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May 07, 2008

Science Solves Riddle of Conservative Happiness: We're Just Better at "Rationalizing" Away Inequalities

Again and again, these dopey liberals-are-better-than-conservatives "studies" deliberately make the same blatantly unscientific error: When a difference between conservatives and liberals is found, a very unsupportable value judgment is read into that difference, and the conservative tendency is described unscientifically as base and inferior, while the liberal tendency is described unscientifically as elevated and superior. They never quite get around to providing the data set to prove that; it's assumed. And everyone knows in science you're allowed to assume all the unsupported moral judgments you like.

So here we go again. Conservatives are found to be, as was of course expected, to be not as bothered by income inequality as liberals. That part of the study is well supported, but rather obvious and hardly worthy of a headline; it's not like we didn't know liberals pretend to be all worried about income inequality as they sip their lattes and drive their Volvos while not giving to charity.

But the social "scientists" here decide, by fiat, that a liberal-level of pretend-concern about income inequality is the "right" level of such concern and, ergo, any deviation from that is "wrong."

So once again: A "study" by liberals "proves" that liberals are better.

Individuals with conservative ideologies are happier than liberal-leaners, and new research pinpoints the reason: Conservatives rationalize social and economic inequalities.

Regardless of marital status, income or church attendance, right-wing individuals reported greater life satisfaction and well-being than left-wingers, the new study found. Conservatives also scored highest on measures of rationalization, which gauge a person's tendency to justify, or explain away, inequalities.

The rationalization measure included statements such as: "It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others," and "This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are."

To justify economic inequalities, a person could support the idea of meritocracy, in which people supposedly move up their economic status in society based on hard work and good performance. In that way, one's social class attainment, whether upper, middle or lower, would be perceived as totally fair and justified.

...

"Our research suggests that inequality takes a greater psychological toll on liberals than on conservatives," the researchers write in the June issue of the journal Psychological Science, "apparently because liberals lack ideological rationalizations that would help them frame inequality in a positive (or at least neutral) light."

Lacking in this "study" is actual proof that conservative beliefs are "rationalizations" as opposed to, um, reason.

But we don't sweat such things in science anymore. If a premise is helpful to the conclusion you seek to prove, feel free to assume and assert its validity without evidence.

Meanwhile, of course, we have no psychological studies delving into the quite-interesting riddle of why liberals claim to care so much about the poor but donate so much less money and volunteer so much less time to charitable causes. I'm curious as to what "rationalizations" liberals have to justify such behavior.

Thanks so much to The Marchand Chronicles.


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posted by Ace at 12:22 PM

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