Your Neurochemical Self

Getting real with a 200-million-year-old brain

Partisan "Science"

Liberal researchers produce biased "data" on conservatives
Nigel Barber
This post is a response to Why Liberal Hearts Bleed and Conservatives Don't by Nigel Barber, Ph.D.

I'm not a partisan conservative, but I cringe when liberals push conservative-hating views as "science." Most social scientists are liberal, and when they speak of the “conservative world view,” you get the liberal view of the conservative view. Specifically, you get  lots of "data" on conservative fear and greed, but no ackowledgment of liberal fear and greed. You get “data” on liberal empathy and tolerance but none on conservative empathy and tolerance. The missing pieces are widely available on any opinion page or water-cooler conversation, even if they’re not available from social “science.” I've listed many of them below.

Before you cluck your tongue at the anecdotal nature of my examples, consider what passes for empirical data in conservative-bashing research. According to Why Liberal Hearts Bleed and Conservatives Don't, conservatives are three times more likely to have “mud rooms” in their homes. This overlooks the fact that conservatives live in parts of the country where there is mud, where muddy activities are popular, and where the word “mud room” is widely used rather than “foyer” or “hall” or “porch.” I never heard the word mud room when I was growing up on Long Island, though both political parties are well represented there. In liberal research, all information about conservatives is spun into evidence of their flawed world view. Let’s go beyond this bigotry and fill in the gaps. Human weaknesses are found in liberals as well as conservatives. Human virtues are found in conservatives as well as liberals. I can say so in public because I'm retired.

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Human weaknesses in liberals

Fear: Liberals think everyone wants to kill them.

1. My liberal friends think the police are always trying to round you up and jail you for no good reason and even send you to the electric chair. (When a criminal has a huge record of prior offenses, they ignore it.)

2. My liberal friends assume all opponents of affirmative action would lynch minorities if they had half a chance.

3. My liberal friends presume opponents of gay marriage want to assault and murder gay people (but ingore it when Moslems actually do).

Greed: Liberals think all wants are needs and all needs are rights.

1. Do you want to study abroad? Do you want your poetry published? Do you want to be free of the consequences of your bad choices? Liberals expect to their dreams to be fulfilled at your expense. They presume your money is ill-gotten, which means they're entitled to it. (Their money is richly deserved).

2. Liberals contribute less to charity, statistics show. My friends feel they’ve contributed enough through their efforts to inform you that life in America is endless hell.

3. Liberals feel entitled to cheat because they presume others (ie. Republicans) are cheating more. They act persecuted when caught cheating, be it academics, taxes, corruption.

Human virtues in conservatives

Empathy: Conservatives don't define childrens' needs in money terms.

1. When things go wrong for children, liberals always presume more government funding can solve it. Conservatives look at other causes of children’s suffering, including the limited parenting ability of teenagers, and the violence in a child's environment. (Yes, liberals look at it, but only to get more grant money.)

2. Conservatives empathize with the suffering caused by self-destructive behavior instead of glamorizing such behavior.

3. Conservatives are too busy supporting themselves to constantly hound you for your racism, sexism, colonialism, and homophobia. They don’t expect you to hate yourself for being white or having a responsible day job. They think it’s ok to like yourself.

Tolerance: Conservatives tolerate ubiquitous liberal hatred of them.

1. Liberals feel free to express their hatred of conservatives in education, culture and the “mainstream” media. Liberals blame everything bad on religous people (except Buddhists, the currently hip religion). I’m an atheist myself, but I understand why Christians feel that their views are suddenly outlawed on the their own country.

2. Conservatives respect your ability to meet your own needs instead of seeing you a victim of the system.

3. Conservative respect your right to make your own lifestyle choices. They just don’t want to pay for your lifestyle choices.

All humans have virtues and weaknesses. If you filter the data, you can make one group look virtuous and the other fatally flawed. Democracy is not about making the other guys look neurotic and evil. The mean-spirited misrepresentation of conservatives should not be embraced as "science."

Lots more on this in my book Beyond Cynical: Transcend Your Mammalian Negativity

Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., is a Zoo Docent and Professor Emerita of Management at California State University, East Bay. 

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