Who want to be an Authoritarian?

From a new paper (thank Syllabus) exploring the:

the ideological make-up of citizens who would be most inclined to “green-light” authoritarian actions within the consolidated Western democracies


a broad conservative cultural orientation – involving traditional sexual morality and gender views, religiosity, antiimmigration attitudes, and related beliefs and values – is consistently associated with openness to authoritarian governance. On average, this association is stronger than those between democracy attitudes and college education, age, and political engagement. Moreover, it is present across different operationalizations of cultural conservatism and democracy attitudes. This finding suggests that authoritarian governance may be perceived as an efficient way of enforcing social conformity, upholding religious traditionalism, and resisting multi-cultural diversity


leftwing economic views are in many cases a part of the ideological package that most strongly resonates with openness to authoritarian governance. Specifically, the combination of right-wing cultural and left-wing economic attitudes – what has been dubbed a “protection based” attitude package

They found the effect is stronger in Anglophone democracies like the US, UK, or Australia as opposed to continental European democracies.

The findings confirm what we already knew from the elections of people like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. Still, they highlight how right-wing politics and conservatism is changing. Gone is the commitment to individual liberty which motivated small government politics; big government is now ok as long as it acts as a bulwark against unwanted change.

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