Skip to comments.UC BERKELEY STUDY - What do Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan and Rush Limbaugh Have in common....
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."
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From my perspective, you need to back off the weed.
Hmmm, it seems like they have WAY TOO MUCH time in their hands.
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.
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.
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.
In other words, conservatives long for order and civilization.
Would make sense since the left works to tear down civilization and longs for anarchy.
Meta-statistical analysis? Dufi.
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.
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!
... you're next.
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.
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.
Why Stalin, of course tovarishch. Trotsky was an objectively counter-revolutionary left-deviationist.
I thought everyone knew that ;)
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.
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.
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!
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.
Just as a silliness aside, they probly all ate tomatoes, too.
Have a nice day.
So, life is sacred, even if it's a liberal.
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.
All four are male.
Now gimme your grant money, you useless twits...
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.
and yet these professors miss Goldwater's work for desegation in AZ......... sigh
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