Monday, September 22, 2008

Republican ‘Fraidy Cats

Researchers at the University of Nebraska (go fightin’ sod farmers!) have conducted a study into the possible biological origins of political beliefs. They rigged conservatives and republicans to sensors, then showed them graphically horrifying images and made loud, sudden noises. Yes, being a biologist at the University of Nebraska suddenly seems a lot more fun. Turns out people who identify as conservative tended to perspire more and breathe harder when subjected to these stimuli. In other words, they were more easily frightened. As such, conservative leanings toward strong defense, torturing terrorists, and stopping gays from marrying may have a direct correlation with their fear of the alternatives to those policies. Honestly, this seems a little simplistic to me. While there’s no doubt many conservatives fear social change and books (you know, things they don’t understand), they don’t seem to be any more reactionary than liberals. In fact, it’s probably a safe bet that Barack Obama will gain several votes this November solely because people are scared of a McCain administration. Plus, this study apparently didn’t take into account political independents. However, they did observe Ron Paul supporters, who, upon being subjected to the same stimuli, suddenly began raving about Building Seven. More details here.

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