The Startling Truth About Conservatives?

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More purely objective scientific research from the purlieus of America's universities finds that conservatives are more apt to "startle" at disgusting images and loud noises than are laid-back open-minded liberals. As Time describes the study involving 46 Nebraskans and published last week in Science:

Researchers shied away from using labels such as conservative and liberal in their study, but they concede that volunteers who registered a heightened sense of threat also tended to subscribe to conservative attitudes. "It's not that conservatives are 'fraidy-cats," says Kevin Smith, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and one of the study's co-authors. "It's that people who support socially protective policies — which, yes, can be interpreted as people taking a conservative position on those policies — are more sensitive to environmental threat."

To measure that sensitivity, researchers conducted two tests. In one, they showed volunteers a series of photos that included some threatening images — for example, a picture of a man with a spider on his face or an infected open wound — while measuring the electrical conductance of the volunteers' skin, a technique also used in polygraph testing. In a separate experiment, researchers subjected the volunteers to sudden bursts of loud white noise to test their startle reflexes, measured by sensors attached to the muscle below the eye that recorded how hard people blinked.

People who blinked harder than others and registered a heightened response to threat on the conductivity test tended to support the death penalty and military spending. People with a mellower startle response were more likely to support abortion rights and gun control. The study also looked at several broader political tendencies, including compromise (the willingness to yield to a middle-ground solution) and obedience (the tendency to follow a set path), and found that people who were more sensitive to threat were less amenable to the former and more inclined toward the latter.

National Geographic reported:

"[People displaying] measurably lower physical sensitivities to sudden noises and threatening visual images were more likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, pacifism and gun control," the team wrote in its report, to be published in the journal Science tomorrow.

"Individuals displaying measurably higher physiological reactions to those same stimuli were more likely to favor defense spending, capital punishment, patriotism and the Iraq War."

However, one suspiciously fair-minded critic wondered how the results would have been interpreted had they come out the other way:

Duke University political scientist Evan Charney said that such studies run the risk of "pathologizing conservatism … and I say that as a left-wing liberal."

The study could be read as, "Conservatives are a hell of a lot more threatened than liberals," Charney said.

"But if the results had come out the other way, we might be reading [interpretations] that liberals are more attentive than conservatives or more concerned than conservatives."

reason has been covering research into the psychopathology of conservativism for some time. 

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  1. Liberals are just more numb.

  2. Another idiotic TEAM RED TEAM BLUE study. It’s fucking pathetic.

  3. What sort of metric were they using to determine whether a person was liberal/conservative?

  4. I’m having a hard time believing that the people who are less startled by loud noises are the ones who are in favor of gun control.

  5. conservatives are more apt to “startle” at disgusting images and loud noises than are laid-back open-minded liberals

    Liberals are just stoned. (Good for them, I’d get stoned at a stupid psychology experiment too.)

  6. Explains why Bushco figured “shock and awe” would be enough.
    “Hell, it would work on me!”

  7. What sort of metric were they using to determine whether a person was liberal/conservative?

    BMI

  8. Nice to know that ‘liberals,’ however defined in one stupid study, don’t seem to care when an ENORMOUS SPIDER IS CRAWLING ACROSS THAT DUDE’S FUCKING FACE ARE YOU GONNA DO SOMETHING OR WHAT?!

  9. Hogan,

    Liberals are waiting for Obama to turn the spider into a nice pony.

  10. More purely objective scientific research from the purlieus of America’s universities finds that conservatives are more apt to “startle” at disgusting images and loud noises than are laid-back open-minded liberals.

    Wait, you guys are wrong.

    Since the disgusting, smelly, filthy and loud liberals are the ones taking to the streets trying to ‘shock’ people, wouldn’t it follow that the people not participating (like the ones trying to get to work or having a family outing) are the only ones left to survey?

  11. It’s a photo of a spider crawling across a dude’s face, not a spider crawling across a dude’s face in person. Short of covering your eyes, there’s nothing to do in that situation.

