Thursday, October 05, 2006

Conservatism as Social Disease

That's the suggestion of "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition", a 2003 paper in the Psychological Bulletin, the peer-reviewed publication of the American Psychological Association. It is loaded with gems, I liked these nuggets (internal citations are omitted):

From page 15:
The notion that conservatism is associated with intolerance of ambiguity is consistent with a great many theories, and it is implicit in ideological theories of integrative complexity. It may also provide a psychological context for understanding statements such as this one made by George W. Bush at an international conference of world leaders in Italy: “I know what I believe and I believe what I believe is right” (Sanger, 200l).~Our review suggests that there is a relatively strong connection between dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity, on the one hand, and various measures of political conservatism, on the other.
And, from the conclusion, on page 31:
Understanding the psychological underpinnings of conservatism has for centuries posed a challenge for historians, philosophers, and social scientists. . . . [P]olitical conservatism may be thought of as a form of motivated social cognition. . . . Conservative ideologies, like virtually all other belief systems, are adopted in part because they satisfy various psychological needs. . . . Variables significantiy associated with conservatism, we now know, include fear and aggression, dogmatism andintolerance of ambiguity, uncertainty avoidance, need for cognitive closure, personal need for structure, terror management, group-based dominance, and system justification. . . . We regardpolitical conservatism as an ideological belief system that is significantly (but not completely) related to motivational concerns having to do with the psychological management of uncertainty and fear. Specifically, the avoidance of uncertainty (and the striving for certainty) may be particularly tied to one core dimension of conservative thought, resistance to change. Similarly, concerns with fear and threat may be linked to the second core dimension of conservatism, endorsement of inequality. Although resistance to change and support for inequality are conceptually distinguishable, we have argued that they are psychologically interrelated, in part because motives pertaining to uncertainty and threat are interrelated.
Gotta love science.

6 comments:

Doctor Rick said...

That explained nothing.

A Big Fat Slob said...

Thanks for the contribution. But I am dense today.

Please try to frame that argument as a syllogism.

Will Divide said...

Explanations are in short supply everywhere, me boy-o. To expect any in this day and age is to court constant disappointment.

Excuses, on the other hand, fall from heaven every hour.

Got one?

Wil Morat said...

Good points you reference here - but I would add a bit.

It would appear that conservatives are usually trying to "turn back the clock" to the "good ol' days" of the 1950s.

As such, it is rare that you find conservatives - at least social conservatives - that rail against such excesses of the 1960s as the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Lib Movement, etc. - that aren't rich, white men.

The fact is, most of the conservative movement is exactly that - a movement to retain power in the hands of those that have held it for so long - at the cost and detriment of any religious or racial minorities, as well to the detriment of women.

Conservativism is, in actuality, a disease of those that wish to remain static. Those people that wish to hold onto the position of power and prestige that affords them the top spot in society's stratification.

And since one cannot logically argue for the elimination of the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Lib Movement, etc - they must focus on the small and unrelated issues and explain that they are in favor of "morals" and "family values." Any facts that come before them to argue against their ideas are dismissed as wild-eyed liberal ideas and often labeled "un-American."

There's a reason conservative talk radio is so big compared to the "liberal" radio - because conservatives need to hear the talking points of the day - they need to hear what to think, how to act, who to blame.

Liberals don't need this - they simply think for themselves - which is exactly why they are perceived as a threat to the established status quo.

Wil Morat said...

I would add that "doctor rick" explained far less with his blatantly ignorant comment.

R Moshki said...

Libs and Conserves constitute both ends of the same malignant coin which includes:

Global Religion
Global Corpocracy
Global Media

Their other name is STAUS QUO.