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[flagged] The Role of Personality, Authoritarianism and Cognition in Brexit (onlineprivacyfoundation.org)
88 points by bryanrasmussen 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 75 comments



I believe the real distinction is susceptibility to different types of persuasion. It’s easily observable that the vast majority of people don’t have their own opinion on any subject that receives significant media attention, because their opinion is exactly that espoused by said media (this includes entertainment as well as news).

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.


> susceptibility to different types of persuasion

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.


> 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.


> Since the remain faction had almost complete media support

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.


Murdoch was in favour of brexit, that‘s a huge resource in the UK.


At the last general election before the EU referendum took place, UKIP received 12% of the vote. That put them in third place, and for a single issue party, that's very high. For the BBC to have decided that they weren't allowed a voice, would have been a dereliction of duty.

guelo 4 months ago [flagged]

No, that doesn't count. That's why we need a separate term for evil lying propaganda media: MSM. The "conservative" media is just a small light of sanity in a sea of MSM darkness.


Unsupported hyperbolic opinions add nothing to rational discourse. Please dispense with them here.


No, I think you need to broaden your definition of "media". Do you count Facebook as media? I think you need to.

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.


Twitter too. And there's an editor (the platform itself, even if it's very lazy), and most people just read it (even if that ratio is higher than for the classic printed news). So it's very much like a medium, but lacking a clear institutional bias. (Since it has many different groups of authors on it.)


> It’s easily observable that the vast majority of people don’t have their own opinion on any subject that receives significant media attention, because their opinion is exactly that espoused by said media (this includes entertainment as well as news).

> 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.


> Since the remain faction had almost complete media support, we must conclude that brexit voters were persuaded by other factors.

You must be joking. Every tabloid was for Leave.


You are downvoted, but as somebody outside of the UK I have no idea if you are correct or not.


https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/evening-standard-backs-remain...

By circulation, 50% of papers backed leave, 33% backed remain. In terms of tabloids it was and is even more skewed.


He's correct, see my list upthread.


He's incorrect. The Daily Mirror was pro-remain and is a tabloid.

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.


Surely you’re seriously claiming that the FT or BBC are tabloids?

Every tabloid was for Leave.

That’s the gp comment after all.


Not factual hence the downvotes.


Considering that this is a politically charged topic and psychological studies in general seem to have low reproducibility rates, this is the kind of research that, without any disrespect to scientific research in general, is worth taking with a large grain of salt.


This really does need to be broken down by demographic because given the tilts in age, immigration status, social status, urban/rural among voters, all of this just might be a measure of one group vs another.

'Londoners more neurotic, Villagers more conscientious and authoritarian'

Also - I don't like the term 'authoritarian' in this context as it's ill defined.


"RWA authoritarian" is pretty well defined as "someone who scores highly on this test": http://www.panojohnson.com/automatons/rwa-scale.xhtml

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.


> It is always better to trust the judgment of the proper authorities in government and religion than to listen to the noisy rabble-rousers in our society who are trying to create doubt in people’s minds.

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.


> 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 Shah's government being authoritarian wasn't why there was a revolution. It wasn't a revolution against authoritarianism, it was a revolution against forced westernization combined with religious reform, brutal torture of dissidents, and consolidation of wealth. It replaced these things with more conservative government and theocracy. It did that on purpose-the revolutionaries had that as their goal.


Brutal torture of dissidents and consolidation of wealth played a role for most revolutionary groups, but at the onset of the revolution in 1979 most groups were not looking for a theocracy.

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.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Revolution#Opposition_...


'Most groups' doesn't mean most people. 99.5% of people voted to make Iran an Islamic republic.

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.


"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."

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).


> I have no idea what this is supposed to measure

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.


The question I quoted was not one of the two throw-aways. Even with the caveats you mentioned, this survey does not actually measure authoritarianism in any meaningful way. Take three of the things addressed in the questioning: animal rights, abortion, and LGBT rights. You can frame any of these things to make both sides seem “authoritarian” or anti-authoritarian. For example, public accomodation laws can be viewed as an impingement on the right to freedom of association, or a vindication of the right to participate in the economy free of discrimination. Abortion restrictions can be viewed as vindiction of the fetus’s right to life, or an impingement on the mother’s bodily autonomy. The article simply picks a framing for each issue, and labels the conservative point of view “authoritarian.”

