Customer Reviews: The Authoritarian Personality (Studies in Prejudice)
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on October 22, 2003
Don�t be thrown of by some of the other reviews. If you start of by stating that Adorno is a Marxist and therefore must have had an agenda, your doing exactly what you have accused Adorno of. Furthermore this book wasn�t single-handedly written by Adorno, far from it, and whether or not Adorno realy was a Marxist is irellevant since Adorno�s latter ideas have little or nothing to do with this book. The Authoritarian Personality remains a very interesting study in human behaviour and nature. It has clearly been written as a reaction to the horrors of what was happening then in Nazi Germany and the authors tried to come up with a full explanation. Although I don�t doubt the integrity of authors� motives, they did obviously not succeed in there goal to come up with an extensive theory for the existence of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, because the focussed almost entirely on the personality of the individual and disregarded the unique social en economical circumstances in Germany after WWI, that have undoubtedly played an important role as well. The fact that, in hindsight, it has become apparent that the authors have not succeeded to live up to the overambitious conclusions does, however, certainly not make The Authoritarian Personality any less interesting. A lot can still be learned about the causes of ethnocentrism from this book. It is unique in it�s scale and historical value and should not be disregarded by anyone who wants to learn more about ethnocentrism as long as you keep the books apparent short comings in mind. You should, however, also keep in mind that the criticism this book has received is certainly not allways justified at all, but caused by the fact that a lot of it's conclusions still remain valid, but these are not always pleasant for everyone.
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on July 17, 2016
Put out by "The American Jewish Committee," it is an attack on the strong Goy nuclear family.

