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Political Viewpoints Linked To Fear 800

Pentagram writes "Researchers writing in Science report that the political orientation of test subjects who have strong views is linked to how easy they are to startle. They found that subjects who were more fearful were more likely to have right wing views, such as being in favor of capital punishment and higher defense budgets. The researchers suggest that this psychological difference is why it is so difficult to change people's minds in political arguments."
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Political Viewpoints Linked To Fear

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  • In related news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:03PM (#25077817)

    Easily startled people carry guns, so be careful out there!

  • And I'm sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:07PM (#25077913) Journal

    ...the timing of this article is a complete coincidence.

  • yeah right (wing) (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:08PM (#25077917)

    I think being startled has much more to do with the ability to concentrate than with fear.

    I am the most startled person I know... If I am concentrating on something, I make a total vacuum, I block all my senses... if at that point I am distracted by someone I will jump a foot in the air and scream. I don't consider myself fearful though.

    Right wing in the US has, for most of its existence, been isolationist and thus favored less military rather than more. I don't believe there's any connection.

    All in all, this research is probably crap.

  • Right wing = fear? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wvdmc ( 1227780 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:09PM (#25077927)
    They could startle easier because they're cowards. Or maybe they're just more situationally aware because they're not high.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:11PM (#25077961)

    Strictly speaking, fear doesn't make one a coward. Acting only on that fear is what makes one a coward.

  • Common sense? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:12PM (#25077985)

    I am a libertarian, and I tend to think that this is more common sense. If you are not afraid, then defense is not a high priority. If you feel afraid, then suddenly defending yourself becomes much more important. That the desire for greater defense spending increases as fear increases is common sense.

    Capital punishment could be viewed in a similar vein, though I wonder if the correlation is as strong. Some people think that capital punishment is more effective than the alternatives.

    Other issues, such as gun rights, also play into fear. Scared people are more likely to want to defend themselves.

    Free market economics? I don't really see how fear could be used to promote that. In fact, I'd expect the opposite.

  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:17PM (#25078091)

    Do a search on:

    "The Power of Nightmares..."

    Its six hours long, but well worth the time.

  • by Vancorps ( 746090 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:22PM (#25078213)

    I'm sorry, but what have you been smoking? I think I need some. People defined as liberal are rarely if ever the ones shouting down the opposition. If anything they like to talk everything out too much so nothing ever gets done. This is why the democratic party is so fragmented and why they frequently lose in elections because they don't have solidarity.

    You seem to be describing the current republican party labeling descent as unAmerican or non-patriotic. As Stephen Colbert likes to say, "Why do you hate America?"

    There is no mental defect in either way of thinking, there are well reasoned debaters on both sides and there are really bad opinions on both sides. What childish antics are you referring to when referring to "liberals?" I'm honestly curious because it's entirely possible I've been hiding in a cave the last 8 years.

  • by Bearpaw ( 13080 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:22PM (#25078219)

    Talk about fear of competing ideas, you Libs need a mirror. Variations of this story appear here and on every libtard site every few weeks now, claiming conservative ideas are the result of mental defect. Because if you can keep that idea formly in yer heads you can justify the childish antics you guys normally do when exposed to a different set of ideas, shout it down. Because if the other side is mentally ill there isn't a reason to even allow them to speak.

    To a liberal, 'diversity' is defined as all colors, gender identities and faiths all thinking exactly alike. Because the one thing liberalism can't tolerate is reasoned debate since the whole system is based on emotion.

    No, I don't think liberalism is a mental illness in return. I think it is evil. You guys have free will, you chose the wrong side. Of course you convince yourselves that notions like good and evil are outdated because few will admit to serving evil so you solve that problem by handwaving the whole question away.

    Wow, your sane, calm, and carefully-reasoned response has totally convinced me.

