THOUGHTS ON “Study of Bush’s psyche touches a nerve”

I was sent this article by a friend. As a Democrat, it naturally agreed with all my pre-existing assumptions and biases :), but as a fair-minded, fairly empirical, anally accurate person, I wanted to go look for some other confirmation that this wasn’t a gag or some other sort of allegedly humorous flimflammery. In that vein, I did some digging of my own.
I would point out that I didn’t find this article cited or reported by any other major new org, and that it’s almost 6 years old.
On the other hand, I would also point out that there is an actual link to the original press release at the UC-Berkely website: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/07/22_politics.shtml. The press release discusses the article in more detail, talking about the researchers sources and how the material was analyzed. It comes from across 12 countries with very different cultures and histories. The researchers take some pains to say that their research is not intended to be judgmental, and talk about liberals in the context of their research:

[Assistant Professor Jack Glaser of the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy] 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.

The researchers conceded cases of left-wing ideologues, such as Stalin, Khrushchev or Castro, who, once in power, steadfastly resisted change, allegedly in the name of egalitarianism.

Yet, they noted that some of these figures 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.

At least one of the authors, John Jost, has his own web page at NYU, where he cites this paper as one of many pieces of scholarly research and authorship (http://www.psych.nyu.edu/jost/). His research summary does not give me the impression that he particularly has an axe to grind with Conservatism.

I strongly recommend reading the Guardian article and the original Berkeley press release, and then forming your own opinion.

In light of all of the above, though, I’d take the work described in the article seriously, and think that Conservatives should do some soul searching. On the other hand, I’ll be interested in seeing their research article on Liberalism. :)

Mike

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About ThinkWingRadio

Mike Honig is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He moved to Houston in September of 1977 and has been there ever since. Mike's interests are politics, history, science, science fiction (and reading generally), technology, and almost anything else. Mike has knowledge and experience in many diverse fields, sometimes from having worked in them, and sometimes from extensive reading or discussion about them. Mike's general knowledge makes him a favorite partner in Trivial Pursuit. He likes to say that about most things, he knows enough to be dangerous. Humility is a work-in-progress.

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