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Kurt Kleiner has an interesting article in today's Toronto Star. "Whiny children, claims a new study, tend to grow up rigid and traditional. Future liberals on the other hand.."

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. Similar conclusions a few years ago from another academic saw him excoriated on right-wing blogs, and even led to a Congressional investigation into his research funding.


It seems to make sense that insecure kids look for the reassurance of tradition and authority while more confident kids  explore alternatives to the way things are.

Do our personalities determine our world view and our politics?

Hobbes, writing at the time of the vicious English civil war argued that human nature was nasty, brutish and warlike. People needed to be protected from themselves by investing absolute authority in the King. How much has changed since then? Isn't the Bush government attempting to simutaneously create fear and provide the comfort of supreme authority to relieve that same fear? The stronger the government, the stronger the state.

Locke, with a more benign view of human nature, argued that individuals should be vested with rights, including the right to revolt against an authority that failed to protect them. The stronger the individual, the stronger the state.

Today are the confident voters inclined to vote for the "Demos", the people, while the insecure vote for the authority of the Republic?

In 2003 when John T. Jost of Stanford and his colleagues published their review of 44 years of studies on the psychology of conservativism the critics called it the "Conservatives are Crazy" study.

So why don't we poll some liberals, or progressives here:

Originally posted to paul2port on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 07:56 AM PST.


Regarding the psychology of conservatives

5%6 votes
37%43 votes
34%40 votes
6%8 votes
15%18 votes

| 115 votes | Vote | Results

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