If communists in the former Soviet Union counted as right-wing authoritarians to Altemeyer, what did communists in the United States of an authoritarian mindset, supporting the Soviet Union, count as? Both right-wing with respect to the Soviet Union and left-wing with respect to the U.S.?
Altemeyer’s right/left distinction is with respect to the individual’s “in-group” and “power/authority group.” For Altemeyer, people are right-wing if these “followers have personalities featuring:
1) a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in
2) high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
3) a high level of conventionalism.
Because the submission occurs to traditional authority, I call these followers right-wing authoritarians.” - “The Authoritarians” p. 9.
Left-wingers are members of the group that’s against the establishment. So, in the US, a (politically) left-wing authoritarian would be a member of the SLA, the SDS, the Weathermen, etc. In the Soviet Union a (politically) left-wing authoritarian would be someone who was a member of a group which was trying to usurp the power of the Communist Party. Right-wing authoritarians were those people who spied on their neighbors and reported “subversive activities.”
So, for Altemeyer, hard-core communists in the Soviet Union were right-wing authoritarians.
” But someone who lived in a country long ruled by Communists and who ardently supported the Communist Party would also be one of my psychological right-wing authoritarians even though we would also say he was a political left-winger. So a right-wing authoritarian follower doesn’t necessarily have conservative political views. Instead he’s someone who readily submits to the established authorities in society, attacks others in their name, and is highly conventional. It’s an aspect of his personality, not a description of his politics.” - “The Authoritarians” p. 9