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Study: Why Conservatives Can’t Be Clowns

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This shouldn't entirely come as a huge surprise, but a study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln concluded that conservatives are more easily spooked by gory images and startled by loud sounds than are liberals.

In other words, just burst a balloon behind someone's back. If they jump three feet in the air, they're conservative. If they calmly turn around and shrug, they're liberal.

That being the case, I really don't think there can be many right-wingers working in the circus, given the presence of cherry bombs and balloons. Indeed, the only true clowns are liberals.

That is why I say this is not entirely a surprise is because it confirms what I have always thought: 1. That there are deeply ingrained factors to a person's political stance; that is, a person's political beliefs are closely linked with their personality. 2. Political beliefs are also closely linked with just how much people trust their fellow human beings.

Those to the right believe in good and evil. They believe that people are responsible for their own actions and choices. Therefore, when something terrible or horrific happens, a conservative will likely point to the person himself as the sole source of blame. This, in turn, makes conservatives much more likely to recognize the inherent instability of society and humankind in general.

Those to the left, on the other hand, believe in moral relativism and largely deny the existence of good versus evil.  They believe that other extenuating factors contribute to a person's downfall.  Feeling that people are inherently good, they believe society should be much more open and less restrained.  To them straight white males with their limited worldview are the closest thing to pure evil.

Therefore, a conservative is not likely to hang around downtown past midnight because he acknowledges the  potential danger that the city's nightlife might pose to him or her. A liberal will deny the existence of any danger and freely walk about wherever they please.

Ergo, a conservative is naturally more cautious — or nervous, if you will — than a liberal. It's got nothing to do with bravery or courage. People on either side can display that. John McCain, the conservative, showed his mettle by refusing escape from capture and torture by the North Vietnamese unless his fellow soldiers could join him. John Kerry, the liberal, displayed courage by fighting in Vietnam when it would have been easy for him to have dodged it. This is more about how individuals judge the safety of the world around them.

It could, in fact, even be said that it's a matter of which side is more likely to follow common sense. Again, I point to the likely lack of conservatives partying in the small hours of the morning in seedy areas of town as an example of this. Conservatives don't believe in courting danger.

According to the University of Nebraska study, I am clearly a conservative. Loud noises, such as exploding firecrackers or popping balloons, startle me, and I am distressed by grime and gore. In fact, I am a hemophobiac; I am afraid of blood.

Roger Highfield, Science Editor of The Daily Telegraph writes in the September 19 edition of the Telegraph: "Those most affected by [gory] images — such as a spider on a face, a dazed and bloody person, or an open wound crawling with maggots — had the most right-wing views. These views included support for military spending, warrantless searches, the death penalty, obedience, patriotism and the Iraq War.

"They also tended to be opposed to pacifism, immigration, gun control, foreign aid, compromise, premarital sex, gay marriage, abortion and pornography."

That's me in a nutshell, alright.

I used to work with some fellows who were quite fond of the website Rotten.com. They would always call me over to look at images that I never wanted to see. They could stare at sickening pictures for hours, fascinated, while my stomach would turn at just one picture. Those guys I worked with were all left-wingers, come to think of it.

You've got to hand it to conservative candidates and their voters and supporters, however. It can't be easy for them when they celebrate avictory and the balloons start falling from the rafters.

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  • Cannonshop

    Um… I don’t know. How does skinning and gutting an animal for food rank into their study? I know LOTS of Conservatives that hunt (though not always successfully), and that’s often pretty risky (chances of some jerkoff shooting at the movement without checking his target, etc) and very few Libs who can stand to watch the cleaning of a deer (a task that I’ve done a few times) without retching.

    Though I’ll agree that Pictures of carnage give me the creeps…

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    That’s a good point, Cannonshop. Food for thought, if you’ll pardon the pun.

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    I guess conservatives can handle gore if it’s in the name of “sport.” You know, a deluded sense that this particular gruesome sight is okay because it was ordained by God — dominion over the animals — or something like that.

