Monday, March 20, 2006

Science Says Cons are Whiny Ass Titty Babies

Hey, it's science, ("whiny ass titty baby" from Atrios).
In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids' personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months.

...

A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking again at personality, and this time at politics, too. The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.

The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests.

...

Block admits in his paper that liberal Berkeley is not representative of the whole country. But within his sample, he says, the results hold. He reasons that insecure kids look for the reassurance provided by tradition and authority, and find it in conservative politics. The more confident kids are eager to explore alternatives to the way things are, and find liberal politics more congenial.

When faced with science they don't like, the whiny ass titty babies react predictably -- like whiny ass titty babies.
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.

But to be fair, unlike certain cons about the happiness poll, this is open to interpretation and isn't absolute:
...personality is not the only factor that determines political leanings. For instance, there was a .27 correlation between being self-reliant in nursery school and being a liberal as an adult. ... Seven per cent is fairly strong for social science, but it still leaves an awful lot of room for other influences, such as friends, family, education, personal experience and plain old intellect.

And finally, because I am so very fair, resilient, and confident, a bleeding heart liberal who cares about the feelings of others,
For conservatives whose feelings are still hurt, there is a more flattering way for them to look at the results. Even if they really did tend to be insecure complainers as kids, they might simply have recognized that the world is a scary, unfair place.

Their grown-up conclusion that the safest thing is to stick to tradition could well be the right one. As for their "rigidity," maybe that's just moral certainty.

The grown-up liberal men, on the other hand, with their introspection and recognition of complexity in the world, could be seen as self-indulgent and ineffectual.

I'm sure both sides are right to an extent. A critic, for instance, makes the point that left-wingers can be whiny and insecure, too, as I'm sure we've all seen. In China, the defensive, rigid people are probably the ones who gravitate toward the left-wing ideology and cling to the security of the party. But we're not in China, so I don't know that his point is particularly relevant to a wider discussion of American politics. It's still the same -- rigid, whiny, insecure people tend toward totalitarianism because it makes them feel safer.

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