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.


> The survey falsely portrays these disputes as being about “authoritarianism” versus (presumably), “non-authoritarianism.”

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...


I’m not assuming this survey is a definition about individuals. The survey takes the beliefs of a group (conservative christians) and simply labels them “authoritarian.”

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.”


> 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.


> You have to admire those who challenged the law and the majority’s view by protesting for women’s abortion rights, for animal rights ...

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.


>Important: You may find that you sometimes have different reactions to different parts of a statement. For example, you might very strongly disagree (“-4”) with one idea in a statement, but slightly agree (“+1”) with another idea in the same item. When this happens, please combine your reactions, and [record] how you feel on balance (a “-3” in this case).


The amount of bias in the wording of these questions makes me skeptical of the survey's usefulness. It feels more like a questionnaire about support of various social issues, where if you disagree with the social issue then you get categorized as authoritarian. For instance, it's very possible to believe that protesters are frequently wrong and that authorities are frequently correct without being an authoritarian. You can believe those things without believing it's the government's duty or responsibility to enforce your personal beliefs. Many of the questions exhibit this problem.

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 think you have it backwards. Abolishing prayer in school is not authoritarianism and doesn’t reduce personal freedom. You’re still free to pray on your own at school. Having an official religion is authoritarian (unless it’s a religious school), and pressuring people to participate in a prayer is pressuring them to have less personal freedom (from your religion).

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.


School prayer challenges have extended far beyond opposition to schools having an “official religion” or requiring students to participate in school prayer. For example, permitting student-led and student-initiated prayer in school-sponsored events has been held unconstitutional: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Fe_Independent_School_....

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?


I’m no expert on this stuff but that Supreme Court judgement seems totally reasonable to me. Student-led optional prayer at an official school event doesn’t seem different from teacher-led prayer. I still have to sit around while a bunch of people around me participate in a sanctioned event to talk to some deity.

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?


I completely agree with this, but the question didn't say "abolish forced prayer," or "abolish organized religion." It said to "abolish school prayer." I'm trying not to infer any context other than the literal interpretation of the words, which encompassed _all_ prayer. If the question used your phrasing, then it would not contain the bias that I mentioned.


It is also possible that they were looking for 'questions that indicate cluster membership'.

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.


Forcing people to pray is authoritarian.

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.


Your “on their own time” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. The debate over the last three decades has not been about “forcing people to pray.” It has been over whether students can pray “on school time” or must do so “on their own time.” The current interpretation of the Establishment Clause requires schools to prohibit student-led prayers at school events, lest it seem like such prayer is being given official sanction. I think forcing kids to pray in school is clearly authoritarian. I don’t think it’s clear that banning them from doing so is anti-authoritarian.

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?


> The current interpretation of the Establishment Clause requires schools to prohibit student-led prayers at school events

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.


The question did not mention forcing people to pray or organized prayer. Your last two statements would not be possible if the government "[abolished] school prayer." If that's not what this is about, then they should have written the question more specifically. As it is, they included _all_ forms of prayer -- both organized and voluntary -- in their question. That's the problem I have with this entire survey: it uses language loosely, and does so in a manner that shows bias.

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 :).


I really don't like this survey, and I'm not really sure that it measures anything other than a specific kind of cultural conservatism.

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.


The book mentioned at the bottom of the page with the broken link should point here: http://theauthoritarians.org/Downloads/TheAuthoritarians.pdf


I scored 20 (zero percent authoritarian), but I mean those were some pretty extreme and silly questions. I can't see anyone really scoring too high on a test like this who isn't completely crazy!


For reference, I got a 59, which is securely within the supposed "non-authoritarian" side. That being said, the questions in that test are quite binary and, The RW in RWA being for "Right Wing", heavily biased towards "authoritarianism" being a solely right wing, religiously conservative thing, which it is most certainly not.

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.


Thanks for the mention of this test. I scored 51, but for some reason I am known as the 'right wing conservative AWM' in some circles.

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.


It sounds like you have views that are controversial in your social environment. That's not authritarian - that's anti-authoritarian.

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.


