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UC BERKELEY STUDY - What do Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan and Rush Limbaugh Have in common....
UCBerkely News ^ | 22 July 2003 | Kathleen Maclay

Posted on 07/22/2003 6:48:32 PM PDT by Fred

Researchers help define what makes a political conservative

By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations | 22 July 2003

BERKELEY – Politically conservative agendas may range from supporting the Vietnam War to upholding traditional moral and religious values to opposing welfare. But are there consistent underlying motivations?

Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:

* Fear and aggression
* Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
* Uncertainty avoidance
* Need for cognitive closure
* Terror management

"From our perspective, these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination," the researchers wrote in an article, "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition," recently published in the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin.

Assistant Professor Jack Glaser of the University of California, Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy and Visiting Professor Frank Sulloway of UC Berkeley joined lead author, Associate Professor John Jost of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, and Professor Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland at College Park, to analyze the literature on conservatism.

The psychologists sought patterns among 88 samples, involving 22,818 participants, taken from journal articles, books and conference papers. The material originating from 12 countries included speeches and interviews given by politicians, opinions and verdicts rendered by judges, as well as experimental, field and survey studies.

Ten meta-analytic calculations performed on the material - which included various types of literature and approaches from different countries and groups - yielded consistent, common threads, Glaser said.

The avoidance of uncertainty, for example, as well as the striving for certainty, are particularly tied to one key dimension of conservative thought - the resistance to change or hanging onto the status quo, they said.

The terror management feature of conservatism can be seen in post-Sept. 11 America, where many people appear to shun and even punish outsiders and those who threaten the status of cherished world views, they wrote.

Concerns with fear and threat, likewise, can be linked to a second key dimension of conservatism - an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.).

Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way.

This research marks the first synthesis of a vast amount of information about conservatism, and the result is an "elegant and unifying explanation" for political conservatism under the rubric of motivated social cognition, said Sulloway. That entails the tendency of people's attitudinal preferences on policy matters to be explained by individual needs based on personality, social interests or existential needs.

The researchers' analytical methods allowed them to determine the effects for each class of factors and revealed "more pluralistic and nuanced understanding of the source of conservatism," Sulloway said.

While most people resist change, Glaser said, liberals appear to have a higher tolerance for change than conservatives do.

As for conservatives' penchant for accepting inequality, he said, one contemporary example is liberals' general endorsement of extending rights and liberties to disadvantaged minorities such as gays and lesbians, compared to conservatives' opposing position.

The researchers said that conservative ideologies, like virtually all belief systems, develop in part because they satisfy some psychological needs, but that "does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false, irrational, or unprincipled."

They also stressed that their findings are not judgmental.

"In many cases, including mass politics, 'liberal' traits may be liabilities, and being intolerant of ambiguity, high on the need for closure, or low in cognitive complexity might be associated with such generally valued characteristics as personal commitment and unwavering loyalty," the researchers wrote.

This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes, the researchers advised.

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 or need for closure, said Glaser.

"For a variety of psychological reasons, then, right-wing populism may have more consistent appeal than left-wing populism, especially in times of potential crisis and instability," he said.

Glaser acknowledged that the team's exclusive assessment of the psychological motivations of political conservatism might be viewed as a partisan exercise. However, he said, there is a host of information available about conservatism, but not about liberalism.

The researchers conceded cases of left-wing ideologues, such as Stalin, Khrushchev or Castro, who, once in power, steadfastly resisted change, allegedly in the name of egalitarianism.

Yet, they noted that some of these figures might be considered politically conservative in the context of the systems that they defended. The researchers noted that Stalin, for example, was concerned about defending and preserving the existing Soviet system.

Although they concluded that conservatives are less "integratively complex" than others are, Glaser said, "it doesn't mean that they're simple-minded."

Conservatives don't feel the need to jump through complex, intellectual hoops in order to understand or justify some of their positions, he said. "They are more comfortable seeing and stating things in black and white in ways that would make liberals squirm," Glaser said.

He pointed as an example to a 2001 trip to Italy, where President George W. Bush was asked to explain himself. The Republican president told assembled world leaders, "I know what I believe and I believe what I believe is right." And in 2002, Bush told a British reporter, "Look, my job isn't to nuance."


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Announcements; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
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Be sure to email your comments on this so called study to:

Comments? E-mail newscenter@pa.urel.berkeley.edu

1 posted on 07/22/2003 6:48:33 PM PDT by Fred
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To: Fred
This reads like a C-minus Freshman paper. Please, somebody tell me this wasn't actually written by professors.
2 posted on 07/22/2003 6:53:38 PM PDT by Ramius
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To: Fred
From our perspective...

