Showing posts with label The Adolescent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Adolescent. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Republican Brain Part Nine: Are Conservatives From the Amygdala?

The last time we looked inside Chris Mooney's insightful and amazing book, The Republican Brain (and I realized it's been far too long...*lowers head sheepishly*), we looked at some of the possible issues with his overriding theory. We poked holes in it and wondered if the science really held up. It did.

The next chapter is the fourth and final part of the "Nature" section of Mooney's book and is titled, "Are Conservatives From The Amygdala?" The short answer is yes, they are. The simple fact is that conservatives have a larger right amygdala and liberals have more gray matter located in their anterior cingulated cortex (ACC). What does this mean? It means that conservatives allow the amygdala, which plays a key role in our emotional responses to threats and stimuli that evokes fear, to drive their reasoning. Liberals' reasoning, however, is driven by ACC which has been shown to detect mistakes and errors, leading one to make a corrective response. This is also known as "conflict monitoring.

All of this was confirmed by multiple studies, beginning with an MRI study of 90 University College of London Students in 2011. A University of Nebraska-Lincoln study from the same year showed that conservatives had a more pronounced startle reflex. Another "political brain scan" study was conducted by Darren Schreiber of the University of California-San Diego in 2010. This study showed that political conservatives have much higher activity in the amygdala when perceived risks are thrown at them.

So, as Mooney notes on page 114, "All in all, that's a fair bit of evidence connecting conservatism to the amygdala." In so many ways, this explains Donald Trump. For as much of a dumb ass as he is, he knows how to appeal to fear. And there is plenty of it physiologically located in the brains of conservatives. It's why they follow him no matter what he does. They are completely driven by emotion, not logic. Of course, you can tell this is true because of their strategy of attacking liberals for the very thing they do all the time (see also: trolling).

But what about the other side? The ACC? In 2007, John Jost, David Amodio, and several other NYU neuroscientists showed that liberals have far more active ACC's and are able to weed out faulty information. This would be why liberals can't watch Fox News for more than a few minutes without cringing. They quickly recognize faulty information because of their increased gray matter in their ACC.

Since Mooney's book was published, there have been multiple studies along these same lines. Here's a study from 2016 that illustrates how conservatives are all about negative emotions. Here's another study (from 2014) that shows that single stimulus data can reliably classify liberals from conservatives. Dr. Hibbing has even created a political physiology lab at Nebraska.

Now that we know that political ideology is inherently explained by physiological differences, what next? Is there anything we can do to counter the negative effects of what conservatives are naturally experiencing? Yes. Towards the end of the chapter, Mooney notes that children's politics are set in motion at a very early age. This is where the nurture part comes in and that's where Mooney is going in his next section, Enter The "Environment": Turning Against Change.

*Please click on the tag "The Republican Brain" if you want to review my previous summaries. 

Wednesday, May 09, 2018


Check out this Tweet from President Trump

The Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake). Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?

I see. All negative news is now fake. Isn't that what all (adolescent) conservatives think?

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Quote of the Day

A gentleman by the name of Larry Scott had this to say in a recent comment on an answer on Quora.

Outstanding answer. What actually blows me away is how anyone who is sane, and I mean legally sane, could look at these two and come up with the conclusion reached by the Trumpians. However, as the election grows more and more distant, and the more we learn about Trump voters and their motivations, it becomes clear that they do not prescribe to any particular norms of political thinking, no particular ideology or philosophical bent. Instead it was more like a collective juvenile rant, in much the same way we’ve all seen a “child gone wild” and screaming in a supermarket shopping cart when told they couldn’t have some particular whatever.

Sounds a little familiar....I love it!!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trump Supporters Still Cheering Their Guy

The latest "worst week" for President Trump does seem a little different than the other ones in that some members of his party, the business world, and the military are abandoning him in terms of his "both sides are bad" comments last week in references to Nazis and the Antifa movement. It's not different for his supporters, though, as we see in this front page story from the New York Times.

