The Status of Authoritarianism
In a book that seemed fantastic at the time, Sinclair Lewis (1935) laid out a possible scenario whereby the United States became a fascist dictatorship. In It Can’t Happen Here, Lewis described the complacency with which the citizens of the United States of America allowed their freedoms to be taken from them. Fear of the appeals of fascism spurred the efforts of the authors of The Authoritarian Personality (Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson, & Sanford, 1950) as it has the efforts of the author of Enemies of Freedom (Altemeyer, 1988a). Their theses were that personality is an important element in the rise of fascism. Investigation of the connection between authoritarianism and destructive obedience remains a central concern of our effort.
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