"Conservatives" also object to Lysenkoism

From the UC Berkeley press release "Researchers help define what makes a political conservative":

BERKELEY — Politically conservative agendas may range from supporting the Vietnam War to upholding traditional moral and religious values to opposing welfare. But are there consistent underlying motivations?

Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:

  • Fear and aggression
  • Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
  • Uncertainty avoidance
  • Need for cognitive closure
  • Terror management...

Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way...

Glaser acknowledged that the team's exclusive assessment of the psychological motivations of political conservatism might be viewed as a partisan exercise. However, he said, there is a host of information available about conservatism, but not about liberalism.

...Yet, they noted that some of these figures [Stalin, Khrushchev or Castro] might be considered politically conservative in the context of the systems that they defended. The researchers noted that Stalin, for example, was concerned about defending and preserving the existing Soviet system.

Although they concluded that conservatives are less "integratively complex" than others are, Glaser said, "it doesn't mean that they're simple-minded."

Wait, let me get this straight. They're saying that Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan, and Limbaugh are equivalent "in some form." And, they're trying to call some aspects of Stalin, Khrushchev and Castro "conservative." Apparently, they have a problem with a slippery definition of "conservatism." I wonder, was Stalin a conservative when he killed millions of people in the name of Communism?

This doesn't appear to be a joke, or just another demented posting at democraticunderground. The study itself doesn't appear to be online, but I have no doubt it exists.

Perhaps these researchers could have gone the extra step and published in, for instance, the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, calling "conservatism" a disease and suggesting that, for the betterment of the Union, they should he shipped off to gulags. Naw, that's been tried before.

Now, let's do something about this.

Here is the contact information for the researchers and their bosses:

Assistant Professor Jack Glaser of the University of California, Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy
Home page and faculty page, including email and phone. "He is a social psychologist whose primary research interest is in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination."

The board of advisors of the School of Public Policy is here, and their Dean's page is here (email: mnacht@socrates.berkeley.edu).

Visiting Professor Frank Sulloway of UC Berkeley
Home page, includes phone
He works in Berkeley's Psychology Department; the chair of which is Karen De Valois (email: valois@socrates.berkeley.edu).

The UC Board of Regents is here. Ward Connerly can perhaps bring this issue to wider attention. Apparently an email relating to donations is givetocal@dev.urel.berkeley.edu

Associate Professor John Jost of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business
Page at Stanford, page at NYU.

Professor Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland at College Park
Home page
From this, the Dean of the Psychology Department's email is whall1@umd.edu. The emails of the UMD Dean are dmote@umd.edu and DMOTE@DEANS.UMD.EDU. The UMD Alumni Association is here, and the UMD College Park Foundation's pages are here and here

(Via the Angry Clam)

UPDATE: There's an informative post about this from a former sociology professor here. He's had several articles about conservatism and authoritarianism published in journals.

UPDATE 2: Per the first comment, the 7 Meg PDF file containing the study is here. From the study, here's another example of their attempt to portray Stalin as a "conservative":

The clearest example seems to be Stalin, who secretly admired Hitler and identified with several right-wing causes (including anti-Semitism). In the Soviet context, Stalin was almost certainly to the right ofhis political rivals, most notably Trotsky. In terms ofhis psychological makeup as well, Stalin appears to have had much in common with right-wing extremists.

In other words, millions didn't die in the name of True Communism.

Also, it contains this information about where the funding for this study came from:

This work first began while John T.Jost was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland at College Park, supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant R0l-MH52578, National Science Foundation Grant SBR-9417422, and a Research Scientist Award K05-MHO 1213 to Arie W. Kruglanski. Work continued while Jack Glaser was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, Berkeley and sponsored by National Institute of Mental Health [nimhinfo@nih.gov] Grant F32-MH12195 and while Arie W. Kruglanski (supported by National Science Foundation Grant SBR-9022192) and Frank J. Sulloway were fellows at the Center for Advanced Studies of Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Further financial and administrative support for this project was provided by the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and the Jackson Library Document Delivery Service.


