September 05, 2003


Remember the alleged psychological study published way back in July that exposed conservatives as crazy? Melbourne writer Phillip Jones, speedy little unit that he is, expands on that study in today’s Age:

It reported the findings of a group of distinguished psychological researchers ... They found that "conservatism emerges as a set of neuroses nourished by aggression, dogmatism and an intolerance of ambiguity".

Blah, blah. By “expands on”, I mean “uses as a hook on which to hang his dull prejudices”. Here’s more from Jonesy:

It is interesting to follow the media apologists for conservative dogma. Never before have they had such voice. The left is emasculated, so they aver. They despise the left. They are obsessed with its naivety, its muddle-headedness, its backwardness and its political correctness. Yet they cannot leave it alone. They worry it like a dog does a bone. Are they protesting too much? Is the Freudian unconscious tormenting them? Do they need treatment?

Jones should know:

As an unrepentant conservative baiter ...

He cannot leave conservativism alone. He worries it like a dog does a bone. Is he protesting too much? Is the Freudian unconscious tormenting him? Does he need treatment? Actually, he probably does:

I, for one, am unsurprised by the conclusions of the American shrinks. I have always known that the conservatives are sick.

UPDATE. The Age is running a Your Say forum on this. One response:

As for baiting conservatives - there is nothing better than taking the piss out of holier-than-though lefty pinko wankers. It's simple - ask them what they think of Bali bombers, leave your lights on in the house, don't separate the garbage, etc. Best game in town!

Posted by Tim Blair at September 5, 2003 04:28 AM

I'm thinking that the methodology used in that study may be a little tainted when you see that Hitler, Mussolini, and Ronald Reagan were chosen as their examples of right-wing conservatives. Y'know I think I'll do my own study and start delving into the psyches of Stalin, Pol Pot, and Bill Clinton to come up with a unifying theory of liberal psychology.

That "study" by Berkeley leftists reminds me of the ones done by German scientists in the 1930's intent on proving that Jews were an inferior race. You just know that the likes of Philip Jones are itching to herd conservatives into sanitariums and re-education camps if given half a chance.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at September 5, 2003 at 06:23 AM

I find this both hilarious and mildly disturbing. First, it's interesting how these psychologists are assuming that their own opinions of a group of people are actually scientific fact. Talk about obsession (Mr. Blair made that point quite well). I also find it sort of Orwellian that they are providing "proof" that a political group is neurotic, a group who's only crime is that have a different political view. The Nazis did they same thing with a race of people, indicating that they were obviously inferior and that something needed to be done about them. Thankfully, I am pretty certain this group of "scientists" will be regarded as a joke, even by a number of left-wingers.

Posted by: Cool Tester at September 5, 2003 at 06:24 AM

This bullshit is truelly galling, and truely Stalinite- medicalising dissent. Why bother argue with a lunatic after all? Off you go for 'treatment', comrade, problem solved.

But these fucktards know it's bullshit, and they know it's galling too. This is the desperate fringe that the loony left has been cast to, sneering and condesention in the guise of phony 'psychology' studies done by hatefull and deluded Berkely campus radicals, sorry, I mean 'distinguished psychological researchers'.

Christ, what a bunch of fucking morons. I've had it with these swine and so have alot of other people. Bush is going to annialate these scumbags in '04.

Posted by: Amos at September 5, 2003 at 06:26 AM

Sorry Randal. Didn't mean to step on your toes regarding the Nazis comparison (I was one minute too late).

Posted by: Cool Tester at September 5, 2003 at 06:27 AM

The first post hit the nail on the head. I'm a psychologist, and, having only read the text which everyone else has seen, I can say that the primary threat to the validity of the study was the bias of the researchers. Here's why:

Any reasonable individual on the mainstream left or right will acknowledge that those on the mainstream left or right are much more similar than either group is to the ideological extremes. That is, mainstream Democrats and Republicans (in the US) are more similar than dissimilar when compared to either Communism or Fascism. The only individuals who disagree with this tend to be myopic members of one party attempting to fit into the mainstream by marginalizing the other party (which we all tend to do, it's a quite common social psychological tendency). This is why both Dems and Republicans always think they are the majority, and the other party is extremist.

