Liberals never learn.
The truth of this well-documented fact was proven yet again by a group of
professors from the University of California at Berkeley, the University
of Maryland at College Park, and Stanford University's School of Business,
who wrote an article that appeared in a recent issue of the American Psychological
Association's Psychological Bulletin. The article was supposed to be
about the underlying motivations of conservative ideology, but the real point
was that conservatives are bigoted and stupid. (Another well-documented fact
is that liberals call anyone who disagrees with them bigoted and stupid.)
This is the same strategy the left has been using for years. The battle
plan served them well for a long time, but its notable failures (against
Reagan and, so far, George W. Bush, for example) have clued them in that
it was time to come up with something new. For a while, it seemed they
were actually learning from their mistakes. In recent days, they have
gone from calling Bush a retarded idiot to portraying him as a Machiavellian
schemer. (A remarkable transformation.) But apparently, nobody told
the professors about the change in tactics.
As a piece about the article on the UC Berkeley news website put it, the
professors, after exhaustive research, concluded that, "at the core of political
conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality."
Other common psychological factors linked to conservativism include "fear
and aggression," "dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity," "uncertainty avoidance,"
"need for cognitive closure," and "terror management." Along the way,
they grouped together Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan and Rush Limbaugh as examples
of the conservative psyche, and then graciously admitted that the study might
be perceived as partisan.
Let us analyze this analysis. We'll start with the point about conservatives
being resistant to change. The researchers admit that many liberal
figures, such as Stalin and Castro, (both darlings of the left wing) "steadfastly
resisted change" once in power. They tried to explain this away by
making the truly contrived argument that both Stalin and Castro might be
"considered politically conservative in the context of the systems they defended."
Stalin, for example, "was concerned about defending and preserving the existing
Soviet system." So Stalin, a liberal, was a conservative because he
acted the way a conservative acts according to liberals. Got it.
The conclusion that conservatives resist change, along with the ones about
conservatives being dogmatic and intolerant of ambiguity, needing closure,
and avoiding uncertainty all can be traced to the crux of left-wing thinking:
liberals do not believe in absolute right and wrong. Conservatives
generally do, and so they are labeled as dogmatic, intolerant, etc, etc.
As C.S. Lewis put it in The Screwtape Letters, the professors "take a great many words to tell a very simple story."
That brings us to the bit about conservatives being tolerant of inequality.
As evidence for this, the late Senator Strom Thurmond's name is once more
dragged through the mud. As I said, the left has been calling the right
racist and elitist for at least the last half-century. But it is interesting
to note that liberals are themselves quite tolerant of certain inequalities.
I do not see leftists fighting for the rights of unborn children, or railing
against policies that give black people opportunities on the basis of their
The assertion that fear and aggression define conservative thinking is laughable
in light of the left's antics during the time before the Iraq war began.
The liberals were absolutely terrified of using military force against Saddam
Hussein. If you want aggression, look no further than the people who
maced police officers at anti-war rallies.
We are left with the point about the conservative tendency towards "terror
management" (liberals apparently prefer to let terror run rampant), which
the researchers say "can be seen in post-Sept. 11 America, where many people
appear to shun and even punish outsiders and those who threaten their cherished
worldview." Speaking as a conservative, I do want to punish the people
who killed 3000 of my countrymen, and I would be unlikely to associate with
them. (Call that "shunning" if you like.)
I'd love to see a high-profile university do some research on why liberals
can't argue their positions without calling their opponents bigoted and stupid,
or equating them with Nazis and fascists. But I know that will never
Dan Middleton is a freelance writer.