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Ozzy Osborne once said "I was born f$%&ing scared". Hard to believe, I know. Ozzy. A man that has removed the heads from dead bats and live doves with his teeth, was banned from Texas for peeing on the Alamo while wearing a woman's dress, has been blamed for teen suicides. If you'd have thought there was ONE crazy mofo in the world that don't afraid of nothing (sic), that would be the guy.

But apparently not. He was born scared. But was he? Is anybody? Is that something we can answer on this Science Friday? Is this...

...a scientifically accurate assessment?

So (and apologies to BardoOne, who wants me to do a Diary on Pet Care For The Raptured!), I'm going to answer that question. Can people really be born scared? And, as this is the Daily Kos, does that have a connection to these people voting one way or the other?

The short answer is, well, one that will answer the question for you. "Here's the answer, bye!" is not happening.

The long answer below the fold...

First of all, we have the idea that people change their minds about things. I didn't like carrots as a child, now I love them. I used to drink really sweet drinks, now they put my teeth on edge. But that doesn't show me changing who I am as a person. How hardwired are those kinds of things?

Well, recent studies show there's some things that never change.

Personality traits observed in childhood are a strong predictor of adult behavior, a study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside, the Oregon Research Institute and University of Oregon suggests.

The study will appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, a quarterly publication of the Association for Research in Personality, the European Association of Social Psychology, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and co-sponsored by the Asian Association of Social Psychology and the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists.
Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse elementary schoolchildren in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later.

What they discovered was surprising, said Christopher S. Nave, a doctoral candidate at UC Riverside and lead author of the paper, "On the Contextual Independence of Personality: Teachers' Assessments Predict Directly Observed Behavior After Four Decades." Co-authors of the paper are Ryne A. Sherman, a UCR doctoral candidate; David C. Funder, UCR professor of psychology; Sarah E. Hampson, a researcher at the Oregon Research Institute; and Lewis R. Goldberg, professor of psychology emeritus at the University of Oregon. The research was sponsored by the National Institute on Aging through a grant to the Oregon Research Institute.
"We remain recognizably the same person," Nave said. "This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts."

I highlighted the 'surprising quote because that will come up later. But there it is. Kids that were fluent became expressive adults, able to put their ideas across and therefore became more of the leaders. Humble kids became adults that were also humble, seeking the occasional reassurance. Impulsive kids became loud impulsive adults, quiet gadflies remained quiet gadflies.

OK, so we've seen how you are what you are. But it doesn't tell us about the politics.

A second study by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln team tested adults for involuntary reflexes when faced with possibly shocking stimuli.

The American team's findings - published in the respected journal Science - suggest that our political views are closely linked to our biology.

Anyone whose brain is hard-wired to be anxious about 'external threats', such as loud noises or unpleasant images, is more likely to support hawkish policies such as high military spending and the Iraq War, they said. In contrast, those who are less jumpy will tend to support more liberal immigration laws, pacifism and gun control.

To test their theory, the researchers recruited 46 adults with strong political beliefs.
Each was shown three threatening images - a large spider on the face of a frightened person, a dazed individual with a bloody face and an open wound with maggots on it - interspersed with 33 less disturbing pictures. Sensors measured how much the volunteers sweated.

It was discovered that those with conservative views reacted more strongly to the disturbing pictures than those with liberal opinions. The researchers also measured how hard participants blinked when suddenly played a loud noise. Again, conservatives tended to be more easily startled.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln team were unsure whether people who are naturally more sensitive to threats are drawn to Right-wing politics, or whether conservatives become more jumpy.

So we have proof that people are the same person they were when they were six. And we see that liberals would look at a picture like this...

...may jump a little, but a conservative would be changing their underwear before the Diary is finished if I keep posing images like that. Or sudde-- BANG!!

Sorry.

But the scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln weren't sure if it was because people were just born scared or not.

Actually, there is research which ties the whole thing together. And, as with all the best science, its discovery was a complete accident.