The authors of the study are quite likely fringe members of the far left to associate Reagan with the Fascists, because Reagan is actually much closer to a Democrat than a Fascist.

People on the Right do this as well. Bill Clinton is actually more of a Republican than a Communist, but will often be called a Marxist as a method of marginalization.

In short, the study is probably a way for the author's to confirm their own pre-existing beliefs about conservatives, based on the sample they chose. Maybe I'll do a study of liberals, and my sample will include Stalin, Mao, and Ho Chi Min -- hmmm.....wonder what my results might be...


Posted by: Jerry at September 5, 2003 at 07:26 AM

These "scientists" work is perfect for me. Doesn't this entitle us conservatives to the "insanity defense"? I'm sharpening my knifes and preparing to go on a killing spree as i type this.

Posted by: PortugueseGuy at September 5, 2003 at 07:35 AM

Psychotic leftist
Who needs ambiguity
Except what’s fascist

Posted by: haikool at September 5, 2003 at 07:51 AM


You wrote a haiku
to fit it all in must be
extremely diffic....

Posted by: ross at September 5, 2003 at 08:53 AM

Im guessing a leftist defined nazi policy as far right. NAZI policies were actuallly all over the place (at least by our modern understanding of right and left) including some that were extremely leftist in nature.
Opposing work that is not directly related to labour (i.e. opposing the "Jewish" lending of money).. now there is a leftist policy.
even the fact that they chose to focus on a perceived successful group to persecute.. that is classic leftist policy.
And nationalism and expansionism arent solely the domain of the left we all know about the Russian father land and Chineese nationalism (and their expansionistic tendancies.

Posted by: scottie at September 5, 2003 at 09:03 AM

Ross, I must admit
Writing haikus has limits
Sometimes they are forced

Posted by: RJT at September 5, 2003 at 09:46 AM

I linked to
this page but
i cant haiku

Posted by: Scott Wickstein at September 5, 2003 at 11:54 AM

This is all rather humorous to me. Freud tried the same tactic with those who disagreed with him.

Posted by: Peter S. Chicago, IL at September 5, 2003 at 11:58 AM

Rabbit Studies today is an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary academic program that places rabbits and rabbit gender at the center of inquiry.

The program seeks to understand the ways sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, nationality, ability and age intersect with rabbit gender systematically to affect all areas of rabbit life.

Through rabbit theory and activism we seek to transform epistemological frameworks and social practices, meanings and structures. We are committed to offering the highest quality teaching and scholarship exploring constructions of rabbit gender and the interconnections of multiple differences.

Rabbit Studies achieves these goals by offering three courses of study--a major, a minor and a graduate concentration--and by making Rabbit Studies perspectives available to students in all disciplines through its introductory course, thematic sequences, and cross-listed courses.

The program further supports and encourages faculty and student scholarship through the Rabbit Studies Research Center.

Although the program is housed in the College of Arts and Science, its mission is university-wide: to raise awareness about the exclusion of rabbits from the academy and the work world, to increase the understanding of the ways difference systematically influences all areas of rabbit life, and to encourage rabbits and faculty to take up projects of understanding and social action related to these issues.

Conservative rabbits are not admitted to this course.

Posted by: pooh at September 5, 2003 at 12:39 PM

I would love to have that absolutely arrogant self-certainty.

Posted by: gaz at September 5, 2003 at 12:48 PM

I'm glad this appeared here. My blood pressure went ballistic when I read the article, to the extent I thought I was going to pop a foo-foo valve! The magnitude of Jones's arrogance is breathtaking! I consider myself fairly middle-of-the-road; slightly right-leaning in some areas -- but this vituperative drivel only serves to get my back up and out of sheer bloody-mindedness I will veer even further to the right.