  • explains so much (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Surt ( 22457 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:29PM (#25078347) Homepage Journal

    I've always wondered why Republicans didn't believe that Americans had the courage to risk death by terrorism rather than give up our liberty. It turns out it's really that they don't have the courage to stand up to that fear because of their biology. That's a great relief, as it implies a social program of reinforcing bravery rather than cowardice might be able to reverse their tendencies to cave in. And not only that, they should be in favor of such a program, because they generally revere bravery as a virtue (perhaps because of a lack of same).

    This could really be a turning point for democracy, as we've identified the source of one of the greatest dangers it faces.

  • by Xtravar ( 725372 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:29PM (#25078375) Homepage Journal

    I tend to think of Democrats as being afraid of things unrelated to defense.

    If you're afraid that you can't afford adequate health care for your children, you'll want socialized medicine.

    Then there's fear of unregulated capitalism by the more wealthy Democrats.

    And on and on. Use your imaginations.

    Heck, most people vote based on the fear of what "the other side" will do if elected.

    So I'm skeptical as well about these findings.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:30PM (#25078393)

    Those aren't values. Those are feelings and attributes.

    Strength is not related to the other three, except in the oblique sense that one might have less fear if they are stronger. Strength is meaningless in the context of the fear the researchers were discussing. Being stronger doesn't save you from being blown up in a terrorist attack, for example.

    Courage does not exist in the absence of fear. Courage is overcoming fear - usually to act according to one's values despite fear.

  • by dragonsomnolent ( 978815 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:31PM (#25078411) Homepage
    Funny, I'm a social liberal, fiscally I run middle-ground (as long as there isn't deficit spending, I don't care what the government's budget is). As a social liberal, I'm more than happy to hear someone else's argument, nod in disagreement, and say "well, good thing we don't have to agree". I don't try to push my morals on anyone, so long as they give me the same leeway. I really don't see how that's evil. I think there would be a bunch of money left over for big planes and ships to keep enemy armies from invading my home, and ample money left over for healthcare, etc (although I would prefer the states to handle that), if they would stop blowing so much money on cracking down on consentual crimes, as well as ensure that education (you need a degree to do anything anymore) is affordable. If that makes me left-wing, so be it. But calling me evil, that's pretty well off the mark. Evil does require the desire for harm to come to another, so I'd be interested in how my views are "evil".
  • Re:So Obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:36PM (#25078485) Homepage

    Yeah, I'm often doubtful about these sorts of psychology stories, but this one actually makes a certain sort of sense to me. In the traditional meaning of the word, being "conservative" means that you dislike quick and drastic changes. The idea that there would be a connection between disliking change quick changes (moving from the known to the unknown) and being generally more fearful and easily startled doesn't seem strange or surprising.

    Also, the connections between being more fearful, wanting a strong army, and wanting to be "tough on crime" seem pretty clear. You could have convinced me without research.

    On the other hand, none of this necessarily means that these opinions are wrong. Even if they're more fearful, it's not clear that it means they're "too fearful". I'm not trying to argue that they are or that they aren't, but just suggesting that we all try to avoid jumping to conclusions. (I'm also not accusing the parent post of claiming that it means they're wrong)

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:38PM (#25078535)

    If you're afraid that you can't afford adequate health care for your children, you'll want socialized medicine.

    Whereas if your a rich republican, you're afraid they will take some of your money to help care for poor children?? Oh the horror!!

  • by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:43PM (#25078621)

    I read the article. They used 46 people with strong political views. Need I say more?

  • by CrashPoint ( 564165 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:44PM (#25078651)
    That saying has an important corollary: "A liberal is a conservative who has been laid off". It applies equally well as the first, and taken together they illustrate that both left wing and right allow themselves to be ruled by fear, differing only in what particular things they're afraid of.
  • by mR.bRiGhTsId3 ( 1196765 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:45PM (#25078663)
    GWB is a social conservative. Some of us libertarians like to cringe when we think of him associated with the conservative name.
  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:49PM (#25078745)
    I'm sure that they're confusing authoritarian with economically right, both of which describe Republicans, but two entirely separate things.

    It's entirely possible to be extremely to the economic left and still be every bit if not more authoritarian than the Republican party tends to be. Just look at the USSR under Stalin.

