Communicator (communicator) wrote,

A little liberal

Gilbert and Sullivan: 'Every boy and every gal/ Who comes into the world alive/ Is either a little Lib-er-al/ Or else a little Conserv-a-tive'.

Psychology Today:

Most people are surprised to learn that there are real, stable differences in personality between conservatives and liberals—not just different views or values, but underlying differences in temperament.

Liberals are messier than conservatives, their rooms have more clutter and more color, and they tend to have more travel documents, maps of other countries, and flags from around the world. Conservatives are neater, and their rooms are cleaner, better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional.

Liberals have more books, and their books cover a greater variety of topics.

And that's just a start. Multiple studies find that liberals are more optimistic. Conservatives are more likely to be religious. Liberals are more likely to like classical music and jazz, conservatives, country music. Liberals are more likely to enjoy abstract art. Conservative men are more likely than liberal men to prefer conventional forms of entertainment like TV and talk radio. Liberal men like romantic comedies more than conservative men. Liberal women are more likely than conservative women to enjoy books, poetry, writing in a diary, acting, and playing musical instruments.

(I've highlighted a few that are significant to me)

Of course 'liberal' and 'conservative' are American poles of temperament, but perhaps this distinction is illuminating for all of us. To my casual eye the liberal characteristics they pick out seem to be characters of intuitive people, while the conservatives (brightly lit, well organised, with fewer books) seem more sensory. And yet I do not think that intuitives are necessarily left wing. Many NT discussions online are dominated by right wing nutters.

Later in the same article they talk about how you can predict the adult political views from the behaviour before the age of 3.

As kids, liberals had developed close relationships with peers and were rated by their teachers as self-reliant, energetic, impulsive, and resilient. People who were conservative had been described by their teachers as easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive,fearful, rigid, inhibited, and vulnerable at age 3. The reason for the difference, the Blocks hypothesized, was that insecure kids most needed the reassurance of tradition and authority, and they found it in conservative politics.

I don't think it is necessarily a matter of strong or weak innate temperament. It may be that children brought up with conservative parents are less happy in a 'liberal' style kindergarten, but they might flourish in a different situation. As a liberal parent I expect my children to sort out their own problems and opinions, to some extent. A conservative parent may value discipline and order more highly. A child brought up with more structure may appear inhibited and fearful in an less structured environment, whereas my children are (I know) perceived as unstructured and even rebellious in a conservative environment. So it's not a simple matter of right and wrong ways of bringing up kids.

Look how I'm straining to be even handed here! And failing!

It's really worth reading the whole thing. It won't be news to anyone who has read up on this before, but it's quite interesting. It harks back to what I always say - conservatism is (in my opinion) fuelled by a dislike of ambiguity which is ultimately, via a longing for control and safety, fuelled by fear of death.
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