In 1969, Berkeley professors Jack and Jeanne Block embarked on a study of childhood personality, asking nursery school teachers to rate children's temperaments.

They weren't even thinking about political orientation.

Twenty years later, they decided to compare the subjects' childhood personalities with their political preferences as adults. They found arresting patterns.

As kids, liberals had developed close relationships with peers and were rated by their teachers as self-reliant, energetic, impulsive, and resilient. People who were conservative at age 23 had been described by their teachers as easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and vulnerable at age 3.

The reason for the difference, the Blocks hypothesized, was that insecure kids most needed the reassurance of tradition and authority, and they found it in conservative politics.

So Christopher S. Nave, the doctoral candidate at UC Riverside, shouldn't have been that surprised if he'd have heard of this research. Don't forget, these were child psychologists. They had no interest in political agenda. They just happened to find their old work and think "hey, I wonder if this actually meant anything twenty years later?..."

But there it is. People that are conservatives were the kind of kids you see crying in supermarkets for no logical reason. Well: no logical reason to us, because we weren't scared of the man's face on the Wheaties box. Their personalities did what everyone else's personality does: stay with them like dog-hair on polyester pants. And the more scared they were, the more they gravitated to politics that catered to their easily outraged selves. The right-wing politics.

Sorry. [F]right[ened] wing politics. Look at those descriptions of the three year-olds that just 'happened' to become conservatives. Easily victimized. Easily offended. Iindecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and vulnerable. Think of all the political stories from the Echo Chamber you've ever seen and heard, and think "what is the primary motivation? Why this story, right now? Who are they trying to convince with this charade?", and think of those descriptions.

That's the diagnosis. Unfortunately, the only cure is Alice...

Originally posted to ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 05:29 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

    by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 05:29:41 AM PDT

  •  They've burned their No Fear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ShawnGBR, lgmcp, Front Toward Enemy

    t-shirts.

    Punch the dirty hippies and the face and tell them to shut up.

    by thenekkidtruth on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 05:33:26 AM PDT

  •  I just love it when (0+ / 0-)

    one ideological side of the fence tries to explain the other through some sort of psychological disorder (i.e. liberalism is a mental disorder).  Republican's aren't the only one to through around the fear card.

    •  Projection. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan

      Let's not forget where that pithy phrase 'Liberalism is a mental disorder' comes from. Michael Weiner. Stage name: Michael Savage. A man who described his own childhood as difficult, due to his father's "gruff and profane" personality and frequent verbal abuse. So: full of fear. A man so full of fear and hatred, he's banned from entering the United Kingdom.

      You sound like this Diary offended you, and easily.

      The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

      by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:05:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I know the origins. (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, I know the origins.  I’m not offended.  I just think this sort of thing is silly.

      •  Just to add to my own comment... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happy camper, Deep Texan

        To address, specifically: "Republican's aren't the only one to throw around the fear card."

        As shown from the links, Jack and Jeanne Block had no interest in gauging the political leanings of 3 year-olds in 1969. The kids identified as being victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and vulnerable at age 3 decided themselves to become conservative.

        The people that underwent the fear tests identified their own political leanings before the test. It wasn't those scary Liberals that threw an increase in skin conductivity at the consevatives, or made them flinch more.

        Conservatives did all that themselves. It's science. Cold, hard, analysis of how reality actually is. And I see your first instinct was to irrepressibly lash out at statistics, King Canute againstthe proof.

        Skin conductivity doesn't care who the President is.

        The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

        by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:18:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Except that it's actual psychologists doing it. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShawnGBR, Deep Texan

      Not Anne Coulter.  So it's not just dueling ideological sides, is it.

      BREAKING: Alan Simpson not just an gaffe-prone old fart, but a demigod empowered to cut social security, disband Congress, override President. Shazzam.

      by Inland on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:10:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well yes, but (0+ / 0-)

        But, we all know that one study doesn’t make a scientific law.  Not only that, you would think this psychological disorder would be equally distributed throughout the population.  For some reason though, voting patterns are very predictable based on geography, demographics, and socio-economics (to a lesser degree).  

