Wake up in the morning feeling lethargic? Is your head still fuzzy after a couple cups of coffee? Do you have trouble remembering, concentrating, or adding single digit numbers? Well call a psychiatrist, a lawyer, or a college professor. You may be suffering from….conservatism.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the line between the bias in the scientists’ conclusions and the bias of the writer in this stunning ode to liberal presumptuousness. I understand that as a conservative, I resent science on principle, but I still have to contend with the substance here.
In fairness to the writer, he announces upfront both his and the study’s incoherence:
According to a recent Gallup poll, 40 percent of Americans describe themselves as conservative, while only 21 percent call themselves liberal. (Another 35 percent are self-identified moderates.)
This gap has long puzzled scholars. If left and right ideologies comprise a mutually dependent yin-yang system, reflecting different approaches to meeting our most basic needs, shouldn’t they be held by roughly the same proportion of people?
If liberalism and conservatism are indeed parallel roads to the same destination, in what way are they ‘dependent’ on each other? And why would one assume equal proportions to competing ideologies? As evidence mounted that the earth rotated about its axis and orbited the sun, fewer people believed that the sun revolved around the earth. Each had different approaches to solving the mystery of why the sun appeared to pass across the sky, but only one of them was right. It’s a matter of evolution, not alternative solutions, a concept leftist secularists should be familiar with.
The writer then speculates that ignorant people just assume they’re conservatives, reinforcing the vicious cycle:
One possible explanation is that some “conservatives” wear the label quite loosely.
We then discover that, ironically, Democrats are pushing people to vote Republican every time they tell the electorate that Republicans want to shove granny off a cliff with one hand while slipping the Koch brothers her hard-earned retirement money with the other. Not the most intuitive line of reasoning:
Another points to the long-established link between right-wing attitudes and a tendency to perceive the world as threatening. In an era where the latest scare is constantly being hyped on television and the Internet, it stands to reason that conservatism would dominate.
And why do so many students, college professors, and artists become liberals? They have way too much time on their hands:
A research team led by University of Arkansas psychologist Scott Eidelman argues that conservatism — which the researchers identify as “an emphasis on personal responsibility, acceptance of hierarchy, and a preference for the status quo” — may be our default ideology. If we don’t have the time or energy to give a matter sufficient thought, we tend to accept the conservative argument.
When people aren’t coming up with elaborate rationalizations to justify incorrect behaviors, then deep down, people know the right thing to do and act on it:
“When effortful, deliberate responding is disrupted or disengaged, thought processes become quick and efficient,” the researchers write in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. “These conditions promote conservative ideology.”
“We do not assert that conservatives fail to engage in effortful, deliberate thought,” they insist. “We find that when effortful thought is disengaged, the first step people take tends to be in a conservative direction.”
Another way of looking at it? People enjoy indulging in liberal philosophies, but turn conservative once confronted with the real world.
And of course all the guys who had high BAC levels were conservatives. You can’t get drunk off of appletinis:
Their first method was a time-tested one: inebriation. Researchers stood outside the exit of a busy New England tavern and offered to measure patrons’ blood alcohol level if they would fill out a short survey. Eighty-five drinkers agreed, expressing their opinions of 10 statements such as “production and trade should be free of government interference.”
Again, ironically, Obama’s tanking poll numbers are explained by the constant distractions his campaign creates:
A second experiment featured 38 University of Maine undergraduates who filled out a similar survey. Half did so while working on “a distraction task” that required them to listen closely to a tape of tones that varied in pitch.
This next experiment fails to explain TARP, the Stimulus, and all the other ‘emergency’ measures taken, unless the ‘time pressure’ of these actions was a fabrication:
In a third experiment, participants under time pressure were more likely to endorse conservative viewpoints than those who were not. In a fourth experiment, those asked to “give your first, immediate response” were more likely to express support for words and phrases linked to conservatism (such as “law and order” and “authority”) than those who were instructed to “really put forth effort and consider the issue.”
If you have any doubts as to the viability of this study, rest assured. Maine and Arkansas clearly speak for the rest of the country, and there is no overlap between college students and bar patrons:
Eidelman notes that this dynamic was found with different populations (college students and bar patrons) and in people from different parts of the country (three of the experiments were conducted in Maine, a fourth in Arkansas). He adds just one caveat: “Largely, our sample consisted of political centrists.”
The upside of this study is that it confirms what we already know: People have common sense until liberals muddy the waters:
“The bad news for liberals is we’re saying that conservatism has a certain psychological advantage,” Eidelman said. “The bad news for conservatives is that someone who has a knee-jerk conservative reaction may change their mind about an issue after giving it more thought.”
Of course, it’s an open question as to what percentage of the population genuinely ponders political issues, rather than simply going with their initial instincts. This suggests liberals face a significant challenge in converting people to their cause.
The study concludes with an explanation of Obama’s 2008 election. The extra work in developing his elaborate thesis of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ put him over the top:
As Eidelman puts it: “It might take a little extra effort to convince yourself (to support a liberal position), and a little extra work to convince others.”
That about sums it up. If you lie around on the campus quad staring up at the passing sun, you just might convince yourself you’re the center of the universe.