What Exactly Motivates a Conservative?

[edit] Seems as if I wasn’t the only one riled up about this study. As a matter of fact, UC Berkeley received so much criticism that it removed the study from their website! A very decent thing to do, IMHO. . .

I dunno, but if UC Berkeley says it, then it must be true. . .

The avoidance of uncertainty, for example, as well as the striving for certainty, are particularly tied to one key dimension of conservative thought – the resistance to change or hanging onto the status quo, they said.

Concerns with fear and threat, likewise, can be linked to a second key dimension of conservatism – an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.).

Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. 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, the authors commented in a published reply to the article.

That’s just great. . . conservatives are all a bunch of Hiter-loving ignorant segregationists that fear change. Not that UC Berkeley doesn’t have a biased view of conservatives anyway that could in any way shape or form misconstrue the study. Nah. . .

My thoughts on the matter were that conservatives generally are (a) more accepting of tradition and the stability it brings, (b) resistant to change, (c) accepting of inequality that naturally occurs, and (d) in opposition to government sic artificial controls on the economy. Only recently has religion been as much of a political firestorm than in the past (Reformation and the Enlightenment notwithstanding).

Liberalism to me stands for the ideals of the French Republic. . . Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, not to mention change at all costs, no matter whether it is good, bad, or otherwise. All things must be in constant change for fear of becoming traditional or institutionalized.

Of course there are a host of other issues involved. Pure capitalism certainly isn’t moral, and yet it would be under a post-Enlightenment view of political conservativism. Liberalism’s fight for equality is certainly noble, but there is a difference between an equality of means and an equality of opportunity. Liberals have a bad habit of getting the two confused as being synonymous. But that’s a whole other issue for an entirely different day.

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