  12. Duke University political scientist Evan Charney said that such studies run the risk of “pathologizing conservatism ? and I say that as a left-wing liberal.”

    The study could be read as, “Conservatives are a hell of a lot more threatened than liberals,” Charney said.

    “But if the results had come out the other way, we might be reading [interpretations] that liberals are more attentive than conservatives or more concerned than conservatives.”

    Agreed. These studies tend to tell us more about the researcher’s preconceptions than the subjects’ mental states. You could just as easily say that this study proves liberals are just too cold hearted to see how much suffering their policies case. Best to just debate the policies rather than to try and find a biological “root cause” of opposing opinions.

  13. Psychology be damned, I’d fucking punch a hole in the monitor showing me a spider on some guy’s face. I hate spiders. Logically, they preform valuable services in killing flies, mosquitos and other annoyances, but I still fucking hate them. And studies like this make me want to punch researchers in the temple. If you want to call me conservative because of that, fine, but yeaugh (*shudder*)

  14. Liberals are waiting for Obama to turn the spider into a nice pony.

    Obama issued a statement calling upon both the spider and the face to exercise restraint and work for peaceful solutions.

  15. Let me say for the record that I like spiders, but I still hate rainbows and puppies.

  16. What a piece of garbage. Who would think this is worth publishing?

  17. I once had this dream in which the world was being overrun with spiders. Except the spiders looked like kittens. But everyone knew they were spiders.

  18. I hear both parties support more research and development in this country–leads to high paying jobs and so on.

  19. What a piece of garbage. Who would think this is worth publishing?

    [wearing psychic hat]

    Time, Science and National Geographic

    I am available to consult on other issues for a nominal fee.

  20. Let me say for the record that I like spiders, but I still hate rainbows and puppies.

    For the record, let me add that you’re fucking nuts.

  21. Some else said this before, but Guy still is not welcome on Rainbow Puppy Island.

  22. LIT,

    Sorry, did not get your mom’s name before. Now I can send her a flower.

  23. Guy,

    Adjust the hat. You forgot Utne Reader, Mother Jones News, and The Nation.

  24. John,

    As I have said before, I will be establishing a Rainbow Puppy Island for reasons that may not be obvious in the title.

  25. It really doesn’t matter if you want to characterize the differences that studies like this keep uncovering way that make liberals or conservatives look better.

    They keep finding differences in neurological activity that correlate with political opinions.

    Boo hoo, does that hurt your feelings? Deal.

    Science: you’re on the bus, or you’re off the bus.

  26. SF,

    Was not advertising that as an all-inclusive list. But this racket market is big enough for everybody, so feel free to make your own purchase one of these fine hats from me and go into business 🙂

  27. “It’s not that conservatives are ‘fraidy-cats,” says Kevin Smith, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and one of the study’s co-authors. “It’s that people who support socially protective policies – which, yes, can be interpreted as people taking a conservative position on those policies – are more sensitive to environmental threat.”

    What do want, conservatives, a blowjob?

    Those are the results of the experiment. The guy is bending over backwards to explain them in a neutral way.

  28. They keep finding differences in neurological activity that correlate with political opinions.

    I’m fine with science finally figuring out that liberals have something wrong with their brain.

  29. John,

    Maybe it was a traumatic event involving a guy named Puppy in a room full of rainbows and balloons that’s driven Guy to this.

  30. What do want, conservatives, a blowjob?

    Well, if conservatives are getting a blowjob, it’s only fair that we all get one

  31. So what they’re saying is, if you’re relatively insensitive to stimuli, you’re a leftist.

    Well, this explains why the dead vote overwhelmingly Democrat.

  32. Reinmoose is proposing a redistribution of blowjobs in the interest of social justice.

  33. Another study to confirm what we all sort of already know about conservatives through experience. There are many studies that seem to find the same thing over and over: conservatives are fucking primitive! Exactly what one might expect from people who don’t believe in evolution.


