Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cowering conservatives

Now you ask me why I'm here.
The same as you, I'm scared - it's fear.

"Hand Me Downs"
The Indigo Girls

About a year ago, there was a bit of a media uproar over a study that showed that conservatives are far more fearful than liberals. Conservatives, of course, decried the study- not by supplying any data of their own, but by their usual mud-slinging and obfuscation.

The current flurry of stories on how right-wing parents are refusing to let their school-aged children watch Obama's speech on education brings this back into focus, all too clearly.

It seems on every hot-button issue I can think of, the motivation of conservatives is fear. This impetus is only strengthened when the conservative is also an evangelical Christian and fear of Yahweh is added into the mix.

Obama? He's gonna indoctrinate your kids! He's gonna take away your guns!
Evolution? Those atheists are going to teach your kids that God doesn't exist! If evolution is true, we have no purpose and no afterlife!
Health care? They're gonna kill Gramma!
Wolves? They will eat your kids!
Gay marriage? They're gonna turn your kids into homos!

And so on, ad nauseam.

This does, however, explain one phenomenon I have noticed- the distinct slant of political urban legends towards right-wing lunacy. Fear again. I checked out the politics section of Snopes.com and looked at all of the stories, in most of the sections, that were found to be either true or false (rather than undetermined or a mixture of both.) I left out the sections, like Humor and Satire, that weren't meant to be spread as truths, as well as the sections like Traffic and Gasoline that cross party lines. Here is what I found:

Number of rumors: 227
Total number of untrue rumors- 159
Right-leaning untruths- 144
Left leaning untruths- 15

Total number of true rumors- 68
Right-leaning truths- 45
Left leaning truths- 23

Percentage of all rumors spread by conservatives that were untrue: 76%
Per
centage of all rumors spread by liberals that were untrue: 60%
Percentage of untrue rumors spread by conservatives: 91%
Percentage of total rumors spread by conservatives: 83%

So- conservatives spread far more rumors overall, and far more of them are untrue. And, compared with the true rumors spread by liberals, those spread by conservatives reflect far more fear over silly things- such-and-such a store taking "Christmas" out of its ads, for example.

So there you have it. The conservative mindset is one dominated by fear- especially fear of the unknown, the new, the different.

When your vision stays clear
In the face of your fear
Then you see turning out a light switch
Is their only power

"Let It Be Me"
The Indigo Girls

1 comment:

stuffed said...

You're dead on the money these arguments which are employed are fallacious and absolutely void of all reason. How could anyone legitimately argue against healthcare reform, better education, more rights for everyone, ad infinitum. I am astounded at the sheer naiveity and doltishness of some people. Conservatives don't want change, they are stuck in the rut, the world needs change to function. Bring on the revolution.