More Social Science

Via Susie at Sub-G, a long-term survey in Berkeley finds that whiny babies grow up conservative:

In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids’ personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months.

…A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking again at personality, and this time at politics, too. The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.

The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.

Are kids born conservative? Liberal? Maybe it works like gay does. If so I have no doubt that growing up conservative in Berkeley would scar a kid.

61 replies
  1. 1

    So what he’s saying is.

    Whiny kids turn into whiny adults.

    No big surprise there.

  2. 2
    SeesThroughIt says:

    If so I have no doubt that growing up conservative in Berkeley would prove traumatic for a kid.

    I would imagine, though I was also told when I first moved to the Bay about another social force that leads to conservatism in Berkeley: teenage rebellion. When it comes time to rebel against your parents and your parents are ex-hippies and whatnot, how do you do it? You go totally against the grain of who they are, and you become a big-time conservative.

    It makes sense as a theory, but I’m not sure how much stock I actually put in it.

  3. 3
    srv says:

    Jeez, anybody listending to “talk” radio or Faux News could tell you that. I used to try to listen to Rush in the 90’s, just another datapoint. But my god, who can listen to somebody whine about Hitlery for three hours a day?

    Obviously alot of people. Enough said.

  4. 4
    ppGaz says:

    I don’t know. “Conservatives” used to be mainly in favor of lower taxes and smaller government. Now they’ve morphed into something grotesque and un-American.

    But the idea that these new “conservatives” are whiney at heart?

    Who knew?

    That’s like discovering that dogs like red meat.

  5. 5
    Cyrus says:

    My computer is being weird – I started a new job recently, and I don’t know if the problem is how old and slow the computer is or the network or the fact that it’s a Mac or what, but this article is not the first I’ve been unable to open all the way.

    So I don’t know anything about this article besides what you and Suzy quote. It sounds interesting, in the sense of “proves us right”, but before I take it seriously I’d like to know a couple more things.

    1. How close is the correlation between childhood personality and adult political alignment? The quote says “tends to”, which leaves a lot of wiggle room. I don’t doubt at all that personality has some influence on politics, and I’m sure you could make up a lot of “just so” stories about how and why a political group has this or that popular or hated personality trait. But unless this study is showing that personality is the main predictor of politics, or even one of, say, the top three, it just doesn’t seem that interesting.

    2) Are they using “conservative”, “right-wing” and “Republican” as synonyms? I hope not. Speaking non-politically, “conservative” just means resistant to change, and depending on circumstances that can sometimes be bipartisan.

  6. 6
    Chris Johnson says:

    Oh, come on- I expect marginally more dignity than this at BalloonJuice.

    If you want those words (“check it out, republicans are whiny babies!”) on John’s blog, let him post them. Abuse of blog-sharing, dude. Get your own if you want to play Kos. This is stupid.

  7. 7
    Tim F. says:

    Cyrus,

    Here is a partial answer to your question:

    [P]ersonality is not the only factor that determines political leanings. For instance, there was a .27 correlation between being self-reliant in nursery school and being a liberal as an adult. Another way of saying it is that self-reliance predicts statistically about 7 per cent of the variance between kids who became liberal and those who became conservative. (If every self-reliant kid became a liberal and none became conservatives, it would predict 100 per cent of the variance). Seven per cent is fairly strong for social science, but it still leaves an awful lot of room for other influences, such as friends, family, education, personal experience and plain old intellect.

    Scanning the original article, the greatest predictor for liberalism in males is introspection (0.52 correlation) and “evaluating the motives of others” in women (0.39, although it leads a crowded field of 0.30 to 0.38). Conversely the greatest predictors against liberalism in both sexes is a preference for conservative values (-0.51, duh). Next in both cases is discomfort with uncertainty (-0.45 for M,-0.49 for W) followed by behaving in a sex-typed manner (-0.38 for M, -0.37 for W). These correlations are significant with a n~=100.

    That’s probably more attention than the science deserves; as a ‘hard’ scientist I regard social sciences as one step removed from palm reading. Both John and I present these things for entertainment value rather than as a basis for policy or anything like that.

  8. 8
    Al Maviva says:

    Hey, good stuff there Tim. I guess the study’s authors had to settle for characterizing conservatives as “whiny” because it’s still kind of hard to call people “c0xsickers” and then get your work signed off on as peer reviewed.

    I think I kind of preferred that Berkeley study that proved all conservatives are mentally ill. As long as you’re going to gin up politically motivated junk science, you might as well at least have the courage of your convictions, right?

  9. 9
    Pb says:

    Chris Johnson,

    If you want those words (“check it out, republicans are whiny babies!”) on John’s blog, let him post them. Abuse of blog-sharing, dude. Get your own if you want to play Kos. This is stupid.

    Why Chris, you’re sounding… whiny.

  10. 10
    Pb says:

    Al Maviva,

    How about “cork soakers”?

