22 March 2006

So Let Me Get This Straight

A new study claims a child's personality reveals whether he or she will grow up to be a liberal or a conservative.
The conclusions of UC Berkeley professor Jack Block found that whiny, insecure children are most likely to become conservatives, while confident, resilient, self-reliant children are generally liberals.

Now lets look at some facts shall we?

Some Adult Liberals

Cindy Sheehan
Al Franken
Barbra Streisand
George Clooney
Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga
James Carville

Some Adult Conservatives

George W. Bush
Rush Limbaugh
Ben Stein
Victor Davis Hanson
Laura Ingraham
Michelle Malkin
Need I say any more?


Ledaswan said...

>>>How to spot a baby conservative: Whiny, insecure kids = Conservatives! writes Victor M. <<<<

My response to a former CA. Social Studies teacher turned activist Victor M. appears immediately below.... scroll down page for the original article he sent along. Ledaswan

Subject: Re: How to spot a baby conservative: Whiny, insecure kids =Conservatives!

Victor -

Or... the fussy , shy, insecure child is actually just very unusually sensitive, artistic & bright.
Sensitivity is anything but a flaw. Many Highly Sensitive Persons are often unusually creative and productive workers, attentive and thoughtful partners, and intellectually gifted individuals.
If you find you are a highly sensitive person, or your child is, then you need to be aware of the following points:

This trait is normal--it is inherited by 15 to 20% of the population, and indeed the same percentage seems to be present in all higher animals.
Being a Highly Sensitive Person means your nervous system is more sensitive to subtleties. Your sight, hearing, and sense of smell are not necessarily keener (although they may be). But your brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply.
Being an HSP also means, necessarily, that you are more easily overstimulated, stressed out, overwhelmed.
This trait is not something new --it has been mislabeled as shyness (not an inherited trait), introversion (30% of HSPs are actually extraverts), inhibitedness, fearfulness, and the like. HSPs can be these, but none of these are the fundamental trait they have inherited.
The reason for these negative misnomers and general lack of research on the subject is that in this culture being tough and outgoing is the preferred or ideal personality-- not high sensitivity. (Therefore in the past the research focus has been on sensitivity's potential negative impact on sociability and boldness, not the phenomenon itself or its purpose.) This cultural bias affects HSPs as much as their trait affects them, as I am sure you realize. Even those who loved you probably told you, "don't be so sensitive," making you feel abnormal when in fact you could do nothing about it and it is not abnormal at all.

Most sociopaths and malignant narcissists are outwardly self-confident, gregarious extroverts ....Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. That might explain the liberal tendency toward group-think, eh Victor? :^) "Groupthink is an
anti-intellectual condition, ironically seductive in that the more one feels at ease with compatriots, the more one's mind narrows. The great liberal John Stuart Mill identified its insulating effect as a failure of imagination: "They have never thrown themselves into the mental condition of those who think differently from them." With adversaries so few and opposing ideas so disposable, a reverse advantage sets in. The majority expands its power throughout the institution, but its thinking grows routine and parochial. The minority is excluded, but its thinking is tested and toughened. Being the lone dissenter in a colloquy, one learns to acquire sure facts, crisp arguments, and a thick skin."

Introversion and extroversion: Jung developed a personality typology that has become so popular that some people don't realize he did anything else! It begins with the distinction between introversion and extroversion. Introverts are people who prefer their internal world of thoughts, feelings, fantasies, dreams, and so on, while extroverts prefer the external world of things and people and activities. The words have become confused with ideas like shyness and sociability, partially because introverts tend to be shy and extroverts tend to be sociable. But Jung intended for them to refer more to whether you ("ego") more often faced toward the persona and outer reality, or toward the collective unconscious and its archetypes. In that sense, the introvert is somewhat more mature than the extrovert. Our culture, of course, values the extrovert much more. And Jung warned that we all tend to value our own type most! Best, Ledaswan


----- Original Message -----
From: "Victor M"
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 7:46 PM
Subject: How to spot a baby conservative: Whiny, insecure kids = Conservatives!


By Kurt Kleiner, Staff Writer, Toronto Star, Wednesday, March 22, 2006

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. The study from the Journal of Research Into Personality isn't
going to make the UC Berkeley professor who published it any friends on
the right. Similar conclusions a few years ago from another academic saw
him excoriated on right-wing blogs, and even led to a Congressional
investigation into his research funding.

But the new results are worth a look. 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

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

Block admits in his paper that liberal Berkeley is not representative of
the whole country. But within his sample, he says, the results hold. He
reasons 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.

In a society that values self-confidence and out-goingness, it's a
mostly flattering picture for liberals. It also runs contrary to the
American stereotype of wimpy liberals and strong conservatives. Of
course, if you're studying the psychology of politics, you shouldn't be
surprised to get a political reaction. Similar work by John T. Jost of
Stanford and colleagues in 2003 drew a political backlash.

The researchers reviewed 44 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. Critics branded
it the "conservatives are crazy" study and accused the authors of a
political bias.

Jost welcomed the new study, saying it lends support to his conclusions.
But Jeff Greenberg, a social psychologist at the University of Arizona
who was critical of Jost's study, was less impressed. "I found it to be
biased, shoddy work, poor science at best," he said of the Block study.

He thinks 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.

The results do raise some obvious questions. Are nursery school teachers
in the conservative heartland cursed with classes filled with little
proto-conservative whiners?

Or does an insecure little boy raised in Idaho or Alberta surrounded by
conservatives turn instead to liberalism?

Or do the whiny kids grow up conservative along with the majority of
their more confident peers, while only the kids with poor impulse
control turn liberal?

Part of the answer is that personality is not the only factor that
determines political leanings. For instance, there was a .27 correlation
between being self-reliant in nursery school and being a liberal as an
adult. Another way of saying it is that self-reliance predicts
statistically about 7 per cent of the variance between kids who became
liberal and those who became conservative.

(If every self-reliant kid became a liberal and none became
conservatives, it would predict 100 per cent of the variance).

Seven per cent is fairly strong for social science, but it still leaves
an awful lot of room for other influences, such as friends, family,
education, personal experience and plain old intellect.

For conservatives whose feelings are still hurt, there is a more
flattering way for them to look at the results. Even if they really did
tend to be insecure complainers as kids, they might simply have
recognized that the world is a scary, unfair place. Their grown-up
conclusion that the safest thing is to stick to tradition could well be
the right one. As for their "rigidity," maybe that's just moral

The grown-up liberal men, on the other hand, with their introspection
and recognition of complexity in the world, could be seen as
self-indulgent and ineffectual.

Whether anyone's feelings are hurt or not, the work suggests that
personality and emotions play a bigger role in our political leanings
than we think. All of us, liberal or conservative, feel as though we've
reached our political opinions by carefully weighing the evidence and
exercising our best judgment. But it could be that all of that careful
reasoning is just after-the-fact self-justification.

What if personality forms our political outlook, with reason coming
along behind, rationalizing after the fact? It could be that whom we
vote for has less to do with our judgments about tax policy or free
trade or health care, and more with the personalities we've been stuck
with since we were kids.
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jimmytheleg said...

ain't it fun when the comment is four times the size of the original post?
But besides that thanks for the great points, ledaswan.