Like most situations, you learn more about someone from the questions they ask than the answers they give. The creator(s) of that survey have some extremely binary world views.


I'd be very hesitant to make that conclusion. Much more likely is that more nuanced middle-ground questions are a lot more open to individual interpretation than the "extreme" statements, and thus give you a lot less "signal" in what you are trying to measure - even some of these could be seen as widely open to interpretation.

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).


Let me rewrite a few of those questions. I wonder how those would change the outcome.

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.


I like it, you took all the clearly written statements and added non sequiturs and grammatical errors to them.


As I read it, this article (or rather, its abstract) seems to work as:

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.


Their authoritarian scale is the RWA, or Right Wing Authoritarianism. They did no test for general authoritarianism, meaning that their summary is suspect. It's no surprise to anyone that the mostly left-wing remain voters scored low in right wing authoritarianism.

Edit: thanks for the brigaded downvotes with no rebuttal, proving that you just don't like your cognitive biases challenged with facts.


This was my original reaction as well; it's not at all surprising that a policy supported by the left would have supporters who score lower on RWA relative to their right-wing counterparts on the other side of that policy. It would be interesting to see more granular survey results, since there is a bucket of questions that do a better job of measuring the A in RWA.


Yes, a pity that the researchers didn't correlate Brexit positions with Stalinism and Maoism, political stances that are definitely widespread common enough that they could find meaningful connections.


I'm assuming sarcasm, so forgive me if I'm wrong. I'm a pretty centrist, non-politically active guy, and I personally have one acquaintance that identifies as a marxist, another as a communist, and a third, literally as a "radical feminist marxist" who has participated in protests/riots. I know nobody that identifies as a fascist. Anecdotally, left-wing authoritarianism is much more prevalent in my milktoast town.

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.


Marxism is not the same as Stalinism or Maoism, and is not necessarily an authoritarian belief system. Fascism is by definition authoritarian. I don't know how you define "left-wing authoritarianism," but the fact that you treat participating in a protest as some extreme point of it suggests to me that you don't know much at all.

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.


The standard authoritarian scales are indeed tuned to detect right-wing ideology. That being said, it's easy (though unpopular) to construct measures that capture Left-Wing Authoritarianism (the "Loch Ness Monster," as Altemeyer famously labeled it). Unsurprisingly, authoritarianism turns out to exist in equal measure on left and right. A couple samples of the literature; there are plenty more if you google around:

[1] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/pops.12470 [2] http://www.bartduriez.com/sites/default/files/documents/PDF/...


1. There may be a scale, but they didn't use it. 2. Go to an Antifa riot and you'll see your "Loch Ness Monster"


Oh, my comment was a concurrence. LWA is plainly obvious to any reasonable observer.


My bad. I'm so used to the cognitive dissonance around here.


Authoritarianism is inherently right-wing, if you use the original definition of right and left.

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.


And how does the left get to that state of affairs in a world of power inequality?

A large majority of the right may identify with Christian ideas of charity but look at how that usually turns out.


I don't understand what you're asking about - what state of affairs?

In many countries today, we have democracy, which is according to the above definition leftist (and also very anti-authoritarian!) idea.


>Authoritarianism is inherently right-wing, if you use the original definition of right and left.

Communism.


Not sure what your argument is. Word "communism" has different meanings.. maybe you could attempt to put your thoughts into full sentences?


Doesn't matter how many different meanings communism has, each and every one will ultimately be authoritarian


I think you're confusing authoritarian and totalitarian. It's a shame we cannot have a meaningful discussion, though.


See previous work by the late Chris Lightfoot (2005): http://www.ex-parrot.com/~chris/wwwitter/20050415-my_country...

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."


In a situation where “In general, political campaign material in the UK is not regulated, and it is a matter for voters to decide on the basis of such material whether they consider it accurate or not” (The Electoral Commission, 2018) the research also raises the question of whether existing regulatory controls need to be amended. Not only do many voters lack the skills to critically evaluate the information which is being presented, their inherent beliefs and biases clearly influence the way in which they process this information.

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?


Not sure why people are down-voting you. That's a very important and dangerous quotation from the article.

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?


I see more and more stirrings of similar sentiments here in America every day, too.




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