  • Clavos

    MUCH better picture, Mark!!

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Indeed it is, much less scary than the old one! Is it recent? Crisis? What crisis?

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Mind you, the article is total bollocks. It is simply not true that the right believe in good, evil and personal responsibility whilst those on the left believe in moral relativism.

    I would have thought superstitious faithists believed in good and evil.

    My mind glazed over shortly after those paragraphs as the entire piece is too full of mind numbing cliches and stereotypes…

  • Cannonshop

    #3

    Actually, Mark, I think it’s a matter of Conservatives can handle gore if there’s a purpose, but are repelled by purposeless gore. Stitching a hole in someone, or setting a broken leg, for instance (when I had to do that, I did my puking and retching AFTER), as opposed to leering at a disgusting image of an accident victim for kicks.

  • http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/39420/joanne_huspek.html Joanne Huspek

    If liberals are so free and easy, how come Barack became angry over that “New Yorker” magazine cover? You’d think a guy that liberal would be laughing his a** off at a little fun poked at his expense.

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    C. Rose: “Crisis? What crisis?”

    Crisis is the name of a homelessness charity here in the U.K. They are the organizers of the Crisis Square Mile Run, a 3.5-mile race through the City, every June. That t-shirt was the one I was given before I took part in the race … It was great fun, can’t wait to run it again next year.

  • Cannonshop

    #8
    They’re still human beings, Joanne, and IIRC, ’twasn’t the Obamessiah who was all worked up about it-it was his followers, probably because while free-and-easy about some things, other things they’re very thin skinned indeed.

  • cuervodeluna

    Sorry, Mark, but I just could not read your “article”.

    If you were in a freshman English class with this poster as your teacher you would be sent back to high school.

    The two cardinal rules of writing are:

    1. Write what you KNOW about, and

    2. Don’t make it up.

    I did notice one hilarious claim that jumped off the screen as I scrolled down: that conservatives are too afraid to hang around downtowns after dark.

    If I remember right, quite a few of them–especially Good Oles–have been caught with their britches down in the downtown after dark–even in public fountains cavorting with “ladies of the evening”.

    Hah!

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    Joanne, I — nor anyone else, so far as I know — is saying that liberals can’t be touchy or get take things the wrong way. All I’m saying is that the Obamessiah, to use Cannon’s hilarious word for him, might be less likely to flinch at a bloody scene than I would. The fact that he can’t take a joke? That’s actually very typical of a militant liberal.

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    Oops, I meant the first line of my response to Joanne to read, “I am not saying — nor is anyone else — …”

    Me bad. Blame it on lack of sleep and no coffee.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “John Kerry, the liberal, displayed courage by fighting in Vietnam when it would have been easy for him to have dodged it.”

    How could he have dodged it? After all, he tried to dodge it.

    Kerry requested a deferment to study in France. When that was turned down, he signed up to be an officer in the Navy, rather than run the risk of being drafted by the Army and fighting in the infantry.

    At the time Kerry volunteered for duty on the Swift Boats, they weren’t patrolling hot zones upriver; their mission was a relatively safe one away from the battlefield. Then their mission changed, and suddenly Kerry gets three purple hearts in about 110 days, and uses that as his excuse to go back home. (It was not, repeat not, mandatory for him to go home after PH number three.)

    At least one of those purple hearts was for an indirectly self-inflicted injury. None of his “wounds” required so much as a single stitch.

    I know what you were aiming for by mentioning Kerry’s service, MEM. But please don’t compare it to John McCain’s service. It’s apples to oranges.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    The generalizations and poor conclusions drawn from them within the article disprove the title of this piece.

