Skip to comments.Why am I a Conservative? (On the Neurobiology of Political Affiliation)
Posted on 11/24/2012 9:41:18 AM PST by AnonymousConservative
This a question which has been asked and answered so many times, it probably seems like a boring topic for a blog post. But as with all things this blog covers, our fundamental perspective, of ideology as evovled Darwinian strategy, may offer a new view on this old subject.
A lot of writers try to answer this in a positive uplifting fashion, and this is where they go wrong. They try to extol the virtues of Conservatism, the value of Liberty, and the societal strength which arises when men interact freely, and bear the responsibility for their decisions. Some try to use a Darwinian perspective to argue that society self-assembles exceedingly well when bad decisions have consequences, and less healthy enterprises are allowed to fail, to make way for more successful iterations.
Of course none of that is really accurate, at least when answering the question which was asked. When I enter a voting booth, I’m not thinking of any of that. I’m thinking, if Republicans win, we may stall the collapse, but if Liberals win, our whole nation is royally screwed. I”m not seeing Conservatives holding hands, and skipping down meandering paths paved with gold bricks, toward a mythical city of Liberty. I’m seeing some conglomeration of Lord of the Flies, and Mad Max, mixed with Aurinis new post-apocalyptic novel, threatening to become reality, if Liberals get a hold on the levers of power.
I’m seeing old relatives in broken down hospitals, being told they aren’t going to get treatments they need to survive, because they cost too much, and they don’t have that much time left anyway before they die, so why bother? I’m seeing a radical currency devaluation which stops all long range economic interactions only allowing for short range, local, barters and trades. I’m seeing bread lines, flash mob riots, and the savages coming to the suburbs, because the currency on their EBT cards is worthless, and they can’t get food any way other than raiding. I’m seeing Armageddon, unless a Republican wins.
This is crucial for idiots like Karl Rove to understand, before he goes wasting hundreds of millions of dollars. I don’t vote because I like Conservatism, or I believe in Republicans. I vote to keep the savages at bay, and their jackass minions in the Democratic Party out of power. The only reason I vote Republican is because their agenda destroys the nation at a much slower rate than that of their opponent.
I actually don’t like the vast majority of Republican politicians, maybe as much as a majority of Democrat voters do. With a few notable exceptions (Allen West, et al.), they are almost all corrupt, self-absorbed cowards.
In fact, let me put this so simply even an idiot like Karl Rove can understand. No matter what you do, you can’t make me like Republican politicos, or the party, AND I’M A REPUBLICAN! I voted for your guy, and yet, there is nothing you can do which will make me like you. Think about that. Most all of you make me sick, and the world you inhabit disgusts me. Bear in mind, a loathing of government, and a disgust with most of those who seek governmental power is a natural part of a Conservative psychology. We don’t like government, or people who seek power attained through selfish social maneuvering. It’s in our programming, and an inherent part of our ideology and philosophy. So is telling people how wonderful you and your ideology are an effective use of funds? Probably not.
I’m not trudging off to the voting booth to support our wonderful Republican leaders. I vote because I know Liberalism is death, for our nation, our freedoms and even our citizens, especially now with Obamacare.
Why is this all important? That motivation in me, which drives me to the polls, and makes me vote, is the Aversive Stimulus of amygdala activity, and it is what is driving my behavior. The only way that stimulus emerges is by attaching negativity to the Democratic brand, in my brain, so I am motivated to take action to stop Democrats from obtaining power. Nice, uplifting storybook political commercials about yourselves won’t do it. Extolling the value of liberty, the need for better healthcare options, or the virtues of any of the Republican issue positions won’t do it either, unless you contrast it with how bad the Democratic option is, to develop amygdala pathways, and attach aversive stimulus to the Democrat option.
I voted for Mitt Romney, but I am of the honest opinion that he is a functioning psychopath. Who puts a dog on the roof of a car, drives on the freeway and scares it to the point it sprays diarrhea everywhere, stops the car at a rest stop, hoses the dog and the cage off with a garden hose, gets back in the car, cracks a joke, laughs uproariously, and then continues driving with the dog still on the car roof! And worst of all, Mitt Romney was the guy running around telling that story. That is Callous/Unemotional behavior, lack of empathy, and textbook psychopathy, all in one, and he can’t even comprehend its unusual-ness, it is so natural to him. If the future of our nation wasn’t at stake, and Obama’s gross personality disorder wasn’t the alternative, no way I’d have ever voted for Romney.