    As long as you’re going to gin up politically motivated junk science

    The truth hurts… :)

  11. 11
    Al Maviva says:

    Yeah Pb, I’m sure it does, just not me.

  12. 12
    Brian says:

    This goes to show that the Left, in all its incarnations (NYT, MSM, Hollywood, Berkeley, half-retarded blog writer, whatever) is a huge, self-reinforcing circle-jerk. Whatever it has to do to prop up its wasted, gutter dwelling political narrative, the Left will do it. Not only aren’t they above insulting conservatives as a group (not very “inclusive” or “tolerant” of the Left), but whole swaths of the American voting population, which has been handing the Left defeat after defeat for years now.

    Despite the reality on the ground, the Left is really, really smart, dontcha know?

  13. 13
    Tim F. says:

    Oops, I was looking at the list of adult traits. The leading nursery-school predictors of liberalism were: resourceful in initiating activities for males (0.33) and being a talkative child for females (0.40). The strongest predictors against are being visibly deviant from peers for males (-0.37; this is Berkeley) and indecisiveness for females (-0.46).

    Crying actually doesn’t appear on the list for males and bottoms out the list for females (-0.24), although the other personality traits listed will be sure to piss people off.

    Comparing my own childhood to the list it seems like I’d have an even chance of turning out liberal or conservative. Another example of how anecdote is not the singular of data.

  14. 14
    Steve says:

    While Chris may be quite whiny, I’m not sure he sounds appreciably worse than the lefties do when John Cole trolls them.

    And then there’s Brian. Always projecting. As if conservatives don’t routinely insult liberals as a group, such as in his very own post!

  15. 15
    Pb says:

    Anyhow. I, for one, am entirely unsurprised by these results. It’s no surprise that Social Dominance Orientation correlates with Right Wing Authoritarianism, and it’s pretty uncontroversial nowadays to posit that personalities–or personality disorders–are formed early on. As for political parties, those are more fluid–40 years ago, or 40 years hence, the results may very well be different. However, I doubt that the basic personalities, traits or views will change that much–it’s just human nature.

  16. 16
    srv says:

    I like it when Brian uses big words like incarnation and narrative. I honestly don’t know why he comes here when BfB, Powerline, LGF and others offer such an incredible depth of cogent and rational thinking.

  17. 17
    Cyrus says:

    That’s probably more attention than the science deserves; as a ‘hard’ scientist I regard social sciences as one step removed from palm reading. Both John and I present these things for entertainment value rather than as a basis for policy or anything like that.

    Well hey, you know that, and believe it or not I did too – I like to think that otherwise I would have been complaining about this being here instead of just asking for more information – but it seems like Al and Brian and Christ don’t. Wow. This reminds me of one of the better responses to the Muslim cartoon riots, something to the effect of “rioting and burning stuff is not a good way to protest being portrayed as violent extremists.”

    I got the impression that Brian’s post was tongue-in-cheek, though. Here’s hoping.

  18. 18
    Cyrus says:

    Er, that was, of course, a typo for “Chris”. Stupid fingers.

  19. 19

    Chris “Do you want cheese with your whine?” Johnson writes:

    Oh, come on- I expect marginally more dignity than this at BalloonJuice.

    When we’re not busy destroying the dignity of marriage, we work hard to destroy the dignity of the blogs.

    Higgins writes:

    Hey, good stuff there Tim. I guess the study’s authors had to settle for characterizing conservatives as “whiny” because it’s still kind of hard to call people “c0xsickers” and then get your work signed off on as peer reviewed.

    That’s a good point. Perhaps he should have written the report in Latin so it would have been taken more seriously.

    Brain writes:

    This goes to show that the Left, in all its incarnations (NYT, MSM, Hollywood, Berkeley, half-retarded blog writer, whatever) is a huge, self-reinforcing circle-jerk.

    Did you ever see that Seinfeld episode where they talk about all the funny things proctologists pull out of people’s asses?

  20. 20
  21. 21
    Al Maviva says:

    Cyrus, when a study finds that conservatives are identifiable from birth as assholes, I know pretty much all I need to know about it. I can go read it, and find out that not only has the reasearcher concluded that conservatives are basically unlikable, intolerable assholes, but there are 92 variables that scien-tif-ically prove it. It’s about as funny as Limbaugh’s generalizations about liberals are.

    And yeah, you’re right, posting a couple sarcastic comments… it’s real similar to rioting and murdering people. Total out-of-control overreaction there. Why, me and Brian and Chris(t)… we’re just like the Taliban…

  22. 22
    slickdpdx says:

    Color me skeptical. Whiny unpopular kids in Berkely end up part of the conservative counter-culture there. Not a big surprise. I think they might be drawing the wrong conclusion: “whiny = conservative” when the more likely hypothesis would be “whiny = rebel.” (The story grants this possibility toward the end.)