From my perspective, you need to back off the weed.

3 posted on 07/22/2003 6:54:05 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: Drango
The major problem with this is that Hitler and Mussolini were leftists, not conservatives. They were (dare I say it?) SOCIALISTS!!!!
4 posted on 07/22/2003 6:57:16 PM PDT by Hootowl
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To: Ramius
Would you expect any more from Bezerkly professors?
5 posted on 07/22/2003 7:00:03 PM PDT by ItisaReligionofPeace ((the original))
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To: Fred
President Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh did not and do not preach 'a return to an idealized past'. Rather they talk of a real, historical past that they and many others have lived through.
6 posted on 07/22/2003 7:00:18 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Fred
So, they're trying to make conservatism look like a mental disorder???

Hmmm, it seems like they have WAY TOO MUCH time in their hands.

7 posted on 07/22/2003 7:01:08 PM PDT by El Conservador ("No blood for oil!"... Then don't drive, you moron!!!)
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To: Fred
While most people resist change, Glaser said, liberals appear to have a higher tolerance for change than conservative do.


Hey LIebrals..when UN trucks pull up to your doorsteps and ask you to get aboard the transports for a ride to your new homes in the concentration camps, just accept it OK? Remeber.. It's just change.

What bullpucky!

To even mention Stalin in the same sentence as Reagan is enough reason in my book to revoke any monies be allocated to support any of these buttheads studies of anything, much less conservatism.

This is just another piece of evidence of how low our institutions have sunk.

8 posted on 07/22/2003 7:03:24 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...&&&&&&&&&... SuPPort FRee Republic)
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To: Fred
Psycho babble. But fun to read. Some useful pointers.
9 posted on 07/22/2003 7:03:58 PM PDT by GranpaVet
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To: Fred
What a bunch of BS.
10 posted on 07/22/2003 7:04:47 PM PDT by RightWinger
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To: Ramius
Hmmmm? LIBERAL professors!
11 posted on 07/22/2003 7:05:35 PM PDT by CyberAnt ( America - You Are The Greatest!!)
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To: Fred
.... a second key dimension of conservatism - an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.).

Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way.,

What a load of ..... sophistry. How does endorsement and acceptance of inequality get to be equivalent.

12 posted on 07/22/2003 7:05:49 PM PDT by Fzob (Why does this tag line keep showing up?)
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To: Fred
* Fear and aggression
* Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
* Uncertainty avoidance
* Need for cognitive closure
* Terror management

In other words, conservatives long for order and civilization.

Would make sense since the left works to tear down civilization and longs for anarchy.

13 posted on 07/22/2003 7:05:55 PM PDT by Im Your Huckleberry
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To: Fred
Bill Clinton's party is trying to analyze Conservatives?
It's like the patients trying to run the asylum.
14 posted on 07/22/2003 7:06:40 PM PDT by LibertyAndJusticeForAll
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To: Ramius
The Bullfighter Analysis says the following about this article, "Diagnosis: You like to hear yourself write. Despairing of the thought of bringing a sentence to a close with something as demeaningly ordinary as a simple period, you shower readers with gratuitous, interminable and often weighty if not impossibly labyrinthine prose. Meaning lingers, albeit awash in a thick tide of metaphor and exposition that threatens to drown the writer's message. Seek help."
15 posted on 07/22/2003 7:14:57 PM PDT by Keith in Iowa (Tag line produced using 100% post-consumer recycled ethernet packets,)
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To: Fred
"Conservatives don't feel the need to jump through complex, intellectual hoops in order to understand or justify some of their positions..."

No, conservatives go through complex intellectual machinations and ultimately arrive well-reasoned conclusions. These are borne out of a knowledge of the facts and allow for effective decision making.
Liberals "jump through hoops" over the parts that confuse them and substitute decision making with feckless rumination.
16 posted on 07/22/2003 7:17:05 PM PDT by glaux
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To: Keith in Iowa
Perfect.
17 posted on 07/22/2003 7:22:16 PM PDT by Ramius
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To: Fred
Had to do an Onion check.

Meta-statistical analysis? Dufi.

18 posted on 07/22/2003 7:25:43 PM PDT by dasboot (Celebrate UNITY!)
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To: Fred
What do amoeba and Berkely professors have in common - equivalent brains.

>> "segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.)"

He was a democrat when he held segregationist views.

