“It’s not that conservative people are more fearful, it’s that fearful people are more conservative”
And that pretty well sums it up. This comes from a study co-authored by Brown University political scientist Rose McDermott.
Here are some more links.
Fearful people are more likely to have conservative attitudes toward “out-groups.” And this conservative/paranoid attitude gets played to the max with today’s hot button issues — immigration, the war on women, hostility toward minorities, champing at the bit to invade other (i.e. inferior) countries, etc.
The study is titled: “Fear as a Disposition and an Emotional State: A Genetic and Environmental Approach to Out-Group Political Preferences.” Rose McDermott says:
“It’s not that conservative people are more fearful, it’s that fearful people are more conservative. People who are scared of novelty, uncertainty, people they don’t know, and things they don’t understand, are more supportive of policies that provide them with a sense of surety and security.”
A security blanket in other words. There there now, just curl up in your little blanket and don’t worry be happy. Jesus hates everybody who’s different from you, and America is Number One.
This won’t be easy, but we should probably have more empathy for fearful politicians and their paranoid constituents. Rose McDermott says:
“We can roll our eyes and get really frustrated at Congress for being paralyzed, but we’re applying a rational perspective to it because we’re detached. But we have to recognize that a lot of what’s driving the paralysis and disagreement has to do with emotional factors that are not necessarily amenable to or easily shifted by rational arguments.”
Rational arguments??? It’s so much easier to just keep pushing the Fear button.