    It's also entirely possible to be extremely to the economic right and be very non-authoritarian. Probably the best example of this would be the American Libertarian party which has a strong free market belief as well as a very hands-off approach to government involvement in the personal lives of people.

    Check out [] for a better explanation and to see where different political parties from different parts of the world are at. I've found a lot of interesting things on that site. The most interesting to me is that the vast majority of European governments aren't too far off of the US Democratic party, despite what a lot of European posters on /. would argue to the contrary.
  • by dbrutus ( 71639 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:50PM (#25078757) Homepage

    As opposed to the classic riposte "a liberal is a conservative who's been arrested." Both sides paint the other as out of touch.

  • by Aaron5367 ( 1049126 ) <> on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:51PM (#25078763) Homepage

    ... I don't think acting out of a perceived need of self preservation is how I would define cowardice.

    In my opinion, I see taking away liberty, and privacy cowardly. I know some Democrats want to do this as well (and already have voted for it), but I see a lot more of it on the Republican side.

  • by wellingj ( 1030460 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:54PM (#25078823)
    Theft if theft. I'm by no means rich, but I pay 28% of my income to the government and something tells me not even a whole 1% actually helps care for poor children... dropping bombs, invading countries, corporate bailouts, welfare to able bodies, spying on citizens...

    Need I go on about the various horrors that the wealth I make for 2hours and 20minutes out of every day enables? Here is a novel thought, why don't they not take my money and I can give it directly to the poor children. Why does the government need a cut?

    Here, please educate yourself []
  • by David Gould ( 4938 ) <> on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:59PM (#25078895) Homepage

    I don't think acting out of a perceived need of self preservation is how I would define cowardice.

    No, but being too quick to "perceive" such a need -- that's cowardice.

    (Over-re)acting out of all proportion to the severity of the threat -- that's cowardice.

    Letting it skew your priorities to the point that you neglect to protect yourself against other (less dramatic but equally or more important) dangers -- that's not only cowardice, it's stupid and makes you less safe.

    Allowing your rights to be violated whenever the administration says "Grant us this expanded executive power, or we'll let the terrorists kill you" -- that's cowardice.

    Does that clear anything up?

  • by Walkingshark ( 711886 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @05:59PM (#25078897) Homepage

    Except when you percieve innocent things, like gay marriage, as a threat to your self preservation.

  • by Arcane_Rhino ( 769339 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:03PM (#25078961)
    "People defined as liberal are rarely if ever the ones shouting down the opposition."

    Dude. I can't even believe you would make such a ridiculous statement.

    I don't think the students here were liberal: []

    Conservative speakers are routinely harassed, heckled, have pies thrown at them (actually that one is pretty funny - but it still constitutes "shouting down"), or otherwise prevented from presenting their perspective.

    It may be your university (or life) experience that conservatives try to silence but that sure as shit isn't mine. In MY experience it is always a group of liberals (specifically, social progressives, radical environmentalists, pro-choice zealots, and "wymen studies" feminists) that engage in preventing the first amendment rights of others, ALWAYS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:10PM (#25079047)

    That hurtles past cowardice into the realm of "evildoer" in my book.

  • Re:hehe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nawcom ( 941663 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:14PM (#25079099) Homepage

    Liberal, OTOH, cherish the prospect of being raped?

    Nope; people who don't have a phobia of tigers aren't exactly having masochistic thoughts about the concept of being attacked by one. If you have to either fear something or love something, life would be much different.

    And yes, some Liberal thinking people do enjoy the idea of having consensual anal sex. Welcome to reality.

    Hopefully you aren't the kind of person who has his or her suspicions about x, y, and z (all different than you) taking over the country.

  • by Xtravar ( 725372 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:21PM (#25079197) Homepage Journal

    I actually see it somewhat orthogonal to that. In many ways, the democrats are optimists while the republicans are pessimists.

    I disagree completely. Republicans are the optimists! They tend to think that:
      - private charities will be enough to help the poor
      - abstinence education is the best sex education
      - people know how to best manage their own money
      - terrorists can be contained and killed-off

    If pulled off properly, communism is the ideal economic system.

