Saturday, 15 February 2014

Off their rockers?

A couple of posts on the Psychology Today website resonated with the observations of the political right that I and many others have been making  for some time, primarily in jest or hyperbole and occasionally in earnest.

Often when progressive or liberally minded people respond with "that's insane" or the GOP or Tories are "crazy", "lunatics" or whatever other allusions to compromised mental health, it may be spoken colloquially in jest, or even as ad hominem, which is the usual inference the right wing usually take from such comments and by extension often taken as evidence of hate directed towards them.

However, sometimes it is simply an astute observation of attitudes, counter factual policies and opinions, variance of counter-factual statements from observation, or counter productive actions.

It appears that these observations, now have some confirmation from a meta-analysis, of studies that point to a cluster of psychological quirks which appear to have  significant association with conservative political opinion. In descending order of significance:
  • Death anxiety
  • system instability
  • dogmatism/intolerance of ambiguity
  • closed-mindedness
  • low tolerance of uncertainty
  • high needs for order, structure, and closure
  • low integrative complexity
  • fear of threat and loss
  • and low self-esteem
Some conservative reaction is likely to be along the lines of "Oh, that psychology thing is all politically driven by liberals", perhaps quite a paranoid response to an apolitical process, but already not uncommon, as similar claims have been made in regard to homosexuality being declassified as a mental illness in the DSM IV. Not to mention conspiracy theories concerning the scientific establishment and climate change and evolution.

There is a fair amount of anacdotal evidence supporting it idea too, recently a pro-gun lobby rep in colorado said it was a good thing James Homes had a 100 round barrel, that jammed after 76 rounds, because who know what amount of damage he could have done, with 6 or 7 - 15 round clips.  Clearly the statement was not well well thought out, because each clip is an opportunity to tackle him while he reloads, and maybe then he would not have shot 70 people.

Corporate execs that want low taxes and low wages, or cake and eating it too. Either they can pay a living wage and benefit from increased consumer demand, or pay starvation wages, then they must pay higher taxes so the government so the can pay the execs under paid staff enough to scrape by on.

Then there is the lunacies of climate denial, racism(or race realists as they like to call themselves), homophobia - which is most strongly promoted by gay/gender variant people in denial and self loathing. Yes that means you Ted Haggard(up to 2006), Bryan Fischer, Marcus Bachman.

So now my New Zealand readers will now understand the Conservative of New Zealand especially Colin Craig, and the National Party who while in government have determined the off-shore oil drilling and fracking are safe and that Roof top solar is hazardous (while no one has been hurt by solar). Actually we are in the middle of a solar energy spill today in Wellington, it is a nice sunny day.

My US readers, many now understand Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and Michelle Bachman just a little better. And if any of them are in North Carolina, know what they're up against before they can drop the portmanteau of "North Goobertania". Wish I could join you all at Moral Monday.

See Also
   Psychology Today - meta analysis
   Psychology Today - Conservatism a mental illness?(satirical)

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