Dr. Desert Flower has a subscription to SCIENCE, which I like to keep the current issue on the kitchen table. My old eyes have a problem reading the tiny print, but many of the articles are FASCINATING, and I understand somewhere between 10 and 50% of the papers published in it most weeks. There was a recent article published in the September 15th issue (Vol 321, No 5896) "Political Attitudes Vary With Physiological Traits", D.Oxley et al. You've got to have a login and password to get into the full article, but the abstract is here:
"Although political views have been thought to arise largely from individuals' experiences, recent research suggests that they may have a biological basis. We present evidence that variations in political attitudes correlate with physiological traits. In a group of 46 adult participants with strong political beliefs, individuals with measurably lower physical sensitivities to sudden noises and threatening visual images were more likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, pacifism, and gun control, whereas individuals displaying measurably higher physiological reactions to those same stimuli were more likely to favor defense spending, capital punishment, patriotism, and the Iraq War. Thus, the degree to which individuals are physiologically responsive to threat appears to indicate the degree to which they advocate policies that protect the existing social structure from both external (outgroup) and internal (norm-violator) threats."
A summarized "pop" version can be found here: "The Politics of Fear" and here (full text)
So our Republican friends are not stupid, or racist, or dimwitted, or selfish, or un-neighborly necessarily. They're merely very, very fearful. Statistically proven (P value = 0.05... that's purdy dern good!) Granted, the sample size was only 45 extremists (liberals and conservatives), and it needs to be replicated and verified in the wider population, but I do think it is representative of reactions seen in the last few months, and in the last several days as well.
1 year ago