    P.S. In the description of today’s liberals would it be possible to substitute “smug” for “confident”? Many of the comments here would support that.

    P.P.S. Whether the researchers were looking at politics when evaluating the kids in nursery school doesn’t explain away possible bias in the researcher’s evaluations of the liberal adult kids as bright, confident and etc.

  23. 23
    Brian says:

    Always projecting.

    Huh?

    As for the commenter who has referred me to head over to LGF, Powerline, and BfB, I think you ought to know that I don’t read the first two (I think they’re too radical), and I don’t even know what “BfB” is. Can you inform me, since you know about it?

    If my words are too complicated for y’all, I can tone it down to something more monosyllabic that you can easily digest. The self-reinforcing nature of the Left that I mentioned in my last comment never abates. I just noticed it again in my LA Times today, where a letter to the editor proudly stated that liberals and progressives are often at odds, which is only evidence that they are thriving intellectual machines striving for truth, as compared to “dittoheads” who only follow the loudest mouth.

    Where’s John Cole? At least he has the ability to engage in honest evaluation of the political landscape, both Right and Left. The beter question from the person who asked why I come here and not to LGF, is why I come here and not Kos. I’m wondering what the difference is any more.

  24. 24
    Pb says:

    slickdpdx,

    I think they might be drawing the wrong conclusion: “whiny = conservative” when the more likely hypothesis would be “whiny = rebel.”

    Possibly, but I doubt it. Of course the solution would be to do a bigger study, and maybe one in Utah besides, or something.

    In the description of today’s liberals would it be possible to substitute “smug” for “confident”? Many of the comments here would support that.

    No, I doubt that generalization would hold either. Apart from the context of the humorous subject matter we’re currently responding to, there are other reasons for liberals to be smug at the moment. And there is no shortage of smug conservatives.

  25. 25
    Pb says:

    Brian,

    “BfB” — probably “Blogs for Bush”.

    The self-reinforcing nature of the Left that I mentioned in my last comment never abates.

    LOL. Yeah, because we agree on so much…

    The beter question from the person who asked why I come here and not to LGF, is why I come here and not Kos. I’m wondering what the difference is any more.

    Well they’re both partisan, but other than that, there are *huge* differences between the two.

    Breaking news on LGF:

    The left is frothing over a new article from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government that will no doubt be featured in every CAIR press release from now on

    Really? Never heard of it… Another lie, I’m so surprised.

    Breaking news on Daily Kos:

    Rumsfeld is not competent to lead our armed forces

    Well, I can’t argue with that…

  26. 26
    apostropher says:

    Interesting.

    That might explain their incessant whining as adults. In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The…

  27. 27
    Steve says:

    The point that the humorless minority is missing in these comments is that conservatives feel free to insult liberals as a group all day

    the Left, in all its incarnations… is a huge, self-reinforcing circle-jerk. Whatever it has to do to prop up its wasted, gutter dwelling political narrative, the Left will do it.

    but then when the rhetorical guns are turned in the other direction, whine whine whine. Oh, you liberals are so mean, poisoning the political dialogue like this, no wonder you never win elections.

    The entire phenomenon is quite funny. A tip, though: Nobody likes a sore winner!

  28. 28
    jg says:

    Well they do blame the problems of this country and their life in general on everyone else. Its always someone else who’s preventing this country from being the place it should be. Its the liberals fault, its the minorities fault, its the gov’ts fault (when its a democraat in office), it’s the media’s fault, its the aetheists fault, its hollywoods fault, tha gays, the jews, the flag burners and fornicators, it never ends.

  29. 29
    Cyrus says:

    Cyrus, when a study finds that conservatives are identifiable from birth as assholes, I know pretty much all I need to know about it. I can go read it, and find out that not only has the reasearcher concluded that conservatives are basically unlikable, intolerable assholes, but there are 92 variables that scien-tif-ically prove it. It’s about as funny as Limbaugh’s generalizations about liberals are.

    And yeah, you’re right, posting a couple sarcastic comments… it’s real similar to rioting and murdering people. Total out-of-control overreaction there. Why, me and Brian and Chris(t)… we’re just like the Taliban…

    Fine, if it makes you feel better, I’ll remove the offensive reference.

    This reminds me of one of the better responses to the [sorta-ironic-but-mostly-sad controversy of your choice], something to the effect of “[doing X] is not a good way to protest being portrayed as [the kind of person who does X].”

    I’m sorry I said that you are in any way at all like one of those miserable, filthy Islamofascists. And I recognize that humor is almost entirely subjective. However, for future reference, if you disagree with something that indirectly implies you are whiny and incapable of handling differences of opinion, calling the other guy a lying coward is not a good way to register your displeasure.

  30. 30
    Zifnab says:

    but then when the rhetorical guns are turned in the other direction, whine whine whine. Oh, you liberals are so mean, poisoning the political dialogue like this, no wonder you never win elections.

