Monday, September 22, 2008

Study: Why conservatives can't be clowns

(Previously published on Blogcritics)

This shouldn't entirely come as a huge surprise, but a study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln concluded that conservatives are more easily spooked by gory images and startled by loud sounds than are liberals.
In other words, just burst a balloon behind someone's back. If they jump three feet in the air, they're conservative. If they calmly turn around and shrug, they're liberal.
That being the case, I really don't think there can be many right-wingers working in the circus, given the presence of cherry bombs and balloons. Indeed, the only true clowns are liberals.
That is why I say this is not entirely a surprise because it confirms what I have always thought: 1. That there are deeply ingrained factors to a person's political stance; that is, a person's political beliefs are closely linked with their personality. 2. Political beliefs are also closely linked with just how much people trust their fellow human beings.
Those to the right believe in good and evil. They believe that people are responsible for their own actions and choices. Therefore, when something terrible or horrific happens, a conservative will likely point to the person himself as the sole source of blame. This, in turn, makes conservatives much more likely to recognize the inherent instability of society and humankind in general.
Those to the left, on the other hand, largely deny the existence of good versus evil with their trademark moral relativism, and believe that other extenuating factors contribute to a person's downfall. (Straight white males are closest thing to evil, according to extreme liberals.) Feeling that people are inherently good, they believe society should be much more open and less restrained.
Therefore, a conservative is not likely to hang around downtown past midnight because he acknowledges that potential danger the city's nightlife might pose to him or her. A liberal will deny the existence of any danger and freely walk about wherever they please.
Ergo, a conservative is naturally more cautious—or nervous, if you will—than a liberal. It's got nothing to do with bravery or courage. People on either side can display that. John McCain, the conservative, showed his mettle by refusing escape from capture and torture by the North Vietnamese unless his fellow soldiers could join him. John Kerry, the liberal, displayed courage by fighting in Vietnam when it would have been easy for him to have dodged it. This is simply about how individuals judge the safety of the world around them.
It could, in fact, even be said that it's a matter of which side is more likely to follow common sense. Again, I point to the likely lack of conservatives partying in the small hours of the morning in seedy areas of town as an example of this. Conservatives don't believe in courting danger.
According to the University of Nebraska study, I am clearly a conservative. Loud noises, such as exploding firecrackers or popping balloons, startle me, and I am distressed by grime and gore. In fact, I am a hemophobiac; I am afraid of blood.
Roger Highfield, Science Editor of The Daily Telegraph writes in the September 19 edition of the Telegraph: "Those most affected by the images—such as a spider on a face, a dazed and bloody person, or an open wound crawling with maggots—had the most Right-wing views. These views included support for military spending, warrantless searches, the death penalty, obedience, patriotism and the Iraq War.
"They also tended to be opposed to pacifism, immigration, gun control, foreign aid, compromise, premarital sex, gay marriage, abortion and pornography."
That's me in a nutshell, alright.
I used to work with some fellows who were quite fond of the website They would always call me over to look at images that I never wanted to see. They could stare at sickening pictures for hours, fascinated, while my stomach would turn at just one picture. Those guys I worked with were all Left-wingers, come to think of it.
You've got to hand it to conservative candidates and their voters and supporters, however. It can't be easy for them when they claim victory and the balloons start falling from the rafters.


East of Eden said...

Wow, I feel sooo enlightened, after reading about this study. Now, I know why I don't like slasher movies and staying out past my bedtime! Really, who knew????

Oh, my. Someone actually wasted money on a study like this? It's like saying, bad teenagers chew gum, therefore all teenagers who chew gum are bad.....bla!

kristen said...

Yeah, I saw this study in the paper over the weekend. Except the title of the article had something to do with political leanings and amount of fear a person has (and that it is something one is born with). I kinda chuckled.

Personally, I think it has a lot to do with your value system, how you are raised, and your ability to distinguish right from wrong. Some people grow up liberal, see the error of their ways and switch to conservative. ;-)

Nightdragon said...

Yeah, I know the study was ridiculous, but I still thought it was great fodder for an entry.