What the "Jews"/Khazarians desire is "The Submissive Personality." Submissive to them.
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on August 3, 2011
This book was one of the main products of the Frankfurt School of sociologists who were Jewish refugees from WW2. The Oslo terrorist who went on a killing spree in 2011 claimed he was fighting the influence of the Frankfurt School ("Cultural Marxism"). He felt this book was really really unfair to people like him, so his response was to kill nearly a hundred people. It sounds to me like Adorno was on to something.
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on November 26, 2012
The fear that an industrialized society had a fascist lurking under any bed was revealed in Adorno's book The Authoritarian Personality published in 1950. Adorno thought that he envisioned America of the post Second World War years as the reincarnation of Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia of the 1930s. Purportedly written as a scientific treatise on the potential of Americans to morph into fascists, the Authoritarian Personality instead emerged as an indictment by the political left of the conservative right. Adorno and a supporting team of like-minded psychologists conducted hundreds of interviews the purpose of which was to predict not an actual fascist-to-be but a potential fascist. The questions dealt generally with topics designed to uncover deeply hidden prejudices and were measured on scale that placed the respondent somewhere being democratic and authoritarian. It is hardly coincidental that those who were placed on the democratic end generally agreed with leftist, socialist, Marxist dogma while those who were near the authoritarian end were what we would now label conservative traditionalists. The book was a huge bestseller, convincing generations to come that there should be an equal sign placed between political conservative thought and racial prejudice. In the struggle between ideology and rigorous scholarship, the Authoritarian Personality was rigged to ensure that the former emerged victorious.
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on March 5, 2016
Just nonsense. Long debunked trash that seeks to pathologize healthy moral sentiments in gentile society. Written by Marxist Jews with an axe to grind after the disaster of the second world war. Unless you want to understand the mindset of people in the ADL or SPLC, don't bother.
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on October 2, 2004
_The Authoritarian Personality_ involved a series of studies sponsored by the American Jewish Committee which were supposed to define a certain personality type which would be easily taken up with antidemocratic propaganda, in light of the tragedy and disaster that was the Third Reich. Scales were developed to assess Antisemitism, Political-Economic Conservativism (which amounted to support for laissez-faire capitalism), and Authoritarianism (the F (for Fascist) scale). Both the Antisemitism scale and the Political-Economic Conservativism scale involved predictable statements in which the subjects had to state their level of agreement with in order to achieve a score. The F scale, involved a series of statements which were designed to measure conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, anti-intraception (i.e. "Opposition to the subjective, the imaginative, and the tender-minded."), superstition and stereotypy, power and "toughness", destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity (i.e. "The disposition to believe that wild and dangerous things go on in the world"), and concern about "sexual goings-on". While some of these statements were predictable, others were rather strange (and could not be easily answered in terms of Agree/Disagree because they were too broad and categorical). (My own score on this scale was rather high, about 4 out of a possible 6.) Various populations including college students and criminals were examined in terms of these scales and various theories were proposed to explain different personality sub-types. The ironic thing about this research is that it does not really show much of anything. While the authoritarian type may be interesting from a theoretical perspective, it is doubtful that such a type actually amounts to the kind of person who would unleash a fascist tyranny. In my view, the authoritarian type would be a rather eccentric individual, but probably not one who would engage in mass murder. This study must be seen in light of the fact that among the main authors were Marxists (prime among them Theodore Adorno) who wanted to advance an anticonservative agenda, downplaying conventional morality among other things. Also, the authors seem to think that those prone to give a "mystical" explanation for world events are also those prone to be sympathetic to a fascist state. I find this ironic because in my view the fascist state was a completely technicized one, created along "rationalist"/scientistic lines. I believe this reveals the bias of the Marxist materialist against philosophical worldviews which incorporate transcendental non-material elements. Also, in terms of stereotypy it is assumed that the stereotypes in question are always false. While stereotypes may reveal a dysfunction in rational thought, there is no reason to assume that a stereotype need be always false. Actual empirical study is necessary to confirm or disconfirm the truth of a given stereotype, provided of course that that stereotype is even phrased in a manner which leads itself to verification/falsification. Finally, it is assumed that conventional morality is something that involves submission to an unjust authority, rather than being a natural outgrowth of biological and natural constraints upon the human animal. Since these sorts of questions were not addressed in the study, I believe that while it may be interesting from some theoretical perspective, its practical utility is limited. In terms of actual practice, the results of this study could be disastrous, in fact resulting in a sort of "reverse tyranny" in which individuals categorized as "authoritarian" by such measures are denied civil liberties. A good book which deals with this question is by Paul Gottfried entitled _After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State_. In addition, much of the theorizing in this book is based on Freudian theories of the unconscious. These types of Freudian theories are highly problematic in themselves, and their scientific standing is highly dubious to say the least. Many of the individuals interviewed in this book could clearly be described as unbalanced and possibly insane; however, there is little reason to think that these are the individuals who would be at the forefront of a future fascism.
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on November 24, 2003
The index of names on page 990 is only a page, but few people in the list would become more famous than Freud and F.D.R., one of whom was dead when a conference of American scholars in May, 1944, set out to seek solutions to crucial problems of religious and racial prejudice. The book praises those that it can describe as liberal in their attitudes:
"An extreme example of fully conscious anti-stereotypy is 5046, an executive secretary in the movie industry, in her late thirties, actively engaged in the labor movement. . . . When given the check list, she laughed and said: `Of course, one can't generalize . . . these are the stereotypes used by the anti-Semites to blame the Jews for certain faults . . . I don't think one should label any group like this . . . it is dangerous, especially in regard to the Jews,' " (p. 646).
Examples of the checklist items begin to appear on page 63, in Table I (III) Anti-Semitism Subscale "Offensive." Table 3 (III) Anti-Semitism Subscale "Attitudes" even has the suggestion, "II-24. It would be to the best interests of all if the Jews would form their own nation and keep more to themselves." (p. 65). Then there were wars in 1948, 1967, 1973, and an occupation in Lebanon in the 1980s or 1990s that begin to look like Israel and the United States were not seeing this situation in the same way as the rest of the world. Opinions are not totally antagonistic to some form of sanity throughout the entire book. Part IV, Qualitative Studies in Ideology, starting on page 601, includes Chapter XVI, Prejudice in the Interview Material, in which subjects of this study had the opportunity to express themselves in whatever manner best accentuates their own characters. Though this book was published in 1950, it has some comments that seem perfectly capable of looking ahead to the kind of policy that America is pursuing today.