        •  ONE study? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happy camper, Deep Texan

          This one diary includes studies by:

          University of California, Riverside
          Oregon Research Institute
          University of Oregon
          University of Nebraska-Lincoln
          University College Berkeley

          The earliest paper was from 1969, the most recent from this year.

          I think we're seeing lashing out without reading the article from someone easily offended.

          The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

          by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:22:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I quickly read over it (0+ / 0-)

            and yes it was more than one study (sorry about that error).  OTOH, it appears that data is mostly taking from 2 studies, and that one of them included three of the institutions listed.

            Anyway, my main point is that this sort of thing is common among any ideology.  While, I'm sure there is some truth in the point of the diarist, I have a feeling that it is much more narrow than they would like.

            •  You have a feeling. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan

              Exactly the point of the diary. Well, not the all and encompassing point of the diary, but a good part of it.

              More on that another day.

              The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

              by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:39:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Why do you want to call (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ShawnGBR

          it a "disorder?" Looks to me to be a sub of personality testing. It's not like these are actual phobias, it's just different people's approach to the world.

          Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

          by Joieau on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 08:08:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Interesting point I hadn't picked up on. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            The Diary, in part, was intended to show that one group contained more fearful people; and that was as a direct result of something beyond their control. It was just the way they were born. It's physiology, not a "psychological disorder".

            It's no more a "disorder" than saying ginger people have a disorder because they avoid the sun... because they were born with red hair and freckles.

            So yes, it does tell us something about the mind-set of someone who is easily offended that thinks they're under attack. Paint the issue in complete black-and-white terms. It's not a plus, so it must be the most heinous of minuses. And both sides have it, so vote Republican.

            Interesting. Thanks for picking up on it.

            The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

            by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 08:26:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There are more than a handful (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ShawnGBR

              of fearful, grossly oversensitive people right here on DKos lately, doing their damndest to depress votes by telling those who criticize Obama/Dem policies or performance they need to STFU, leave the country, or vote Republican. As a lifelong Democrat who has seen some nasty, 'scary' shit from the political arena going all the way back to 1963, I would never have attempted to characterize the left as "fearful." They sure as hell weren't "fearful" in Chicago in 1968!

              So by putting a little of this psychological profiling to work right here on DKos, what does it tell us about the roving gangs of "Love It or Leave It" fear-mongers as we approach mid-terms? [caveat: I've already reached some conclusions about that, I just wish it would become more obvious to others still wondering why there's so much pearl-clutching, couch-fainting and STFU'ing going on...]

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 08:57:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The beauty of the Internet... (0+ / 0-)

                ...is you can be the kind of person that IRL makes Dick Cheney look like Ryan Seacrest -- but post a few DK diaries pretending to be a Liberal and some people will believe it. Which is useful for the actual cause when they start saying "I'm not voting on Tuesday, Obama didn't do X or Y or Z" and people take it at face value.

                The current vernacular for this is Concern Trolling.

                By the way: I'm astronaut Mike Dexter.

                The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

                by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 09:07:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I'm a Mom (and Grandma). (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ShawnGBR

              Birthed a couple, adopted a few, raised many more other people's 'throw-aways'. Kids are indeed born with certain personality traits, there are many to choose from. Other traits (and psychopathologies) can be imposed or acquired.

              Of my two, my son was a cautious, careful type guy, very sensitive and shy. Didn't quickly go for new things, liked to dress well, wasn't eager to date or drive when most kids were, etc. We called him our "Token Conservative." He died young (21), one of those accidents he was always so careful to avoid. For all the good it did him.

              Daughter was gung-ho from day one. Quick-minded, courageous to a fault, a natural leader, definitely a daredevil - her teenage years were parental hell. She's still with us in her 40s and going strong in spite of herself.

              Different people with different, unique natures from the first, nothing wrong with that. Humans come in a variety of styles, this does not render anyone's nature 'wrong'. But it's absolutely no surprise that mighty 'science' has documented what Moms and other caregivers have long known. The difference between conservative and liberal - in politics, in church or anywhere else - reflects different personalities, approaches to and understandings of the world we live in. This is why self-invested positions are so resistant to change.

