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The Open MindCold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature$
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Jamie Cohen-Cole

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226092164

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226092331.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 07 December 2021

The Creative American

The Creative American

(p.35) Chapter Two The Creative American
The Open Mind

Jamie Cohen-Cole

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines how Cold War social critics and policy makers used scientific study of individual character to solve social and political problems from bureaucracy, social fragmentation, and soulless consumerism to alienation and the evaporation of true community. Their science provided tools for understanding the kind of person who threatened to make America into a mass or even an authoritarian society. Scientific tools crystallized a form of the exemplary self that would inoculate America against the dangers of mass society. The defining feature of that personality was creativity, a trait taken to be interchangeable with autonomy, rationality, tolerance, and open-mindedness. Liberal social scientists managed the definitions of creativity and autonomy in such a way that those traits would describe their allies. Conversely, the opposite traits—conformity, rigidity, narrow-mindedness—were defined so as to apply to the liberals’ McCarthyite opponents on the right and their Communist foes on the left.

Keywords:   conformity, Creativity, Flexibility, Mass society, Authoritarian, Personality, Self, liberal, conservative

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