    Communism takes away many freedoms, and is only "perfect" from an authoritarian perspective. Perfect to MANY people would be a world in which everyone gets along without a strong government to impede.

  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:22PM (#25079213) Homepage

    Here is a novel thought, why don't they not take my money and I can give it directly to the poor children. Why does the government need a cut?

    Because, by and large, you won't. (well okay, you might, but most people wouldn't). Relying on individuals to be willing and able to appropriately address the country's national-level problems through voluntary donations of their own personal funds is simply unrealistic. The guaranteed result of adopting such a policy would be the effective destruction of the social safety net that many Americans rely on. And while you personally might find that acceptable, the vast majority of Americans do not.

  • by iocat ( 572367 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:24PM (#25079225) Homepage Journal
    Being easily frightened doesn't have anything to do with being a coward. Cowardice is not facing your fears, or being dominated by them. And I would argue that being easily frightened in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing:

    A very easy example: An easily frightened solider is walking in the woods. He hears something and is frightened, and immediately flinches. A bullet flies over his head, and he turns and returns fire, killing the enemey. A few miles away, another solider is walking. He is not easily frightened or startled. He hears something, and calmly turns his head in the direction of the sound. The bullet goes straight through his face, killing him.

    In an fundementally safe society like America in the 21st century, being easily frightened may seem like a defect, but you can't necessarily say that's true. Say there's a threat who's actual impact is unknowable to a given sample of people. People who are very frighetend of it may want to react more than peope who aren't easily frightened, but since we don't know the actual level of the threat, we can't tell if group A is over-reaction or group B is under-reacting. I'm sure there's some rad game theory solution to that problem.

    Closer to home, I was definitely a nerd-tastic "flincher" in high school -- jocks could make a fist five feet away from me and I'd flinch and duck. Was I a pussy? Maybe, but I also got randomly punched a lot less than some of my less reactive friends.

  • by Veggiesama ( 1203068 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:24PM (#25079241)

    Yep, as long as your foes are the vile, immoral, baby-eating minions of evil that you envision them to be, then clearly reasoned debate has no place here. Shades of gray have no sway in a monochromatic worldview. Someone has to be the good guy, and someone has to be the bad guy, just like they were in the cartoons of my youth.

  • by RebelWithoutAClue ( 578771 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:25PM (#25079271) Homepage
    And that's why liberals keep trying to have government do more and more, become bigger ?
  • by riceboy50 ( 631755 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:33PM (#25079383)
    That just depends on which liberties you're watching.
  • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:37PM (#25079455) Homepage Journal

    If by "inconspicuous charity" you mean forcing "charity" on others, then yes.

    I'm not driven by fear of loss, I'm driven by wanting people to be responsible for themselves as much as possible. I'm driven by a desire for consequences for actions, good and bad. I'm driven by the realization that if it's impossible to fail then few will have the motivation to succeed. I'm driven by the idea that a safety net is a last resort, not the basis for perpetual underclass of citizens. I'm driven by the fact that the trillions of dollars spent on eliminating poverty have had little effect. I'm driven by the fact that persisting in the failed ideas of the last 40 to 70 years and expecting them to suddenly start working, when they never have before, is the definition of insanity. I'm driven by aspiration rather than envy. I'm driven by the truth that low expectations lead to low results. I'm driven by the common sense that throwing money at a problem is almost always the worst way to address it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:40PM (#25079517)

    Irrational US vs THEM mentality is about equally strong no matter who your "US" is.

  • gun control (Score:5, Insightful)

    by selfdiscipline ( 317559 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:41PM (#25079525) Homepage

    That makes me wonder:

    Are fearful people more likely to be against gun control or for it? I can see fear playing a part in both sides of the issue.

  • by jbeach ( 852844 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:52PM (#25079627) Homepage Journal
    Ahem - they are **reporting** that they have better mental health. Doesn't mean they're actually healthier. In fact, they could just be more fearful that other people will think they're nuts.
  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @06:55PM (#25079649)

    Oh please. Left wingers are just as happy to surrender their civil rights. Left wingers are the ones that are always worried about "offending" people, remember? And who voted for the Patriot Act? Yep, both sides of the aisle.

