Whiny little kids grow up to become conservatives. No, seriously, that’s what a recent study found (and it’s not the only study which has come to this conclusion). Anyway, the most recent study:
Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.
At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.
Ha! More details:
In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids’ personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months. There’s no reason to think political bias skewed the ratings — the investigators were not looking at political orientation back then. Even if they had been, it’s unlikely that 3- and 4-year-olds would have had much idea about their political leanings.
A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking again at personality, and this time at politics, too. The whiny kids 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. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.
Like I said, this isn’t the only long-term study that has come to this conlusion. One was released in 2003 from another team—and guess what happened? There was a Congressional investigation into their research funding. Whiny and insecure? You betcha! It was John T. Jost of Stanford and colleagues that time. They reviewed forty-four years worth of studies into the psychology of conservatism, and concluded that: "people who are dogmatic, fearful, intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, and who crave order and structure are more likely to gravitate to conservatism".
The article author tried to make-nice with conservatives, telling them to “look on the bright side” and interpret the findings of Berkeley study differently: conservatives can be seen as “morally certain” people who have “recognized that the world is a scary, unfair place” and liberals have “poor impulse control” and liberal men are “self-indulgent and ineffectual”. Hmmmm. Nah, don’t think so. Thank you, come again!
This doesn’t surprise me in the least. Many kids I went to school with who were spiteful, intolerant, and judgemental have become conservatives.
(Shakes says cross-post and I say "yes, ma'am!" ;-))