The Times has done a very good job of keeping the focus on Trump's supporters (the real problem) because they are the ones that put him in office. In looking at these folks in the piece, one can see why they still support him. They are very tribal and their tribe hates liberals and anyone they deem elitist. They are naive and are loathe to give an inch to the concerns of liberals. They feel to picked on and see Trump as their champion. They are experiencing the sunk cost fallacy i.e they are too emotionally invested to back out now.

I was particularly struck by the naivete of Parson Hicks, the young black woman who has failed in an epic fashion to see how her dear leader is emboldening Nazis. Worse, she seems to be cheering on his inability to reflect and take criticism. Her comments in this piece made me realize ignorance doesn't excuse guilt and complicity.

I LMAO when I read the comments from Larry Laughlin.

Larry Laughlin, a retired businessman from a Minneapolis suburb, compares Mr. Trump to a high school senior who could “walk up to the table with the jocks and the cheerleaders and put them in their place.” That is something that the “nerds and the losers, whose dads are unemployed and moms are working in the cafeteria,” could never do. Mr. Trump may be rich, he said, but actually belonged at the nerd table.

“The guys who wouldn’t like me wouldn’t like Trump,” he said. “The guys who were condescending to him were condescending to me. 

“I feel like I’m watching my uncle up there. Where me and Chuck Schumer — that’s like going to the dentist,” he added, referring to the Democratic leader in the Senate.

This goes back to a theory (now completely confirmed) that I had back when I posted on The Smallest Minority. These guys were bullied back in school and now the nation has to pay for their psychological trauma. Worse, they have hitched their wagon to a con man's star who has always been the guy who was at the elite's table and picked on the nerds. The fact that they are falling for this act illustrates just how fucking poor their judgement is.

The Chuck Schumer comment also confirms another one of points. Like adolescents, they don't want to be responsible and go to the dentist. Why on earth should we trust them with the security of this nation?

These people represent a very real danger to our country. I have no doubt that Donald Trump could, in fact, stand in the middle of 5th Avenue, shoot someone and get away with it. Many would call him a murderer and Trump's supporters? Their first reaction would be contrary. They would get angry at the liberal media for reporting fake news. They would blame the person Trump shot for being anti-American and elitist.

Given all of this, what should we do about them?

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Lazy Boy

Check out the cover of this week's Newsweek.

I can't think of a better description of our current president or the right wing bloggers/commenters that support him.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Which Party Again Are The Adults?

Donald Trump invited Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent and Kid Rock to the White House in what has to be the clearest example that we are literally in the film Idiocracy. Like the adolescents they are, they took the time to pose under a photo of Hillary Clinton and mock it. Which party has the adults in it again?

Oh, that's right. It would be this party.

Monday, April 03, 2017


So Right Wing Blogger/Commenter President 8 Year Old was supposed to sign another one of his imperial declarations (which actually mean nothing) but some person with a fat face asked him a poopy question so he stomped off down the hallway without doing nuthin!

Check it out!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Republican Brain Part Eight: Don't Get Defensive

The last time we looked inside Chris Mooney's insightful and amazing book, The Republican Brain, conservatives and how they respond to authority was viewed through the cognitive lens. After the results of the 2016 election, this has never been more important. In fact, all of Mooney's book should be read by Democrats who want to win in the midterms in 2018 and take back the presidency in 2020.

In the next section we will be looking at, "Don't Get Defensive," Mooney cautions that people tend to get defensive when we talk about psychology and neuroscience. Mental health is a very personal issue for most Americans and there is still a great stigma attached to it. Considering that conservatives brains are on display in this book, Mooney spends the next chapter considering the possible outrage over what he has said.

Mooney with an outline of the chapter and summary of what is to come. He wonders whether it's fair to lump all conservatives together. Certainly a libertarian is vastly different from a Christian conservative. And don't conservatives lump liberals together? Can liberals be just as close minded as conservatives? The answer, based on what we have seen so far, is no and it's, once again, because of neuroscience. But what about independents? There sure are plenty of them. Can someone also be converted from left to right or vice versa? Mooney states that the left-right conversion is fairly easy if one employs fear and distraction. So here is Mooney, poking holes into this own research.