  34. Science: you’re on the bus, or you’re off the bus.

    Or you can’t tell the difference between the bus and a sex predator’s unmarked van full of candy. Be extremely skeptical of anything purporting to make any kind of scientifically valid claim “correlating” (shit I can’t remember – duzz that meen cawzing?) “differences in neurological activity” (care to elaborate on what all that brain magic consists of?) with “political opinions” (I look forward to Science’s explanation of my attitudes towards the Earned Income Tax Credit). If you have a taste for pop psychology studies making tendentious claims, that’s fine, but it’s laughable to try to base your preference with a Devotion to Science.

  35. You know, I spent years reading conservatives proclaiming how much better they understand threats to our security – and “better” always, always, always meant “more intensely.”

    Liberals have a “9/10 mindset.” Liberals don’t understand that the world is a dangerous place. Liberals don’t know that there is evil in the world. Blabbity blabbity fucking blah.

    And now, it’s some sort of horrible, biased, leftist slander for a researcher to report that conservatives react more strongly to scary things. ZOMG, how can he say that! Those darn liberal scientists – we can’t trust them. Boo hoo, I’m being picked on again.

    Wankers.

  36. So people who support socially protective policies are more likely to feel threatened–okay, so people who support gun control are more likely to feel threatened–so liberals are more likely to feel threatened?

    Didn’t this study just say that? Oh right it found the exact opposite, because the socially protective positions liberals hold are okay.

    And I agree with whoever said it’s ridiculous to separate people into these two positions–both are cognitively dissonant, with one calling for more government intervention in the economy and less in people’s social lives* while the other calls for less government intervention in the economy* and more in people’s social lives.

    *Except for gun control, affirmative action, etc.
    *Except when they actually don’t support free market ideas.

    Even the fact that I have to addend those categories means these people are even more cognitively dissonant. How exactly is it helpful to see the difference between the sociopath and the lunatic?

  37. I’m reminded of a recent study that correlated bumper stickers (of any type) with honking when the light turns green. They blathered for pages about public space, and private space, and blah, blah, blah.

    Maybe the people with bumper stickers are simply more communicative.

  38. And now, it’s some sort of horrible, biased, leftist slander for a researcher to report that conservatives react more strongly to scary things. ZOMG, how can he say that! Those darn liberal scientists – we can’t trust them. Boo hoo, I’m being picked on again.

    I don’t think the findings of this study are slanderous. If anything about it was scientifically persuasive, I’d think it was neat. But it’s not. It’s pop science b.s. So we all get to calm down.

  39. Joe,

    All we can guess so far is that Nebraskans who call themselves conservatives are jumpier than Nebraskans who call themselves liberals (how many is that, like 10?)

  40. ’nuff said…

  41. zoltan,

    From the article: People with stronger measurable threat responses, the study found, tended to adhere to “socially protective” political policies, or those that suggest more concern for preserving the social unit – for example, supporting the Iraq war and the death penalty but opposing abortion rights and gay marriage.

    Researchers shied away from using labels such as conservative and liberal in their study, but they concede that volunteers who registered a heightened sense of threat also tended to subscribe to conservative attitudes. “It’s not that conservatives are ‘fraidy-cats,” says Kevin Smith, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and one of the study’s co-authors. “It’s that people who support socially protective policies – which, yes, can be interpreted as people taking a conservative position on those policies – are more sensitive to environmental threat.”

    To measure that sensitivity, researchers conducted two tests. In one, they showed volunteers a series of photos that included some threatening images – for example, a picture of a man with a spider on his face or an infected open wound – while measuring the electrical conductance of the volunteers’ skin, a technique also used in polygraph testing. In a separate experiment, researchers subjected the volunteers to sudden bursts of loud white noise to test their startle reflexes, measured by sensors attached to the muscle below the eye that recorded how hard people blinked.

    People who blinked harder than others and registered a heightened response to threat on the conductivity test tended to support the death penalty and military spending. People with a mellower startle response were more likely to support abortion rights and gun control. The study also looked at several broader political tendencies, including compromise (the willingness to yield to a middle-ground solution) and obedience (the tendency to follow a set path), and found that people who were more sensitive to threat were less amenable to the former and more inclined toward the latter.

