Mercurial Mind

Musings on a variety of topics related to psychology

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The difference between liberals and conservatives


Recently I’ve been thinking that a major difference between conservatives and liberals can be reduced to one point of contention and that is are people basically good or bad? Conservatives seem to think people are inherently greedy,selfish, competitive, and generally unpleasant while liberals think people are basically good. What demonstrates this? Liberals are more likely to share their resources with others in the form of taxes while conservatives are more reluctant to or are more selective with whom they share. Generally if one likes others and trusts them one is more willing to share.PoliticalGaze-main-1228-0 (1)

Additional support for conservatives mistrust of others is their support for the right to bear arms. Not only do they not want to share they don’t trust others not to harm them.

Interestingly there is some brain research to back the mistrust that conservatives have towards others. conservatives have been shown to have more reactive amygdala’s when shown various unpleasant images. This fear and mistrust is evidenced in other ways such as their attitude towards change and foreigners.

The conservative party is big on national defense and magnifies our perception of threat, whether of foreign aggressors, immigrants, terrorists, or invading ideologies like Communism. To a conservative, the world really is a frightening place.

Most societies are divided into a party that wants change (the more liberal party) and one that is afraid of change (the conservatives). The liberal party is generally more intellectual and the conservative party is more anti-intellectual.

Additionally, there is also a division regarding females versus males on this issue. Men tend to be more individualistic and conservative while women are often more liberal and pro social. Perhaps men see themselves as more self reliant and consequently don’t see the need to share.

While I tend to lean more liberal I am realistic enough to realize that given the diversity of the US a socialistic government might not be all that realistic given the heterogeneity of the population. Countries, like Norway, where socialism seems to work are much more homogenized and consequently people there trust each other to a greater deal. They are often of the same race,education level and most importantly they share the same values.