Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Conservative Yap of Michele Malkin: All Bark and No Bite

The recent Michele Malkin attack on an innocent Twelve year old boy and his family has spawned quite a bit of criticism of the right wing noise machine. Rightly so, but what is her motivation, really? Why would a well educated woman of seemingly high intelligence, and a loving mother, attack a 12 year old boy and his family instead of debating the issue on the merits of reason?

It’s her personality stupid! She simply can't help herself.

This sort of personal attack, the ad homonym abusive technique, typifies the personality profile of the RWA, the Right Wing Authoritarian.

Michele Malkin, like many others in the public spectrum, depicts the traits of an extreme Right Wing Authoritarian personality. It is a personality type which is explained by the research Dr. Robert Altemeyer. His research illustrates that a RWA (right-wing authoritarian) personality can be measured by using a scale, appropriately named the RWA Scale. The RWA Scale states that the authoritarian syndrome consists of three factors: submission to authority, conventionality, and righteous aggression. Michele Malkin has illustrated an Authoritarian Personality and she would likely, in my opinion, score very high on the RWA scale.

We can learn a lot about this personality type from John Dean’s Book, “Conservatives without Conscience”. Here’s an example, from the book, of an RWA (Right Wing Authoritarian):

“The "RWA" trait is measured by an attitude scale aptly named the RWA scale. The first item on the scale goes, "Our country desperately needs a mighty leader who will do what has to be done to destroy the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us." Persons who strongly agree with this are showing a lot of authoritarian submission ("Our country desperately needs a mighty leader"), authoritarian aggression ("who will do what has to be done to destroy"), and conventionalism ("the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us").

I doubt that Michele Malkin has been screened on the RWA scale, but I’m willing to speculate that she, and many others who bark for the extreme right wing, would agree on the first item in the scale with the concurrence of a church choir, can I get an amen?

The hope though is that people can change their personalities, however unlikely that may seem at times.

So when we hear a Michele Malkin, or an Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh bark for conformity to their perscective with the ferocity of an abused junk-yard dog we should know that it’s their personality, not the issues that motivate them. Their aggression is dominated by their need to submit to authority, conventionality and righteous aggression. They simply can’t help themselves. Knowing these tendencies will help progressives in dealing with the lunitic fringe of the far right wing.


Blogger Van said...

href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/15/AR2006071501032_pf.html" target="_blank">

8:17 AM  
Blogger Van said...

MikeFitz's post

8:25 AM  

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