The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Thursday, July 24, 2003


What Makes Conservatives Tick?

I suppose that I’ve always been a tad curious about that question myself, especially considering the political beliefs I once held. When I was 15, I was a Little Mister Gimme the Flat Tax—Burn the Social Safety Net—Ban the Unions—Pave the Environment—Bring Back The Noose and Put it on Pay-Per-View. Sort of like this little shit but without the creepy religious dogma. I guess you could say that I’ve shifted towards sensibility since then.

So it caught my eye to read that a bunch of psych-types at Berkeley have done some sort of meta-analysis using fifty years of research into the motives of conservatives. Being that I know almost nothing about psychology, I’m not quite sure how to make the best use of this research, or how valid it is. These are the social “sciences,” after all, where almost all published research ranges from biased as hell to merely slanted. Still, it got published in a respectable (as much as any psychology rag can be called respectable) journal, so there must be some sort of rigourousness to it all.

At least the talk of dogmatism, fear and aggression, tolerance of (preference for?) inequality, and inability to handle ambiguity seems to be justifiable, although the True Believers will quibble. From UCB’s press release, I quote:

BERKELEY – Politically conservative agendas may range from supporting the Vietnam War to upholding traditional moral and religious values to opposing welfare. But are there consistent underlying motivations?

Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:
  • Fear and aggression
  • Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
  • Uncertainty avoidance
  • Need for cognitive closure
  • Terror management

“From our perspective, these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination,” the researchers wrote in an article, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” recently published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin.

Read on.
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