Posted by: BruceT at September 5, 2003 at 12:56 PM

If this "study" (sic) had been given to a group of ordinary people (e.g., Buckley's first 100 names out of the Boston phonebook), it would never pass the giggle test.

Just absurd. Read the thing. No peer review journal of any substance with any standards would publish such rubbish.


Posted by: SteveMG at September 5, 2003 at 01:03 PM

Hoist with his own petard of ignorance.
Jones' understanding of politics: "Figures belonging to the far right of the political spectrum: Hitler, Mussolini and Ronald Reagan." Gee, you don't hear much these days about that putsch that Ronny Regan staged.

Can't find anything to back his point, so makes it up: "A straw poll revealed..."

"The first great lie of the first great conservative prime minister of Australia, R. G. Menzies, was to designate his fledgling postwar political party, the Liberal Party."
No idea of Australian history in which the Liberal Party evolved in reaction to trade and labor protection, the first practised by conservatives and the latter by socialists.

"Conservative governments go to extraordinary lengths to consolidate centralised power. The process is endemic to their authoritarian nature." Duh, so it's the conservatives that gave us political correctness, the industrial relations commission, the family court, the human rights commission?

"His presidency was made possible by a conservative-stacked Supreme Court and by the nepotic machinations of his brother, the conservative Governor of Florida." This has been handled accurately in an earlier post's comments and wherever you come from politically, you know his claim is imbecilic.

"As a prop to his political survival he fosters the anxieties of the so-called silent majority." Jeez, I must be missing something. Haven't read much anxious stuff from the silent majority in The Age lately. Delusional paranoia from the left, on the other hand, swamps the letters page.

"They despise the left. They are obsessed with its naivety, its muddle-headedness, its backwardness and its political correctness." Ah, eventually, he had to get something right.

Posted by: slatts at September 5, 2003 at 01:37 PM

I thought the wonderful Mr Jones nailed it smack on the head.

Salivating over the prospects of a totally 'exciting', 'awesome' and televised war in which a bunch of towelheads get roasted by the latest in All-American Ingenuity Weaponry whilst refusing to acknowledge the significant downsides thousands of dead innocents (imagine they were americans - or at least white ones), massively increased risk of terror attacks, and an unprecedented level of anti-americanism which we all have to live with - there's something wrong with that.

Putting one's hand on one's heart and pledging allegiance to a dimwitted richboy whos ambivalent about the fact that he put innocent people to death, whilst claiming some poorly defined enemy, known only by race/religion is out to get all y'all for no reason but jealousy - there's something wrong with that.

I'm just glad boys and girls like you guys can only vent from behind a monitor, cos i just *know* you're all so totally brave that if ever someone gave you a gun, you'd join this 'crusade' against all who weren't indoctrinated into coca-cola-culture at age 3.

Posted by: Z Meister at September 5, 2003 at 01:42 PM

Well, first, when someone disagrees with the this bunch, the choices are: ignorant (not in possession of the facts); stupid (in possession of the facts but unable to correctly understand them); or evil (in possession of the facts and able to understand them but still disagreeing).

Thus, most Democrats started by calling Bush ignorant or stupid, and a few on the left fringe decided, since he kept proving he was neither ignorant nor stupid, he could only be evil. This typically is extended to include any non-leftys. However, it is difficult to sell to the larger public. What they see is non-ignorant, non-stupid, non-evil.

Problem. What's left? Why, crazy. If they're not stupid, ignorant nor evil and they STILL disagree with us, then obviously they're crazy.

See. It works.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at September 5, 2003 at 01:44 PM

Had to respond to this point made by Mr. Jones:

Conservative governments go to
extraordinary lengths to consolidate
centralised power

As opposed to "progressive" ones? Name me a leftwing/progressive government that did NOT centralize power?

