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News Right Wing voters more easily startled

  1. Sep 18, 2008 #1


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    The study linked below found people with strong right wing views were people who were more easily frightened and felt more threatened in their everyday lives than those of liberal views.

    Essentially it concludes one's political outlook is a consequence of one's psychological make up which is why it is next to impossible to change other people's political views.

    So it is not that neo-cons are inherently nasty; they are just scared all of the time and need a hug. :biggrin:

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2008 #2
    I thought neocons were supposed to be the tough guys? Why would they be afraid of anything. :rofl:

    I agree that a lot of the threats in the world are exaggerated and I don't think in my everyday life I "live in fear," as FDR put it: "There's nothing to fear but fear itself."

    I actually was reading a psychologist's opinion on why people are conservative, and tend to think it makes a lot of sense:

    "What makes people vote Republican? Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies? We psychologists have been examining the origins of ideology ever since Hitler sent us Germany's best psychologists, and we long ago reported that strict parenting and a variety of personal insecurities work together to turn people against liberalism, diversity, and progress. But now that we can map the brains, genes, and unconscious attitudes of conservatives, we have refined our diagnosis: conservatism is a partially heritable personality trait that predisposes some people to be cognitively inflexible, fond of hierarchy, and inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death. People vote Republican because Republicans offer "moral clarity"—a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep seated fears in much of the electorate. Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason with their long-winded explorations of policy options for a complex world. "

    I think indeed some people have a predisposition to "the way things are," to hierarchy, war, and so on as the natural state of things.


    That certainly would explain why people throughout history have supported things such as unmitigated capitalism, fascism, monarchism, and so on, such as American Libertarians, conservatives, etc.

    I believe there is such thing as destructive and constructive impulses. Some people are predispositioned to support constructive forces (art, knowledge, good will), others have a disposition (either from nature or by politics or religion or whatever) to be destructive (obsessed with posessions that cannot be shared, etc.). You could be a destructive liberal (i.e. like a communist trying to force equality) or you could be a constructive conservative. No examples of the latter.
  4. Sep 19, 2008 #3
    Mother Teresa was pretty conservative....
  5. Sep 19, 2008 #4


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    I'm curious as to how many people were actually studied. The article says they started with 46 volunteers and dismissed everyone who wasn't strongly political. So how many were left?

    Also, there are large differences in the reasons people have for their political views/afiliations, particularly across geographic, economic, and racial lines.
  6. Sep 19, 2008 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Maybe social conservatism frays the nerves.

    Can one learn to be fearful? Can Fox News be sued for this? :biggrin:
  7. Sep 19, 2008 #6


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    I would also want to know how they defined "strongly political." Does that mean they have extreme views that fit with far right and far left, or just strong conviction in their views but fall anywhere on the political spectrum? And if so, how many did they really have representing any particular point on the scale?

    It also says they were all from Wisconsin. Why not replicate the study in other states? Maybe this is just a quirk of the population they chose...was it even very representative of the whole state, let alone an entire nation of voters with something less than 46 people chosen from a single state?
  8. Sep 20, 2008 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    A related study from 2004

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