Who's a conservative...really? The answers to this question certainly varies from country to country. England's conservatives are ideologically more akin to our moderate liberals. When people answer questions on surveys about their ideology, invariably it's in opposition to something. Given that the word "liberal" has been effectively demonized in the United States, many people claim to be more conservative than they actually are out of fear of being looked down upon. Yet, John Jost's research (here and here) shows that there is a consistency in terms of behavior and political conservatism, even across countries.

What do all conservatives share? This question can best be answered by looking at the common traits, psychologically speaking, that most conservatives share. They are not as open to the world as liberals and fear change. New experiences frighten them and they are resistant to progress. Recall William F Buckley when he declare that the National Review "stands athwart history yelling Stop!!" Mooney, in one has to be an epic foreshadowing, notes, "the change that conservatives seek is not progressive; rather it is in the direction of restoring something they perceive as prior and better."

Like making America great again? :)

Mooney goes on to correctly note that the earlier status quo may not be one that ever existed. As long as they think it did, that's what drives their policies and agenda.

Why aren't we psychoanalyzing liberals too? Well, we are. There are an equal number of studies that show that liberals are more prone to appeasement and indecision than are conservatives. Again, this is merely because of the way their brains are made. Like conservatives, liberals tend to allow emotions affect their decision making process and the result is indecision and appeasement. Mooney notes for us all to remember that belief systems address psychological needs, whatever the ideology may be.

What about the difference between economic and social conservatives? While there are some differences, it's important to note here that both employ the "work hard and you will get ahead" model. Most conservative Christians I know are also die hard capitalists. It doesn't matter that they accept Darwin's "Survival of the Fittest" economically but not spiritually. The root force is still there: pull yourself up by your bootstraps and don't rely on the government.

What about the cultural cognition model? Let's recall the basic traits of conservatives and liberals. Conservatives are generally hierarchical/individual types while liberals are egalitarian-communitarian types. Isn't there something in the liberal personality type that would lead them to reject the science of something like nuclear power or vaccines in the same way that conservatives reject climate change? Not quite, notes Mooney. Cultural cognition models do show us interesting things about liberal reaction to these issues but they still don't react in the same way as conservatives do. They may understate the research or spin it but they don't outright reject it.

What about leftist regimes? Well, they aren't really all that "left" when you think about it. Communist regimes say that they are egalitarian but they usually end up being authoritarian and thus share more in common with a conservative psychological framework.

What about left wing ideologues? Extremism is extremism, right? I hear this all the time. Both sides are just as bad, especially as you move out from the center. Yet the evidence does not support this assertion. Conservatives are far worse in terms of rigidity and inflexibility. Researcher John Jost conducted 13 separate studies and not a single one showed increased rigidity on the left. They ALL showed it on the right, however. In fact, when Jost run more studies, he found that the more extreme one was on the left hand side of the spectrum, the more open they were. Robert Altemeyer confirmed this when he went on a search for the Loch Ness Monster of political psychology-the left wing authoritarian. He found none but did find plenty of right wing authoritarians.

If you stop and think about it logically for a moment, all of this makes sense. Liberals' biggest fault is their penchant for being too flexible and changing their minds often. That is psychologically valid. So, how on earth could they be authoritarian?

Why not better distinguish conservatives from authoritarians? Consider the three basic groups of conservatives: libertarians, status quo folks, and out and out authoritarians. The reason Mooney doesn't distinguish between these three types are that each one still has that fear of uncertainty, rigidity and antipathy towards progress. This gibes with what I have always seen which is that even libertarians have closet authoritarians inside of them:)

What about centrists and independents? Let's take a look at the four types of independents.

Libertarians: Lean conservative.
Post Moderns: Young, hip, secular, pro-environment, not very liberal, in the classical sense, on economic issues
Disaffected: Financially stressed, hate politics (AKA Trump voters)
Bystanders: Young, not politically engaged

In looking at these four types, we can see that these folks aren't really centrist at all. Sure, they don't want to be labelled as a "Democrat" or a "Republican" but libertarians and disaffecteds are really conservatives and postmoderns are more liberal. Psychologically, Mooney's classification system still applies. The libertarians and the disaffecteds are less open to change with the post moderns more flexible and more open to new experiences.

