "right-wing" (explicitly not "conservative") authoritarianism with "authoritarianism" generally, as the title of this piece does. But there's nothing wrong with designing assessments that are intended to work only in one particular culture.
But in reality, these disputes aren’t about authoritariansm versus non-authoritariansim. Both sides believe that the government may restrict the natural freedom people would have in the state of nature to protect certain things that society recognizes as “rights.” These disputes are about what rights society is willing to recognize and enforce, and what to do when those rights conflict.
You seem to feel that this survey is a definition about individuals? That's not how the survey is intended to be used, and the fist chapter of the book that introduces it is full of caveats that the survey is not intended to be treated as a definition about individuals.
The author of the survey is very explicitly NOT providing a definition of authoritarianism or a litmus test for individuals. He is providing a survey whose scores correlate with right-wing authoritarianism in North America in the late 20th century.
The survey is a tool, the author of the tool is very explicit about what that tool is and is not for. I, for one, don't get angry when my hammers don't work as screw drivers. And also don't get angry at the inventor of the hammer when some random third party messes up my stuff by using a hammer on my screws...
> Take three of the things addressed in the questioning: animal rights, abortion, and LGBT rights
The survey is designed to measure RIGHT-WING Authoritarianism. That is, the conjunct of being both authoritarian and also right-wing in that authoritarianism.
If we asked 20 questions about authoritarianism but never mentioned anything about being right-wing, we might have a good test for authoritarianism but not a good test for RIGHT-WING authoritarianism...
As to your point about right-wing versus left-wing authoritarianism: you’re missing the point. Imagine a counter-part to this test that labeled support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as “left-wing authoritarianism.” Technically, yes, that law restricts the freedom of individuals to conduct their business and associate with people according to their own choices. But labeling that “authoritarianism” would (I think rightly) be perceived as biased by most liberals. The article makes exactly the same mistake. It takes a lot of views and unfairly labels them “authoritarian.”
And as I said in my original post:
"I think it's wrong to construe one measure of "right-wing" (explicitly not "conservative") authoritarianism with "authoritarianism" generally, as the title of this piece does. But there's nothing wrong with designing assessments that are intended to work only in one particular culture."
> The survey takes the beliefs of a group (conservative Christians) and simply labels them “authoritarian."
No, it doesn't, and I think that's an unfair characterization of conservative Christians.
1. I only count 11 items that say anything at all about conservative Christian beliefs. The other 9 are totally orthogonal. Even if we score those items -4 (which most conservative Christians wouldn't; see item 2) and the other items +4, we end up in the low 100s. And more realistic answers typical of non-authoritarian conservative Christians in the midwest end up with scores in the 90s (again, see item 2).
2. of those 11 items that make reference to "Christian/family/traditional values", many would not elicit a "strong" score from all or even most conservative Christians following the survey's instructions.
Example 1: "Everyone should have their own lifestyle, religious beliefs, and sexual preferences, even if it makes them different from everyone else."
Most conservative Christians will strong-disagree with "sexual preferences".
But what about "lifestyle" and "religious beliefs"? Many conservative Christians support different lifestyles; e.g., homeschooling. And a STRONG majority support religious freedom.
According to the survey's instructions, which tell use to average the -4 re: homosexuality with +N for the other two items, this question would elicit a weak disagree or maybe even a weak agree from many conservative Christians.
Example 2: "God's laws about abortion, pornography and marriage must be strictly followed before it is too late, and those who break them must be strongly punished."
Many conservative Christians believe that divorce should be legal and pornography, though damaging, should not be outlawed. So using the survey's averaging rule, this might even end up as a "weak disagree".
And there are many questions that ask for moral comparisons between "traditional" and "non-traditional" people, but the bible is very clear on exactly this question: we are not justified by our acts.
It is true that there is a certain brand of conservative Christian who believe we should have a "strong leader" who uses the state to forcibly impose their personal conservative values on the rest of society. Those people would score highly on this test. But that set of people is definitely not the same as the set of "conservative Christians", because many "conservative Christians" have non-authoritarian values (and many right-wing authoritarians are not Christian.)
> As to your point about right-wing versus left-wing authoritarianism: you’re missing the point. Imagine a counter-part to this test that labeled support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as “left-wing authoritarianism.”
Exactly zero questions in this survey mention a piece of legislation, and not a single question on this test automatically labels RWA for agreeing with a given piece of legislation. There are multiple types of questions for a reason.
There exist left-wing authoritarian tests. And yes, they do ask questions about typical left-wing issues. And yes, they should. Because measuring LEFT-WING authoritarianism without even bothering to ask if someone's beliefs are consistently left-wing would be silly and would miss the point...
Maybe DeMorgan can help. A low (L or R)WA score just means:
NOT (LR-wing AND authoritarian) == NOT LR-wing OR NOT authoritarian.
