How to spot a baby conservative

Whiny children, claims a new study, tend to grow up rigid and traditional. Future liberals, on the other hand ...

Kurt Kleiner writes: "Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.

"At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.

"The study from the Journal of Research Into Personality isn't going to make the UC Berkeley professor who published it any friends on the right....

"Of course, if you're studying the psychology of politics, you shouldn't be surprised to get a political reaction. Similar work by John T. Jost of Stanford and colleagues in 2003 drew a political backlash. The researchers reviewed 44 years worth of studies into the psychology of conservatism, and concluded that people who are dogmatic, fearful, intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, and who crave order and structure are more likely to gravitate to conservatism."

Comments

sondjata said…
makes sense to me.

I'd be interested in what characteristics are found in people who are in the middle.
Dusty Bear said…
Much as I'd love to believe this research, it's really all in the perspective.

"Intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty" could be also described as logical.

Liberals like to "hang loose," something that could be perceived as laziness.

Kleiner's article points that out:
"The grown-up liberal men, on the other hand, with their introspection and recognition of complexity in the world, could be seen as self-indulgent and ineffectual."

If anything, the study indicates the bias of the researchers. Of course, that doesn't mean I have to like conservatism.