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Are conservatives more conspiracy minded?

I was a little surprised when I saw this suggested at NMPolitics.net as part of their article: The Cost of Conspiracy. They report a study done by Ryoto Kanai at University College London that noted structural differences in the brains between Conservatives and Liberals, with Conservatives having structures related to fear and anxiety while Liberals are more optimistically wired.

After all this, is birtherism just a brain fart?

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34 Responses to Are conservatives more conspiracy minded?

  1. avatar
    Fred May 11, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    There have been numerous studies that come to the same conclusion. It’s part of the same reason more conservatives also believe in an all powerful being looking over their every move. This despite the fact there is no evidence besides an old book of short stories about ancient people who had no science to explain things so they created this magical being.

  2. avatar
    G May 11, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    Agreed. On both Doc C’s post and what Fred said.

    I do want to add that I think a lot of Libertarians (even the non Conservative ones) are conspiracy minded as well.

    Some minds are more prone to fear and anxiety – which the studies link to Conservatism, some minds are simply prone to having difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality…which I think is a whole separate issue that is also linked to becoming susceptible to conspiracies…

  3. avatar
    richCares May 11, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    among those studies it also shows conservative are less educated and earn less money and have a tendency to blame others for their problems. Also high rate of projecting their own views of others unto others. Higher rate of family problems and divorces. Tend to be easily led or misled. (as if they have implanted nose rings so they can be led by the nose)

  4. avatar
    G May 11, 2011 at 2:29 am #

    richCares: among those studies it also shows conservative are less educated and earn less money and have a tendency to blame others for their problems. Also high rate of projecting their own views of others unto others. Higher rate of family problems and divorces. Tend to be easily led or misled. (as if they have implanted nose rings so they can be led by the nose)

    There are plenty of rich conservatives out there too that are quite successful in life.

  5. avatar
    Lupin May 11, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    As your General William Boykin said to the Muslims: My invisible friend is stronger than your invisible friend. (I’m paraphrasing freely.)

  6. avatar
    misha May 11, 2011 at 7:03 am #

    Lupin: As your General William Boykin said to the Muslims: My invisible friend is stronger than your invisible friend. (I’m paraphrasing freely.)

    Actually, you are quite accurate.

  7. avatar
    G May 11, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    G: There are plenty of rich conservatives out there too that are quite successful in life.

    I want to add that there are also a number of conservatives I know that I would say who’s minds seem to be driven by other impetus than fear/anxiety. I would call what seems to be at their core simply being “traditionalist” or “loyalist” oriented in their thinking. These folks are not the crazies or the loud ones – they mostly keep relatively quiet, don’t get themselves into trouble and lead good, healthy lives. They try to do what is right and law abiding and follow what they’ve always been taught.

    The only things I can really fault these types for is being a little to loyal to backing and almost always giving a silent “pass” for the crazier and cruder elements of their movement and often being susceptible to some of the false conservative mindset memes and stories out there, only because they sincerely give automatic credence when some other “conservative” tells them something, unquestioningly.

    Sometimes there is a bit of naivity to a broader world or in the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and to “group think”, because one of the consequences to having a fairly normal, stable and quiet life is not having any point to relate to different (or exotic) backgrounds, experiences, life styles or to understand the true impacts of hardship or struggle that others might have endured.

    I’d say these folks are another key element to the field of conservatives out there. Yes, they are resistant to change or difference – but not really because they fear change as much as it seems they just really prefer consistency, simplicity and the familiar/same over different.

    There is a slight difference there – those with fear/anxiety don’t want to rock or tip the boat because they fear what would happen if they fell out or had to get a different boat.

    While some simply are just satisfied with the boat they have and are merely indifferent/uninterested in other boats. If their boat tipped over, they would handle it fairly calmly and quietly and do their best to simply replace it with an identical boat in the same location, even if boat styles had changed in the meantime.

  8. avatar
    bjphysics May 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    The birthers and global warming denialists are total conspiracy nuts but this Agenda 21 thing is real. The U.N. and NWO are planning on taking our freedom and turning us into worker bees. Must resist the FEMA camps and block the Amero-Superhighway. They are…wait, helicopters, black, getting closer…signing off now will be back from anonymous IP and undisclosed location later.