    So, no, the fact that you used the term “socially protective position” to describe gun control does not mean that people who support gun control respond more fearfully to shocking things. The researchers found correlations between conservative political beliefs and stronger physical responses to shocking things, and used the term “more socially protective policies” in place of “conservative policies” in an effort to be politically neutral, and to find a conceptual link between fear responses on political motivations.

  42. What do want, conservatives, a blowjob?

    Well, OK, joe — but no sneaking up when you’re going to do it. And quietly, please, quietly.

  43. This simply can’t be true! Even though it confirms the obvious…

    And the responses confirm another recent study that shows that many people, but conservatives especially, tend to become increasingly sure of their (wrong) opinions the more those opinions are challenged by facts. If you are unwilling to admit you could be wrong (a trait common to conservatives–they are often wrong but seem never to admit it), it’s easier to claim bias or some other boogey-man. But then this study was published in the Washington Post, and everyone knows that’s such a liberal rag so nothing in its pages can be trusted, ever.

  44. McCain wants to bomb the spider while it’s still on the guy’s face.

  45. I think it is interesting. There has to be some reason why some people think one way and others think another. No one involved in the study said anything about it showing that liberals are better people or something like that. There is a lot of knee jerk overreaction in this comment thread based on things that are not said at all in the article (at least the part excerpted here). I wonder how people’s reactions to this study correlate to their political views and if there is a similar mechanism involved?

  46. Well so long as we’re all airing our favorite pop psychology studies to confirm our prejudices, I personally like one that was done on female students at I think Northwestern in the 70s (can’t find a link). They showed the girls Thematic Aperception Test illustrations of a man and woman walking down a sidewalk. In one the man was taller than the woman and the other they were of equal height. Everything else was the same. The subjects then had to write stories describing the characters in the illustration. The overwhelming majority of stories about the taller man involved a dapper, wonderful, gentle, strong man sweeping the lady off her feet to the land of happily ever after. The shorter guy was almost invariably a cheap, rude bastard who might rape her later. They added mustaches to the two of them for a later study and found that the tall guy was just more Clark Gableish while the short guy was even more of a rape-creep.

    This just goes to confirm what we all know to be obviously true!!!!!! And I like it because I happen to be rather tall.

  47. So, no, the fact that you used the term “socially protective position” to describe gun control does not mean that people who support gun control respond more fearfully to shocking things.

    Yes, joe, that was the point. Socially protective positions taken by liberals were ignored and liberals were defined as those who don’t take socially protective positions.

    That first line I wrote was to illustrate how their results should lead to that line of thinking even though that wasn’t where they ended up.

  48. Hogan,

    As a 6′ 3″ fellow, I must confirm that your 3:52pm post is in fact factual, not just a bias on your part.

  49. Conservatives! LOL!

    I’ve yet to meet a single conservative. Lots of people who talk a good game but as soon as the boot on my neck has their foot in it they squeeze just as hard (albeit for different reasons).

  50. zoltan,

    Socially protective positions taken by liberals were ignored No, they weren’t. As a matter of fact, support for gun control was one of the issues they screened for.

    and liberals were defined as those who don’t take socially protective positions. This part is true – they used the term “socially protective positions” to mean simply “conservative political positions.” Bad terminology, I agree. They should have just gone with “conservative” and “liberal,” because that’s the correlation they found. There was no need to make up a term like that, because as you say, it’s inaccurate.

    Looking at the list of issues on each side, it seems the term “socially protective” was effort to perform the fool’s errand of explaining why things like military hawkishness, opposition to gay rights, and opposition to the social safety net are so often found together.

    I don’t know what makes conservative positios vs. liberal positions so closely correlated with each other. I think slapping the label “socially protective” was a failed attempt to do so.

  51. ktc2,

    You are ahead of me. Most I run across don’t even talk a good game. Yet another opportunity to mention the R-voting ‘Conservatives’ who advocate windfall profits taxes, “maximum wage” and ‘taking excessive profits’ from drug companies.

  52. Maybe the people with bumper stickers are simply more communicative.

    i agree, they are complete assholes.

