• Petitioned American Psychiatric Association

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American Psychiatric Association

Authoritarian personality syndrome added as clinical disorder to the new DSM ( 5 )

    1. Gary Williams
    2. Petition by

      Gary Williams

      Kamloops, Canada

The "Dominance-Submissive Authoritarian Embrace" is a social phenomenon that sociologists, historians, psychologists and other social scientists cite as being largely responsible for disasters such as the Holocaust.  It happens whenever a charismatic leader is able to exert control over enough followers that this single person is made capable of directing events leading to a level of destruction like that seen during WW2.

While most accounts of the days leading up to Hitler's dictatorship tell us of a "hypnotic" influence he exerted over the general public, few point out which political stripe it was that was most charmed by his presence and message.  As it turns out, research done after WW2 specifically done in an attempt to discover what had actually taken place in the minds of so many "normal" Germans has resulted in the discovery of what is now known as the "authoritarian personality syndrome". Hitler's most loyal followers almost always displayed authoritarian personality traits.

The root cause of this syndrome is still debated, but what is known is that their cognitive-social-intellectual development remains immature into adulthood. It leaves them with limited abilities for deciding questions that require the ability to think in abstract and complex ways. Instead they seek out authority figures who will (and do) inform even their most basic decisions for them. As a result, persons so afflicted seek out careers in law-enforcement or to the military where thinking for oneself is not promoted.  Dr. Altemeyer, possibly the world's leading expert on the syndrome, has this to say about them : "The studies explain so much about these people. Yes, the research shows they are very aggressive, but why are they so hostile? Yes, experiments show they are almost totally uninfluenced by reasoning and evidence, but why are they so dogmatic? Yes, studies show the Religious Right has more than its fair share of hypocrites, from top to bottom; but why are they two-faced, and how come one face never notices the other? Yes, their leaders can give the flimsiest of excuses and even outright lies about things they’ve done wrong, but why do the rank-and-file believe them? What happens when authoritarian followers find the authoritarian leaders they crave and start marching together?" http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

It is now long overdue that this personality was deprived of the social camouflage it uses hiding behind the veneer of some rationally conceived conservative ideology.  It is nothing more than the mindless belief that their leaders can do no wrong, including the non-critical acceptance of blatant lies and distortions told them by media authority figures (like Rush Limbaugh or FOX News).  Needless to say, this is also the perfect recipe for the rise of another totalitarian dictator.

As such, placement of RWA-SDO in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) would go a long way toward finally seeing the end of society's tolerance of such an anti-democratic and socially destructive personality disorder as this syndrome surely is.

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