    You're not going to find any "brave and bold people willing to live free" with either the Dems or the Reps. Only the Libertarians care about such concepts.

  • Re:gun control (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @07:03PM (#25079759)

    That's exactly why I think this study is totally bogus. They're basically assuming that the current Democrat and Republican political platforms are 1) the only two possible viewpoints people could have, and 2) basically unchanging ideals. There's tons of people who don't agree with either, or agree with parts of both parties' platforms. These platforms aren't the way they are because people believe in them; they have arisen out of political expediency. For instance, why are the Republicans in favor of religious fundamentalism, foreign wars, and deregulation of business? Because these things actually go together? No. This came about because the power brokers in the Republican Party panders to religious fundamentalists in order to get votes, so they can get elected and pursue their economic agenda which benefits their wealthy friends.

    The Democrats aren't much different. They pander to poor people and people afraid of guns with promises of welfare and gun control, so they can get votes and enact laws (like the DMCA) which benefit their wealthy friends and campaign donors.

    These parties would happily change their platforms if it netted them more votes, as long as they could continue enriching themselves and their wealthy friends. These politicians are sociopaths and don't actually care about society, their country, the people they serve, or whether their laws are right or wrong. Why else do you think Republicans, who are always bashing gay people, are frequently discovered (in airport restrooms, no less) to be gay themselves?

  • by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @07:04PM (#25079761) Homepage Journal

    I think everyone is missing some important details from the study. The beliefs they selected for were strictly based on socially conservative values. They didn't look at party affiliation or fiscal values.

    So they looked for people that were anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, pro-death penalty, pro-drug war, etc. While many "conservatives" fall into that group, many more are simply fiscal conservatives, believing in smaller, more constrained federal government, greater freedom and civil rights, etc. And while many Democrats favor an expanded welfare state and nationalized health care, many also are pro-family and oppose gay marriage (i.e. blacks have voted between 61% - 86% in favor of anti-gay legislation or amendments, but voted 90% Democratic in national elections).

    So they aren't pulling in Ron Paul Republicans and finding they are jumpy, they are pulling in people that want their morality legislated and saying they're jumpy.

  • by Mathonwy ( 160184 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @07:12PM (#25079851)

    Not saying it isn't sometimes true, but it's clearly a fallacy to assume that is always the case:

    Mom: Here boys, have some cake!
    Dennis: Cool, let's split it 50/50!
    Richard: No, I think I should get it all!
    Mom: You're both going to extremes. Richard gets 75% and Billy 25%.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @07:26PM (#25080031) Homepage Journal

    Aristotle says the virtues are always midpoints between extremes, and the extremes are vices.

    The opposite of cowardice isn't courage, it's rashness. Courage is the temperate midpoint between the vice of cowardice and the vice of rashness. Courage accepts danger but acts, which makes it different from either extreme.

    Rashness and cowardice are the kinds of superficial opposites that have many inner similarities. The coward fears to act, and the fool fears to think.

  • by Repossessed ( 1117929 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @07:34PM (#25080139)

    "socially rebellious" and "left wing" do not mix so well.

    The left wing is just as conformist as the right wing.

  • by DeanFox ( 729620 ) * <spam.myname@ g m a> on Friday September 19, 2008 @07:51PM (#25080307)

    A November 2007 Gallup poll reveals that Republicans by a wide margin across all age, gender, income, and education levels report significantly better mental health than Democrats and Independents.

    Just to be clear. They rate their own mental health as excellent. They believe they're the ones who are sane and everybody else is crazy.

    PRINCETON, NJ -- Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats or independents to rate their mental health as excellent, according to data from the last four November Gallup Health and Healthcare polls.

    It appears Democrats at least have an open mind to the possibility of being wrong.