thanks for the e mail addresses to the professors of the "conservatism" study. this is the e mail i sent them:

Bravo! Re: "Conservatives"

what i find so interesting about the conservative reaction is that they seems to be really angy about the fact that you turned a mirror on them. isn't it a friend that tells you that you have sauce on yer lip so you don't walk around looking like a fool?

plus, given the literally 40-50 times a day that medved, linburger, hannity starts a sentence with, "The problem with liberals is that they are...". and of course they say all this stuff with no research.


anyway, i printed the whole study and plan to use it as leisure reading...thanks!


this is a truly great article about this study:

Have you read about the university study that purports to show psychological links among Ronald Reagan, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Rush Limbaugh and other "political conservatives"? There's so much here, where should I begin?

The study was conducted by four American university researchers, and its findings were reported in an article in the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin, titled "Political Conservatism as Motivated by Social Cognition." The enlightened professors concluded that certain psychological motivations characterize conservatives, including "fear and aggression, dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity; uncertainty avoidance; need for cognitive closure; and terror management."

"From our perspective," wrote the professors in a press release, "these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination."

Liberals have often hinted there was something deeply wrong with conservatives, but now they have "academic" support for their position. Conservatism is symptomatic of deep-rooted negative psychological character traits.

Most amazing is the professors' manifest ignorance of political theory, upon which they base their conclusions. To suggest that Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were political conservatives is pathetic. Since the '60s, liberals have been getting away with calling conservatives "nazis" and "fascists," but Nazism and Fascism are, in essence, socialistic systems. Such systems are the logical conclusion of big-government liberalism, not free-market conservatism.

And don't talk to me about conservatives being proponents of a police state, either. There is nothing inconsistent between conservatives' advocacy of law enforcement and their championship of individual liberties.

Like most good liberals, these professors believe that the thought processes of conservatives are less nuanced and more black and white. One of them, Jack Glaser of UC Berkeley, said, "[Conservatives] are more comfortable seeing and stating things in black and white in ways that would make liberals squirm.

I meant what is wrong with being associated with the psychological factors they mentioned...I certainly do not wish to be associated with Hitler and Mussolini, but they do not seem to be either right-wing or conservative.

Hey, I am a conservative, and I think they are pretty close to the mark. I commented about this over at John Cole's blog, and will not repeat myself here.

My question is what is wrong with being associated with the things they mentioned?

Nice piece of work, my friend. I've given the info to a major radio talk show host (Agar, 50,000 watts, Raleigh, NC). I may also use it for part of my next week's column. (See URL.)

Here are my comments:

The key to understanding this "study" is in a short phrase which describes what was done. It is "meta-analytic calculations." The article does not explain what that is. Since I took stats in the Ph.D. program at American University, I can supply that information.

Meta-analytic calculations means taking just the RESULTS, not the raw data, from a group of other studies, and running them through mathematical tests for statistical significance. When the raw data from the assembled studies are something highly factual -- such as rates of death from tuberculosis or rainfall per acre of arable land, such calculations can be valuable and useful.

However, when that process is used in politics, the results from the prior studies must be coded by the researchers' opinions as to what they mean. The obvious and stupid error in the coding of this meta-analysis appears in this article. The "researchers" coded Hitler and Mussolini as "conservatives" along with President Reagan. Apparently, the "researchers" didn't notice that the first two were both, as a matter of political intent, socialists.

In short, this is bullsh*t, and any competent reader of the "results" of this "study" could look at the process and know that. Furthermore, all of the characteristics except one applied in spades to Billyjeff Clinton, to his wife, Lady MacBeth, and to all of their assembled Kool-Aid drinkers. The only one that does not apply to them is "avoiding ambiguity." That group raised the use of deliberate ambiguity to an art form.

This is another proof, if any be needed, that those who have Ph.D.s and carry clipboards are just as capable of lying as the worse of politicians, or even more frightening, the worse of trial lawyers. This is JUNK SCIENCE.

I've posted a link to a PDF of the study.