What about political conversions? In the final section of this chapter, Mooney takes a look at the psychological triggers that cause these shifts. Too much authoritarianism may cause some conservatives to shy away from populous shifts within the GOP. Fear invariably causes liberals to become more conservative.

Linda Skitka of the University of Illinois in Chicago set up a study in which both liberals and conservatives were asked to stop and think about what they were proposing to check on fear as a motivating factor. Participants were asked to consider different groups of people who have AIDS and whether or not they should receive government assisted help for their disease. Some of the AIDS victims got through no fault of their own and others got it just because they were careless. Both liberals and conservatives said that the latter group should not get government help but after some considering, liberals' natural psychological tendencies kicked in and they said they should. Conservatives did not waiver. Yet, if liberals were asked to do another task, like listening to music while considering this decision, they behaved just like conservatives.

Mooney also notes a University of Arkansas study in which alcohol and political ideology were studies. Scott Eidelman and his team of researchers literally set up shop outside of a campus bar and found that when people drink, they become more conservative. This makes sense because booze disrupts cognitive reasoning and more emotional responses take over. In looking at the states that went for Trump last November, one can see higher incidences of alcohol, particularly in the Rust Belt, and drug abuse.  I'll have more on this later as I think it directly relates to how Democrats have to connect with disaffected voters who left them and went for Trump.

So, in looking at all these question, research shows we came back with the same answers. The conservative brain responds much differently than the liberal brain despite a critical look. The peer reviewed evidence holds up under scrutiny. But what about the actual physical makeup of the brain? Can we see actual differences between conservative brains and liberal brains? That's the topic of the next chapter. Are conservatives from the amygdala?

Monday, January 02, 2017

Advice from a 12 Year Old

I might have to rethink my whole "adolescent" rip on Trump and his supporters. It's an insult to adolescents like Kid President.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hi. My Name is Dennis Carstens. And I am 14 years old...

The liberal elites finally got their walking papers

I voted for Donald Trump because I am one of the millions who are tired of the liberal elites — the politicians, academics, media people and self-absorbed celebrities constantly telling me that they know what is best for me and everyone else. Now they are practically hysterical in their shock at finding out that so many of us don't see the world through their smug eyes. How could we not see the world the way they do? What is wrong with us? Actually, nothing. We simply are tired of you.

You know what I'm tired of, Dennis? People who are so fucking adolescent that they refuse to reflect and think that maybe there are people out there who know more than they do...

It's not really very difficult.

My name is Mark Ward. And I know that there are people out there who are smarter and more accomplished than I am. Some are leaders in the public sector and some are leaders in the private sector. I support them in their endeavors and trust them to do the right thing, most of the time.

See how easy that is?

And I really don't feel like I've lost any sort of control of my life:)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Cease The Lying

The facts on the Affordable Care Act as of October 13, 2016. 

Now stop lying about it because you had some kind of an issue with authority in your adolescence and get catty every time the federal government does something in the best interest of this country and succeeds at it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Friday, October 07, 2016

The Bubble of Self Referential Confirmation

I posted a question on Quora regarding the Trump supporters video I put up yesterday. There are really some great answers. The top one included this sentence.

Since they live in a bubble of self-referential confirmation, there can’t be substantial amounts of people who disagree.

A bubble of self referential confirmation...that pretty much explains every right wing blog which I have ever read. So, that's now going to become a tag for future posts regarding the right wing cocoon they have all ensconced themselves in.

The best answer to the question was this....