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    RJ: The fact of the matter is, I will always appreciate the fact that Kerry fought in Vietnam. I have issues with him regarding his put-down of American soldiers in Vietnam once he arrived home and his liberal politics since, but he was there, he served and, as far as I know, with his privileged blue-nosed background, he could easily have stepped out of it, but he didn’t. OK, so he chose what he thought was the easiest path to surviving Vietnam — I honestly can’t say I blame him. The fact is, when things turned sour on the Swift Boats, Kerry rose to the occasion and acted bravely. I refuse to tear apart any Vietnam vet’s service; if a man was there, in the midst of that obscene quagmire, then he’s got my respect.

    Having said that, in no way, shape or form do I think Kerry’s service is equal to McCain’s. McCain’s experiences are clearly miles above Kerry in terms of the tenacity and courage needed to pull through them. I was simply trying to point out that both men showed mettle, in their own respective ways. McCain showed more; no argument there.

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    Generalizations? Poor conclusions? Care to point out just what these would be, El Bicho?

    What’s your take on the study? Go on, enlighten me.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    My understanding of the study was that some people are innately more susceptible to fear and alarm and that there was a correlation between that and some people’s political views.

    It hardly seems like the most surprising observation ever, but then nor does the fact that you leapt on the report and distorted its findings to support your own view of the world. No change there then.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    This just in: a new study has just revealed that the vast majority of people using the expression “Go on, enlighten me” are in fact so sure of their views that no enlightenment is actually possible. The horror!

  • bliffle

    Beg your pardon Manning. Did you read McCains OWN WORDS in the 1973 USNews article? Where he said that 4 days after being shot down he was willing to trade military information for hospital care?

    Didn’t see it? Should I bring back the citation?

    I renew my promise to not mention John McCains sorry record as a POW if people stop bleating about what a hero he was.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Actually, Joanne, the NYer cover wasn’t poking fun at Obama, it was poking fun at the people who believed all the rumors about Obama; it just backfired because people didn’t get it.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    bliffle – you were one of those protestors in the 60’s and 70’s that spit on the Vets when they came home weren’t you?

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Oi, Marsh, no! It’s 60s and 70s and spat… 😉

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    (CR: he won’t get it)

  • http://www.marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    Those to the left, on the other hand, believe in moral relativism and largely deny the existence of good versus evil.

    ah cliches…the orthopedic truss of the internet.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    well, orthopedic truss is certainly NOT a cliche! Good one, Mark:)

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Lisa – He wasn’t talking to you…you don’t seem to get alot of stuff around here!

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Oh, Andy, I had no idea I could only comment when someone was speaking directly TO me….. When did YOU, arbiter of the site make that rule?

    PS, it is spelled as two words: a lot. (As in, you could learn a lot about grammar from reading posts by Christopher and me.)

    And I get plenty, kiddo. Including the fact that you are….. (Oh, dear, if I say it, it shall be deleted).

    But, just so you know, Andy. I WAS NOT TALKING TO YOU! And Mark wasn’t talking to YOU, either.

    (you clever lad, you)

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I’ve made only a few comments toward you and just about every one of them includes some little piece about how I offended you, or you just don’t like talking to me or whatever…so, I figure, I’ll keep my comments towards you to myself and you do the same.

    You spell your words your way and I’ll spell mine the way I want to.

    Christopher and me? Shouldn’t that be, Christopher and I???

    Two chances of me EVER learning anything from you…slim and none. Your condescending attitude makes it very easy to ignore anything you have to say. I do it ALOT!

  • Cindy D

    Actually, no it shouldn’t Andy. Both “Christopher” and “me” are objects. It would be “Christopher and I” when used as subjects.

    And easy way to remember this is to substitute a pronoun:

    you could learn a lot about grammar from reading posts by Christopher and me

    becomes either:

    you could learn a lot about grammar from reading posts by us (when object pronoun “us” works–use object pronoun “me”)

    or

    you could learn a lot about grammar from reading posts by we (when subject pronoun “we” works” use subject pronoun “I”)

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Hey Andy, isn’t your neck of the woods one of those US regions known for its charm and good manners?