    You have to understand one major thing. Republican Talk-Jockies are always right. Thus any stab at the “liberal elite” or “gutter dwelling hippies” is perfectly excusiable since they’re just getting what they deserve. But Republicans are above reproach and therefore reproaching a Republican is sinful.

    It’s the “I’m Rubber You’re Glue” child’s mentality. There’s no real way to argue with it. Which is why these studies are a kick for liberals but inevitably only make the hard-core right more bitter and vindictive. I’m sure “shows an inability to take a joke” would be somewhere on that list if they tested for it. One of the reasons you never see any good Conservative comedians.

  31. 31
    capriccio says:

    This is priceless. The first sentence of the kids grow up to become the damndest things article is this:

    “Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints?”

    And lo and behold, here we have Brian…what?

    “Where’s John Cole? At least he has the ability to engage in honest evaluation of the political landscape, both Right and Left.”

    How about if I play substitute teacher for you, Brian? Today’s lesson is your grasp of the political landscape, as in:

    “…whole swaths of the American voting population…has been handing the Left defeat after defeat for years now.”

    Landscape’s a shifting concept, Brian. Today (this very day) the landscape looks kind of good for the Left (which is a complete misnomer, by the way…the true Left has never actually won an election and barely exists in this country, but for the sake of discussion, we’ll take what passes for it in your nightmares, namely the Democratic Party). It’s true if your landscape extends six years back, then things look really good for the Right (no misnomer here), and by God that really is somewhat of a swath you’ve got there if we don’t count Florida and don’t look too closely at Ohio. Now let’s see what happens when we stretch the landscape just a wee bit more to 1992. See, it kind of evens up. Now back to 1980, and I’m afraid that swath of yours is looking pretty awesome again. What can I do? I know. I’ll push my landscape all the way back to 1942 and now I’ve got the whole damn swath on my side.

    Your homework assignment, Brian, is to study the congressional elections of 2006 and write a report on where the swath goes next, and what it means to America if the gutter dwelling liberals win. Due second week in November.

  32. 32
    Cyrus says:

    It’s the “I’m Rubber You’re Glue” child’s mentality. There’s no real way to argue with it. Which is why these studies are a kick for liberals but inevitably only make the hard-core right more bitter and vindictive. I’m sure “shows an inability to take a joke” would be somewhere on that list if they tested for it. One of the reasons you never see any good Conservative comedians.

    Well, I don’t think that’s fair, or at least I don’t think it’s specific enough. I think P.J. O’Rourke is hilarious. I’ve read little or nothing of his in years so I suppose he might have degenerated, but I loved a couple of his books. “… You don’t see many good conservative comedians” or “you never see any good conservative comedians any more” or “you never see any good socially conservative comedians” – those, at least, I don’t have the knowledge to argue with.

  33. 33
    Al Maviva says:

    Cyrus, I’m not offended by being compared to the Taliban and radical Muslims. Truly. Getting compared to the worst enemies America has really isn’t offensive, it’s just kind of lame. But funny, because it’s really lame yet so many people laugh at it, like a Leno joke that flops badly. But come on, couldn’t we try something new? How about “hey, I hear that one of Bin Laden’s critics is calling his group the Republican Talibans, and he’s really offended by the comparisons to those brutal, oppressive bastards.” Or “Zarqawi is in trouble for complaining about Osama’s police state tactics and calling him ‘Bush Laden’.” See? That’s actually kind of original and even though it’s as lame as “the Republican Taliban” I bet it gets laughs on your side of the aisle. So please, call me a Nazi Republican. Or a Pol Pot conservative. Or a wild-eyed anarcho-syndicalist with a drinking and compulsive self-abuse problem for all I care. Whatever makes you giggle.

    One thing though. Could you please tell me where it was, that I called you a lying coward? I checked my comments above and didn’t see this. Maybe I was so busy gay bashing and turning the children of welfare mothers out on the street that it just slipped out without thinking. I couldn’t find it though. If it hasn’t happened yet but the Department of Pre-ThoughtCrime says that I’m going to say it in the future, well then, please consider it said. I wouldn’t want to fall short of your expectations of me. In fact, I’m sure I read somewhere about a study showing that conservatives are 61% more likely to gratuitously insult others than liberals, while liberals are 82% more likely to be very good people than conservatives…

  34. 34

    There was a book written a few years ago, BORN TO REBEL, which posits that birth order is the best predictor in whether one is more conservative or liberal. The youngest being most likely to be liberal, the oldest more aligned with the parents.

    Of course, what is liberal or conservative in what context is the question.

  35. 35
    BlogReeder says:

    apostropher Says: That might explain their incessant whining as adults
    No, No you don’t understand. Liberals are whiney because they didn’t get it out of their systems at a younger age.

    It’s funny, though, Liberals sound so whiney to Conservatives and Conservatives sound so whiney to Liberals. Liberals don’t “get” Conservative humor and Conservatives don’t “get” liberal humor. And each side is convinced they’re right… oops I mean correct.

