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The Presence of Left-Wing Authoritarianism in Western Europe and Its Relationship with Conservative Ideology

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The presence of left-wing authoritarianism (LWA) as well as its relationship with right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) and conservative ideology was tested in three Flemish samples. In the first study conducted on a sample of ordinary voters (N = 208), a newly developed LWA scale was found to be internally consistent and to show high construct validity. In the second study, another voter sample (N = 264) and a sample of political activists (N = 69) were tested. In the two samples of ordinary voters, only a few people obtained high LWA scores. Moreover, the aggression and submission items did not load on distinct components and LWA was positively related to RWA and cultural conservatism and negatively to economic conservatism. Conversely, in the political activist sample high LWA scores were common among left-wing extremists and evidence was found for a two-dimensional LWA aggression-submission structure. LWA was negatively related to RWA, cultural conservatism, and economic conservatism. The concept of LWA and its theoretical underpinnings are discussed.
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Keywords: communism; cultural conservatism; economic conservatism; left-wing authoritarianism; political beliefs; right-wing authoritarianism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Ghent University, Belgium 2: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium 3: Jagiellonian University, Poland

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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