Sunday, June 08, 2008

Conservatives Dissected and Explained

It took the government of the United States to do it but there's finally an explanation of just what makes Conservatives tick. From The Guardian:

A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".

As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.

All of them "preached a return to an idealised past and condoned inequality".

Republicans are demanding to know why the psychologists behind the report, Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition, received $1.2m in public funds for their research from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

The authors also peer into the psyche of President George Bush, who turns out to be a textbook case. The telltale signs are his preference for moral certainty and frequently expressed dislike of nuance.

"This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes," the authors argue in the Psychological Bulletin.

And you thought conservatism wasn't a disease. It's not that they're bad, they just malfunction.


Jay said...

I have known this for years. I have a very conservative cousin who only communicates within her "circle of trust". In other words to people who won't tell her off about being a racist, narrow minded, busy body NIMBY. Like little minded individuals. This mindset is seen in the censorship apparent on many conservative blogs that filter comments, allowing only those who agree to comment.

The Mound of Sound said...

You're right Jay. We just needed a $1.2-million, US govt.-funded study to make the point on the record.

That "circle of trust" business is a tad weird though.

Maybe we ought to invite everyone to submit their personal experiences or observations of this disease while there's still time to help the afflicted.


Oldschool said...

A poster on some other forums I frequent once wrote an excellent piece on the differences and origins of conservative (or classical liberal) and modern (socialist) liberalism.

The gist was that conservatism is the product of Rationalism. The Age of Reason. And part of this rationale is that people are going to continue to act and behave as they always have. Guided by the same passions, ambitions, prejudices, jealousies, and other emotions.

Conservatism rationally makes allowances for this and seeks a society that maximizes human potential within these parameters of human behavior.

Modern liberalism originates from Romanticism, of which utopian idealism is no stranger. Institute the right programs, steer the kiddies away from the old prejudices and values of their parents (with the help of government), redistribute the resources by means other than simple, honest market forces and profit motive and viola! We can mold humanity into the perfect society.

That kind of thinking, traveling under the guise of Nazism, fascism, and communism, has killed more people than we can even comprehend with something so banal as numbers.

Anonymous said...

I understand your blog completely but tell me MOS, don't you think when it comes to the liberal stance, we still have to take responsibility for our actions. The Liberal Party of Canada doesn't have all the answers either. People must be held accountable for what they do in soceity that blatantly harms another person. We need to empliment justice. A slap on the wrist is not the answer either. Liberalism also allows for "psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity" as well. Any politcal system is capable of it if it is not in check by the people with a system to get rid of such a group of idiots. can blame a lot of what your blog address on religion as well.
A. Morris

The Mound of Sound said...

AM, no one ever has all the answers which is why we try to reach a consensus that gives proper consideration to minority views. Otherwise you have little more than mob rule where whatever gang is in power can act without regard to minority interests provided the mob will back them up.

Religion? Sorry, AM, but I don't touch that subject when I can avoid it. That said, I do oppose fundamentalism whether it be Christian, Muslim or Hebrew. Curious how all three faiths "of the book" can spawn such eerily similar zealotry.