Studies in Liberal Nuance

Have you read about the university study that purports to show psychological links among Ronald Reagan, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Rush Limbaugh and other “political conservatives”? There’s so much here, where should I begin?

The study was conducted by four American university researchers, and its findings were reported in an article in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin, titled, “Political Conservatism as Motivated by Social Cognition.” The enlightened professors concluded that certain psychological motivations characterize conservatives, including “fear and aggression, dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity; uncertainty avoidance; need for cognitive closure; and terror management.” “From our perspective,” wrote the professors in a press release, “these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination.”

Liberals have often hinted there was something deeply wrong with conservatives, but now they have “academic” support for their position. Conservatism is symptomatic of deep-rooted negative psychological character traits.

Most amazing is the professors’ manifest ignorance of political theory, upon which they base their conclusions. To suggest that Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were political conservatives is pathetic. Since the Sixties, liberals have been getting away with calling conservatives “nazis” and “fascists,” but Nazism and Fascism are, in essence, socialistic systems. Such systems are the logical conclusion of big-government liberalism, not free market conservatism.

And don’t talk to me about conservatives being proponents of a police state, either. There is nothing inconsistent between conservatives’ advocacy of law enforcement and their championship of individual liberties.

Like most good liberals, these professors believe that the thought processes of conservatives are less nuanced and more black and white. One of them, Jack Glaser of UC Berkeley, said, “(Conservatives) are more comfortable seeing and stating things in black and white in ways that would make liberals squirm ????? The latest debate about the possibility that the Bush administration ignored intelligence information that discounted reports of Iraq buying nuclear material from Africa may be linked to the conservative intolerance for ambiguity and need for closure.”

Surely the professor can do better than that. This example tends to demonstrate the liberals’ lack of nuance more than the conservatives’, as do many other examples I’ll give you. Can’t these paragons of complexity understand that Bush’s words were at most ill advised based on disputed, not phony intelligence? Don’t they understand that a lie involves the intent to deceive, not just arguably erroneous information? Further, can’t they grasp that this was not even one of the major reasons we used to attack Iraq?

Let me give you a few other examples of the liberals’ seeming inability to make intellectual distinctions. They seem too narrow-minded to understand that:

  • perjury, obstruction of justice and contempt of court are different from merely “lying about sex;”
  • likening Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh to Hitler is the grossest form of hate speech they otherwise pretend to decry;
  • the desire to reverse liberal judicial activism is not conservative judicial activism;
  • one can favor action against Iraq without being a “neo-conservative;”
  • opposition to affirmative action is born of egalitarianism not racism;
  • advocacy of government-forced wealth redistribution is not synonymous with compassion, and opposition to it is not incompatible with compassion;
  • their championship of tolerance as the highest virtue is inconsistent with their intolerance toward conservatives, particularly Christian conservatives;
  • opposition to federal control over education is neither anti-children or education, but precisely the opposite;
  • the tax code can affect economic behavior such that marginal tax rate cuts do not result in dollar-for-dollar losses in revenue;
  • the terrorist threat of suitcase nuclear bombs does not obviate strategic missile defense (SDI). We continue to face multiple threats;
  • developing SDI is not an offensive gesture, but defensive, and should not be deceptively dubbed “Star Wars”;
  • America can attack Iraq without attacking all other despotic regimes in the world and not be guilty of inconsistency in its approach to foreign policy;
  • school choice will liberate and uplift minorities;
  • irresponsible gun control measures will cost, not save lives;
  • Promoting “separation of church and state” often stifles rather than promotes religious freedom;
  • this bogus study by biased liberal professors so close-minded and arrogant that they don’t even realize their findings were predetermined by their ideological prejudices speaks loudly to their tunnel vision simplicity.
  • Were it not for the destructive influence of their jaundiced ideas we should feel nothing but sympathy for these misguided professors. But they and their ilk are helping to poison the minds of America’s next generations of leaders. Or is that too simplistic for us to understand?