Liberal denial about all things conservative has passed the bizarre and arrived at the absurd.
The American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin has published a study of why conservatives are the way they are. The study was conducted by four researchers, who, according to a press release from the University of California at Berkeley's (UCB) media relations office, "culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism." (Two of the researchers are professors at UCB, which apparently remains imprisoned in '60s dysfunctionality.) The researchers conclude that conservatives suffer from a disease or malady that makes them think the way they do.
"At the core of political conservatism," says the press release about the study, "is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality." Well, yes, conservatives are resistant to change for the sake of change, believing that certain ideas about life, relationships and morality are true for all time regardless of the times.
Some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism, according to the study, include fear and aggression; dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity; uncertainty avoidance; need for cognitive closure; and terror management.
On this last point, the researchers wrote that post-9/11 many conservatives "appear to shun and even punish outsiders and those who threaten the status of cherished world views." Conservatives would like to do more than punish "outsiders" if they come to our nation in order to do harm to us who are inside. They would like to keep them from getting here in the first place and arrest or expel those who make it through with plans to kill us.
Most conservatives welcome "outsiders" so long as they are seeking to become insiders - that is, Americans - and not to undermine our way of life.
A second "key dimension of conservatism," says the UCB press release about the study, is "an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.)."
Get it? Conservatism equals racism, xenophobia and all sorts of other unappealing traits. In case the point is not clear, the press release says the researchers put some familiar faces on those they consider to be conservative icons: "Hitler, Mussolini and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form." The authors commented in a published reply to the article that "talk show host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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