  • by Syrente ( 990349 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @07:53PM (#25080349)
    You're just too scared to admit that you're a coward, coward.
  • If we can open that argument up I'm convinced it will be as easy to convince the undecided that the core of the Democratic party is indeed evil as it was to win the argument the Soviet Union was utterly Evil.

    Unless you believe that the core of the Republican party is also evil, I'm afraid I can't support your position.

    I'm younger than you are, so I missed the Cold War scare that you're referring to. Consequently, I don't have an irrational fear and hatred of the USSR drilled into me, so telling me that the Democratic party is as evil as Russia was in Reagan's day just doesn't make the emotional connection you were going for.

    I can see that if you start with the premise that Cold War era Russia was inherently evil, and the Democratic party promotes some of the same ideas that were a cornerstone of Russian society, then the Democratic party must be evil because those ideas must be evil. However, please try to understand that many of us do not take this premise to be a given. If you believe socialized healthcare is evil, you'll have to argue the case for why it is evil, not just draw a connection to Russia. If you believe a so-called "progressive" tax system (in which wealthier people pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes) is evil, you'll have to explain why it's evil. If you believe that charging suspected terrorists with crimes and prosecuting them in a court of law, rather than simply detaining them without charge indefinitely and subjecting them to torture, is evil, you'll have to explain why. If you believe requiring a warrant in order to eavesdrop on someone's phone calls is evil, make your case.

  • by tukkayoot ( 528280 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @08:38PM (#25080773) Homepage

    It is a fact that artists, nerds and techies tend to be more mentally shall I say, weird, than the rest of the population.

    Yes, but that's only a subset of the left, and a more extreme subset at that.

    Ask yourself how mentally "weird" the people on the extreme right tend to be. Think of the hardcore fundamentalist Christians, alcoholic rednecks, etc. In my (anecdotal) experience, such folks tend to be more likely to exhibit signs of extreme narcissism or borderline sociopathy and psychopathy.

    So consider the possibility that both of our anecdotal observations are accurate, and consider it along with jbeach's point about the unreliability of polls that depend on self-reported data. Which group do you think is more likely to acknowledge that they have a mental problem? The group with the redneck who beats his dog, or the one with the goth chick who cuts on herself? The "crazy Jesus lady" [] or the schizophrenic artist?

    Granted, none of my speculations here are what you'd call scientific, but then neither are yours, and the Gallup poll wasn't either for the reason jbeach pointed out. All it tells you is that more conservative people claim, when polled, claim to have better mental health, compared to the claims of liberals.

  • People vs. Things (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guppy ( 12314 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:09PM (#25081047)

    When it comes to the physiological response, a more complete description might be "fight or flight", as Fear and Aggression are closely linked. In addition, I've noticed that Conservatives tend to be afraid of People, while Liberals tend to be afraid of Things.

    To clarify, I mean that Conservatives seem to focus on threats with a human face -- foreign terrorists and rogue dictators without; criminals, illegal immigrants, and gays within (gays are a particularly interesting example of "threat", due to an odd mix of cultural and psychological reasons, instead of being any threat to life/liberty/livelihood). This leads to harsher law enforcement and big military budgets.

    While Liberals seem to focus on systematic dangers, like pollution or global warming. This leads to lots of attention to things like pesticides, endocrine disruptors, and genetically modified organisms; resulting in lots of regulation and governmental intervention.

  • Re:pander? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by selfdiscipline ( 317559 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:24PM (#25081163) Homepage

    yes, but the middle class is disappearing so that we're becoming a nation of a few ultra-rich and many poor.

    I hope you don't think that Democrats are the party that cares and the Republicans are the party that doesn't.

    Pretending to care is one of the most effective forms of political pandering, and who's to say what a politician's true feelings are?

  • by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) * on Friday September 19, 2008 @09:49PM (#25081321) Journal
    Who cares what part of the country they are from, or what church they worship at, if any? Are you seriously proposing that their charity doesn't count for some reason? Are you saying that their charity should be counted as coming from Democrats, because the only reason you think someone would vote Repub is because you "feel" they were "duped"?