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 04:16:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Correct (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ShawnGBR, Joieau

            The studies are dealing with normal variation in temperament, particularly in the area of how secure people feel. As another example, studies of people who believe they were abducted by aliens show that they have no more psychopathology than the general public, but they do tend to have certain personality traits, such as being prone to fantasizing.

            The schools will probably teach kindergartners to play nice with everyone. — Will Phillips, on how marriage equality would affect education

            by ebohlman on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 11:56:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, I'd suspect (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ShawnGBR

              that believing your fantasies are real suggests some psychopathology afoot. May not present much of an issue in people's ability to do housework or alphabetize file folders, etc., and may not present a notable danger to self or others. But when I fantasize about playing disc golf on Mars or serving 'mater pie to the Queen, they're not things I'd assert under oath, swear to friends and family really happened, or volunteer to take a lie detector test about... ;-)

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 12:24:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps not (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShawnGBR, Deep Texan

      but it is undeniably their centerpiece.  Scary brown people are swarming over the border to take your job and rape your women!  Every Muslim in the world is a jihadi!  Social security is bankrupt!  Saddam Hussein was about to nuke you!  Obama is a sleeper terrorist planted 47s ago!  

      Sure, it's the nature of ideological conflict for each side to represent the threats of the other.  But Republicans have raised it to a ludicrous level, hence the timely satire in this diary.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:11:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        I agree that fear is a tool of the Republican party right now.   I’m not going to argue that point, but I don’t think that it is unique to conservatives.  Liberals use fear as a motivator just as often, especially when it comes to reforming any kind of entitlement.

        •  Except that benefit cuts (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ShawnGBR, happy camper, Joieau, Deep Texan

          which will directly affect you, are a genuine possible impact, whereas Saddam's imaginary bomb was a made-up one.  I think that's a pretty important distinction.

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:26:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And there is legit reason (0+ / 0-)

            to have fear about some conservative issues too, but both sides exaggerate.  

            •  This equivalence thing just doesn't hold up. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ShawnGBR, Joieau, Deep Texan

              Yes, both sides fearmonger, both side exaggerate, and so on.  But as with the examples I provide, it is clearly the case that the contemporary Republican party does it MORE.  A LOT more.  

              Actually I miss the days when there were Conservaties who wanted to conserve something.  Anything.  What Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II did to the deficit was dramatically worse than what any intervening administrations did.  Though I'm straying from the topic of fear-mongering to the topic of fiscal policy.  My point is:  false equivalence.

              But I grant you that pyschologizing is the softest of soft science, and easily misapplied in silly ways.

              "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

              by lgmcp on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:36:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The authoritarian right (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ShawnGBR, lgmcp

                has ample reason to control its minions with fear, as fear is what motivates their 'base' (according to studies like this). But when will the liberal left figure out that its 'base' isn't motivated by fear? I hate it when "our side" uses this tactic. Not nearly as often as the other guys, but enough to make me wonder what the hell ever happened to the "Home of the Brave."

                Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                by Joieau on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 08:12:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Please point to an example (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ShawnGBR

          of liberals making up reasons to be fearful out of whole cloth, in the way Republicans have done with death panels, outright lies about crime in U.S. border areas, terror babies, and the like.

          Good luck.

          "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

          by happy camper on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:46:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That reminds me of a graphic... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lgmcp, happy camper

            ...called the Wall Of Poutrage. Every time there's a new 'outrage' (World Cup soccer ball is really Obama logo, Burlington Coat Factory is a hallowed site, telling kids to stay in school is indoctrination, etc.), the image gets more crowded.

             title=

            This is the latest version of it I could find. Maybe there's a Chrysler Cordoba (with rich Corinthian leather) on it now.

            The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

            by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 08:03:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  i'd love it more if we could... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan

      .... get all those righties into treatment.  

