Monday, March 20, 2006

Ontogeny of political ideology

How come all the studies, no matter what they look at and what methodology they use, always find the conservatives fearful and rigid (adapted to 16th century social organization) and liberals flexible and courageous (adapted to 21st century world)? Can someone send me a PDF of the actual study described here, plese?

How to spot a baby conservative:
The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.

The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.

Whether anyone's feelings are hurt or not, the work suggests that personality and emotions play a bigger role in our political leanings than we think. All of us, liberal or conservative, feel as though we've reached our political opinions by carefully weighing the evidence and exercising our best judgment. But it could be that all of that careful reasoning is just after-the-fact self-justification. What if personality forms our political outlook, with reason coming along behind, rationalizing after the fact?It could be that whom we vote for has less to do with our judgments about tax policy or free trade or health care, and more with the personalities we've been stuck with since we were kids.
And, all Lakoff suggests is - look at the influence of parenting styles (not genes - that is silly!)

Go read the rest...

(Hat-tip: No, You Can't Have A Pony!)

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