  • Clavos

    As in, you could learn a lot about grammar from reading posts by Christopher and me.

    Oh brother.

    Narcissism…from the bourgeoisie.

  • Cindy D

    You’re not embarrassed at all to say something like that are you Mark?

  • Cindy D

    I think we need a second study, extreme right wing conservatives likely can’t be clowns because they A) have no idea what is funny or B) don’t really have a sense of what makes something embarrassing, serious, funny, etc.

    In other words they are apparently out of touch. Not situation that weighs favorably on a job as a clown or comedian.

  • Cindy D

    I’ve gone and done it again.

    Well, Mark Saleski, my comments were actually aimed at Mark Manning, apparently in some other thread which I had open at the same time and now don’t have the energy to locate.

    Mark M, do you remember where you were acting like a horses’s ass in reply to bliffle (as opposed to any other time)? That’s the thread I meant to post those to comments to.

    Whatever, I think I’ll go and watch some T & V it can hardly hurt my brain seeing the condition it’s in.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Clav…. actually, aren’t you embarrassed to say something like what you said about my post? I mean, Andy is not only incredibly ungrammatical (and an awful speller) but he is often obnoxious just for the heck of it. I called him on it. And then you decided to be what you thought was cute. But really wasn’t.

    I find it interesting the “fights” you choose to enter. Other posters are writing huge racist and sexist and ugly beyond belief screeds on serious opinion pieces and you as a blogcritic opinion editor sit back and wait to make small snide comments about my correcting someone’s grammar. While free speech may be elemental to blog critics, I wonder why the list can be hijacked by a couple of writers who use every opportunity to be so horrifically ugly that it almost seems like a joke, like some weird ringer sent to set off the few progressives who dare to reveal ourselves.

    And I suspect you are far more bourgeois than I.

    Andy, you were so continually ugly to me for so many days that I chose to no longer engage with you: a COUPLE of comments indeed. I think it’s odd that that is how you wish to defend yourself. Your memory is very faulty….

    There was, also, absolutely no reason for you to make a comment about my comment on Mark Saleski’s comment, either. It was gratuitous. So take your licking… if you can dish it out, Andy…..

    And of course you can CHOOSE to spell incorrectly if you wish. But it certainly does make you look a lot less credible and appear a lot less intelligent. All you have to do is use spell check or buy a dictionary.

    Thanks, Cindy, for pointing out that my grammar was correct and Andy’s correction of it wasn’t:)

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption

    Um… I don’t know. How does skinning and gutting an animal for food rank into their study? I know LOTS of Conservatives that hunt (though not always successfully), and that’s often pretty risky (chances of some jerkoff shooting at the movement without checking his target, etc) and very few Libs who can stand to watch the cleaning of a deer (a task that I’ve done a few times) without retching.

    Though I’ll agree that Pictures of carnage give me the creeps…

    This is completely not true. I am a liberal and I know lots of liberals who have no problem witnessing the skinning of an animal. I’d say most liberals object to it on moral grounds (I don’t), not because it makes them uncomfortable.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption

    Oh brother.

    Narcissism…from the bourgeoisie.

    Very good Clavos :)

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption

    Speaking of narcissism…

    My first article should be coming out shortly!
    (Assuming it passes inspections).

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    No it’s not CR. I’m originally from NJ!!! We’re all racists here in VA!

    And I’m going to point out again Lisa, that you really have a problem with either comprehension or just plain reading, I can’t exactly figure it out, but the comment I responded to you about was comment #24, which was quite obviously geared towards the comment right before it, that was in fact, made to me.

    I may be incredibly ungrammatical (and an awful speller) and I may get obnoxious just for the HELL of it, but I usually have a sense of humor and rarely ever think, like you do, that the entire world is after me.

    I can dish it out, but BC won’t let me tell you what I really think of you…

    …it’s quite obvious to me that all you really do have going for you is your spell checker.

