More Evidence Conservatives Are Nutballs
Great article in Psychology Today magazine. The crux of it is that 20 years ago psychologists began a study observing 3 year olds and recording personality traits. Now these kids are twenty-three. Wanna guess which ones turned out to be progressive and which ones became right-wing loons? (btw this study was not started as a political one, the researchers just decided to look at how each of the students turned out politically more recently):
Twenty years later, they decided to compare the subjects' childhood personalities with their political preferences as adults. They found arresting patterns. As kids, liberals had developed close relationships with peers and were rated by their teachers as self-reliant, energetic, impulsive, and resilient. People who were conservative at age 23 had been described by their teachers as easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and vulnerable at age 3. The reason for the difference, the Blocks hypothesized, was that insecure kids most needed the reassurance of tradition and authority, and they found it in conservative politics.Let me translate, if I may be so bold. This tells us everything we view with our own two eyes every day. Conservatives are sheepish, scared little wimps, who try and act tough to solve their own insecurities and failures in their personal lives. They're frightened of death, of change, of anything different, of pretty much being alive.
The study's authors also concluded that conservatives have less tolerance for ambiguity, a trait they say is exemplified when George Bush says things like, "Look, my job isn't to try to nuance. My job is to tell people what I think," and "I'm the decider." Those who think the world is highly dangerous and those with the greatest fear of death are the most likely to be conservative.
Liberals, on the other hand, are "more likely to see gray areas and reconcile seemingly conflicting information," says Jost. As a result, liberals like John Kerry, who see many sides to every issue, are portrayed as flip-floppers. "Whatever the cause, Bush and Kerry exemplify the cognitive styles we see in the research," says Jack Glaser, one of the study's authors, "Bush in appearing more rigid in his thinking and intolerant of uncertainty and ambiguity, and Kerry in appearing more open to ambiguity and to considering alternative positions."
I would take you back to Richard Hofstadter again, The Paranoid Style. So the next time some Winger talks tough on the War On Terror, ask them if they have yet wet their pants that hour, or if they were saving it for a little later.
Oh yeah, and they don't like books. There's a shock too.
(h/t Nicole Belle over at C&L)