  36. 36
    DougJ says:

    I don’t like this story. It’s a little too “we’re more well-adjusted than you, so na na” for me. While I think that anyone who voted for Bush in 2004 is a moron, I know plenty of conservatives who aren’t whiny and plenty of liberals who are. I don’t think that there’s really much to be gained from attacking your political opponents as congenitally whiny.

  37. 37
    Andrew says:

    I truly appreciate the irony of people whining about being called whiny.

    A successful liberal attempt at framing! Don’t think of whiny conservatives!

  38. 38
    Chris Johnson says:

    I think my junta credentials are ruined by me voting for first Nader, then Kerry. Of course, it could all be some terrifying, Rovian trick, eh?

    Doesn’t it sort of prove my point if people reflexively consider me a whiny republican to mock and point at, rather than my true identity as a whiny pinko anarchist leftie? :D

    Not good enough for BalloonJuice.

  39. 39
    Mason says:

    When did this place become a DKos diary?

  40. 40
    Tulkinghorn says:

    Personal anecdote time (not that anyone cares, but hey)

    My son is a remarkably whiny six year old. Very much so.

    What is notable is that he seems to be searching for and demanding rigid, conistent and predictable social roles for everyone around himself. He just seems to never be happy unless everyone is very predictable.

    This does not make him a proto-conservative, but perhaps he is a proto-reactionary. Reaction may be a more useful term here, because the same personality type may make the most reactionary socialists as well as conservatives.

    The adult example would be David Horowitz. Whether left or right, the guy is an asshole who never learned that there is value in people figuring things out for themselves, and that to disagree with someone is not to be their enemy.

    Maybe “asshole” is a better term than “reactionary”.

  41. 41
    Pb says:

    Chris Johnson,

    Point taken–Nader voters can be whiny too.

    P.S. Full disclosure–I would have voted for Nader in 2000, if my state would have counted votes for Nader… :)

  42. 42
    moflicky says:

    If so I have no doubt that growing up conservative in Berkeley would scar a kid.

    Really now, tell me. Who is whiny and scarred?

    Just growing up in Berkeley defines whiny and scarred.

  43. 43
    Cyrus says:

    Cyrus, I’m not offended by being compared to the Taliban and radical Muslims. Truly. Getting compared to the worst enemies America has really isn’t offensive, it’s just kind of lame. But funny, because it’s really lame yet so many people laugh at it, like a Leno joke that flops badly. But come on, couldn’t we try something new?

    Jesus, let me spell this out. I wasn’t comparing you to them, I was comparing this one specific situation involving you to this one specific situation involving them. The most recent and well-known example of that type of situation happened to involve them. If we had been having this discussion post-Hurricane Katrina, it would have been more appropriate for me to fill in the blanks with “This reminds me of one of the better responses to the Democrats accusing Bush of incompetence, something to the effect of ‘running on competence won’t hold much weight coming from people who have been losing steadily for the last six years.'” Not a perfect example because it’s not the kind of thing I, personally, would have said, and also because it’s not on exactly the same pattern. But it’s what comes to mind – suggestio

    Of the many possible ways to disagree with an accusation of being whiny and always needing to be right (“uncomfortable with ambiguity”, in other words) – ignoring it, nitpicking it (which there seems to be ample ground for here), IGNORING IT, mocking it but stopping at mockery, quoting whiny liberals, and more – whining and insulting the author is a bad way. Do you really have a problem with that statement?

    One thing though. Could you please tell me where it was, that I called you a lying coward? I checked my comments above and didn’t see this. Maybe I was so busy gay bashing and turning the children of welfare mothers out on the street that it just slipped out without thinking. I couldn’t find it though.

    I never said you called me it, Einstein, I said you called the scientists who did the study lying cowards. And I know you didn’t use those exact words; if you had, I would have used quotes. However, you said

    As long as you’re going to gin up politically motivated junk science, you might as well at least have the courage of your convictions, right?

    “Gin up politically motivated junk science” = be deliberately dishonest.
    “at least have the courage of your convictions”= implying that they don’t have courage.

    So I “compared you to… radical Muslims” because they are the most recent and high-profile example of people acting a certain way to protest accusations of acting that way. And I assumed that saying that someone, not me, was doing “politically motivated junk science” and lacked “the courage of their convictions” was tantamount to calling them a lying coward. Boo fricking hoo.

  44. 44
    moflicky says:

    There was a book written a few years ago, BORN TO REBEL, which posits that birth order is the best predictor in whether one is more conservative or liberal. The youngest being most likely to be liberal, the oldest more aligned with the parents.

    psychobabble. I’m the middle child. My older brother is an uninformed liberal drug addict, my younger sister is as near to a militia member as you can get in central Indiana.

    I, of course, being the middle kid, am well adjusted, center/right and successful.