Actually, the criticism directed against conservatives by the liberal/left, at least here in the U.S., is their desire to decentralize power, especially economically. Give more power to the states (federalism, the so-called "states rights" view); reduce taxes, give more bloc grants to states, cut back on what are called "unfunded mandates" by Washington and so on.

The best government, it's argued, is the one that is CLOSEST to the people.

It's an attempt to de-evolve government from Washington outward. Liberals detest this idea fearing that states and communities will not administer programs properly.

Whether it's school choice/vouchers, block grants, lower taxes, conservatives here desire to decentralize power, not concentrate it.

I think we all learned that in 11th grade. Maybe 10th.


Posted by: SteveMG at September 5, 2003 at 01:48 PM

Interesting take, Z Meister

At the age 3 and throughout my childhood I was being indoctrinated in slightly different way: I was taught that Coca-Cola softens moral spine of The People and that Japanese beetles destroying the crops were sent to our shores by Evil Imperialist America. Plus all the Marxist- Leninist drivel about historical determinism leading to eventual collapse of capitalism and to inevitable shining future of Communism. We were also pledging our lives and futures to eternal friendship with the Soviet Union.

I am writing this from San Francisco, so you may assume that the propaganda did not take, and that is because from an early age I had a tendency to believe my own lying eyes. Soviet Union is no more but Coca-Cola the drink and the company are doing fine.

The only thing that is left from the murderous socialist Utopias (both communist and fascist variety) of the 20th century is propaganda and “useful fools”.

Posted by: Katherine at September 5, 2003 at 02:10 PM

To reply, I'm almost too lazy,
And my mind wanders and often is hazy,
Meningitis aomebas feast,
On this Right Wing Death Beast,
Fuck Freud, this is why we're all crazy.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 5, 2003 at 02:12 PM

What’s the left-wing equivalent of “Goose-stepping?” I was watching a story on TV about a new lefty talk-radio network, and they interviewed this desiccated husk named Mike Malloy, and he mentioned that this new net would counteract all the “goose-stepping” that was pumped out by right-wing talk radio. Hmm. I listen to Prager, Medved, Hewitt. The first two guys are Jewish, so “goose-stepping” isn’t a word I’d toss in their general direction. I’ll admit that the field has some regrettable figures like Michael Savage, about whom I’ve written before: he has Michael Moore’s factual grasp, Al Franken’s warmth, and Paul Begala’s temperate nature. He’s the worst of the lot.


But Communism doesn’t have anything that can be expressed as pithily as “Goose-stepping.” Except, of course, for the goose-stepping: May Day parades featured some marvelously crisp leg-swings. And the parallels just keep coming! By some peculiar coincidence, the attributes of National Socialism are quite similar to the Soviet system: forced relocation of ethnic groups, the extermination of economic classes, the subservience of Art to the needs of the State, the imposition of Terror as a means of enforcing Party loyalty, the mass arrests, the hasty graves.

The one thing that made the Nazis distinct from the Sovs was the former’s fixation on racial identity. Blood Uber Alles. What’s your race? C’mon, we need to know. What - is - your - race?

How can we understand you if we don’t know your race? [...]`


Lilex est loquitur: causa finita.

Posted by: Uncle Milk at September 5, 2003 at 02:14 PM

Z Meister, the Americans are taken much more care to avoid civilian casualties than your left-wing heroes ever did. And when terrorists in the Saudi entity blew up another American facility this past spring, I couldn't help but notice that there batted in the "peace" camp not a single reptilian eyelid. As the anti-idiotarian watchword has it, peaceniks are not for peace--they're just on the other side.

As for the original post about the pathology of conservatives, this is in illustration of Charles Krauthammer's observation: "To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil." See here..

Posted by: The Sanity Inspector at September 5, 2003 at 02:25 PM

Z meister

"put innocent people to death, whilst claiming some poorly defined enemy, known only by race/religion"

Who are you saying did this? My recolection is that this is the behaviour of JI, the Taliban, Al Queda.

