Terry Cooper begins to walk the reader through steps of sorts for responding to judgmentalism. In Chapter 6 titled “Authoritative Judgments Vs. Authoritarian Judgmentalism,” he introduces ideas for responding to black and white thinkers. These include encouraging them “into a situation in which they confront different viewpoints” (p. 116) and taking on other perspectives (by asking about the context of how a person came to reach their conclusions). Cooper also suggests we understand an authoritarian person’s fear – that anxiety and insecurity fuels abusiveness. He also suggests we focus on the purpose or goal of conversation – that is, to focus on mutual understanding and respect rather than scorekeeping.
Perhaps nothing comes easier than to treat an authoritarian in an authoritarian manner. But again, the ultimate goal of life is not to crack their facade and reveal how insecure authoritarian thinkers really are. The point is not to treat the authoritarian like a cognitive leper. The goals is instead to invite greater humanness in a dialogue enveloped by care. We can affirm the person while disagreeing with the viewpoint. Uncaring argument does not help in the pursuit of truth. (p. 120)
For reflection: How have you responding to authoritarian thinking in others? What strategies have you found helpful for responding to them?