    🙂

    and man, if you think these studies are controversial, imagine what’s going to happen when they discover the cool kids’ gene.

  53. There has to be some reason why some people think one way and others think another.

    There is. Its a combination of peer pressure/groupthink and how you were raised. Doesn’t matter how jumpy/numb you are (unless that’s also inherited).

    I think slapping the label “socially protective” was a failed attempt to do so.

    I think we can all agree on that. I would note that the chose loaded/favorable words to characterize the “liberal” positions as well; make of that what you will.

    As a gross generalization, I tend to say liberals tend to favor policies that are based on risk aversion – social safety nets, gun control, anti-war, etc. There are outliers/exceptions, of course, but its not a bad rule of thumb.

  54. There has to be some reason why some people think one way and others think another.

    Also let’s not forget the different paths all of god’s chillern get led down by unique life experiences, chains of reasoning, priorities, self-interests, knowledge bases, etc…

    Oh wait yeah and prenatal bioprogramming.

  55. The pix from Abu Ghraib didn’t seem to bug them.

  56. I think its a bit like that joke about free market economists and the $20 bill on the sidewalk. The liberal says to him or her self, if that were a real spider, a conservative would have smacked the stuffing out of it…

  57. Perhaps, as others have hinted, the test demonstrates the ability of the liberal to escape reality through abstract thought. A spider or an Iranian missile are much less threatening when relegated to the realm of abstraction. The liberal prefers to ponder; the conservative to act. The liberal asks “what is a spider, anyway?” The conservative says “that was a spider, for what it’s worth.”

  58. I wonder how much of the taxpayers money was wasted on this nonsense?

  59. Researchers shied away from using labels such as conservative and liberal in their study, but they concede that volunteers who registered a negligible sense of threat also tended to subscribe to liberal attitudes. “It’s not that liberals are heartless, numb nihilists,” says Kevin Smith, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and one of the study’s co-authors. “It’s that people who support socially liberal policies – which, yes, can be interpreted as people taking a liberal position on those policies – are less sensitive to environmental threat.”

    Am I doing it right?

  60. We must appoint hard-core anti-illegal immigration politicians, governors, mayors and underlings. Unless we do we may lose our sovereignty and be overwhelmed by the illegal invasion from third world countries. November is the absolute deadline to enact a one-chance Federal law, to stop this abhorrent occupation.

    If we enact the Federal SAVE ACT (H.R.4088) enforcement only law. Millions of illegal aliens will leave by self-deportation. ATTRITION! No job, they will leave of their own accord. Only anti-American groups and Liberal-Democrat-Socialists are stopping this law. ASK THEM WHY?

    http://www.numbersusa.com have the uncensored truth? IT’S YOUR FAMILIES FUTURE. DEPORTATION OR OVERPOPULATION.
    IF WE DON’T STOP IT NOW, THEY WILL KEEP COMING..

    JOIN 756.000 other American patriots at http://www.numbersusa.com , to stop the travesty of our immigration laws. Learn about Immigration governmental corruption at http://www.judicialwatch.org

    WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DON’T KNOW..?

    THEY JUST DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT?

    Because illegal aliens cannot be issued Social Security Numbers, the IRS issued TIN numbers which allowed them to get house mortgages. Not even requesting SS# these people were given bank loans and now walked away from them.

    How much has illegal immigration contributed to the current mortgage mess? …. Not just sub-prime, but about 80% illegal aliens, by his estimation. …

    http://michellemalkin.com/2008/05/12/open-borders-and-the-mortgage-mess/

    http://www.firesociety.com/forum/thread/29481/How-About-That-LaRaza-And-This-Morgtage-Mess-/

    ASK YOUR SENATORS & CONGRESSMAN WHY?

  61. Infected open wounds bother conservatives more than liberals? Science tells me infected open wounds area bad thing. So, does tis say something bad about liberals, conservatives, or stupid “research” like this? Considering this study was performed by real scientists and involved 4,600 participants from across the country….Oh, never mind, it was done by political “scientists” on 46 participants in Nebraska. Fucking hilarious. Anyone who missed that care to recant any previous comments!

