Thursday, December 03, 2009

Some Testable Hypotheses

Some empirical questions I'd like the answers to:

Assuming that the Dittoheads and Tea-Partiers are to conservatives, in the traditional sense, roughly as National Socialists are to socialists, are Americans who today describe themselves as "conservative":

1. morally stunted as compared to others who describe themselves differently? This is a question that might actually be answered with reference to various existing scales of moral development (Kohlberg's for instance, or perhaps Voight-Kampff), or it might be useful to devise one's own, and/or it might be useful to compare their political valuations to their recorded or admitted behaviors, their police records, divorces, bankrupcies, swindles et cetera.

2. logically impaired as compared to others who describe themselves differently? I suppose logical aptitude can be tested in various ways (I certainly remember these from my SAT, GRE, LSAT, Miller Analaogy etc. days) and I be interested to see if today's conservative is more dogmatic, more comfortable with logically inconsistent belief systems (wherein espoused values and actions conflict directly), and more inclined to compartmentalize, to insulate his assertions, beliefs from empirical evidence and argument.

3. intellectually blinkered as compared to others who describe themselves differently? This is to say, incurious about data, exprssions or artifacts which do not confirm their biases or dovetail with their established interests, and prone to dismiss, in the abstract, the value of such things.

4. are they less self-aware than others who describe themselves differently? Certainly many seem to have contempt for the examine life and seem especially prone to grand-mal projections.

Finally, is Voltaire correct? Are those who can believe absurdities more capable of committing atrocities than others? Are they more available to fascist/cultist recruitment?


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