    Doesn't represent their economic interests? Yeah, I know, everyone loves to hate Bush, but the fact is that under Bush, the little guy has gotten a better deal on his 1040 form than he did at any point under Clinton.

    Pesky facts, indeed.
  • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @10:03PM (#25081419) Journal

    If you're afraid that you can't afford adequate health care for your children, you'll want socialized medicine.

    Or, possibly, you're afraid that sometimes other people might - from time to time - be unable to afford adequate health care for their children.

    I come from a mid-sized, stable family. I have a good university education. My parents are enjoying (and can afford) their comfortable retirement. I have a roof over my head, a share of a nice vacation property, and a healthy nest egg in the bank. I'm smarter than average; I write and speak fluently; I am adept at mental math. I can write code, work a cash register, operate a linear accelerator, cook on a barbecue, drive a forklift, change a tire, solve differential equations, make a delicious cream of mushroom soup, deliver newspapers, split wood, describe the differences - general and specific - between Old and New World wines, and push a wheelbarrow. I will always be able to find a job. Short of a genuinely global disaster, it's astonishly unlikely I'll ever have to worry about where my next meal or my medical care will come from. And yet I still think socialized medicine is a good idea. What's up with that?

    Perhaps I just want to live in a society where I know the other guy isn't worried about getting medical care for his kids. We hold these truths to be self-evident, do we not? In order to be free to pursue happiness, we must first be secure in both our liberty and in our very lives.

    Of course, the greedy, grasping Republican in me also wonders if we're not getting ripped off in the United States. For some reason, we pay roughly twice as much [] per capita for health care as people in Canada, or Sweden, or Japan, or the Netherlands. While I know that those are poor, squalid, backward, unpleasant places to live when compared to the U.S. of A., my wallet still tells me that we ought to be asking some very pointed questions.

  • by Alpha830RulZ ( 939527 ) on Friday September 19, 2008 @10:39PM (#25081685)

    I've seen good statistics that support this statement simplistically. To whit, conservatives donate more, as share of income, to charities than liberals do. Not poor people, charities. However, these donations include the amounts that people donate to churches, most of which does not make it back to an actual poor populations. In contrast, liberal donations tend to be more to organizations which are directly serving user communities.

    For a simple example, Mormons are asked to donate 10+% of their pretax income as tithe to the church, little of which is used to serve people in need. Of food, that is.

  • Homosexuality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) * on Friday September 19, 2008 @10:41PM (#25081697)

    I never understood why some people are disturbed by homosexuality in others. So what if there are some people who like to have sex at home -- what's the big deal?

  • by OakDragon ( 885217 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @12:00AM (#25082173) Journal
    I have to wonder what the comments would be like if Republicans reported that they suffer from poor mental health, or slightly below average mental health.
  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 ( 521389 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @12:29AM (#25082347)

    Yeah, it's easy to get depressed when you actually care about people and things other than yourself. Depression is one of the most damaging mental illnesses there is.

  • by that this is not und ( 1026860 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @12:37AM (#25082401)

    You have a rather comic-bookish view of the people you disagree with politically.

    Really, it's not a good idea to politically oppose a parody of the people you actually are up against. The real thing is much more complex While it might be more personally rewarding to spin up opponents to tackle with in you fantasies, it's politically more rewarding to engage in politics in the real world.

  • by that this is not und ( 1026860 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @12:46AM (#25082471)

    The best government is a weak, ineffective government.

    Best of all is if congress can be tied up worrying about steroids in professional sports.

    Unfortunately their power can't be limited to such matters, so stuff like that is used as diversionary sideshows, while they're hustling cash and handing it out through 'community organizers' and similar mechanisms.

  • by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @12:59AM (#25082531)

    Actually, it's not a straw-man argument, it's an illustration of a fallacy. A well-known fallacy, in fact -- the fallacy of compromise. While some sort of compromise is very often useful or effective, it does not follow logically that a compromise between two arbitrary suggestions is necessarily superior. In many cases, a "compromise solution" makes no sense; in others, it's clearly not the "fair" choice.