    Thanks Cindy for patting Lisa on the back, she needs all the encouragement she can get.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Gosh, Andy, if you have a sense of humor, I would hate to see what humorlessness looks like!

    My bad for drawing Mark S into the fray. Hope you got some info from CR and me. A college degree should impart some rudimentary knowledge of the English language but it looks like our educational system is in worse shape than even I thought.

    Not everyone is out to get me, just a couple of overly angry and very smug posters who do nothing but comment all the day long…..

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I don’t have a degree Lisa, I have 35 years of work experience.

  • Cindy D

    Andy,

    I just realized that the same thing could be accomplished (the “I” or “me” thing) by simply dropping, in that example, “Christopher”.

    I don’t know why I’ve always done it the other way. Well, it’s good to notice this stuff before I become an English teacher.

    By the way, college education doesn’t do much for grammar except probably interfere with learning it. We don’t generally learn it the way we’re taught.

    Teachers (and the GOP) tend not to follow science any more than anyone else. We have about 100 years of evidence that shows that the “back to basics”, “memorize rules”, “drill and kill” doesn’t make better writers or readers.

    It’s reading, reading, reading that improves grammar and writing skills.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Cindy – Doesn’t it depend on what you read? I mean, I could read ee cummings all day long and I don’t think it would help me with punctuation!

  • Cindy D

    Andy,

    I haven’t met anyone who reads ee cummings as a staple.

    My guess though is that a diet of nothing but ee cummings likely wouldn’t be very helpful. Poetry being different than prose.

    Reading, in this case, means reading prose. Prose is what contains the grammatical forms we absorb through reading.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I was just being a brat Cindy. I got your meaning. Just like reading comments all day won’t help you grammatically.

    I recently took English 111 and 112 at the local CC and you’re right, they really only touched on grammar lightly, form seemed to be the biggest issue, that and references.

    Believe it or not, but I write for a living. I’ve been developing curriculum for a few years now. It’s more technical writing than anything else.

    When I write here, here being the comments section, I don’t really worry about puncutation, grammar or spelling. Now that I know that it iritates some people, I’ll do it that way even more often!

    I also have dyslexic figners!

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    this is a thread hijack but whatever….here’s a punctuation issue that’s always bothered me. look at what cindy wrote:

    We have about 100 years of evidence that shows that the “back to basics”, “memorize rules”, “drill and kill” doesn’t make better writers or readers.

    the american way to place the commas is inside the double quotes. i have had an editor (who i will not name) give me tremendous grief for straying from this rule.

    the thing is, the british way makes way more sense to me.

  • Clavos

    @#38,

    Thanks, PETI.

    Coming from you, high praise indeed.

  • zingzing

    i’m wondering if this should be listed as satire. it’s teetering on the edge. mark’s either making fun of this ridiculous study, or he’s making fun of his own ridiculous conclusions.

    “Those to the left, on the other hand, believe in moral relativism and largely deny the existence of good versus evil. They believe that other extenuating factors contribute to a person’s downfall. Feeling that people are inherently good, they believe society should be much more open and less restrained. To them straight white males with their limited worldview are the closest thing to pure evil.”

    moral relativism… i’m not even sure what that really is. good versus evil exists, it’s just not what conservatives think it is (which is everything). i guess that sometimes being pure evil is enough to cause “a person’s downfall,” but usually it’s got a lot to do with other things. society should be open. otherwise we’d all be sitting in our rooms on our computers all day… long… hmm. i’m a straight white male, and i don’t believe that’s evil.

    and yet i’m a liberal! 100%! yet i only fit with about 30% of mark’s description of me. this thing is bunk.

    that said, i do believe that conservatives are more easily frightened. jumpy little fucks always run to mommy when things get a little scary. it explains the way they are.

  • Condor

    That doesn’t explain why Libs gathered around the tube to bong it up and watch Mike Ross paint.

  • zingzing

    bob ross?

    god, i love that man. terrible painter. but he’s like the drugs i no longer let myself take.