Conservatives dislike differences. They just do.
In fact, conservatives dislike anything — policies, programs, people — at odds with what they consider to be normal. It’s not conjecture, either. It’s a scientific fact! A bunch of studies have been done on this, and they’re a lot of fun to read, although possibly not for conservatives.
The conservative disdain for differences goes back to the cradle, no less. One celebrated American study found that whiny, insecure kids — you know, the ones who thought (accurately) that all of their classmates hated them, and were continually complaining (inaccurately) about how everyone was mean to them — tended to be conservatives.
The study, which was published in something called The Journal of Research Into Personality, tracked a bunch of Berkeley, Calif.-area kids going back to the 1960s. Two married Berkeley psychology professors, Jack and Jeanne Block, studied more than 100 nursery school kids, relying upon the insights of the teachers who knew them the best.
The Blocks weren’t interested in political orientation, just personality traits. The three- and four-year-olds were rated according to how they behaved, and the Blocks carefully maintained and weighed the data. The kids were surveyed at regular intervals — at ages 4, 5, 7, 11, 14, 18, 23 and, finally, 32. What they found validated the suspicions of every tax-raising, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, left-wing freak show type — like me — had.
The whiny, paranoid little kids grew up to become conservatives! They were rigid, thin-skinned, didn’t like ambiguity, and devotedly stuck to traditional gender roles. They looked to authority and tradition a lot more, and were highly uncomfortable when it was absent. The more-confident kids, meanwhile, mainly grew up to be liberals. They were non-conformists with diverse interests, and more self-reliant and energetic, too.
“The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative,” said Prof. Block, who passed away last year. “Knew it,” said us liberals.
Another study, in the journal Nature Neuroscience, brought together decades of previous research showing that political orientation is indeed linked to personality traits. So, said the neuro-scientists, conservatives were way more rigid and close-minded than liberals, and less tolerant of ambiguity and new experiences. The traits associated with conservatives, the study found, were fear, aggression and a marked tolerance for intolerance.
But that’s not all! A more-recent survey of the psyches of more than 300 individuals, and conducted by experts at Ohio State University examined — wait for it — who had a sense of humour. Result: Conservatives don’t!
There’s more: a New York University study found that liberals had work spaces that were stylish, modern and colourful. Conservative desk-tops? “Less cluttered,” said the professors. “More conventional and ordinary.” Ah-ha!
If you’re a conservative, and you’ve made it this far, the chances are excellent that you agree with a study published this year by the University College in London.
Conservatives, found the British scientists, were much more prone to “disgust.”
See, conservatives? It’s all scientific! You may be whiny, paranoid, intolerant, humourless neatness-freaks, but the political studies also find something else.
There’s a lot more of you than there are of me. Sigh.