A below-average score could mean (LR-wing AND NOT authoritarian).
A below-average score could mean (NOT LR-wing AND authoritarian).
A below-average score could mean (NOT LR-wing AND NOT authoritarian).
A low LR-WA score does not imply "not authoritarian". It implies "not authoritarian in this particular way". A very high score indicates "authoritarian in this particular way". Borderline scores could mean "authoritarian but not in this way" or "this way but not authoritarian".
Survey design is difficult, and interpreting survey results is also difficult. A survey designed to measure the intersection of two properties will give higher scores to people who have one of those properties than people who have zero of those properties. That does not mean the survey is flawed; it means that the results have to be used with this effect in mind.
This one is completely nuts. Mistreating animals: Not good. Mistreating unborn babies: Totally fine!
Disclaimer: I am not anti-abortion, but I'm certainly not pro-abortion in the way I am pro-animal rights.
One of the questions in particular categorizes you as less authoritarian if you support abolishing prayer in schools. By definition, using government to reduce personal freedom is an authoritarian policy, which makes banning prayer an authoritarian policy. This type of bias shows up in many of the questions.
Scores from this test seem to represent how closely the person who answered matches the social views of the survey's author. I'm not sure how useful that is to anyone other than the author.
I guess authoritarians tend to view a policy which gives equal preference to everyone as an attack on their “special status” and a reduction of their freedoms.
If the majority of students in the school want to have a student-led prayer, in which individuals are not forced to participate, at a school event which happens to be a major life milestone, what is the “non-authoritarian” response? Allowing them to do so? Or preventing them from doing so?
Note that you’re still not prevented from praying, you’re just not allowed to make it part of the agenda and shove it in everyone’s faces at an official event.
I really don’t see the problem, but as I mentioned before, authoritians likely view this as an infringement, while non-authoritarians see this as equalizing.
One way to think about it is would you want school prayer if you were in a minority religion?
RWA could be defined as "tendency to trust in authority, value obeying rules, and dislike people who break rules". It's a bad name, as someone in a left wing country with high RWA would tend to disapprove of right wing protesters for instance.
So in designing the test you put together a huge list of questions that vagually relate to RWA, collect answers, and then look for ones that tend to cluster together. 'People who answer yes to this tend to answer yes to these others'. You then remove the ones that show poor correlation, and you have a test.
Not forcing them to is not authoritarian.
Organized prayer in schools is forcing people to pray.
Abolishing organized prayer in schools ends forcing people to pray.
Therefore abolishing organized prayer is anti-authoritarian.
If individuals want to pray they are welcome to, and now they will not be forced to pray to the wrong God.
If they are forbidden from praying on their own time without disrupting anyone else then yes that is authoritarian. But that's not what this is about.
As I mentioned in a sibling post, you can reframe both sides of the debate as “authoritarian” or anti-authoritarian. Here, it’s the majority’s right to publicly practice their religion versus the minority’s right to participate in school free from public displays of religion. The debate isn’t about authoritarianism at all, but about the existence and scope of their rights. Is the right to practice one’s religion limited to practicing it in private? In public? Along with a group that happens to make up the majority of the community? Is there such a thing as a right to be free of religion?
This issue is still in flux and is more complex than this.
Santa Fe ruled that the school's practice of running an election to select a person who then says a prayer on a PA system before a football game was unconstitutional.
But after Santa Fe was decided, the 5th circuit ruled in favor of Ward by finding that explicitly prohibiting student-led prayers is also unconstitutional! (At this point you've got to feel real bad for the school... damned from one side and damned again by the other.)
Also after Sante Fe, Texas passed RVAA which explicitly allows student-led prayers at school events. The constitutionality of those provisions have not been tested in SCOTUS.
So generally, the current state of affairs is quite subtle and messy.
Student-led prayers at voluntary student-organized events are certainly allowed.
Employee-led prayers in front of students are certainly not allowed in any circumstance.
Everything in-between is murky, and none of the case law is particularly revealing. E.g., what if Sante Fe had not used the PA system and didn't have any voting/guidelines about praying? Much of the legal reasoning in the majority opinion would not have been applicable.
From what you wrote, I think we agree on the definition of authoritarian, and I suspect if you interpreted "abolish school prayer" the way I did (abolishing all prayer at schools), then we might agree on all points :).
There are those who have very authoritative views over how one ought to act that wouldn't be defined as culturally conservative, for example, within the intersectional movement, there are those who believe that one cannot say 'America is a meritocracy and those who work hard can get ahead' because it doesn't fully respect someone's life experience given their race and gender. To the extent that this is an 'infraction' in certain public institutions. Agree or not - it's 'authoritative', just not in the traditional terms.
Even if the survey measured this kind of authoritarianism more broadly, I'm not sure it would be measuring something fully.