    There is no innate "middle ground". If you define it as a "reasonable compromise", you're imposing a particular person's arbitrary sense of "reasonable" anyway.

    Anyway, yes. Fallacy of compromise.

  • by ChameleonDave ( 1041178 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @02:38AM (#25083003) Homepage

    jocks could make a fist five feet away from me and I'd flinch and duck. Was I a pussy?

    Most definitely. A big, slobbering one.

    That goes way beyond having fast reactions. That sort of pathetic paranoia is highly likely to give great amusement to jocks, and encourage them to feint more.

    The equivalent paranoia in someone more powerful (one of the jocks themselves, or indeed a nation with a big army) is likely to translate into pre-emptive violence against others. This is exactly what we are talking about here: cowardly, irrational, paranoid people resorting to irrational, violent and vengeful politics.

  • by kinabrew ( 1053930 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @03:05AM (#25083091) Journal

    I see.

    So Democrats were more likely to self-report poor "mental health", while Republicans were more likely to self-report good "mental health".

    That either indicates

    1. Democrats have more mental health problems than Republicans
    2. Democrats are more likely to know about their own respective mental health problems, while Republicans are less likely to know about their own respective mental health problems.
    3. Someone is lying.

    If I surveyed 100 Democrats and 100 Republicans as to which indication was most likely, I wonder which indications would be favored by each group.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @08:29AM (#25084109)
    Let me see if I got this straight, the experienced Republican PRESIDENTIAL nominee chose poorly because he selected as his running mate someone no more qualified to be President than the Democratic PRESIDENTIAL candidate?
  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @08:34AM (#25084127)

    Mental health is probably a lot easier to maintain if you don't care about anyone but yourself. Who needed an experiment to understand that republicans are cowards?

    Yeah, that is why every study that has ever looked at it shows that, on average, republicans give a larger percentage of their income to charity than democrats.
    Of course the fact that republicans are cowards probably explains why the majority of the Armed Forces are republican.

  • by yttrstein ( 891553 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @08:34AM (#25084131) Homepage
    Why is this paranoid, warmongering post that has exactly nothing at all to do with the article modded up? I mean seriously, with lines like this:

    "The [sic] didn't call it the Wild West due to the women"

  • by jbeach ( 852844 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @12:12PM (#25085427) Homepage Journal
    I didn't say McCain chose poorly overall. McCain chose well *politically* - he made the only choice he could to get his party behind him again.

    But calling Obama "no more qualified" than Palin to be President is really ignoring the record.

    - since in the US senate authored 152 bills, sponsored 427
    - has met with and impressed the heads of state of Germany, France, the UK, and Iraq
    - has been on Senate Foreign Relations committee
    - has some idea of what the Bush Doctrine is
    - has proven himself right on the Iraq war, the needs of the US economy, and other positions far earlier than anyone else, including other Democrats - can use the Internets

    Palin: - can see Russia from one tiny island in her state - just got a passport for the first time last year - can field-dress a moose

    You see what I'm saying?

    And considering that McCain's 70, has already had cancer **3 times*** and has a 1 in 3 chance of dying in office, that was a very irresponsible choice as far as the country is concerned.

  • by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Saturday September 20, 2008 @12:52PM (#25085721)

    I'm not actually advocating anything, I'm explaining a logical fallacy. The fallacy is that compromise is necessarily better.

    What you're saying is, incidentally, another fallacy -- you're claiming that since I say "compromise is not necessarily better than a non-compromise" that I also mean "non-compromise is necessarily better than a compromise". They are distinct statements.

  • Re:gun control (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:20AM (#25090239)

    NO, They're not. They differentiated on social issues like gun control, gay marriage, abortion, and suchlike. This was where they found the correlation, I think. The term in the article (did you read it? I don't find any evidence in your post to indicate you did.) is "Policies protecting the social unit." While the social stances of the easily startled ones are in line with the republican platform, the study did not rely on party affiliation in any way at all. That aspect as read (mostly correctly) into the article by rapid conclusion-jumpers like the OP and yourself.


    Summer Glau

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