Study: Whiny kids = conservative adults

News & Politics

Headlined: "You Mean They Really Are Whiny Ass Titty Babies?," Susie Madrak points to a Berkeley study, published in the Journal of Research Into Personality, showing that whiny 3- and 4-year-olds:

... 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.
It should be noted that when the study began in the '60s, when the whininess was assessed, they weren't looking for future political affiliation.

The prof who conducted the study with his now-deceased wife, concluded that:
"... that insecure kids look for the reassurance provided by tradition and authority, and find it in conservative politics. The more confident kids are eager to explore alternatives to the way things are, and find liberal politics more congenial."
Professor Jeff Greenberg of the Univ. of Arizona takes exception to the study, arguing that: "insecure, defensive, rigid people can as easily gravitate to left-wing ideologies as right-wing ones. He suspects that in Communist China, those kinds of people would likely become fervid party members."

I tend to agree with his premise, and I don't know how much truck to give the interpretation advanced by the study's author, but it does seem clear that in times of fear and insecurity, conservatism seems to take hold.

On the other hand, calling Communist China "liberal" and using that as a counterexample is shockingly inaccurate and possibly even stupid -- another example of the ridiculousness of the vaunted political spectrum. A totalitarian Communist state cannot rightly be called liberal. It's much closer to conservatism in its adherence to tradition, centralized authority and emphasis on conformity. (Suburban Guerrilla)

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