    Except when the voices tell me to do bad things.

  45. 45
    Cyrus says:

    Of course, the first paragraph of my last comment should have ended with “suggestions, anyone?”

    All that said, yes, I do see how there could be a problem with bringing up the riots on an unrelated issue. It’s the reason that Godwin’s Law gets interpreted to mean that whoever makes the Hitler reference has lost the argument. Because Nazis are such an emotionally-charged topic and because they’re such an extreme example of things, a mention of them in an argument over, say, the estate tax would almost always be an irrelevant emotional appeal, a slippery slope argument, or a personal attack. So if someone is resorting to those tactics, they probably are the weaker arguer or just have the weaker argument.

    So if rioting Muslims are so emotionally charged that they can’t even be used as an example without derailing a discussion, then presumably they should be folded into Godwin’s Law or something.

  46. 46
    OCSteve says:

    I have to stick with that old axiom that a republican is a liberal who got mugged. Which is to say, those who accept the reality of the world, often because it has beaten them over the head, tend to drift right of center. Those who manage to maintain more of a “wishing can make it so” outlook on life tend to stay left of center.

    By “stay” I suppose I mean that is the more natural and comfortable place to be, the place most of us start out. As a child, all of our needs are met by a higher authority. That same authority micro-manages most aspects of our life.

    With absolutely no evidence I would submit that a more accurate picture would be gained by examining kids from high school through college age. I would instinctively say that those who start work at a very early age, during high school, and those who work their way through collage tend to drift right much more often and sooner than those who never work a real job until their early to mid twenties. By “work” I don’t mean 10 hours a week to buy yourself luxuries – I mean having to work as many hours a week outside of school as possible to help put food on the table. The earlier you experience the requirement of supporting yourself (and possibly a family) the more likely you will drift right. The longer you live a sheltered life, with someone else footing the bill, the longer you stay in that cozy center-left zone.

    As I said – this is offered with zero evidence beyond the anecdotal. As to the anecdotal, there is pretty much a 100% correlation with everyone I have ever known (an admittedly small sample based on the overall population).

  47. 47
    Al Maviva says:

    Okay, Cyrus, I’ll concede the point. Basically, I called the Berkeley researchers a bunch of hemp-stinking intellectually dishonest retrograde San Francisco neo-Marxists. I didn’t write that either, but as long as we’re going to creatively re-interpret what I actually wrote, I’d like to get a couple licks in too.

    So, serious question for all you liberal folk. How can you live with being so brilliant while all us conservatives are so completely dumb – except for John, who is smart when he agrees with you, but half-retarded when he doesn’t?

    I’m pretty sure that just about every single belief I hold, every last one, is wrong according to about 95% of the people who comment here. Except for the lefties posing as right wing trolls, who nicely mock my positions by going about six degrees to the right of me. I can accept that maybe I am wrong about everything. I don’t think so, but maybe it is so.

    For your part though, is it tough being demonstrably and irrefutably and absolutely right on every single issue that you take a position on, to a moral certainty? If you know you are right – and most liberals here seem pretty positive that they are not just right but absolutely, mortal lock, objectively right – then how do you put up with me and all the other conservatives, who are incontrovertibly and demonstrably wrong in every single utterance that we make? Not just a little wrong, but wrong about every single question from the day we are born and socially maladjusted, if the scientists at our top educational institutions are to be believed? From your point of view, are we conservatives not complete subhumans compared to you smart guys. Seriously – to your way of thinking, how can you co-exist with people so stupid and wrong about absolutely positively everything? How do you live with it? Is it maddening?

  48. 48
    Steve says:

    I’d say it is alternately maddening and entertaining. Your mileage may vary.

    I think it’s positively hilarious that you find the set of attributes you list to be a “liberal” characteristic, as if conservatives are paragons of self-doubt.

  49. 49
    Geri says:

    OCSteve – I’ll offer some anecdotal evidence on the other side of your argument. My step-grandfather had to quit school at 14 and go to work full-time to support his family because his father was disabled and unable to work. This would have been in the 1920s, before there was any welfare or social security. He worked hard all his life, and raised five children while barely making above poverty wages because of his lack of education. He’s a confirmed Democrat, because he believes people in that situation deserve more help than he got.

    On the other side of my family, my grandfather died of cancer at a young age, leaving my grandmother with 4 children under the age of 6. By that time, she was able to get government aid to raise them. None of them have ever been on welfare, and most are Democrats because they know what their life would have been like without the social safety net created by the Democrats.

    My generation of the family is now mostly college educated and successful. I spent my summers working full time, and took out a lot of loans to put myself through college, as did my cousins. We are also mostly Democrats, because we know that without the support our parents received growing up, the finanicial aid grants, and other governmental support mostly created by Democrats, we would not have been able to achieve the financial success we currently have.

