Is Political Conservatism a Mild Form of Insanity?

Published on September 6, 2008 by William Todd Schultz, Ph.D. in Genius and Madness, in Psychology Today

A few years ago I was standing on the deck of a beach house on the 4th of July and a person who had obviously drunk too much told me, “The secret of my life is that I always need someone to hate.”

I was reminded of this exchange while watching the stupendously ruthless Republican National Convention over the last several days. Is there anything that conservatives do not hate? Maybe drilling. In fact, they appear utterly phallically obsessed with drilling (a practice that, in about 10 years or so, might reduce gas prices by 2 or 3 cents per gallon). But otherwise, what we learned from the recent hatefest is that Republicans hate community organizers, liberals (surprise!), Madonna, the “east coast elite,” the “angry left” media, trial lawyers, people who are too smart, people who are “cosmopolitan”—the list goes on into eternity.

Listening to this litany on Wednesday night in particular reminded me of a research article that came out roughly 5 years ago on political conservatism and motivated social cognition (Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski & Sulloway, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” Psychological Bulletin). In a nutshell, the article—by Stanford and UC Berkeley researchers—seems to suggest that conservatism is a mild form of insanity.

Read more at Psychology Today

Author: konigludwig

progressive social democrat, internationalist, conservationist

One thought on “Is Political Conservatism a Mild Form of Insanity?”

  1. A blast from the past. Ah, I remember it well. Seems like it was only yesterday: The Republican National Convention of 2008 was in Minnesota, home state of Michele “There are bats in my attic!” Bachmann. And who could forget Minneapolis-St. Paul International, popular rendezvous locale for closeted gay Republican U.S. Senators from Idaho? What an appropriate venue for the grand old party that had used anti-gay state ballot proposals as a vote gathering wedge issue in recent national elections.

    But I digress from the question at hand. Are conservatives clinically insane? Let’s see. Michele Bachmann, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Pat Robertson, Herman Cain… Oh, yeah. Definitely. These folks are rubber room material.


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