Mind Your Own Business Gladys...Conservative Pathology

Greetings All,

I am back from Las Vegas and so very glad to be home on the mountain. The past week has left me a bit out of touch with current events and I am working hard to get caught up on all the latest going on in the world.

Was Gladys Kravitz a conservative?

I have been thinking a lot about the interesting shifts going on with conservatism after the "thumping" and I realized that basically, the thing that has always intrigued me about conservatives is the incessant drive they have for everyone else to conform to their view of the world.
Honestly, it has always creeped me way out.

Some of these folks actually feel they have authority from God to kill others who don't think, believe, and live the way they believe they should, all the while proclaiming thou shalt not kill .

Talk about your terrorists.

I would hope that I could retain some autonomy over how I choose to live my life but many conservatives have a big problem with that where it does not coincide with how they think I should live my life. The fact is how I live my personal life is none of their damned business. Period.

I came across this great post from 2003 at The Deprogrammer that really nailed the conservative pathology. A study, funded jointly by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Institute of Mental Health at the National Institute of Health (NIH) examined a mindset that the authors were polite enough to refer to as political conservatism.

The full report "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition"
A great summary and analysis of the report at A Witness

This is very enlightening, which of course is the bane of conservative existence.

Say it with me in your best French accent.

Viva la difference!

I would have done excerpts but the whole post is just too damned good.

Medical science is still seeking a cure
By Bryan Zepp Jamieson 08/16/03

Well, we always knew there was something wrong with them.

A study, funded jointly by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Institute of Mental Health at the National Institute of Health (NIH) examined a mindset that the authors were polite enough to refer to as political conservatism. That was something of a euphemism. What they were really studying were the right wing whacks who took over the GOP and threaten to turn America into a third-rate fourth Reich. The paper, titled "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition" has raised a predictable storm among right wingers, most of whom are yowling and spitting in rage and frustration and throwing their feces, furious that anyone would imply they were emotionally unstable.

A second paper by the same researchers, entitled "Exceptions That Prove the Rule—Using a Theory of Motivated Social Cognition to Account for Ideological Incongruities and Political Anomalies: Reply to Greenberg and Jonas (2003)" is being printed in the APA’s peer-reviewed Psychological Bulletin 2003, Vol. 129, No. 3, 383—393

According to the authors:

"…[W]e consider evidence for and against the hypotheses that political conservatism is significantly associated with (1) mental rigidity and closed-mindedness, including (a) increased dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity, (b) decreased cognitive complexity, (c) decreased openness to experience, (d) uncertainty avoidance, (e) personal needs for order and structure, and (f) need for cognitive closure; (2) lowered self-esteem; (3) fear, anger, and aggression; (4) pessimism, disgust, and contempt; (5) loss prevention; (6) fear of death; (7) threat arising from social and economic deprivation; and (8) threat to the stability of the social system. We have argued that these motives are in fact related to one another psychologically, and our motivated social—cognitive perspective helps to integrate them. We now offer an integrative, meta-analytic

review of research on epistemic, existential, and ideological bases of conservatism."

—Pg. 352; John T. Jost of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business; Jack Glaser of University of California, Berkeley; Arie W. Kruglanski of the University of Maryland at College Park; Frank J. Sulloway of University of California, Berkeley.

Generally speaking, they find for the evidence. Hope I didn’t spoil the plot for you.

Right wingers proved the researchers right by promptly losing their minds and screaming for the hides of the perpetrators. Right wing radio hosts howled and gibbered that an investigation should be made immediately into the funding these researchers get, and they were accused, in no particular order, and according to no rhyme or reason, of being anti-American and anti-Christian and probably for gay rights and gun control.

The researchers, sensing that this paper might cause a slight discomfort among the more sensitive of our conservative brethren (Really. They went up like rabid baboons with bottle rockets stuffed up their asses!) went to great lengths to reassure one and all that they weren’t calling the right wingers a bunch of psychotic, destructive nuts. Obviously, they weren’t studying the right wingers we see most often on the Internet.

The authors wrote, "Our first assumption, too, is that conservative ideologies – like virtually all other belief systems – are adopted in part because they satisfy some psychological needs. This does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false, irrational, or unprincipled."

OK, Forget Tom DeLay and Pat Robertson for a minute. There are conservatives who aren’t vicious amoral anti-social whacks. In real life, I know some. I even have conservative friends, although I plan to warn my daughters about them.

But what the researchers were looking at were the group that I’ve been referring to for years as "secular fundamentalists." The political variant of these critters tends to be reactionary, paranoid, authoritarian, intolerant, contemptuous of rules that don’t suit them and overbearing in their observance on behalf of others of rules that do suit them. While there are left wing examples (David Horowitz was a good example in his time) they generally gravitate toward fascism and call it conservatism, even though it’s usually better described as radical reactionaryism.

The authors define the two core principles of conservatism as resistance to change, and acceptance of social inequality. Conservatives, they argue, cling tightly to a status quo, real or imagined, and regard society as hierarchical. Unsurprisingly, they tend to believe they have inherited and/or merited preferential positions in this hierarchy.

The authors address what they call the "conservative paradox" of radical reactionaryism (e.g, Hitler, Mussolini or Pinochet) by pointing out that their calls for extreme inequality in the social order were juxtaposed with promises to lead the country back to an ideal past, one in which "traditional values and morality" prevailed. It occurs to me a good catchphrase for the mawkish and hollow babble that usually accompanies this fraud is "morning in America." Our present-day radical reactionaries continuously harken back to a traditional America that never existed, one where everyone was a god fearing generic protestant, people with accents lived in the poor part of town and never bothered folks, and women and blacks knew their place.

This matches what I consider a hallmark of the fundamentalist mindset: the ability to completely invert a philosophy to suit personal needs. In religion, for example, you have Christianity and Islam, religions that both place high premiums on respect for one’s fellow humans, peace, and personal integrity. Yet fundamentalists are frequently the most violent, dishonest and intolerant people around, and use their religion to completely rationalize this abhorrent behavior. In conservatism you see people who champion the Bill of Rights, unobtrusive government, and a laissez faire approach to industry cheering loudly for the Patriot Act and the tariffs Putsch has placed on steel and timber. This emotional and intellectual dichotomy is how conservatives can condemn dishonest and immoral behavior on Clinton’s part while phlegmatically accepting that Putsch lied his way into a war that does not benefit America while declaring that he is opposed to "nation building." It’s how Republicans can damn Democrats as being fiscally irresponsible even while they ignore Putsch’s disastrous fiscal policies that are driving the nation to new and insane levels of debt. One need only watch conservatives in California vilify Grey Davis for a $38 billion deficit that he didn’t cause while ignoring Putsch’s $600 billion deficit, much of which was fueled by his reckless tax cuts.

One of the more interesting references in the paper is "The Theory of RWA," in which the authors consider the Authoritarian Personality. They state, "harsh parenting styles brought on by economic hardship led entire generations to repress hostility toward authority figures and to replace it with an exaggerated deference and idealization of authority and tendencies to blame society scapegoats and punish deviants."

Angry, repressed, passive-aggressive with a desire to punish those who don’t conform.

Yup, that’s our boys. It could be the platform of the GOP.

Right wingers hate them, of course. But it’s hard to see why. The paper won’t stop people from growing up to be right wingers. Many people can no more choose to be conservative than they can choose to be gay.


That's cool...I won't try to tell conservatives how to run their lives if they won't try to run mine.


I didn't thnk so.

Oh well, maybe evolution will take a hard left turn for the better.

Peace y'all


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