Don’t like authoritarianism? Support the liberal arts

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce just released a study suggesting that liberal arts education tames authoritarian attitudes.

Here is a taste of the findings:

–While people at all levels of educational attainment can express= authoritarian preferences, higher education appears to mitigate against authoritarian tendencies. Higher education promotes independent thought, respect for diversity, and inquisitive assessment of evidence—all of which can counteract the unquestioning deference to authority that is characteristic of authoritarianism.

–Higher education appears to have a larger impact on reducing authoritarian preferences in the United States than in other countries. This may be in part because American higher education places a strong emphasis on a combination of specific and general education, including coursework in the liberal arts.

–The United States ranks as the 16th least authoritarian among 51 countries based on residents’ inclinations to express authoritarian preferences and attitudes, roughly on par with Chile and Uruguay. Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, and Ghana top the list of nations whose populations are least likely to express authoritarian tendencies, while India, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, and Lebanon have the most authoritarian-leaning populations.

Read the entire report here. Inside Higher Ed is also covering this report.