Cinnamon Stillwell and the liberal hawks (see sidebar) have been discussing an article in Psychology Today titled The Ideological Animal. According to the article,
Liberals are messier than conservatives, their rooms have more clutter and more color, and they tend to have more travel documents, maps of other countries, and flags from around the world. Conservatives are neater, and their rooms are cleaner, better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional. Liberals have more books, and their books cover a greater variety of topics. And that’s just a start. Multiple studies find that liberals are more optimistic. Conservatives are more likely to be religious. Liberals are more likely to like classical music and jazz, conservatives, country music. Liberals are more likely to enjoy abstract art. Conservative men are more likely than liberal men to prefer conventional forms of entertainment like TV and talk radio. Liberal men like romantic comedies more than conservative men. Liberal women are more likely than conservative women to enjoy books, poetry, writing in a diary, acting, and playing musical instruments.
While my house is well-lit, and I keep a clean and mostly uncluttered house, I fit their notion of a liberal because I
- own a couple of hundred books in a wide range of topics (after I got rid of three large bookshelves’ worth)
- am an optimist
- am not particularly religious
- enjoy abstract art and am a member of the MoMA
- like good poetry
- play the piano (badly, but I play it)
The same thing applies to their notions of what liberal children were like
As kids, liberals had developed close relationships with peers and were rated by their teachers as self-reliant, energetic, impulsive, and resilient.
(Michelle Malkin shredded that early childhood study to bits last year.)
Indeed, I was a liberal once. So the article was a little correct. Where the article errs is in assuming that all people who left modern Liberalism did it only out of fear, and that “thinking rationally” would prevent political shifting. In my case, as it was with Cinnamon and with Neo-Neocon (who was interviewed for the article but the interview was never used), it was a long process that led to changing my political stance. The war on Islamofascism is only part of that picture.
I didn’t get up one morning and went “Bam! I’m not a liberal!” as if I were throwing away a pair of old sneakers or changing my lipstick color. My change started during the Clinton administration, watching how Yasser Arafat was the Clinton’s preferred guest. It was a process that took years. Someday I’ll post about that.
Cinnamon finds that
Finally, the article’s closing paragraph indicating that if one is simply encouraged to “think rationally” none of this political shifting (presumably to the right) would be required, is not only silly, but insulting. It was just such rational thinking that led me to reject the left and embrace those (most of whom, it turned out, were on the right) that fully understood the dangers of Islamic fascism. If it’s irrational to want to fight against the great totalitarian threat of our day, then count me in.
Another issue that came up is the question of evil: in the liberal hawks discussion Pamela pointed out that the Left hates to think of evil. I am not a psychiatrist and certainly have no intention of becoming one, but I know for sure that not being able to discern between good and evil is the mark of a deranged mind.
ShrinkWrapped, in one of his characteristically thoughtful posts, asserts that
Those who are pathologizing Neo-cons believe that at best we are over reacting to a minor threat and at worst are creating the threat out of minimal evidence.
As ShrinkWrapped explains in the Sanity Squad podcast, if they are not addressing if there is a real threat or not, the article ends up being nonsense.
Which takes me to Dr. Sanity’s post on the crux of the issue:
Did Islamic fascists plan and execute the mass murder of 9/11 ; or, was it a conspiracy of the Bush Administration and the US government (and/or the Jews)?
Have Islamic fascists declared war on the U.S. and the West; or, are their statements–made on a daily basis– simply mere rhetoric and in reality pose little or no threat to our national security?
Are we involved in a global war against Islamic fascism that is being waged right now (in Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Indonesia, the Phillipines etc.) against the fanatic religionists of Islam ; or is this “war” a psychotic figment of neocons’ imaginations?
Are Islamic fascists (both nationed and nationless) threatening to obtain nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and do they intend to use them against their declared enemies (America, the West, and Israel) ; or, is their intent merely peaceful energy production for the betterment of their own populations?
Is violent Islamic fascism responsible for thousands of innocents murdered in depraved and cowardly acts of terror and violence all over the world; or is all this so-called “terror” simply a perfectly justified response to the aggressive and hostile policies of the U.S. and the West toward the oppressed peoples of Islam — whose only recourse is to mount suicide attacks against their oppressors?
Are these Islamic nations deliberately fostering and nurturing a malignant and violent version of Islam in order to keep their own populations under control and direct that population’s anger and rage externally toward the West and Israel; or, is this entire issue of “Islamic fascism” a clever plot concocted by oil companies, the US government, and political conservatives (i.e., neocons), to steal oil and oppress the people of Islam while advancing American imperialism and hegemony in the Middle East?
As Siggy says in the podcast, rational people made a choice.
I know I’ve made mine.
Update, Thursday January 18: Dissecting Leftism posts on the study (also at Stop the ACLU.
Round-up at Kesher Talk
IronShrink examines the study (h/t: Michelle Malkin)
A Quick “Sanity” Quiz!
Update, Sunday, 21 January Follow-up post: Neo-neocon posts about the psychology of Psychology Today
Update, Wednesday 24 January: The Left Behind Series (or, Why is the Left so Intellectually and Spiritually Behind?)