- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 28, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143038869
- ISBN-13: 978-0143038863
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 238 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Conservatives Without Conscience Paperback – August 28, 2007
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"A penetrating and highly disturbing portrait of many of the major players in Republican politics and power ... riveting."
-Booklist, starred review
"A fierce indictment of Republican politicians ... the sheer outrage in Dean's book has power of its own."
About the Author
John Dean was White House legal counsel to President Nixon for a thousand days. Dean also served as chief minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee and as an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice.
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The roots of this authoritarianism are old. It's public debut as an essential characteristic of Republican politics happens during the Nixon presidency, matures during the Bush/Cheney years (when Dean wrote this volume), and comes roaring now out of the cave where Donald Trump was spawned. We should be alarmed. Very alarmed.
Dean's writing combines history (from the point of view of a political insider) and the science of psychology and may be more relevant today than it was a decade ago when it first came out.
Note that these labels do not necessarily refer to political leanings, but certain personality types, although the studies he cites point to an empirical relationship between these personality types and hard Right political leanings, at least in North America. "Left wing authoritarians," if they exist, are exceedingly rare. That's hard for some on the Right to except, but a profound lack of insight and deep denial of the facts (even when presented with them) are common characteristics of RWA followers. Dean summarizes the RWA follower personality type using the following headings:
1. Submissive to authority, thus intolerant of criticism of that authority
2. Aggressive support of authority, and pre-disposed to cause harm to others when that harm is sanctioned by authority
3. Highly conventional, and intolerant of those that are not
Please see the book for details. He also goes into the "Double Highs," that is, those that score high on both the RWA and SDO scales. These folks, comprising about ten percent of the broader category that can contains both RWA and SDO types, can probably also be called sociopaths, in that they see human beings as objects to be manipulated toward certain self-serving ends, and any means can be justified for achieving these ends. Double Highs do not possess a functioning conscience -- they will do or say anything to accomplish a goal, regardless of the consequences to others, thus the title of the book.
Yes, this sounds quite familiar.