The F scale is such a hilarious test to me. It’s not well designed. I tried clicking strongly agree for every question, and got 100% fascist, so it’s pretty easy to game. The wording of the items is just so intense and moralistic, and I seriously pity those who actually think like this. It’s funny because no one really says these types of things nowadays, except Dwight Shrute.
You can take the test here.
Examples of the items include:
“There is hardly anything lower than a person who does not feel a great love, gratitude, and respect for his parents.”
“Homosexuals are hardly better than criminals and ought to be severely punished.”
Okay, calm down there buddy.
“Human nature being what it is, there will always be war and conflict.”
The scoring seemed very complicated, probably unnecessarily so, which is what I like! This test has nine personality variables. Conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, anti-intraception, superstition and stereotypy, power and “toughness”, destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity, and sex. I will go over each of them below.
The Personality Variables
Conventionalism: “rigid adherence to conventional, middle class values.”
Conventionalists are heavily concerned with things such as respecting authority, getting jobs in industry rather than the arts, and just hard work in general. I would imagine that they are judgmental, and have little tolerance for “weird people.”
Authoritarian Submission: “Submissive, uncritical attitude toward idealized moral authorities of the ingroup.”
If you can appreciate one thing about these people it is that they at least complied with leaders, instead of just bossing everyone around with no respect to other authorities. Though I suspect that they only listened to certain people who they deemed worthy, which was probably the ingroup. They believe that everyone should follow the lead of a higher power, political idol, or whomever else they admire. They don’t question their authorities either because if they have to question then that puts them in a weaker position, and the authoritarian personalty wants to avoid any feelings of vulnerability.
Authoritarian Aggression: “Tendency to be on the lookout for, and to condemn, reject, and punish people who violate conventional values.”
Now onto one of the more extreme traits of the authoritarian personality profile, the desire to put “bad people” into their place. It is quite a sadistic trait, and I bet they enjoy seeing criminals hauled off to jail. These people like to pretend to be logical, but they get an emotional high by criticizing and catching those who brake their precious middle class values. It’s also about wanting to punish those who are not normal and “correct” them. I wonder if looking our for wrongdoers gives them purpose in life.
Anti-Intraception: “Opposition to the subjective, the imaginative, the tender-minded.”
Fear of the unknown affects everyone, but those with an authoritarian personality take it to the extreme. They don’t like to hear that not everything is right or wrong. I wanted more information on what intraception was, but I think Adorno made it up because I found nothing except for this test. The word introspection sounds similar, though not exactly the same, they are both about the internal, and subjective with no definite end point. If anti-intraceptives are feeling down, they will try to get rid of the emotion instead of delving deep to find the source and actually fix it. Emotionality also contradicts their strict, punitive style, so they want to stay away from that.
Superstition and Stereotypy: “The belief in mystical determinants of the individual’s fate; the disposition to think in rigid categories.”
Adorno decided to group superstition and categorical thinking together because believing in fate is inherently rigid thing as it does not change, which is very attractive to narrow minded thinkers. When you place people into unchanging categories, it becomes easier to see them as the enemy as well as assume they are all the same. Of course we have the 50’s stereotype of the God-fearing Christian, who selectively abide by their book. This is also where racism, homophobia, and sexism come into play.
Power and “Toughness”: “Preoccupation with the dominance-submission, strong-weak, leader-follower dimension; identification with power figures; overemphasis upon the conventionalized attributes of the ego; exaggerated assertion of strength and toughness.”
These people are tiring to deal with, always focused on who’s on top, and who’s on bottom, competitive. If you’re a vulnerable person with an obsession then you would be very self hating. Weak people deserve to be harmed in this mindset, therefore one must avoid being weak. This is a very women hating mindset since they often focus on physical strength, and a focus on power can justify their abuse toward their wives. These are the bullies, the tyrants, and sociopathic CEOs who think that might means right. Authoritarians can justify their cruel actions by believing that you must harms others or they will harm you, and thinking that this is just the way the world works, and it can’t be changed.
Destructiveness and Cynicism: “Generalized hostility, vilification of the human.”
An extremely cynical attitude justifies any aggression on their part because humanity at large is destructive, so they must be as well to survive in this world. They think the world has been sullied by degenerates, and people like them must work to purify it. Their righteous indignation makes them feel good about themselves, and is a good way to get their aggression out. It would make since if authoritarians came from an abusive situation or witnessed horrible things (like WWII maybe?), and their personality is now a coping mechanism.
Projectivity: “The disposition to believe that wild and dangerous things go on in the world; the projection outwards of unconscious emotional impulses.”
Authoritarian personalities live in constant fear, which is why they need to either feel like they are in control or feel that the “bad people” are being put in place. If you were to tell them about a new invention, they would assume the worst case scenario. Deep down inside they have overwhelming emotions and urges to hurt people, but they can’t acknowledge that side. Their black and white thinking style cannot understand that people are not perfect and that sometimes you think bad thoughts. If one part of them is bad, then their whole self is bad, which is why it is easier for them to project their negative aspects onto others. Ironically their trust in the governments/leaders falls, and they can turn to conspiracy theories (don’t get me wrong, some are totally true) to help them feel in control and special, like they are in the know.
Sex: “Exaggerated concern with sexual “goings-on.””
These are your good Christian homophobes who want to identity the gays, and very concerned with making sure everyone is following their proper gender roles. On the bright side, they hate pedophilia and rape, though that is mainly so they can express their unconscious sadistic urges they normally reject.
I don’t think this is the best way to snuff out fascists because it was made in 40s, but I have observed some people both online and in real life who think in this rigid and authoritarian way. Many people nowadays don’t agree with the specifics of this test, but if you used the same attitude with a statement about something more socially acceptable today, then more would score facist. It was difficult to go over every aspect, as there are many components to this test, but I hope I helped give you a deeper understanding of the F scale.