“A third of the population”

Anne Applebaum, writer for The Atlantic and author of The Twilight of Democracy, turns 56 tomorrow. For 32 years she has divided time between her native America and Poland, home to her husband, a former Polish official who, like her, is politically center-right.

Young Applebaum was inspired by Ronald Reagan’s optimism. An article in The Atlantic (adapted from her book) tells how she parted ways with some of her Reagan era friends and acquaintances (such as Laura Ingraham).

Her book describes a painfully similar parting with some former friends and acquaintances in Europe, whose abandonment of democratic ideals prompted the book’s sub-title: “The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism.” She describes a challenge for leaders with democratic ideals today:

Karen Stenner… has argued that about a third of the population in any country has what she calls an authoritarian predisposition. …one that favors homogeneity and order. … Authoritarianism appeals, simply, to people who cannot tolerate complexity: there is nothing intrinsically ‘left-wing’ or ‘right-wing’ about this instinct at all. It is anti-pluralist. It is suspicious of people with different ideas. …It is a frame of mind, not a set of ideas.

“Authoritarianism: The Terrifying Trait That Trump Triggers,” Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard, March 26, 2018

4 thoughts on ““A third of the population””

  1. Very interesting link. I try hard not to think of my friends of an authoritarian predisposition as “deplorables”.

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  2. Keep trying! I’ve tried to eliminate it from my brain. Every time I see it or hear it, it makes me think Hillary’s use of that word helped put Trump in the White House. 🙂

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    1. That ridiculous word doesn’t come to my mind, but I would like to not be judge mental of my friends that are genetically predisposed to liking authoritarianism.

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