      A good psychiatrist, the right medications, lots of counseling, and a couple of lifestyle changes, could work wonders.  

      •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ShawnGBR

        As I and others mentioned elsewhere in comments, the correlations are with normal variation in personality traits, not with psychopathology.

        The schools will probably teach kindergartners to play nice with everyone. — Will Phillips, on how marriage equality would affect education

        by ebohlman on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 12:01:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bulldawg, lgmcp

    ...but since I was born afraid of everything and I'm liberal it obviously can't quite explain everyone.

    I recall an experiment with rhesus monkeys where researchers had a nervous mother who tended to have nervous babies and a calm mother who tended to have calm babies.  They wondered if that were nature or nurture, so one time, they switched the babies.  The calm baby started off calm even though its new mom jumped at everything, but slowly it began to 'come around' to her point of view and saw everything in its environment as threatening.  The nervous baby at first jumped at everything, but slowly, with its new, calm mother, it began to relax and explore its environment more confidently.

    So perhaps I was a nervous baby with a calm mother.  In any case, my initial immediate reaction to everything new is still almost always fear, but it's tempered these days.  I don't think we'll entirely be able to divorce nurture from the phenomenon described in the article.

    "FLUFFY - IN SACRIFICE!"

    by Ratmum on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:05:06 AM PDT

    •  There will always be outliers, statistically. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bulldawg, lgmcp

      It's a nature versus nurture debate. A song from South Pacific says: "you've got to be taught to hate and frea, it's got to be drummed in your dear little ear".

      It's just that the evidence of research keeps on pointing to saying it's what you're born with.

      I'm not saying we Libs don't fear. I worry about doing well at work. That's not rational. But it doesn't make me want to cling to the strongest co-worker and follow their commands!

      The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

      by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:09:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Predispositions are just that, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShawnGBR

      predispositions, not destiny.

      The schools will probably teach kindergartners to play nice with everyone. — Will Phillips, on how marriage equality would affect education

      by ebohlman on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 12:03:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Today, trying to get that old 9/11 magic back. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bulldawg, ShawnGBR, lgmcp, soms, Deep Texan

    Beck's 9/12 party and Giuliani are pretty explicit: they want a return to the good old days when the country was united in the face of a single external threat and doing what the republican president said.

    I don't even know if the conservatives are actually all that scared of terrorism or gays ruining their marriage or Obama taking over the economy.  I think that they are scared someone is going to raise their taxes and the rest is just politics.

    BREAKING: Alan Simpson not just an gaffe-prone old fart, but a demigod empowered to cut social security, disband Congress, override President. Shazzam.

    by Inland on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:08:34 AM PDT

    •  Most them are pocketbook Republicans (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bulldawg, ShawnGBR

      but the real shock troops are the underwear Republicans.  THEIR primary bugaboo is that people will get laid indiscriminately.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:15:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  H.L. Mencken said: (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bulldawg, ShawnGBR, lgmcp, soms, Joieau

        "Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy"

        I think that for today's conservatives, it's the fear that some American they hate is getting away with something.  I don't know, for example, if they are really afraid Obama is going to nationalize the car companies.  I think they are afraid some union guy is overpaid, and that's enough to let the companies die.  I don't think they are scared welfare is going to kill us all.  I think they are afraid some black guy somewhere is cheating the systemn, and that's enough to dismantle it.

        BREAKING: Alan Simpson not just an gaffe-prone old fart, but a demigod empowered to cut social security, disband Congress, override President. Shazzam.

        by Inland on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:27:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, their outrage is genuine and visceral (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bulldawg, ShawnGBR, Inland

          when they think that somebody somewhere whom they don't like and don't approve of, somebody not of their own faith and tribe, might get one dime of their own money.  Competition for resources on a pack basis goes deep in the brainstem.  

          It's oddly at variance with the teachings of good old whatshisname, uh, Jesus.

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:31:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If Jesus were to come back today (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ShawnGBR, lgmcp

            it would be the christians who crucify her again.