    I saw an interesting poll in the newspaper a few years ago. I don’t remember exact details, but it was about who people credited for their success in life. Conservatives were the most likely to say that they alone were responsible for their success. I don’t believe that. Everyone who does well in life does so with support from their parents, their teachers, and their community. It also takes hard work on their own part, but if you’re in a situation like my step-grandfather was, no amount of hard work is going to get you out of it. That’s going to take some outside help.

  50. 50
    Cyrus says:

    First, what are you talking about, “creatively re-interpret”? How is what I wrote anything other than an accurate summary of what you said in that paragraph?

    Second, I don’t want to say “never”, but I don’t think I have called John stupid except for one time when he said something to the effect that we shouldn’t pin Hannity and O’Reilly’s popularity on right-wingers. For that matter, again I don’t want to say for sure, but I don’t think I’ve called anyone stupid for their beliefs, only for weak or misdirected arguments, or for ignoring basic facts I know they’ve been informed of.

    Third, I didn’t say I’m always right and all conservatives are always wrong.

    And finally, I might be more chastened by your rant about self-righteous, know-it-all liberals if you weren’t taking a universal problem and treating it like a strictly partisan thing. I mean, of course degrees of open-mindedness vary, but everyone thinks their ideological opponents are mistaken somehow or they would join them. (By the way, yes, of course I know I have been wrong before, I could be wrong about my political alignment now and I expect be wrong again. Just to get that out of the way.)

    You object to denigrating and vilifying your political opponents? Talk to Ann Coulter and the people who put her books on best-seller lists. You object to politically motivated junk science? Talk to Charles Krauthammer, the mainstream, conservative, former psychiatrist who coined the term “Bush Derangement Syndrome”. You object to being so utterly convinced of your opinion that you won’t even listen to alternate points of view? Talk to the president who… well, you get the idea. “Town meetings”, anyone?

    I don’t want to excuse any of this conduct, of course. It’s bad no matter where it’s coming from. But you’re acting like it’s only practiced by The Left (TM), when the difference in close-mindedness between left and right is only one of style, or even one in degree (and not a big difference in degree either, but that’s just my opinion).

  51. 51

    I have to stick with that old axiom that a republican is a liberal who got mugged. Which is to say, those who accept the reality of the world, often because it has beaten them over the head, tend to drift right of center. Those who manage to maintain more of a “wishing can make it so” outlook on life tend to stay left of center.

    I could see that.

    But that means Republicans are liberal. Which I guess is something I’ve been saying for quite some time.

    But when you look at Republican behavior with regards to Iraq, towards the economy, towards healthcare, towards environment. It’s all about ignoring reality, and clapping louder for the Republican ideology.

  52. 52

    Geri wrote,

    I’ll offer some anecdotal evidence on the other side of your argument. My step-grandfather had to quit school at 14 and go to work full-time to support his family because his father was disabled and unable to work. This would have been in the 1920s, before there was any welfare or social security.

    I’ll tell the story of my grandfather. In the 1930s he was farming. He went to the bank to get a small loan to buy some equipment.

    The banker who he dealt with him said… This farm you are renting it’s not a very good one.[It was down by the river, and tended to flood periodically] If I expect to get paid back, you need to be a more successful farmer. I happen to know someone who has another farm for rent, let me give you his name.

    A Republican would regard that as welfare or charity. If they were the banker, they’d expect to receive something for that advice, like a kickback or something. But this banker just realized that they had a shared interest, that if my grandfather was a better farmer, the banker would have a better customer.

  53. 53
    jack says:

    “I like it when Brian uses big words like incarnation and narrative. I honestly don’t know why he comes here when BfB, Powerline, LGF and others offer such an incredible depth of cogent and rational thinking.”

    Why does he come here? Because, before you roaches took up residence, Balloon Juice used to be a source of good, common sense commentary–not afraid to pop the inflated egos of windbags from the laft AND the right.

    Now we get masturbatory leftist pseudo-science presented for our ‘entertainment’

    Oh, and that ‘whiny’ thing isn’t even real in the damnable study, it’s just nasty window dresssing. As Tim pointed out–

    “The strongest predictors against(being liberal) are being visibly deviant from peers for males (-0.37; this is Berkeley)”

    Which means that the future ‘conservatives’ are the children who refuse to be herd animals–not the ‘whiny’ ones. Funny how tindependent thought is looked at as a detriment by the left, no?

    Ah, well, this IS Berkeley, after all

  54. 54
    jg says:

    Funny how tindependent thought is looked at as a detriment by the left, no?

    LOL. After years of Bush and his stay on message base you say liberals don’t like independant thought? Thats some funny shit dude.

  55. 55
    jack says:

    jg, are you really that thick?

    There is no unity on the right, no ‘groupthink’. Republicans screamed at Bush over Dubai, over Meirs, over the Medicare Prescription drug plan, over tariffs, over—do I have to go on?

    People on the right still come here–even though this site has been almost totally assimilated.