If they can't even get the little stuff right ....
19 posted on 07/22/2003 7:26:55 PM PDT by sd-joe
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To: glaux
The liberal jerks still have no clue what it means to be conservative. Hitler was a national Socialist. that puts him right up against the Communists. FDR also sounds like one of those people who once gained power and refused to quit. If he hadn't died, he would still be running.

It was the Democrats, not the republicans who supported Jim Crow. It is the liberal wing of the court that supported continued racism in michigan college admissions.

I am also amused at how they say that conservatives feel the need to use their brains. What does that say about liberals, the party of the frontal lobotomy.



20 posted on 07/22/2003 7:27:05 PM PDT by donmeaker (I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.)
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To: Fred
* Fear and aggression
* Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
* Uncertainty avoidance
* Need for cognitive closure
* Terror management


To me, this sounds more like the talking points for the DNC:

* Fear and aggression - Scare the voters, and shout down opposing viewpoints

* Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity - Which party is it that won't allow speakers on the other side on controversial issues at their convention (i.e. abortion)

* Uncertainty avoidance - Like, let's not privatize social security, because who know what could happen

* Need for cognitive closure - Like "Where is Saddam?" "Where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction"

* Terror management - Which party is it that believes terror can be "managed"? Be nice to them and maybe they'll be nice to us, so hold summits and kiss their wives on the cheek. Maybe this time they'll keep their word, so let's try another deal with North Korea, shall we? It's the Dems who seek terror management, but the conservatives who know that terror cannot be managed, but must be vigorously opposed
21 posted on 07/22/2003 7:27:26 PM PDT by zencycler
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To: Keith in Iowa
That's pretty cool. It's also right on the money.
22 posted on 07/22/2003 7:28:32 PM PDT by listenhillary (End FR fundraisers - become a monthy contributor -$100 year = $8.33 a month)
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To: glaux
No, conservatives go through complex intellectual machinations and ultimately arrive well-reasoned conclusions. These are borne out of a knowledge of the facts and allow for effective decision making.

Or, said in an another way: Conservatives have principles. The concept of "principles" completely confounds liberals. They have no way of dealing with the concept.

Principles are somewhat akin to pre-indexing a database for a query. Response to the query for a pre-indexed item can be near instantaneous. Why? Because we knew what we wanted in the first place. Makes deciding on the destination that much easier. Liberals are completely unable to grasp this.

23 posted on 07/22/2003 7:28:46 PM PDT by Ramius
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To: Ramius
This reads like a C-minus Freshman paper. Please, somebody tell me this wasn't actually written by professors.

Yes, my FRiend, it was! It's standard practice to have your undergrads and grad candidates do the research for your academic treatices.

My response would be: Analyze THIS!

24 posted on 07/22/2003 7:29:35 PM PDT by Old Sarge (Serving You - on Operation Noble Eagle!)
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To: Fred
Hey, Berkeley, you know that little recall thing that is going on in your state?

... you're next.

25 posted on 07/22/2003 7:29:46 PM PDT by Let's Roll (And those that cried Appease! Appease! are hanged by those they tried to please!")
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To: Fred
Hitler was a right-wing conservative? Barf. That is like asking which was the conservative communist, Stalin or Trotsky? One of them was bound to be more conservative than the other, so now we can call that one a conservative, right? What logic.

Hitler was a statist, someone who favored the rights of the collective or state over the individual. That is pretty far away from someone on the American right who might favor limited government (or at least a government under rational control) and the bill of rights as protection against the powers of a central government.

Hitler helped write the 25 points of the Nazi Party in 1920. These points included:

Nationalization of corporations,
Expropriation of land without compensation,
Communalization of big department stores
Elimination of interest income
The state must reconstruct education system
A strong central authority.

There was a reason for the "Socialist" in the National Socialist (Nazi) party name. They were left-wing racist nationalists, though the left doesn't want to admit it. Perhaps the only thing the Nazis were to the right of was the Communist Party.

26 posted on 07/22/2003 7:31:09 PM PDT by rustbucket
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To: Im Your Huckleberry

27 posted on 07/22/2003 7:32:02 PM PDT by Salman
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To: Ramius
This reads like a C-minus Freshman paper. Please, somebody tell me this wasn't actually written by professors.

Probably a graduate student. Consider this for a Berkeley graduate final exam question:

You find that after years of the finest education money can buy, all financed by taxpayer money, government grants, and student loans you have no intention of paying back, that you cannot find a career position commensurate with the extermely high standards of personal, intellectual and financial excellence you require. Who is to blame?

