Study of Bush’s Psyche Touches a Nerve

I found it amusing đź™‚

Study of Bush’s psy­che touch­es a nerve

A study fund­ed by the US gov­ern­ment has con­clud­ed that con­ser­vatism can be explained psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly as a set of neu­roses root­ed in “fear and aggres­sion, dog­ma­tism and the intol­er­ance of ambiguity”.

As if that was not enough to get Repub­li­can blood boil­ing, the report’s four authors linked Hitler, Mus­soli­ni, Ronald Rea­gan and the rightwing talk­show host, Rush Lim­baugh, argu­ing they all suf­fered from the same affliction.

All of them “preached a return to an ide­alised past and con­doned inequality”.

Repub­li­cans are demand­ing to know why the psy­chol­o­gists behind the report, Polit­i­cal Con­ser­vatism as Moti­vat­ed Social Cog­ni­tion, received $1.2m in pub­lic funds for their research from the Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion and the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health.

The authors also peer into the psy­che of Pres­i­dent George Bush, who turns out to be a text­book case. The tell­tale signs are his pref­er­ence for moral cer­tain­ty and fre­quent­ly expressed dis­like of nuance.

“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 authors argue in the Psy­cho­log­i­cal Bulletin.

One of the psy­chol­o­gists behind the study, Jack Glaser, said the aver­sion to shades of grey and the need for “clo­sure” could explain the fact that the Bush admin­is­tra­tion ignored intel­li­gence that con­tra­dict­ed its beliefs about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

The authors, pre­sum­ably aware of the out­rage they were like­ly to trig­ger, added a dis­claimer that their study “does not mean that con­ser­vatism is patho­log­i­cal or that con­ser­v­a­tive beliefs are nec­es­sar­i­ly false”.

Anoth­er author, Arie Kruglan­s­ki, of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land, said he had received hate mail since the arti­cle was pub­lished, but he insist­ed that the study “is not crit­i­cal of con­ser­v­a­tives at all”. “The vari­ables we talk about are gen­er­al human dimen­sions,” he said. “These are the same dimen­sions that con­tribute to loy­al­ty and com­mit­ment to the group. Lib­er­als might be less intol­er­ant of ambi­gu­i­ty, but they may be less deci­sive, less com­mit­ted, less loyal.”

But what dri­ves the psy­chol­o­gists? George Will, a Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist who has long suf­fered from ingrained con­ser­vatism, not­ed, tart­ly: “The pro­fes­sors have ideas; the rest of us have ema­na­tions of our psy­cho­log­i­cal needs and neuroses.”

Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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