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  • Wednesday, October 01, 2008


    The Authoritarian Dynamic

    Across time and place, we find that those inclined to discriminate against members of other racial and ethnic groups also rush to protect the "common good" by "stamping out" offensive ideas and "cracking down" on misbehavior, and show unusual interest in making public policy about what other people might be up to in private. At the other end of this spectrum are those who interact eagerly and respectfully with all manner of people, who think the common good mostly a chimera best served by letting "a thousand flowers bloom," and who cannot imagine being bothered about, let alone bothering lawmakers about, what others do behind closed doors. The rest of us fall somewhere in between: not openly averse to other peoples but usually favoring our own, uneasy about restricting what individuals may say but less so how and when and where they say it, generally wanting to keep private moral choices out of the public realm but at some point "drawing the line."

    Karen Stenner, The Authoritarian Dynamic. New York:Cambridge University Press, 2005. 1-2.

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