  9. avatar
    Daniel May 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    I don’t think it’s so much that conservatism tends to spawn conspiracy minded people, as that conspiracy minded people tend to hate paying taxes and distrust any form of government authority, and so gravitate toward a very shallow and simplistic idea of conservatism.

    AS a Republican, I am constantly embarrassed by the loud and stupid fringe element who like to pretend that they are “conservatives”

  10. avatar
    Daniel May 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    bjphysics:
    The birthers and global warming denialists are total conspiracy nuts but this Agenda 21 thing is real. The U.N. and NWO are planning on taking our freedom and turning us into worker bees. Must resist the FEMA camps and block the Amero-Superhighway. They are…wait, helicopters, black, getting closer…signing off now will be back from anonymous IP and undisclosed location later.

    Better get yourself one of these, quick!

  11. avatar
    Daniel May 11, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

    seperate post to throw off the surveillance bugs

  12. avatar
    misha May 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    Daniel: and so gravitate toward a very shallow and simplistic idea of conservatism.

    I have found most conservatives lack intellectual curiosity.

  13. avatar
    Daniel May 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    misha: I have found most conservatives lack intellectual curiosity.

    I will assume you did not mean to insult me personally with that observation.

    I disagree, though. I think if you believe that most conservatives lack intellectual curiosity, then you’re probably only listening to the loud minority.

    I abhor “Faux News”, so that should give you an idea.

  14. avatar
    G May 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    Daniel: I don’t think it’s so much that conservatism tends to spawn conspiracy minded people, as that conspiracy minded people tend to hate paying taxes and distrust any form of government authority, and so gravitate toward a very shallow and simplistic idea of conservatism.AS a Republican, I am constantly embarrassed by the loud and stupid fringe element who like to pretend that they are “conservatives”

    Thank you Daniel. Truly, all we ever seem to hear from these days is the lunatic fringe, and the cynical manipulators and bloviators that feed the “red meat” to them…

    The sane and reasonable conservatives (which I actually view as the “true” conservatives) are definitely out there, but a lot quieter and unfortunately, with very little true political reprentation any more. Honestly, the term “conservative” has become so broadly used to mean so many different (and often contrary to classical “conservative”) positions that it has become nearly meaningless as a useful classication.

    Both the GOP and the term “conservative” have been nearly irrepairably tarnished and stained. Those that truly care about their serious values should start considering a new moniker to distinguish themselves and retain some dignity and separation from the rest.

  15. avatar
    Daniel May 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    G: Both the GOP and the term “conservative” have been nearly irrepairably tarnished and stained.

    Sadly, you are probably correct.

  16. avatar
    Jason May 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Failure to spot lies, sarcasm is linked to dementia, a study done by Dr. Katherine Rankin at UCSF.

    Let’s see who has potential in getting dementia.

  17. avatar
    bjphysics May 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Daniel: http://zapatopi.net/afdb/seperate post to throw off the surveillance bugs

    Is it safe yet? Ordered Deflector Beanie, will not arrive for 7 biz days; hoping to evade Agenda 21 FEMA thugs til then. Breaking out reloading equipment now – make sure you’re not followed to basecamp.

    Victor-Tango-Alpha out

  18. avatar
    Daniel May 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    bjphysics: Is it safe yet? Ordered Deflector Beanie, will not arrive for 7 biz days; hoping to evade Agenda 21 FEMA thugs til then. Breaking out reloading equipment now – make sure you’re not followed to basecamp.

    Victor-Tango-Alpha out

    bjphysics: Urgent message from Old Mother Hubbard….

    The Monkey chased the Weasel. I say again… The Monkey chased the Weasel…

    Rendezvous at the Mulberry bush as soon as you are clear of surveillance

  19. avatar
    Fred May 12, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    It is also worth noting that most pedophiles are conservative. No I am not kidding. A little known fact and conservatives want to keep it that way/

  20. avatar
    bjphysics May 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    Fred: It is also worth noting that most pedophiles are conservative. No I am not kidding. A little known fact and conservatives want to keep it that way/

    If you provide a link or links to your source(s) for this claim in will become a better known “fact”.

  21. avatar
    Howard D Doyle May 13, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    The left has plenty of their own. “9/11 Truthers” and “Trig Truthers” being a couple.

