Right-wing authoritarianism has emerged as a social psychological theory to explain conservative political and religious movements. Such authoritarianism is said to be rooted in the willingness of individuals to support authority figures who seek to restrict civil and human rights. George Yancey investigates the effectiveness of right-wing authoritarianism and the social phenomenon it represents. He analyzes how authoritarians on both the right and the left sides of the sociopolitical spectrum dehumanize their opponents.
Yancey details earlier research on the phenomena of right-wing authoritarianism, asking whether its characteristics are inherently linked to religious and political conservatives. He presents his Christian dehumanization scale, and shows that those high in right-wing authoritarianism differ from those high in Christian dehumanization in one key aspect: they did not support authoritarian measures against conservative Christians.
Yancey argues that authoritarianism is a tool of a larger phenomenon of dehumanization. He notes that dehumanization is sometimes used by conservatives who wish to use authoritarian measures against political radicals. Dehumanization is also used by progressives who would like to use authoritarian measures against conservative Christians. Yancey paints a bold picture with troubling implications about our understanding of society; he also considers the possible public policy dimensions of his work.