Sunday, August 10, 2003

The Psychology of Conservatism
Researchers at Berkeley have waded through 50 years of psychological literature to discern the core qualities of conservatism. It isn't pretty. Among other qualities they find

* Fear and aggression
* Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
* Uncertainty avoidance
* Need for cognitive closure
* Terror management

The press release says "Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way, the authors commented in a published reply to the article."


"The latest debate about the possibility that the Bush administration ignored intelligence information that discounted reports of Iraq buying nuclear material from Africa may be linked to the conservative intolerance for ambiguity and or need for closure, said Glaser."

I'm feeling much less inclined to try to treat conservatives as just making another political choice these days. I fear that they shouldn't have given me ammunition for my growing distaste.

Via Utne Webwatch.

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