    I did a little research on the subject and found eerie similarities between the phrases/terms used by “Obama Birthers” and “Trig Truthers”.

    As a Free Republic and Democtratic Underground lurker, the willingness to embrace a conspiracy is just as strong on the left as it is on the right.

    During the recent Wisconsin judicial election, some DU posters were spinning conspiracies faster than a 4G smartphone. One of their own long time, well respected members was on sight, explaining that the 14,000 “additional votes” were not “found” ballots”, but were just unreported ballots. The poster, who was personally involved in the ballot count/recount effort, tried to explain to skeptical fellow DUers that no one was in the process of stealing the election, and there was a solid paper trail for all the “extra” votes.

    This particular poster was being thanked and praised for their count/recount work, and on the scene reports, until (s)he refused to accept the newly manufactured conspiracy of the Koch brothers stealing the election. Some fellow DUers began treating him/her as part of the conspiracy, unworthy of trust.

    Of all the DU threads I’ve read on the Wisconsin judicial election count/recount, there were 2 posters determined to fight back against the “stealing election conspiracy”, and they were constantly swimming upstream against fellow posters who had made up their minds that an election was being stolen right before their eye, despite evidence to the contrary.

    I don’t know which side does it more, but both sides do it with great zeal.

  22. avatar
    Scientist May 13, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    Howard D Doyle: The left has plenty of their own. “9/11 Truthers” and “Trig Truthers” being a couple

    I have never heard of a “Trig Truther”. Is that someone who doubts that the square of the hypotenuse is really equal to the sum of the squares of the other 2 sides?

  23. avatar
    Howard D Doyle May 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Scientist: I have never heard of a “Trig Truther”. Is that someone who doubts that the square of the hypotenuse is really equal to the sum of the squares of the other 2 sides?

    Trig Truther:

    One who believes that if the circumference of the gestated womb of a 7th month pregnant female politician is less than the circumference of the 7th month gestated womb of the same female politician during a previous pregnancy, it is presumed to be padding, and not, in fact, a child.

    Google it. The right does not hold an exclusive franchise on insane conspiracies.

  24. avatar
    G May 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Howard D Doyle: I don’t know which side does it more, but both sides do it with great zeal.

    What utter false equivelency BS!

    All those “Truther” nuts have always been confined to the dark fringes and are often openly mocked and scorned by the mainstream. Liberal politicians do NOT condone nor provide wink/nod support to their idiocy.

    The same cannot be said for Birtherism and the support of and pandering to nuts on the right.

    On one side of the equation, you have a few puddles of muddy water and on the other side, you have a vast, fetid swamp. You are completely disingenuous and come across like a fool trying to claim they are anything even close to similar…

  25. avatar
    Rickey May 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    Howard D Doyle:

    I don’t know which side does it more, but both sides do it with great zeal.

    The difference is that you won’t find any prominent Democratic politicians pandering to the truthers and the other conspiracy theorists on the left. Contrast this with the Republican leaders, who for the most part (until recently) refused to distance themselves from the birthers. Instead, at best we saw the old wink and nod – “I take the President at his word” or “I believe he was born in Hawaii” – instead of the categorical refutation which the birthers deserved.

    Do you remember any Democratic candidates or party leaders accusing George W. Bush of blowing up the Pentagon? Or pandering to those who believe it was Bush’s doing? Me neither.

  26. avatar
    Scientist May 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Howard D Doyle: Trig Truther:
    One who believes that if the circumference of the gestated womb of a 7th month pregnant female politician is less than the circumference of the 7th month gestated womb of the same female politician during a previous pregnancy, it is presumed to be padding, and not, in fact, a child.

    I still don’t get it. Why would someone run around measuring female politicians? i take their measurements at their word. You are very strange…

  27. avatar
    Daniel May 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    G: All those “Truther” nuts have always been confined to the dark fringes and are often openly mocked and scorned by the mainstream. Liberal politicians do NOT condone nor provide wink/nod support to their idiocy

    I think you are correct…. but.

    Does that speak to the existence or lack of a lunatic fringe on either side? Or does it speak to the willingness of one side or the other’s political elite willingness to take advantage of the lunatic fringe to further their own ends?