            QUICK! HIDE GRANDMA! T3H DETH SKWADS IZ COMINGZ!!!1

            by Bulldawg on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:41:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Important point you mentioned: brain stem. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lgmcp

            Fear initiates from the amygdala, and THEN the cortex is used for risk-assessment in response. You don't have to analyze WHY you're scared, it's the initial kick that starts the ball rolling.

            The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

            by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:50:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And live MRI studies of political ranting (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ShawnGBR, ebohlman

              have shown that the cortex pretty much disengages.  

              "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

              by lgmcp on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 07:34:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This, by the way, is why (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ShawnGBR

                "think of the children" is a such a powerful meme. The need to protect one's offspring has been present since long before the cortex evolved; it's handled by our "old brains."

                The schools will probably teach kindergartners to play nice with everyone. — Will Phillips, on how marriage equality would affect education

                by ebohlman on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 12:06:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  By the way, love the clever construct (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ShawnGBR

              in your title.  Very a propos.

              "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

              by lgmcp on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 07:39:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you. Please use it. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lgmcp

                If it became a meme, I'd be happy. It's snappy, it sums up what the opposition is doing instead of working towards solutions that benefit anyone but themselves and their financial backers, and it does seem to dull the roar when they discover their answers in diaries like this may be part of the study!

                Did anyone else notice that, or just me?

                The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

                by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 08:07:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  fear is the opposite of love; and "God-fearing." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mokurai

    Rightie-winger to Jesus:  "Lord, I have always been your loyal servant, and a good God-fearing man...."

    Jesus to rightie-winger:  "No, no, no, you've got it all wrong.  My first commandment was to love the Lord thy God, with all your mind, heart, and soul!  Love, not fear!  Love!  OK?"

    Every time you hear some rightie brag about being "God-fearing," what you are hearing is, strictly speaking, a heresy against the core teachings of Jesus.  Love God, love thy neighbor.  Love, not fear!  We need to call them out on this every single time.  

    And by the way, hate is what comes from fear.  Fear produces hate.  All those haters are actually terrified of life.  Sad and almost deserving of our sympathy, except that like cornered animals, they are dangerous and need to be either treated or confined to protect innocent people.  

  •  That's funny. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ShawnGBR, Joieau

    With the picture with the lady with the tarantula on her face, I was thinking' "hmm, nice cleavage."
    Oh well, once a pig, always...

    QUICK! HIDE GRANDMA! T3H DETH SKWADS IZ COMINGZ!!!1

    by Bulldawg on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:37:15 AM PDT

    •  Along similar lines. (0+ / 0-)

      I was thinking how much I like short-haired brunettes like Winona Ryder or Audrey Hepburn. Of course, I was expecting the spider. It was a news piece about how people reacted to seeing pictures wheer people had a spider on their face.

      As a side note: that link for the research is from The Daily Mail, a very conservative British newspaper. When I say very conservative: support for fascism under Lord Rothermere (friend and supporter of both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler) in the 1930s, the front page of 8 July 1934 featured the headline "Hurrah for the Blackshirts" and also referred to Hitler's "sturdy young Nazis", and the paper generally did not support sporting boycotts of white-minority-ruled South Africa.

      But being able to portray AMERICAN conservatives as weak to boost their own psyches? Oh yes.

      The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

      by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 06:47:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, there is a cure for such fears (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ShawnGBR, Silent Lurker, Joieau

    A large part of it is laid out in the book, You Can't Say You Can't Play. If you don't allow the fearful to lash out in kindergarten by excluding others, they get over much of the impulse to do so later in life.

    Other aspects of the problem and its solution are laid out in The Evolution of Cooperation, by Robert Axelrod, and in The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience, by Martin E. P. Seligman.

    Busting the Dog Whistle code.

    by Mokurai on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 07:03:32 AM PDT

    •  If I could 2+ a comment... (0+ / 0-)

      I would do it with this one. Positive operant conditioning, a method of learning that occurs through rewards for behavior, fosters an association between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior. And as it's positive, it encourages more positive behavior.

