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‘Extreme Conservatism’ Makes People Happy?!

From a wildly careening Salon:

Study: Extreme conservatives make happier people

Canadian scientists link right-wing authoritarian attitudes with a subjective sense of well-being

By Tom Jacobs | July 24, 2013

Given the many instances of Tea Partiers lashing out in anger over the past few years, it’s reasonable to think this is an extremely unhappy group of people. Reasonable, but wrong.

And never mind that we have not seen any instance of Tea Party supporters lashing out in anger. (Though some in Congress have tried to wrongly smear them.) In fact, all of the violence has come from the other side. From union thugs and Occupy Wall Street miscreants.

At least, that’s the implication of newly published research from Canada. It finds a “significant association” between authoritarian attitudes and a subjective sense of well-being. These findings are “in line with evidence that conservative ideology … may promote positive psychological outcomes,” writes a research team led by psychologist Cara MacInnis of the University of Toronto and Michael Busseri of Brock University.

In the journal Personality and Individual Differences, the researchers describe a study featuring 237 Canadian university students. Participants provided a set of opinions to determine the extent to which they are aligned with right-wing authoritarianism—that is, a tendency to submit to authority, condemn those who violate the rules, and uphold established traditions.

That is "right-wing authoritarianism"? Where is there any group that has to submit more to authority and condemn those who violate the rules and tradition than liberals?

Try questioning the liberal dogma, and see how long it is before you are banished from ‘polite society.’

They then gave a second set of opinions designed to determine their “social dominance orientation,” another aspect of generalized authoritarianism. Specifically, they expressed the extent of their agreement with statements such as “Some groups of people are just more worthy than others” and “In getting what your group wants, it is sometimes necessary to use force against other groups.”…

Again, this is supposed to be a tendency of right-wingers. Not Occupy Wall Street. Not leftists.

Finally, they were asked to rate their current life on a scale of one to nine (from the “worst life I could have” to the best). They were also given 20 adjectives (10 positive, 10 negative) and asked about the extent to which each described how they feel “in general.”

The results: “On the general level, greater generalized authoritarianism was clearly related to greater subjective well-being,” the researchers write. “The association suggests that generalized authoritarianism may be ‘good’ for the self.” …

It’s also important to note that the study participants were overwhelmingly young and female. They were also Canadians, who as a group report higher levels of well-being than Americans. It’s conceivable that an older, more male-skewing, U.S. sample could produce different results.

You see? Canadian women are just happy people. So this study doesn’t have anything to do with American conservatives, after all. What a relief!

Still, this research calls into serious question the notion of far right-wingers being grumps who are taking out their misery on those around them. If these results are correct, they may be making others (such as, say, Republican moderates) plenty miserable, but on a personal level, they’re doing quite OK.

Again, which side of the political spectrum enjoys making people miserable?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, July 26th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “‘Extreme Conservatism’ Makes People Happy?!”

    • Sweet! The three things that made America great.

    • Personal email signature Pic

    • canary

      I had the bumper sticker something like Three Things that Set us Free: America. God, Guns, and Guts on my old blue pick-up and people literally wanted to buy my truck just to have the bumper sticker. I think I got it at the state fair. Some John Birch society booth that had really cool stickers. Someone told me he was a nut. He sure had good bumper stickers and literature and a big poster of aborted baby’s at his booth. I got what I could and when my son came home from
      “Government” trying to argue with me about Abortion as his “Government teacher” lectured them, I got the book with pictures in the 70’s when I was still a teenager and showed him and he was shocked. And I pointed out I could have had a late term abortion with him, and we both survived
      miraculously. He took a baby pic of himself to school. A little miracle.

  1. yadayada

    “In getting what your group wants, it is sometimes necessary to use force against other groups.”…

    when did that line of reasoning ever have to do with conservatives?

    this appears to be a lib wet dream labeled as “right wing extremists are worse than we thought. the ONLY people I know who think it’s acceptable to (forcibly) take what you want (without earning it) and then feel good about yourself is libs. they have proven it time and time again and y’all have already given countless examples here on this board. think about all the conservatives you personally know…..
    am I backward in my thinking?

    doublethink on steroids




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