There were no questions on the test that would capture a pure Stalinist/Maoist as the obvious authoritarian he/she is. This throws the entire study into question on its claims.
Also, with regards to the original study, the high degree of neuroticism in remainers could easily be characterized as them being susceptible to fear based propaganda.
I just suppose that even liberal people judge by looks (I do look like the prototypical AWM) and by small disagreements about some liberal thesis (e.g. I don't agree with 100% with current feminism mantras, yet in absolute terms I agree 90% with feminists in general and disagree 99.9% with barefoot&pregnant types). There is a lot of cargo cult among liberals.
If you had those views because everyone around you had them, and didn't like people disagreeing because it was outside social norms, then you would be authoritarian.
In Germany, people with high RWA are probably very anti-rascist for instance. It's an interesting metric.
I'm guessing the scale (rather than agree/disagree) is attempting to compensate for this somewhat.
(Caveat: I'm a scientist but not with a background in anything close to Psychology; I've seen but not written these sorts of tests).
The established authorities generally turn out to be wrong as right, while the extremist on all ends of the political scale are usually just “loud mouths” that ignore facts in favor of political positioning.
In marriage men should have to promise to serve and protect their wife, and women should have to promise to obey their husbands.
Nudist are an recognized minority group and should have their rights protected in the same way as groups that identify based on religion or sexual orientation.
You have to admire those who challenged the law and the majority’s view by protesting for women’s abortion rights, Mens rights to consented parenthood, for animal rights, or to abolish school prayer.
Abolishment of gender roles is good. The days when women and men are identified based on their gender belong strictly in the past.
1. The population is divided into leave voters and remain voters (and undecided)
2. Some statistics will be different between these sets
3. Looking at the election campaign and these characteristics can tell us about how to target an election campaign according to these statistics [of the people who will eventually/currently plan on voting for your side]
An alternative way to look at this is:
1. There are several qualities of people that change slowly with time; some people are inclined to vote leave and some remain and some in between
2. Some electoral material was produced trying to change how much leave/remain people are inclined to vote
3. Here is some statistics about the qualities of the people who were inclined a certain way.
I think the article seems to have confused these two offerings slightly.
For example suppose you see that leave voters are more RWA. Do you interpret this as:
(a) leave voters are RWA so to encourage leave voters one should produce material targeted at RWA people or encouraging RWA ideas
(b) the appeal of election materials for vote leave correlated to how RWA people were so RWA people voted leave so the style of material for vote leave is a lesson in appealing to vote leave personalities.
Edit: thanks for the brigaded downvotes with no rebuttal, proving that you just don't like your cognitive biases challenged with facts.
Edit, because HN won't let me reply to the claim of "misunderstanding" Marxism (and the clear gaslighting of the words "communist" and "radical" that were used):
Clearly, my "radical marxist" acquaintance destroying public and private property, while actually flying the Soviet flag, is wholly misunderstood for the non-authoritarian, peaceful, theoretical marxism it actually is.
Edit 2: Are you perceiving the whole comment or is your cognitive bias actually blocking out the words "communist" and "soviet"? You're picking a minute fraction of my sentences that suit your disposition and acting like they're the whole.
Edit: If you think destroying property is necessarily authoritarian, once again, you don't know what that word means.
Edit 2 (seriously, this is the way you want to have a discussion?): going on and on about "gaslighting" and "cognitive biases" isn't make you look any better. I've known a number of people who toy with soviet chic without actually condoning the actions of the USSR; it's not a surprising in a country where the mildest trade unionism is equated with Full Communism by a large part of the population. I don't like it, but I know enough to know that most of the people flying it aren't Stalinists (or Maoists) by any stretch of the imagination.
According to original definitions (from French revolution), the left objects to power inequality between people and consider citizens should be equals; while the right doesn't have problem with power inequality in society and accepts things like hereditary nobility.
And the fact is, despite propaganda that sometimes equates leftists and bolsheviks, large majority of leftists still identifies with this definition.
A large majority of the right may identify with Christian ideas of charity but look at how that usually turns out.
In many countries today, we have democracy, which is according to the above definition leftist (and also very anti-authoritarian!) idea.
Main finding of principal components analysis:
"Slightly facetiously we refer to this as the `Axis of UKIP': the extremal positive views are those of people who are Eurosceptic, believe in capital punishment and harsh prison régimes, and oppose immigration. At the other end of the axis people believe in further European integration, the primacy of international law, the benefits of immigration, and so forth.
This axis is identifiably left/right -- people at large positive positions are definitely `right wing' -- but it is not the traditional left/right axis of economics and class division."
Yeah, how about outlawing voting against those who are currently in power? We little people cannot judge the issues anyways. Why not abolish democracy completely since we're all so stupid?
This whole situation sheds a dim light on UK politics: is voting in the UK nothing more than a ritual to legitimize decisions already blessed by the powers that be?