Psychology of the right

A rare insight by way of a blog by Paul, a ‘right-of-center, gun-owning, gay Texan’, here quoting Keith Burgess-Jackson (BJ), who calls himself the Anal Philosopher:

‘Conservatism is committed to a presumption in favor of tradition. Presumptions by their nature are rebuttable. Law is filled with presumptions… There is a legal presumption that people accused of crimes are innocent. To a conservative, traditions are innocent until proved guilty.’

This idea ties in nicely with a US government funded study of the psychology of conservatism, published last year by some of Stanford, California and Maryland Universities’ finest minds. Amongst other things, they discovered rightwing thinkers to be rather dogmatic and averse to ambiguity. So BJ calls on us to follow tradition dogmatically, without proving its value first and he talks of black and white concepts like innocence and guilt.

Yet BJ talks in the abstract, neither defining his traditions nor the crimes of which they’re accused. And he talks as if a tradition accused is on a par with a person accused of crime, which is just silly. Of course, leftwing thinkers – and US liberals – do care less for tradition. They tend to concern themselves with issues like prejudice, poverty and inequality; aberrations they regard as criminal. And all too often they find dogmatic, traditional values – a woman’s place in the home, say – at the root of these crimes.

2 thoughts on “Psychology of the right

  1. Stephen: Thanks for writing. With all due respect, your letter expresses the liberal bigotry I discussed (and condemned) in my column. You think you’re open-minded and I’m a bigot. That’s a distortion of the situation. (At a minimum, it’s a contentious description.) Our values differ. You accord a presumption to individual liberty (or equality). We conservatives accord a presumption to tradition. We can call each other bigots if we like, but what’s the point? Why not just acknowledge that our values differ, and that this leads us to create (and act upon) various presumptions? Each of us is trying to gain power through the political process so as to implement, solidify, and protect our values. kbj


    Another example of the bare-faced dishonesty of the Left: A Leftist blogger read this by Keith Burgess-Jackson: “‘Conservatism is committed to a presumption in favor of tradition. Presumptions by their nature are rebuttable” and commented: “So BJ calls on us to follow tradition dogmatically” — which is the opposite of what Keith actually said. If you regard a presumption as rebuttable, you are NOT following it dogmatically! Perhaps the Lefty blogger is such a lamebrain that he does not know what “rebuttable” means. Just to confuse him further, I might note that the claims about conservative psychology that he also refers to are rebutted here. And if he wants to get straight about dogmatism, he could look here.

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