Whiny? Crazy? You Just Might Be A Conservative

You know that one loud, whiny kid in the supermarket yesterday? He's probably the future George W. Bush, according to a Toronto Star article about a study from the Journal of Research Into Personality.

"Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative," says the article. "At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals."

This story goes on to mention another study by John T. Jost of Stanford, one in 2003 that was roundly mocked by conservatives for lumping the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan and Limbaugh together as socially warped right-wingers. (Much of the mocking turned to anger when it was discovered that $1.2 million in taxpayer dollars helped pay for the study.) Whiny, socially warped, borderline insane - if that's true of conservative kids, how do red states ever find good public school teachers?

Of course, we should never question social psychologists in their line of work. They are, after all, professionals. So the idea that perhaps a small number of kids from the Berkeley area may not be a truly representative slice of the American population is just silly. Professor Jack Block, the author of the study, defends his work by explaining to the Star that "within his sample....the results hold." Surely, his statistics professor is very proud.

Meanwhile, as the academy tells us that social ineptness, insanity, and insecurity can all be motivations for conservatism, the MSM doesn't want us to forget the other side of the scale: hence, Ruth Marcus's column in today's Washington Post. Marcus maintains that the real problem with George W. Bush is that he's too focused on being a manly man's man.

Apparently, this violent testosterone-fueled psychological imperitive - not a coherent and just strategy for defending America in response to the first major attack on our soil since Pearl Harbor - is the real reason for our war in Iraq. Oh, and Condi Rice? Don't worry, women can have manly envy, too. Clearly, Maggie Thatcher did.

If these columnists and scientists are to be believed, then President Bush is just a real-life version of Dr. Strangelove's General Jack D. Ripper - blustering, impotent and murmuring about conspiracies to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids, just another spineless conservative wussyboy who has to prove he's a big brave man in cowboy boots.

This is ridiculous and wrong. It's always better to just let kids be kids and keep the psychologists out of the way - to follow the dictum of an aging hippie couple I know who, despite their pacifist beliefs, still let their boys run around playing army with sticks made into guns. After all, someone has to defend America.

By Ben Domenech |  March 21, 2006; 01:14 PM ET | Email a Comment
Previous: Pachyderms in the Mist: Red America and the MSM | Main Index | Next: Comments About Comments


© 2006 The Washington Post Company