Sunday, April 22, 2007

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.


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."
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.

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)


At 12:49 PM, Blogger Paddy said...

Don't like books?

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Fernando said...

Makes sense. No wonder "My Pet Goat" was upside down. Too scared to actually read any of the words so he never looked at the page.

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

My motto is now "All we have to fear is fear itself." That's all the Repukeliscum have to offer - fear itself.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Completely unsurprising. Thanks for highlighting the article.

At 8:21 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...

So the behavior patterns start in early childhood...

It's so easy to imagine GWB at 3, because, and I'm stating the obvious, there's been no change in any aspect of his personality or psyche since then.

And he still has a fondness for bottles.

At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me of growing up as part of upper class England in the 50's and 60's, when the toffs, who were only toffs because their papas were toffs, worked really hard at intimidating the great unwashed, who couldn't talk as posh as they did, so they could hang on to the privileges they had assumed from birth to be their right. Of course a lot of them were chinless wonders and scared shitless they would lose said privileges if anyone twigged to the fact that they were less a lot worth than the folks who actually did all the work.

I left England in disgust in 1970 and moved to Canada. However I am delighted to find that it is now de rigeur in the UK to speak with what used to be considered a "common" accent so folks won't know you were a toff and take you out for all the indignities they suffered when Britain was still an empire, built on the backs of THEIR papas.

What a load of nonsense, and we thought the Pilgrims left it behind on the quay in England. Not. Its still alive and well here today - exemplified by the Bush dynasty and their acolytes.


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