Seems fear of death is the most powerful driver of conservative thought.
This post was inspired by Psychology Today's most emailed and popular article, The Ideological Animal. Some of the conclusions in the piece are laughable. Let's explore.
It starts by introducing Cinnamon Stillwell, a women who did a 180 from left to right after 9/11. Cinnamon, a former liberal, is now a conservative columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. The liberals felt a need to study this because she must certainly have a mental disorder. One of course that can be fixed with a mood altering prescription subsidized by President Hillary Clinton's Health Care Bill.
She changed because she realized that liberals had more sympathy for terrorists than the victims. And becasue liberals were consumed with hatred toward our country. She turned to conservative talk radio to hear thoughts more aligned to her enlightened thinking on the war on terror. She soon realized that after opening her mind to conservative thought that "smaller government, traditional societal structures, respect and reverence for life, the importance of family, personal responsibility, national unity over identity politics." and even "the idea of self-preservation in perilous times. (gun rights)" made sense.
The article tries to explain this change.
We tend to believe our political views have evolved by a process of rational thought, as we consider arguments, weigh evidence, and draw conclusions. But the truth is more complicated. Our political preferences are equally the result of factors we're not aware of—such as how educated we are, how scary the world seems at a given moment, and personality traits that are first apparent in early childhood. Among the most potent motivators, it turns out, is fear.... The fear of death alone is surprisingly effective in shaping our political decisions—more powerful, often, than thought itself.Seems that rational thought prompted Cinnamon to change after weighing the evidence. She did not get any more educated and 9/11 did not impact her early childhood. The article goes on to blame fear of death. How about vengeance? How about righting a wrong? How about good versus evil? How about patriotism? How about the fear of an economic calamity destroying savings or our beautiful way of life? No fear of death explains it all. At least they didn't blame breast feeding or lack there of again.
I can see the republican strategists now scheming ways to speed up the avian flu pandemic and granting amnesty to all illegal Islamic extremists.
Do you suppose that Micheal Jackson's son will be a conservative?
Other excerpts from the article that was a complete waste of time. (I thought I was going to read something useful in my exploration of how to raise conservative kids)
In 1969, Berkeley professors Jack and Jeanne Block embarked on a study of childhood personality, asking nursery school teachers to rate children's temperaments. (Anybody see any flaws here. Liberal researchers from ultra liberal Berkeley, asking liberal teachers to rate temperament of 3 year olds)
Twenty years later, they decided to compare the subjects' childhood personalities with their political preferences as adults. (To draw asinine bias conclusions. What a waste of 20 years)
Studies show that people who study abroad become more liberal than those who stay home. (The study should have concluded that people who seem to hate America tend to travel abroad more than people who love America)
Professors at major universities are more liberal than their counterparts at less acclaimed institutions. (I guess it couldn't be discrimination in hiring at the major universities. Don't worry fellow bloggers I already call the ACLU to take on the case.)
Publication: Psychology Today Magazine
Publication Date: Jan/Feb 2007