A. Evil white heterosexual males.
B. The mean-spirited Republican Congress.
C. Greedy corporate executives.
D. Rush Limbaugh.

Cross reference all answers and show how all possible answers point directly or indirectly to the vast right-wing conspiracy controlled by George W. Bush.

I'm sure the Berkeleyites could write a dissertation on it.

28 posted on 07/22/2003 7:32:20 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (Conservative babes with guns are so hot!)
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To: Ramius
Well reasoned ponts...and without hint of anger or fear!
29 posted on 07/22/2003 7:34:32 PM PDT by glaux
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To: rustbucket
That is like asking which was the conservative communist, Stalin or Trotsky?

Why Stalin, of course tovarishch. Trotsky was an objectively counter-revolutionary left-deviationist.

I thought everyone knew that ;)

30 posted on 07/22/2003 7:36:30 PM PDT by Salman
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To: Fred
hmmmmm, let me think here

Fear and Agression-I can see something here, just not what they see. We send our troops across the globe to quell the fears of the downtrodden and end the agression of others against them.

Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity-sure I can see it, we're rather dogmatic about what's right and what's wrong and damn intolerant of those that seem to want to live in a world of gray shadings to excuse their behavior or stupid choices

Uncertainty avoidance-yup, nailed us again. We're pretty certain about what we believe and avoid the traps they fall into making excuses for themselves.

Need for cognative closure-yeah, once in a while we hope you libs would actually get it so we could move on to solving the next problem.

Terror Management-see Afghanistan and Iraq. Not quite what they're thinking I suppose.

I'm guilty as charged I guess.

31 posted on 07/22/2003 7:36:44 PM PDT by SCHROLL
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To: Hootowl
The major problem with this is that Hitler and Mussolini were leftists, not conservatives. They were (dare I say it?) SOCIALISTS!!!!

Absolutely. Hitler was to the Left of Roosevelt, but so similar to Roosevelt in his approach, that German counter-intelligence, at the start of the War thought that the only reason that Roosevelt was pro-British rather than pro-Nazi, was because he was jealous of Hitler's greater success in installing a similar system.

To understand just how far Left Hitler was, and how the Left has used the Big Lie that he was on the Right, see The Lies Of Socialism.

William Flax

32 posted on 07/22/2003 7:36:49 PM PDT by Ohioan
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To: donmeaker
"frontal lobotomy..."

Perhaps this is what they mean when they are always 'seeing the gray areas.'
33 posted on 07/22/2003 7:36:54 PM PDT by glaux
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To: ValenB4; Sparta
Look at this, guys.
34 posted on 07/22/2003 7:37:15 PM PDT by Cathryn Crawford (Why don't you think I'm a neocon?)
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To: Fred
Studies show that liberalism is linked to brain disorders.
35 posted on 07/22/2003 7:38:23 PM PDT by RepPhil
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To: Fred
"While most people resist change, Glaser said, liberals appear to have a higher tolerance for change than conservatives do."

That depends totally on just what the change is. Try to change the Roe v. Wade decision and listen to the "liberals who tolerate change" whine and yelp!

36 posted on 07/22/2003 7:38:43 PM PDT by nightdriver
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To: Fred
This is the same crapola that every 19-year-old newbie posts at DU at one time or another, thinking that they've thought up a devastating new critique of conservatism. It's like a mile marker in their developement. At age four, a child will draw the human form with arms and legs attached directly to the head. At age 19, a budding leftist will decide that conservatives are the way they are because they "fear change". Then they'll post their revelation on DU or IndyMedia. Spend any time at one of these sites and you're sure to witness one of these 19-year-old-leftist-coming-of-age posts.

This "conservatives fear change while liberals thrive on it" stuff is just so silly. Liberals embrace the dynamism and innovation that naturally come with having the state running or regulating everything < sarc >. Why don't they see that one of the essences of their ideology is the trading of opportunity for security? I guess they like to imagine themselves as pioneers and risk-takers as they snuggle up under their favorite blanket.

37 posted on 07/22/2003 7:39:53 PM PDT by Yardstick
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To: Fred
They all loathed perverts and deviants?

Just as a silliness aside, they probly all ate tomatoes, too.

Have a nice day.

38 posted on 07/22/2003 7:47:00 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Californians are as dumm as a sack of rocks)
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To: El Conservador
Conservatism a mental disorder? Where's my SSI(stupid)check?I'm a victim give me my money(sarcasm).
39 posted on 07/22/2003 7:50:36 PM PDT by dancusa
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To: Fred
It's fun watching the libs go off the deep end. If they couldn't write and "publish" this stuff, they'd be jumping off the bay bridge.