    The biggest sites on the right criticise Bush policy all the time.

    And the left stoops to asinine psuedo-science so they can tell themselves that they’re right, no matter what voters say. See? This study says conservatism is a brain disorder found in whiners.

    Keep talking to yourselves, keep thinking that echo is a crowd. Keep following the tail of the jackass in front of you until you walk off a cliff.

  56. 56
    Al Maviva says:

    Wow Cyrus. You seem to be taking me way too seriously. You misread me badly if you think I’m upset or taking offense to this. I’m not. I’m laughing pretty hard, actually. Your springing to the defense of the Berkeley-ite sociologist… well, it’s amusing.

    Hey, shouldn’t you also be defending the Berkeley guys I linked to who proved conservatism is a mental illness last fall, or the other study – I think at Yale – that proved conclusively that conservatives are all racists?

  57. 57
    Cyrus says:

    Wow Cyrus. You seem to be taking me way too seriously. You misread me badly if you think I’m upset or taking offense to this. I’m not. I’m laughing pretty hard, actually. Your springing to the defense of the Berkeley-ite sociologist… well, it’s amusing.

    You’re right about my overreaction at least, I have been taking this more seriously than I should. For a variety of reasons (mostly because I do it too much when I should be working, but there were others) I cut back on my blogging and reading blogs recently; it seems my blood pressure and difficulty recognizing jokes are more reasons.

    Discussion about the rest of this… well, let’s just say that neither of us should assume anything.

  58. 58
    jg says:

    There is no unity on the right, no ‘groupthink’. Republicans screamed at Bush over Dubai, over Meirs, over the Medicare Prescription drug plan, over tariffs, over—-do I have to go on?

    Did I say there was groupthink on the right? You seem very angry. Did you take that study a little too seriously? I think you long too much for the glory days of this site before anyone who hates Bush posted here. Its good to remember this as a site for dieenting conservatives and all but really what does that mean anyway? Dissenting conservatives? How for off the res did the arguments go anyway? I’ve read some real barnburners on Free Republic. Were they like those? Did anyone get so feisty they had to be called a liberal so they’d relax? I’m sure a lot of new ground was covered then.

    Again I was talking about the base, not all republicans. The crazy ones who think Bush can do no wrong, everything he does is for the good of the country, just wait you’ll see. Not the republicans who are scrambling to position themselves behind whoever the next republican leader will be. Just the base.

  59. 59
    jack says:

    jg, your comment tells anyone who voted for Bush that you have no clue what the Republican base is.

    The crazy ones who see Bush as the second coming are a minority–they’re not a base that anything could stand on.

    And that’s why I’m angry. A sane opposition, an opposition with ideas that would work–not rehashed leftobabble that will waltz us down the path to a soviet style hell–or worse, the kind of culture that has allowed Europe to lack the fortitude to fight the Caliphate that’s eating it from within–would be able to see that.

    But you can’t.

    You all keep screaming about Bush–but he’ll be gone in less than three years–and you’ve got nothing. The Republicans, god help them, might pout up McCain–who’s as much of a mush headed idiot as Bush.

    Do you get it? No one’s got squat. The election will, once again, be a ‘lesser of to evils’ vote. And you know something? There is no ‘lesser’ this time.

    So yeah, jg, I get mad.

  60. 60
    jg says:

    Why are you blaming me for your misguided belief that the left wants to or would ever come close to instuituting communism in this country? You rail at me for not realizing the base from the fringe then do the same back to me.

    A sane opposition, an opposition with ideas that would work—not rehashed leftobabble that will waltz us down the path to a soviet style hell—or worse, the kind of culture that has allowed Europe to lack the fortitude to fight the Caliphate that’s eating it from within—would be able to see that.

    This seems like a repeat of a conversation I had with another right winger but here goes anyway: Maybe it ain’t leftobabble. Maybe not all opposition candidates are as evil as you make them out to be, maybe they don’t actually want to make us all european. Maybe your anger is blinding you. I know plenty of pissed off people like yourself, grew up with a whole town full of them. They all think this country is going to hell in a handbasket and they also believe its the dems fault, they also for some reason feel the republican candidate is the one to lead them to the promise land. Possibly because the republican candidate as well as talk radio keeps telling them its the dems fault.

    Do you seriously believe that the american people are so stupid they would let communism take over? With our political system how could we ever get more than halfway there? Just like with the current crop of losers in power we will never go to the extreme right, never enact all the policies they’d want because as is happening now the people are starting to say ‘what the fuck is going on?’. As soon as the agenda becomes clear the pushback occurs and we get america again, not the far left vision or the far right vision. The one that works for the middle.

  61. 61

    […] This ties in very well with another study that we brought up some time back: […]

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  1. […] This ties in very well with another study that we brought up some time back: […]

  2. apostropher says:

    Interesting.

    That might explain their incessant whining as adults. In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The…

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