"Sending them to Palestine is silly because it is not big enough. A good idea to have a country of their own, but big enough so that they can go ahead with their pursuits in a normal way, but the Jews would not be happy. They are only happy to have others work for them." (p. 631).
The first suggestion on page 631 was called "mental perversion," and the authors are quick to label "this subject's pseudorational statement on Palestine: while apparently willing to `give Jews a chance,' he simultaneously excludes any prospect of success by referring to the Jews supposedly unchangeably bad nature:" (p. 631). This seems to be particularly cruel to Jewish anti-Semites, who treat being Jewish as a family imperative which individuals attempt to escape:
"I have a cousin who was in love with me and wanted to marry me. He was more Jewish than I. I loved him, but wouldn't marry him. I told him why--because he's Jewish. He is now married to a Gentile with two children. He's more anti-Semitic than I. That's true of so many Jews--like they were lame or hunchback. They hate it or resent it." (p. 639).
I wouldn't have picked this book up if I didn't expect to find a lot of perverse mentality relating to authoritarianism. As you might expect, the authors of this book had a fit or funk whenever they had to write about anyone who expressed sympathy for Hitler in this book for being able to discipline most of Europe in a manner that might be considered punitive by people who did not share his ideals. Scoring of their psychological tests was most concerned with identifying people who were high in ethnocentricity and fascism. The references on pages 977-982 has 121 numbered items, mostly used as they were intended, as:
"83. Morgan, C.D., and Murray, H.A.: A method for investigating fantasies: the Thematic Apperception Test. `Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry' 34:289-306, 1935." (p. 981).
Psychological testing does not have the same reputation in the 21st century that it was trying to project in 1950. The Unabomber might be the most famous example of someone whose views were shaped by being involved in psychological experiments as an undergraduate at Harvard University, possibly for secret research being conducted for the CIA, though without LSD. The book HARVARD AND THE UNABOMBER by Alston Chase has an attitude about some professor Murray and the undergraduate curriculum in disillusionment that is quite a contrast to the presentation contained in THE AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY. Mainly due to television, I'm afraid that social scientists failed to achieve a humane society, and the greatest mental perversion maintains its hold on public opinion in spite of those who planned to work with humanities viewpoints to educate Americans out of their attitudes, like "57. Most people don't realize how much our lives are controlled by plots hatched in secret by politicians." (p. 250). Having access to actual information about how often the system has been abused has fostered an anti-political attitude that rigidly associates politics with bloodshed, particularly in and around Palestine, that may ultimately be more likely to bring out the worst nature in peoples than American missiles being able to put a thermonuclear weapon into the men's room at the Kremlin.
For people who are interested in what scales particular psychological questions are graded on, there are a number of examples given in this book, which are now considered merely prejudices of the bigoted:
"I-12. The Jewish problem . . ." (p. 65).
"II-20. Jewish millionaires . . ." (p. 66).
"5. The Negroes . . ." (pp. 105, 110).
"8. Negro musicians . . ." (pp. 105, 110).
"31. Homosexuality is a particularly rotten form of . . ." (p. 226).
"46. The . . . of the old Greeks and Romans are nursery school stuff . . ." (pp. 226, 239, 240 and no. 52 on p. 250).
"75. Sex crimes . . ." (pp. 227, 240).
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on August 31, 2001
Adorno wanted to explain the catastrophe that was the Nazi regime and WW II. How could this happen in the midst of Western civilization? What of Western education, morality, and cultural achievements? Why did they fail to prevent this disaster?
Adorno, while a Marxist, was heavily influenced by Nietzsche. He belonged to the so-called Frankfurt school, a group of German intellectuals, the center of whose activities was Frankfurt, before Hitler came to power, and they had no practical choice but to flee. Adorno was the most psychologizing of the Frankfurt school. He believed that many answers to social and political problems are found in the psyche of the individual.
The political debacle that was the Nazi Germany led him to believe that his native country's case was not unique, that all Western societies, the U.S. included, are full of authoritarian personalities ready to follow tyrants at any moment. In fact, Adorno claimed that this is already happening everywhere, but in ways less subtle than in the Nazi Germany. The crisis in not merely German, or European, it is the crisis of Western civilization. The conditions of what he called "late capitalism" produce abundance of authoritarian personalities. There is not much direct coercion in America a la Nazi-ism, because we coerce ourselves internally, we are not really free spiritually and emotionally, so no concentration camps are needed for us--we are enslaved already. I have no response to this, as Adorno's extrapolation from the Nazi Germany to the U.S. of the second half of the twentieth century is absurd. What else can one say about it? He also belonged to a holistic tradition that tied together culture with social and political phenomena. So he argues that our music and our popular culture indicate that we are far on the road to enslavement. Adorno considered jazz as an artistic equivalent of castration, and the fondness for jazz as a desire to be castrated. He believed that surf boards, rock-n-roll, and popular culture in general were fetters of the "late capitalism" that de-spiritualized America and made it not very different socities that are openly dictatorial.
By and large, I think, Adorno's insights are not valid. He overgeneralizes. He is too Eurocentric, and especially, German-centric. He did not know great jazz musicians, such as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, and he did not understand the American popular culture in general. He comes across as too speculative, gloomy, and Eurocentric.
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on April 27, 2011
The authors simply took the attributes and adjectives used to describe those on the political left and right, wrote them down on opposing sides of a notebook paper, then labelled all the words on the right half of the paper attributes of the Authoritarian Personality. University 'research' has certainly advanced since then. Only the 'best' advance. That's why professors are held in high esteem. The rest of us are stuck with doing reviews on Amazon.

This work was done by someone who was victim of the Holocaust, and it was done because the author wanted to understand how the Holocaust had come to happen.

The authoritarian personality is also a gigantic fraud. A vile and evil work that is one small part of an effort, seemingly, to create a vile and evil world. Perhaps that's only a side effect. An unintended and unfortunate byproduct. The main effort being about killing white men, as part of 'revenge'?

Most likely the author's felt they had good intentions when they wrote this book.

It doesn't change what it is: Fraud.

A complete fraud. A 'vile and evil one' at that. It's certainly well-titled as 'Studies in Prejudice'.
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