So, life is sacred, even if it's a liberal.

40 posted on 07/22/2003 7:53:41 PM PDT by b4its2late (I am a partisan. Part right and the other part right.)
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To: Ramius
From my perspective, the psychologists in question are idiots when it comes to history.

According to their criteria, the ideal leader would be Neville Chamberlin.

I wouldn't be surprised if these people are still smarting from Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech twenty years ago. They should talk to some of the former dissents in the former Soviet gulags, who were thrilled to hear the first Amercian president who WASN'T ambigious about what Marxism was.

Inequality is in the eye of the beholder. It's true many conservatives don't believe gays should have equal rights when it comes to marriage. But most liberals don't believe unborn children should have equal rights when it comes to life.

Ecomomic equality is a trait that Hilter and Lenin wholeheartedly endorsed. It was a major platform promise that helped sweep them into power. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were socialist regimes gone haywire. The most stable, peaceful nations on earth are capitalist ones -because they have the most to lose.

The good news is that along with Reagan, Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln would fit into the profile as well. That's not shoddy company.
41 posted on 07/22/2003 7:56:17 PM PDT by mwfsu84
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To: Ohioan
Thanks, for the link. Freerepublic is such a resource. It would nice if our point of view was taught in the public schools.
42 posted on 07/22/2003 8:04:39 PM PDT by dix
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To: Fred
What do Stalin, Pol Pot, and Berzerkly psy-quacks have in common?

Tendency to speak in authoritarian pronouncements.

Impulse to control through the invocation of personal authority.

Characterization of opposing viewpoints as insane or criminal

Low regard for logic and critical thought.

Constant transition from moral rigidity to moral ambiguity as the defense of their position requires.

43 posted on 07/22/2003 8:05:59 PM PDT by atomic conspiracy ( Anti-war movement: road-kill on the highway to freedom.)
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To: mwfsu84
Well, you know what they say:

One man's gulag is another man's... hmm... dang... it's still a gulag. :-)
44 posted on 07/22/2003 8:06:55 PM PDT by Ramius
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To: Fred
What do Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan and Rush Limbaugh Have in common....

All four are male.

Now gimme your grant money, you useless twits...

45 posted on 07/22/2003 8:10:36 PM PDT by hellinahandcart
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To: Fred
Reagan and Limbaugh are like Hitler and Mussolini.

This is pure crap.

Fascism is a political philosophy that "that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

Nazism is "the body of political and economic doctrines held and put into effect by the National Socialist German Workers' party in the Third German Reich including the totalitarian principle of government, state control of all industry, predominance of groups assumed to be racially superior, and supremacy of the führer".

Talk about convoluted reasoning. Hitler and Mussolini were leftwingers, not rightwingers. And both Reagan and Limbaugh are individuals who believe in the future of America.

46 posted on 07/22/2003 8:19:50 PM PDT by Reagan Man
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To: Fred
Concerns with fear and threat, likewise, can be linked to a second key dimension of conservatism - an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.).

and yet these professors miss Goldwater's work for desegation in AZ......... sigh

47 posted on 07/22/2003 8:46:13 PM PDT by Sci Fi Guy
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To: Fred
Glaser acknowledged that the team's exclusive assessment of the psychological motivations of political conservatism might be viewed as a partisan exercise. However, he said, there is a host of information available about conservatism, but not about liberalism...this "study" doesn't pass even the first test of a valid scientific effort, and doesn't even try - by making broad assertions that conservatives are "more" or "less" of this or that without having an adequate and representative comparison group to make their evaluations against - and then trying to justify this deficiency by claiming there isn't adequate information available on liberal views (ever hear of the major networks, profs?) - they in fact manage to prove only one thing - that their efforts are indeed no more than a "partisan exercise".....
48 posted on 07/22/2003 9:11:10 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: Sci Fi Guy
They also ignored that Woodrow Wilson was known as a liberal and one of the most racist presidents in our history while Calvin Coolidige was known as a conservative and spoke up for black rights in the Republican tradition of his day.

Segergation was a populist creation, it was used by rabble rousing lower class white politicians such as Huey Long in their battle with the more conservative upper class Planters and land owning elite of the South. Most of the big name Segergationists in the South in the period from the 1890's to the 1950's was near socialists when it came to business and expanding government power.
49 posted on 07/22/2003 9:29:58 PM PDT by Swiss
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To: nutmeg
bump to read later
50 posted on 07/22/2003 9:37:19 PM PDT by nutmeg
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