  28. avatar
    bjphysics May 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Daniel: I think you are correct…. but.Does that speak to the existence or lack of a lunatic fringe on either side? Or does it speak to the willingness of one side or the other’s political elite willingness to take advantage of the lunatic fringe to further their own ends?

    A good read and classic for anybody that is interested in the subject of the conspiratorial mindset:

    The Paranoid Style in American Politics, by Richard J. Hofstadter

    Summary here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paranoid_Style_in_American_Politics

    Full text: http://www.harpers.org/archive/1964/11/0014706

    Unfortunately both sites are currently being monitored by the Illuminati.

    That man with the mustache should shave in the summer; repeat…should shave in the summer.

    Big John says: mission is a go, synchronize watches on my mark…3,2,1 Mark!

  29. avatar
    Stanislaw May 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Howard D Doyle:
    The left has plenty of their own.“9/11 Truthers” and “Trig Truthers” being a couple.

    I

    How many Democratic state legislators have ever sponsored “truther” bills, requiring prospective Presidential candidates seeking to be on the ballot in those states to prove that they were not involved in perpetrating the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? How many elected Democrats, if asked about Bush’s role in 9/11, would say “I take the President at his word that he was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks?”

    You’re making a false equivalence. Both sides have their fringe, but the fringe on the right has become so large, so influential, and so important that conservative politicians have no choice but to pay it lip service and take that fringe seriously.

  30. avatar
    Reality Check May 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Stanislaw: You’re making a false equivalence. Both sides have their fringe, but the fringe on the right has become so large, so influential, and so important that conservative politicians have no choice but to pay it lip service and take that fringe seriously.

    Exactly. The “fringe” has become indistinguishable from the middle of the Republican party.

  31. avatar
    G May 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Daniel: Does that speak to the existence or lack of a lunatic fringe on either side? Or does it speak to the willingness of one side or the other’s political elite willingness to take advantage of the lunatic fringe to further their own ends?

    More to the latter, but certainly not exclusively so.

    Encouragement and appeasement of crazy allows it to spread like a cancer and metasticize to a larger extent, while scorn and disapproval has the oppostite effect within a community – marginalizing and shrinking it to mostly take place in dark obscurity.

    However, there are also various factors that come into play on the front end – what are the character traits and drivers that lead to certain extreme positions and to the conspiracy-based mind in the first place?

    While some of those issues and aspects do have various correlations that fall along a liberal/conservative ideological scale, many of them fall outside of such basic classifications.

  32. avatar
    G May 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Reality Check: Exactly. The “fringe” has become indistinguishable from the middle of the Republican party.

    True. Sadly, the “face” of the GOP has become the “fringe”…while the sane elements quietly but loyaly stand by to support it.

    A serious truth that should be acknowleded – the right “fringe” is no longer just “fringe” in terms of standard definition – an outlier on the margins. It truly is one of the dominent and key driving factors on the right. Therefore, while you can still say that these are “crazy” and “extreme” positions…they are no longer “fringe” in terms of size or impact – only in terms of their statements and actions.

    Another serious truth that is often overlooked but is a key factor here – as large as that “crazy extreme” is and as much as it drives the convesation – it cannot remain powerful on its own. It needs the quiet and “sane” elements to prop it up. The only way to put the crazy extreme back on the fringe where it belongs is for the sane to finally either kick it to the curb (which it might be to late for them to even have the power to do anymore) or to finally wake up and outright ABANDON the crazy extreme to its own end.

    Doing the latter is really the best long-term strategy that any sane conservative could pursue. It may seem scary and gutsy in the short term, as that will require rebuilding…but it is the better moral choice and more likely to lead to a stronger, healthier future.

  33. avatar
    obsolete May 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    Don’t forget that almost all Republican Congressman and politicians think that man-made climate change (and the science behind it) is a hoax. It is news when a Republican Congressman or politician doesn’t believe in conspiracy theory.
    Not to even mention evolution…

  34. avatar
    G May 13, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

    obsolete: Don’t forget that almost all Republican Congressman and politicians think that man-made climate change (and the science behind it) is a hoax. It is news when a Republican Congressman or politician doesn’t believe in conspiracy theory.Not to even mention evolution…

    Tragically, for our country, that is all too true…