  62. HYPOTHESIS #1: Liberals are less likely to be startled by images of flesh wounds, and/or of spiders crawling across people’s faces, because 20% of all the movies liberals see have scenes like that, so liberals are used to it, whereas conservatives tend to watch Jane Austen movies where spiders and open wounds never flash across the screen (except for the controversial *Termination With Pride and Extreme Prejudice,* where the Viet Cong torture Emma and pour spiders all over her mutilated flesh).

    HYPOTHESIS #2: Conervatives are more likely to swill vodka and cheap beer, so they have the DTs and are predisposed to think spiders are crawling all over them, and it makes them *very* nervous. Liberals tend to use other kinds of stimulants, and they’re mellower.

    HYPOTHESIS #3: Liberals are less likely to hear loud noises because their eardrums have been damaged by all the rock concerts they go to. Conservatives rarely hear anything louder than cows and roosters, and the occasional Lee Greenwood album (this is Nebraska, after all), so their eardrums are comparatively undamaged and hence more sensitive.

    HYPOTHESIS #4: A forthcoming study will disclose that people who oppose government-subsidized social science research are more likely to be child molesters than those who are pefectly comfortable with such research.

  63. I would be happy if they had performed yet another study that proves that Conservatives, on average, are dumber, and less skilled when it comes to basic logic.

    Spiders?

    Were they Atheists?

  64. BULL-FUCKING-SHIT!

  65. Tough talking conservatives are pussies? What else is new?

  66. Conservatives pay attention, liberals stick their heads in the sand.

  67. Joe:

    You have to learn to tell the real science from the bullshit. Let me give you an example:

    Real science: “We took two random samples of people, and tested their reaction to various ‘startling’ events. We then compared the results to a questionaire filled out before the test, and discovered that there was a correlation of X, with a P factor of Y, between startle reflex and the self-identification of the subject as a Republican.”

    That’s measurable, testable, and falsifiable.

    Bad Science: “We therefore conclude that Republicans tend to favor social restrictive policies because they are fraidy cats.”

    The second half is pull-it-out-of-your-ass bullshit. It’s not testable, or falsifiable, and there’s no evidence from which to draw that conclusion other than a seemingly-unrelated correlation.

    There could be a million reasons why self-identified conservatives or Republicans might test to have a higher startle reflex. It could be a biological correlation that leads people to conservatism as the article suggests, or it could be a problem with the sampling, or it could be because of a confounding third factor that wasn’t tested for. Maybe more people who had the shit beat out of them as kids become conservative, and therefore they flinch more. Or maybe liberals are just pussies. Or maybe it’s that the only type of person willing to self-identify as conservative in a scientific test is more aggressive than average. Or maybe more conservatives have ADD and were on ritalin which boosted their startle reflex.

    Or maybe there’s another of a million possible confounding variables they didn’t control for causing the correlation.

  68. What did this study mean by “more likely?” r=.001?

  69. So numb, apathetic people are liberals? While people who are aware and interested in what’s going on around them are conservatives? That sounds about right to me.

  70. You know what’s rich? The sudden appearance of a breathless, semiliterate, OMG/CAPS-lock anti-immigrant spam screed, on a thread where people are trying to defend conservatives against the charge of bedwetting. Not that it proves anything one way or another. Just funny.

    I really thought it was somebody snarking until about the third paragraph.

  71. And no one has yet joked that the liberals were so much more mellow because they were simply too stoned to respond to outside stimuli?

    Oops, sort of here:

    Mad Max | September 23, 2008, 6:08pm | #

    HYPOTHESIS #1: Liberals are less likely to be startled by images of flesh wounds, and/or of spiders crawling across people’s faces, because 20% of all the movies liberals see have scenes like that, so liberals are used to it, whereas conservatives tend to watch Jane Austen movies where spiders and open wounds never flash across the screen (except for the controversial *Termination With Pride and Extreme Prejudice,* where the Viet Cong torture Emma and pour spiders all over her mutilated flesh).