They seem to be the kind of people who are taught from a very early age not to trust authority figures. Of course, the funny thing is, it’s always authority figures that tell them this, but it they won’t see that disconnect or even think about the double standard. The intellectual, people with “book smarts” (“Ever met someone who was so smart they were stupid?” is a favorite tag line), are just as dangerous as “niggers and Jews”, even more so, because “they look like us”. Since they are so smart, they must be using them smarts to “get over on us”. Why do they believe that? Because it’s what they would do if they were smart!
I have had to do a little self analysis to understand this phenomenon. Back in the 7os, there was a rumor going around that Ray Kroc, head of McDonalds, tithed to the Church of Satan. Here is how I fell into the pit of repeating it:
It originated at church. I do not recall that it was started or spread by a pastor, but it was in the church environment that I heard it. I was a naive, devout 16–17 year old who thought that all the people who went to our church were just as devout and would never lie about something that important…or slanderous. If “so-and-so” said it, it must be true. This was pre-Internet, so there was no way to Google it and very hard to squelch such things.
I also found that when I repeated it to like-minded people, their response was almost universally also acceptance, wide-eyed, “You don’t say!” kind of acceptance. WOW! This FELT GOOD! I experienced a frisson of superiority and authority that I had never felt before. I KNEW a secret, and by repeating it, I was elevated through the ranks to the dizzying heights of “the Aware”. It’s an incredible ego boost. Here we were, ready and prepared to boycott Mickey Dees, and I was in the vanguard, leading the way…with the pitchforks and torches.
Word finally reached the office of the man himself, Ray Kroc, and I just so happened to read the paper containing his response. It was pitiful; the gist of it was, “Look, I don’t know where or how this rumor got started, but it’s not true! I’m a Presbyterian for cryin’ out loud!” (may have been Catholic or Episcopal or somesuch). I don’t wish to pat myself on the back, especially after admitting to be one of the purveyors of the vicious rumor, but I differ from the Trump-type conspiracy theorist in my ultimate response. I felt sick. I had slandered a perfectly innocent man, and for what? Christian virtue? An ego boost? A game? Pure gossip, which is wrong even if true if the intent is to hurt (unless it is public knowledge).
I wish someone had had the courage to ask a simple question from the beginning: “How do you know this is true? Are you really willing to potentially damage a person’s reputation based upon such an unfounded accusation?” I might not have taken part, especially since I was young and teachable, in spreading the rumor. As it was, I learned my lesson and learned it well. NO, I am not willing to risk ruining a person’s reputation with unfounded and scurrilous rumors. I refuse to “follow the crowd in doing evil” (“Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness. Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.” Exodus 23:12) If anyone wants me to believe something, they damn well better have evidence to back it up.

Amazing...if only more people inside the bubble of self referential confirmation had such a high level of reflective ability...

The problem with authority thing is also important to note. It's like they never got over...BEING AN ADOLESCENT.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Even Better

I've been a professional in the field of education for the last thirteen years. As a result, I've become an expert on adolescent development. Over the years, my skills have been honed to understand how the teenage mind thinks and what are the best practices for engagement and enduring understandings.

Adolescents's first instinct is to rebel. They want to create their own identity that is distinct from their parents. Often times, this rebellion is emotional, irrational and mildly nihilistic. If they can't have their way, they want the whole house torn down. Another key aspect of the teenager is that they can be intellectually lazy and often rely very heavily on the works of others to make their point. This is especially true today in the age of social media and retweets.

With all of this in mind, I was not surprised at all to Kevin Baker's response to my call for an explanation of his support of a candidate who openly wants to make our country submit to the will of Vladimir Putin. Nor am I surprised at his commenters support for such a policy as well. After all, your average teenager like to cut off their nose to spite their face.

Kevin begins by claiming that he will not respond with an uberpost but does so anyway. Of course, it's nothing original from him...just one large cut and paste job of others expressing his emotions for him. In fact, they are mostly photos that demonstrate Hillary Clinton's bizarre ability to turn grown men into catty bitches bent on a "TMZ" like analysis of her. Maybe it's a mommy thing which would fit in nicely with the whole adolescent rage dealio.