Posted by: Gilly at September 5, 2003 at 02:36 PM

Z Meister - --Putting one's hand on one's heart and pledging allegiance to a dimwitted richboy whos ambivalent about the fact that he put innocent people to death, whilst claiming some poorly defined enemy, known only by race/religion is out to get all y'all for no reason but jealousy - there's something wrong with that.

I'm just glad boys and girls like you guys can only vent from behind a monitor, cos i just *know* you're all so totally brave that if ever someone gave you a gun, you'd join this 'crusade' against all who weren't indoctrinated into coca-cola-culture at age 3.--

1. You have no clue about the US.

2. You have no clue as to how the Texas criminal/judicial system works.

3. We're not talking about the Europeans and their jealousy, we're talking about islamofascists.

4. As the Koran says, bin Laden reiterated in his manifesto in 1998 and the document the Australian Age(?) just posted, as a Jooo interviewed after the camps said when asked something along the lines of what did you learn, "When someone tells you he intends to kill you, believe him." That's pretty close to what he said around 1945-47, can't remember which.

1979, 1983, 1986, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001. We believe them.

After 2002, some in Ozland might also be getting the bigger picture.

Posted by: Sandy P. at September 5, 2003 at 02:37 PM

Z Meister:
There are LITERALLY millions of brown- and black-skinned people alive today thanks to American military intervention and actions.

In Somalia, the U.S. was able to provide food and medicine to millions of starving men, women and children. All alive as I type this thanks to American largesse.

Similarly, there are thousands - if not millions - of Muslims and other minorities alive in the Balkans - thanks to American intervention to prevent the ethnic cleansing policies of Milosevic.

And in Afghanistan and Iraq, millions of non-white peoples are enjoying some modicum of freedom and hope for the first time in their lives.

The thousands in those two countries that we did tragically kill by accident cannot come back. It was - and is - horrible.

I realize it is easy for me to say this in the safety and comfort of my home. But those terrible losses are small in comparison to the many more losses that would have happened had we not taken action.

The left complains that the U.S. too often ignores the suffering of people by regimes around the world. If we use non-military actions to punish these regimes and to force them to change, the people suffer the consequences of the sanctions and the U.S. is to blame. If we take military action to remove these rulers, still once again we're condemned.

A pattern is emerging. When we do nothing - we're wrong - when we do something non-militarily - we're wrong - when we use force - we're wrong.

No, you're wrong.


Posted by: SteveMG at September 5, 2003 at 02:43 PM

Which conservative said this:

'The Left has little to say about the social problems of recent decades. Having lost the debate around the supposedly overwhelmingly economic origins of these problems, people on the Left now virtually ignore them. How many prominent figures on the socially progressive side of the political spectrum tackle big problems like crime and family breakdown?'

Posted by: ilibcc at September 5, 2003 at 02:58 PM

"After 2002, some in Ozland might also be getting the bigger picture."

Hey sandy P, peddle your bullshit in your own back yard. Leave my beautiful country out of your bigger picture.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at September 5, 2003 at 03:12 PM

The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once observed that conservatives understood, while liberals did not, the importance of culture in a society. The role of the family, church, schools - the Burkean "little platoons" in our lives that help socialize us and inculcate values.

Similarly, he argued that liberals understood, while conservatives did not, the important role that government can play in changing that culture when it was destructive or "not good". That a culture of poverty or one borne in ignorance, can be changed by effective state intervention.

But, in order to believe that government can fix a "sick" culture, one must recognize that that culture needs fixing, so to speak. That those in that culture are not merely victims of an unjust society who we cannot expect much from; but, instead, fully human beings with free will that we can help, yes, but who must also bear responsibility for themselves and the actions that they take in their lives.

Some (many?) on the Right believe, perhaps, that this cause is hopeless. They wish the culture to somehow heal itself without much state action.