      We're going back to B.F. Skinner, who spent his informative years in Scranton, PA (I'm in that neck of the woods myself). It doesn't just work on rats. Both my dogs are AKC Canine Good Citizens (and one is a registered Therapy Dog) thanks to good socialization and positive operant conditioning.

      The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

      by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 07:12:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  cowardice is a big motivator for them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ShawnGBR, ebohlman

    I've seen a lot of that.  Any ridiculous urban-legend e-mail scare will get forwarded around work qquickly by my Republican co-workers.  They really believe that people are disguising perfume samples as ether in Wal-Mart parking lots, or Al Quada's buying up UPS uniforms to deliver bombs to us.

    My right-wing co-workers are still terrified of getting attacked by Al Quada... and we're in a small town in Mississippi.  It's not a freakin' target.  "Terrorists bomb Piddleshit, MS!" is not going to be a headline-grabber.  But, logic doesn't figure into it, because conservatives have been trained to resist logic, anyway... it gets in the way of their "stories."

    They're afraid of everything.  One co-worker is always on terrorist-alert for anybody with melanin and a funny name.  A "foreign guy" is living in a trailer a few down from hers.  One day he got a satellite dish, and she fuh-reeked and wondered if she should call homeland security because she didn't know what he was doing with it.  I asked what she did with hers.  Turns out she watches The Hallmark Channel and Animal Planet.  I told her that's probably what the guy down the road's using his for, too... except probably not Hallmark, because he'd probably get his intelligence insulted.  (That little jab I snuck in zoomed over her head, but it did calm her down a bit).

    Anyway, people don't act the way they do unless they're terrified to the core.  And outlets like FOX News know that about their audience, and use fear to herd them wherever they want them to go.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 07:29:13 AM PDT

    •  That would be an interesting thing to study. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Front Toward Enemy

      Begin an account on a website with an active political discussion forum. Include an innocent-looking email address and post as an Undecided. Simply tally the emails received of a political nature, and evaluate if there's an even spread, or a definite imbalance.

      Also correlate for old stories brushed off and presented as new ones (Snopes should help there), and average the number of statements disprovable in a random sample of them.

      The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

      by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 08:16:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another aspect (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Front Toward Enemy

      My right-wing co-workers are still terrified of getting attacked by Al Quada... and we're in a small town in Mississippi.  It's not a freakin' target.  "Terrorists bomb Piddleshit, MS!" is not going to be a headline-grabber.  But, logic doesn't figure into it, because conservatives have been trained to resist logic, anyway... it gets in the way of their "stories."

      There's a definite component of narcissism there: their ideology makes them feel more important than they really are. It's similar to what you see in mass-conspiracy theorists: they claim to be among the very few people who haven't been bought off. Or the homophobe who believes, contrary to all evidence, that most gay men find him irresistibly attractive.

      The schools will probably teach kindergartners to play nice with everyone. — Will Phillips, on how marriage equality would affect education

      by ebohlman on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 12:14:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  exactly, nailed it! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ebohlman

        Yep, it's a total narcissim thing.  They think they're the center of the universe, so surely the terrorists would be after them.  They always think they're going to be the target of any violent criminal type out there.

        And as for the homophobes thinking every gay person wants them, I've run into quite a few of those, and it's always funny to watch their reaction when you tell them "A gay guy probably wouldn't find you attractive, anyway."  It strangely seems to upset them, and they start going "Why not?" :)

        "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

        by Front Toward Enemy on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 01:05:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dunning-Kruger Effect, of sorts? (0+ / 0-)

          but instead of overestimating their lack of singing skills on American Idol, they overestimate their value as a strategic target.

          So when places like Kentucky received millions in HomeSec funding, it made me wonder what was so incredible about Kentucky that Wahhabists would travel through all the other states to attack there. Does al Qaeda HAVE a corn field fatwa?

          The nation can be made to produce a far higher standard of living for the masses of the people if only government is intelligent and energetic... (FDR, '37)

          by ShawnGBR on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 09:16:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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