Regardless, the Hilz really gets under the skin of right wing bloggers and commenters. They would rather suffer an outright fascist than admit that a Democrat...a female Democrat...would have power over them. They would rather chuck a core ideological tenet (commies are bad) then admit that Hillary Clinton would be a better president in terms of national security and free trade (another core tenet out the window as well)

I will say that I did enjoy some of the memes in the photos insofar as they clearly illustrated the evolutionary line from short wave radio broadcasts to email forwards to blogging to social media. In fact, the entire post (and the comments) also reminded me of the respondents in this video...

So, we had one long apology, fueled by adolescent behavior, for why Trump is the better candidate. I wish they would just admit that they love him. His performance in the debate last night reminded me a great deal of Kevin and his merry band of commenters. His points were filled with bullying and bluster and were largely incoherent. He couldn't sit still and seemed to lose his attention constantly. He had zero specifics on policy and relied largely on logical fallacies in his answers. In short, everything was driven by emotion.

Watching him go on last night, it became abundantly clear that, like a teenager, Trump and the people that will vote for him, just want to tear it all down. They are filled with anger, hate and fear, steadfastly refusing to accept reality. They can't bide the success of people that are far more intelligent and accomplished than they are. A sentence like this....Barack Obama was a great president with constructive policies that saved our country....ignites cognitive dissonance and sends them into a fit. Here's one that will make them feel even more like they are being physically attacked.

Hillary Clinton will be even better.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Anything Goes!

This recent post in the Times regarding Donald Trump's "anything goes" precedent he has set in campaigns points out many disturbing trends. There are many salient points in the article but Mr. Martin fails to adequately note that it's the people that want someone like Donald Trump.

These are the people that are firmly in the basket of deplorables, most of whom are likely beyond help. Take, for example, this guy.

We need to turn our backs on the elites, and he's the one who has emerged as the rebel leader in that cause.

Right. Because people that are more intelligent and accomplished than us (see also: adults) should be vilified at every turn. In fact, we should just burn the whole fucking house down and act like...what age level again?.....ADOLESCENTS.

The real danger isn't really Donald Trump. It's the 40 million people who are so lacking in emotional intelligence, maturity, and intellectual capacity that they would allow their own insecurities, inferior feelings, and constant thoughts of inadequacy that they would happily vote for a sociopath for president. Are they that reckless? Are they that catty and bitchy about Hillary Clinton? Do they really understand what's at stake here? Any of you out there who has had to deal with teenagers know the answers to all these questions.

At least the media is finally waking up to the fact that they have been way too easy on Donald Trump.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Bush League Adolesents

Gary Johnson's brain fart yesterday on "Morning Joe" illustrates the fundamental flaw in libertarian ideology. Like adolescents, they are completely unaware of the world beyond their little sphere of tantrums and rebellion towards authority. They refuse to see how problems that happen across the world affect us here in the US. The ignore or outright dismiss the very concept of globalization, pretending that we can wall ourselves off from the rest of the world and comfortably live our lives.

The video below shows a child playing in an adult world. The fact that we have so many other people that think like him should now be the focus of the conversation. What can we do to get these people to grow up?

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The Continued Adolescent Tantrum

Over the last few months of this campaign, I've note how Donald Trump is exactly the candidate that conservatives deserve. They have gone from the party of Reagan and his shining city on the hill to the party of anger, hate, fear, and darkness. As clearly reflected by their politicians, pundits and supporters (especially the right wing bloggers/commenters), their behavior is that of an adolescent having a temper tantrum, stomping down the hall, slamming the door, and shouting, "You can't make me!!! I don't wanna!!!!"

Witness this latest tantrum from their candidate.

And this wasn't the first time he's called those fat headed fire marshals with all their poopey headed rules and stuff...

So, now we can add fire marshals to the list of people who are against Donald Trump...this on top of Gold Star families.

All of this ranting, raving, and lunacy sure does remind me of many a blog discussion...:)

Sunday, July 03, 2016

The Republican Brain Part Seven: For God And Tribe

The last time we looked inside Chris Mooney's insightful and amazing book, The Republican Brain, we saw that conservatives are dogmatic, intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, fear death, less open to new experiences, less "integrative complexity" in thinking and have more need for closure...all backed up by peer reviewed science. The next section in Mooney's book, "For God and Tribe," examines the moral system created by this type of political personality.