    HYPOTHESIS #2: Conervatives are more likely to swill vodka and cheap beer, so they have the DTs and are predisposed to think spiders are crawling all over them, and it makes them *very* nervous. Liberals tend to use other kinds of stimulants, and they’re mellower.

    HYPOTHESIS #3: Liberals are less likely to hear loud noises because their eardrums have been damaged by all the rock concerts they go to. Conservatives rarely hear anything louder than cows and roosters, and the occasional Lee Greenwood album (this is Nebraska, after all), so their eardrums are comparatively undamaged and hence more sensitive.

    HYPOTHESIS #4: A forthcoming study will disclose that people who oppose government-subsidized social science research are more likely to be child molesters than those who are pefectly comfortable with such research.

    I know some of you godless atheistic fetus-hating regulars may not be well-disposed toward Mad Max because he is the Rome Warrior, but you got to admit, that was pretty effing funny.

  72. BTW, there was another very recent study out of Yale University showing that conservatives literally can’t be reasoned out of their erronous, Faux News-spoonfed view of the world.

    Apparently the study first provided misinformation to conservatives and liberals that tended to support their various political worldviews. Then they were provided with refutations of that misinformation.

    The findings: Reasonable, logical reality-based liberals were able to reconsider and let go of the misinformation provided to them earlier — but when bull-headed, biased conservatives were provided with the refutations, they just clung all the more bitterly to their cherished myths and falsehoods.

    Basically, this means that whenever joe tries to debate with someone here who leans toward the nonliberal, rightish position on any issue, he is wasting his time.

    Read the sad, sad truth here.

  73. “So numb, apathetic people are liberals? While people who are aware and interested in what’s going on around them are conservatives? That sounds about right to me.”

    Wait…

    “more aware and interested in what’s going on around them?”

    Is this statement meant to represent some vague form of irony?

    If not, then I will commence to pissing myself with laughter.

  74. “The findings: Reasonable, logical reality-based liberals were able to reconsider and let go of the misinformation provided to them earlier — but when bull-headed, biased conservatives were provided with the refutations, they just clung all the more bitterly to their cherished myths and falsehoods.”

    I wouldn’t find it surprising.

    Conservatism, at least in America, is rarely entered into via Academic enlightenment. It’s something that your parents supported, and it’s something that your church supported. That’s a very difficult indoctrination to shake. You can’t just blame it on some pushy Professor you had your freshman year.

    If you turn government into the anti-Christ, then you have an unshakable religious membership ready to reproduce, and release its narrow minded hob-goblins to the masses.

    Ron Paul understood this, which is why he used such podunk tactics to try and rally a much more significant base than the one offered to him by the Libertarian sub-culture.

    Besides, Libertarians are really hard to motivate when it comes to political action. All they really want to do is blow off some steam.

    It’s easier to maintain membership by putting God into the equation.

  75. Basically, this means that whenever joe tries to debate with someone here who leans toward the nonliberal, rightish position on any issue, he is wasting his time.

    But joe can be persuaded pretty easily when he’s wrong? Sure, I believe that.

  76. I just received the results of a groundbreaking study. Apparently, Liberals are so terrified at the thought of anybody disagreeing with them, that they have to pretend that such people are clinically insane.

  77. On a reexamination of this tripe study, I see that it is a silly fine scientific basis to explain why people cling to relegion and guns.

  78. But joe can be persuaded pretty easily when he’s wrong? Sure, I believe that.

    Theoretically. However, since joe is an intelligent and reasonable reality-based liberal who always considers and reconsiders his positions carefully, it is very unlikely that he could ever be wrong.

  79. It’s science, I’m telling you!

  80. There is another explanation that has been overlooked.

    Perhaps liberals merely have an inadequate threat-response mechanism. In prehistoric times, “liberals” would have been the ones consumed by predators.

    In our modern, relatively safe time, these evolutionary weaklings are allowed to thrive and breed, leading to a sort of twist on Idiocracy.

    /tongue in cheek

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