U.S. Intellectual History Blog

The Return of "Authoritarianism"

A surprising intellectual development of the first decade of this century was the return to intellectual importance of the idea of the authoritarian personality.  Largely on the basis of John Dean’s (re)popularization of the idea in Conservatives Without Conscience (Viking, 2006), a vigorous popular discussion of the purported authoritarianism of contemporary American conservatism arose.  Dean’s argument extensively credited the academic work of the Canadian social psychologist Bob Altemeyer, who then made his next major book on the subject, The Authoritarians, available free of charge online.