A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity". As if that was not enough to get Republican blood boiling, the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction. All of them "preached a return to an idealised past and condoned inequality".
Heh-heh. Yeah, I underlined above. Seemed reasonable.
Of course the study--backed by federal funds--pisses off Republicans, for many of them have crabby feet that this shoe fits on. But several seconds thought (or in the case of statehooders and the redundant passive independentistas, several weeks of intensive training) will give you a general (and correct) impression that conservatives think and act based on fear, opting first for rejection rather than trying to understand, learn or explore. For conservatives, the answer is always in the past, which to Me is like looking for your next meal in the toilet.
Of course I'm not a conservative...except when I want to be. Conservatives generally favor positions I think are (a) racist, (b) sexist, (c) stupid and (d) laughable, but every once in a while, Our paths do converge. For example, conservatives are very vocal about having strong families and protecting that basic institution. Goodie! But their idea of a family has only a man and a woman as central figures, the woman as domestic servant, preferably mute, with her body under government control and the kids esconced in a propaganda machine.
I departed after "only" in My description above. For conservatives, fear is the basis of their worldview and fear dominates their (limited...very limited) thought processes. Fear's basic reaction is closed eyes, frozen mind and clenched body, defensive mechanisms that shriek "I can't cope with this!" When the shriek is organized, when the fear is magnified by soundbites and pictures so that "their" fear becomes "general" fear, then you have fascism, the rule of fearful people by fearsome-facade-hiding-fearful hysterics, who don't think. Hitler had his "feelings," the murderous moron (no Hitler, but same type) had his "gut," Reagan had "fuzzy logic" which is like calling a molehill the Taj Mahal and Limbaugh apparently follows the ruminations of his lower colon.
So, Jenius, what is the basis for the liberals' worldview? Hope. Obviously. The opposite of fear is love, but liberals don't act from love, except self-love. It would be like saying that conservatives act from hate: they don't. They might self-hate, but they don't hate because hate requires specific knowledge of someone or something. Conservatives don't care to learn or explore: they fear, and they loathe what they fear, simply the general idea of what they fear, without any idea of exactly what it is that they fear. For conservatives, the notion itself is worthy of fear, loathing and despising, regardless of truth, facts or rationality. It's how We ended up invading a country with NO ties to the New York City attacks, NO weapons of mass destruction, NO capability to hurt the U.S. of part of A., while ignoring the OBVIOUS country--Saudi Arabia--and the OBVIOUS target--Bin Laden--in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It takes fear to be that blind, that stupid and that cowardly.
Is hope any better? Well, at the risk of firing broadsides at everybody, have you heard this chestnut?: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." And good intentions--honest ones--arise from the hope that the intent will do good.
But given the choice, as I am every day, I'd rather hope than fear, think than ignore, see than be blind and if I lead someone to Hell, then We'll get out together. Last I checked, conservatives want others to go to Hell while they manage the joint. Well (to quote Reagan)...to Hell with that.
The Jenius Has Spoken.
[Update: 18 August 2011: A follow-up study by David Campbell and Robert Putnam on Republicans/Tea Party members comes to some conclusions. Amongst them: They’re (predominantly) white and have a low regard for immigrants and blacks. Racism, anyone? Why mention this? Because Tea Party members are visibly, and demonstrably, the most conservative bloc in U.S. of part of A. politics. And their profile is clearly one of "fear and aggression, dogmatism (especially of the religious kind) and the intolerance of ambiguity."]
[Update: 26 January 2012: Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice. Of course it is. From LiveScience.]