Wednesday, January 27, 2021

How Many Americans Are Receptive to Fascism?

One of the questions on the personality test that probes for vulnerability to fascism (the F-Scale) is this: "Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn." Agreement with this statement is one sign of receptivity to fascism.

The General Social Survey (GSS) has been asking the American public a similar question every year or two since 1986: Here it is: "How important is it for a child to learn to obey to prepare him or her for life?" 

One in 10 Americans told GSS interviewers in 2018 that obedience was the most important thing for a child to learn to prepare him or her for life. (The other options were learning to work hard, learning to help others, learning to think for themselves, or learning to be popular.) Here are the percentages who chose obedience as the most important thing by age group...

Obedience is the most important thing for a child to learn, 2018 (and 1986)
Aged 18 to 44: 8% (19%)
Aged 45 to 64: 10% (28%)
Aged 65-plus: 13% (32%)

The public may be less receptive to fascism today than it was several decades ago. The first year the GSS asked this question in 1986, a much larger 23 percent of Americans named obedience as the single most important thing a child needed to learn.

Source: Demo Memo analysis of the 2018 General Social Survey

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