But, similarly, too many on the Left believe that because America (or Australia or fill in the blank) is corrupt, unfair, racist, unjust, that we cannot - should not - ask victims to somehow change. We must fix the unjust system first before we can ask (if we can at ask at all) the victims of that system to fix themselves.

Out of this latter view, comes a deep cynicism about the society they live in. The system cannot fix these problems because the system itself is broken. So, the focus is on the system - pointing out it's real (and imaginary) failures - and not on the people who need help. Until this deep cynicism and pessimism is removed, the Left will remain outside pounding on the doors.


Posted by: SteveMG at September 5, 2003 at 03:14 PM

That was Michael Costello, former advisor to ALP leader Kimbo Beazly. In today's Oz.

Posted by: D at September 5, 2003 at 03:17 PM

I am pretty certain this group of "scientists" will be regarded as a joke, even by a number of left-wingers.

This very moderate left-winger is well aware that these "scientists" are a joke. No worries. Normal people scoff at this kind of crap.

My father-in-law insists Bill Clinton is a Communist. I am familiar with this technique and have no patience for it, no matter who tries it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 5, 2003 at 04:27 PM

Adolf Hitler murdered 12 million people (including six million Jews), in his concentration and death camps. Soviet Communists murdered 17 million people by systematic starvation in the Ukraine alone. According to the Black Book of Communism, over the past 100 years Communist governments in Russia, China, Cuba, Eastern Europe and elsewhere have murdered at least 100 million human beings. (Most serious scholars concur.)

'Nuff said about who's sick in the head.

Posted by: dee at September 5, 2003 at 04:58 PM

Ah.. thats because Bill and Hillary Clinton are psuedo-fascists. Please correct for father-in-law. :)

Posted by: Murdoch Software Engineer Std at September 5, 2003 at 05:07 PM

I, for one, am unsurprised by the conclusions of the American shrinks. I have always known that the conservatives are sick.

What makes Dr., er, Mr. Adams think that these Beserkley academics give a flying fig what he thinks, even if they do agree? I know I'll sleep better at night knowing that a bunch of Goldwater-rule-ignoring (oh, that's right, these guys aren't even psychiatrists) semi-academics have confirmed Adam's paranoid prejudices.

Posted by: Tongue Boy at September 6, 2003 at 12:42 AM

That should read Jones, not Adams.

Posted by: Tongue Boy at September 6, 2003 at 12:45 AM

Z Meister,

You've caused a lot of good people to waste precious time and intellectual capital responding to a post that should have ended with the following:


Shame on you!


Posted by: Tongue Boy at September 6, 2003 at 12:48 AM

Talk about psychological problems the herd mentality of the leftists sheep are headed for socialist enslavement and are doing so happily. Just keep fat, happy, and stupid and you got a lefty's vote.

Posted by: Imam Pshyco Muhammed at September 6, 2003 at 12:54 AM

Can someone help me with the following quote by a famous playwright. I'm looking for the authors name and the body of work its taken from :

If at 20 one is not a communist
Then one is heartless
If at 40 one is not a conservative
Then one is brainless

Posted by: Jafa at September 6, 2003 at 01:19 AM

Jafa - that quote is often attributed to Winston Churchill (worded a little differently) but there is proof he ever said it...

Posted by: amy at September 6, 2003 at 02:27 AM

I felt sure that Tim would agree that the "unrepentant conservative baiter" is indeed a Master Baiter.

Posted by: Hazy Dave at September 6, 2003 at 02:56 AM

dang funny article, great to see it taken seriously :)

how is the search for entertaining right wing writers and broadcasters in australia going? i've almost given up hope. don't know if anyone had noticed, but the ABC is leaning towards the left, must....redress.....balance.

hasta luego

Posted by: chico o'farrill at September 6, 2003 at 10:28 AM

I am a specialist in this kind of research and I have had a big demolition of the "Berkeley" study published recently in "Front Page".


Posted by: John Ray at September 7, 2003 at 04:58 PM