Consider the trolley dilemma. You are on a trolley that is about to have an accident. Everyone on board will be killed unless you push off one person in which case everyone will be saved. Do you do it? The cognitive processes of most people reason that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one so the sacrifice is made. But what if that person is named Jerome Williams and the other people on the trolley are all Nazis? Or the one person is named Chip Anderson and the rest of the people on the trolley are all Muslims? Or what if the person you are pushing off is fat?

In the next section of Mooney's book, he takes a look at motivated reasoning and the emotional impulses that drive it. A UC Irvine study showed that when liberals were presented with the either/or of saving a white guy or black guy, invariably they chose to save the black guy...even though they were explicitly told that race was not to be factored in to their answer. Liberals were intellectually more inconsistent conservatives. Perhaps race doesn't really matter to conservatives after all. At least it didn't in this scenario.

Yet when conservatives were presented with an alternate that involved a military leader in Iraq trying to decide to kill opposition leaders...conservatives gave the thumbs up if Iraqi civilians were going to be killed but the thumbs down if American civilians were going to be killed. So. the same inconsistency was present. Further, they accepted either civilian casualty as being a part of war.

So, why does this happen? Recall that Mooney discussed how liberals and conservatives tend to have classification types in terms of their ideological bend. Liberals are more egalitarian-communitarian whereas conservatives are hierarchical-individualists. Thus, we see why conservatives and liberals fall into this cognitive trap. Liberals have an bias towards making sure that everyone is equal so they feel bad for Jerome who is about to get pushed off the trolley. Conservatives trust that authority figure of the military leader and tend to want to protect their tribe more than the other tribe.

Closely related to this study of cognition is the work of George Lakoff and how all of us tend to think in metaphors. We understand what it means for stock markets to rise and fall because we are familiar with those descriptors in everyday life. Yet the word "family" means something entirely different to a conservative than it does to a liberal. When conservatives think of family, they think of a strong father figure. Liberals tend to think of a more caring and nurturing parent that is gender neutral. So, the way each political ideology views authority is different and this extends to science. Conservatives have no problem with nuclear energy, for example, because it fits in with the strong father figure that goes out and provides for his family in the free market of energy. Liberals, conversely, have no problem with climate science because it show the necessity of nurturing one's planet. It's not surprising that the science is denied is the one that goes against neurological type.

I was pretty amused when I read this because I simply accept the science of both. The cool thing about science is that it's true whether you believe in it or not. Why try to buck reality? Besides, I don't have any emotion invested in nuclear energy or climate science. My rational mind accepts the science of both. They are what they are.

The takeaway from all of this is that the leaders of the conservative base know exactly what kind of authority their people respond to and they use that to manipulate them. If an authority on climate science comes out and talks about how it is settled science, they will throw a competing authority that matches conservatives' God and tribe out there and all is well. The need for this becomes more stark as Mooney notes in the closing pages of this chapter how science, and, indeed, academia in general has people that are more liberal in ideology. Why? As previously noted by Mooney, liberals tend to psychological be more open to new experiences, novel ideas and want to use science to improve society. In short, they are progressive whereas conservatives are not.

Mooney uses the example of Galileo and Darwin. Even though they were separated by hundreds of years, each man was confronted with the same problem: instransigent, conservative ideology rooted in emotion, not logic and rationality. Each man had to buck the powers that were deeply entrenched in God and tribe. At this point, Mooney interestingly notes that even conservative intellectuals are aware of this. Yuval Levin, conservative science and policy writer, notes that conservatives have a problem with science when it directly threatens the imperatives of their cultural continuity. Again, God and tribe...

Mooney concludes this section by noting that the ol' conservative meme of academia creates liberals no longer applies when considering the research in this section. More liberals are in academia because of how the brains work to begin with and they are naturally drawn to places where openness to new experiences are the order of the day. All of the information in this chapter reinforces the overall thrust of this book so far. The conservative brain is, by nature, far different from the liberal brain.