Aversive stimulus is what drives me to the polls, and it seems like that is what does it every time. It is what turns out your vote. Now the only way that aversive stimulus gets implanted in people’s brains is if we fight, and amygdala up every Liberal, at every opportunity, in the most public way possible. Amygdala development has been shown in MRI analysis to be a critical difference in political disposition. Develop the amygdala, increase it’s volume, and you increase Conservative predisposition, by associating unwise/stupid Liberal behavior, with the aversive stimuli of the bad consequences it will produce. The only way amygdala volume can be increased, is through exercising the populace’s amygdalae, by exposing them to aversive stimuli, in association with Liberal concepts. Even Liberal John Jost has shown, expose an individual to negative or threatening stimuli (in the case of his research, mortal salience stimuli), an they will show a shift towards a Conservative ideology across all measures of ideology. Yes, a well respected researcher has shown simply exposing people to a stimuli can change their ideology, making them more Conservative.
That can not be done with niceness, and uplifting rhetoric (Though it can be masked with humor and other techniques many which are likely to be found within Game). In fact, it is likely that niceness, and avoiding the stimulation of the nation’s amygdalae, through appeasement and conflict avoidance, probably allows the amygdala to atrophy, producing a nation which exists in a neurological fantasyland, where actions have no consequences to avoid, and there is no reason to not vote for the guy promising the most freebies for everyone.
In short, Republicans need to publicly assail Liberals at every turn, stimulate the populace’s amygdalae, and be less nice, not more nice. We need people hearing the word Liberal, and feeling a visceral revulsion at all the stupidity, the weakness and pathiety, and all of the negative consequences and suffering the ideology will bring.
That’s what motivates us to vote Republican, and it is what will motivate everyone else, if our leaders will approach the public debate in the right fashion, as a neurological battle that must be fought technically, by a unified force of Republicans opposed to Liberalism.
I will be rewriting all of this again, in different forms, in future posts, in the hope one presentation will hit someone somewhere, and open their eyes to how the party should be campaigning. For now, I just want to introduce this topic, by asking all of my readers to look at themselves, and ask, Why did I vote for Romney/McCain/Dole/the Republicans etc.? Did you see a sun-filled paradise if they were elected, or did you do it because an aversive stimulus in your amygdala was screaming about how a Democrat in power would literally be a nail in the coffin of our Republic? Would this effect within you respond more to an ad extolling what a magical life Mitt would produce, or would it respond more to a description of the misery Obama will produce?
There is a follow on post to this one, discussing political strategy at
Obama courted his base, over and over again. Rove and the other GOP elites ignored their base, took them for granted and expected them to follow along. After the election, they still didn’t understand what happen. They will repeat this mistake in the election as well, because they already been flouting rinos to test the waters.
The GOP should not have excluded so many conservatives to the convention. I’m no Paul fan but the GOP didn’t do enough to court his people as well.
the Pursuit of Happyness is a hell of a film. You should watch it.
Well done. I think this format / organization will work on those who already think the way we do, or are intelligent enough to work through the ramifications of your points. I don’t think it would work on the Rove-ists or those already on the left.
Your amygdalae-related explanation fogs the point you’re trying to make which (IMO) is that the country in general lacks a proper grasp of where we are, and the consequences of continuing the status quo. They live in that happy ignorance that comes from a life lacking the explanation and critical consideration of real world consequences. They have had their self esteem endlessly, and needlessly reinforced by their teachers, parents and leaders such that they’ve never had to lose, never been told “no”, never understood that someone winning through effort and natural ability is a good thing. The endless preaching of non-violence (which you touched on) goes hand in hand with an overabundance of caution, and a mindless protection of the environment.
From top to bottom, it’s my opinion that the populace is “damaged”. Whether you could reach them through honest ad-engineering or not remains to be seen. Until the current crop of appeasers and panderers is flushed from the party (or a conservative party is properly formed, which in itself seems an insurmountable challenge), the party will not be willing to perform what they see as political suicide through “negative”, “hateful” and “divisive” ads.
Setting aside your reliance on the amygdalae as your primary driver (something that sounds like the classic definition of "reactionary" to me) I agree that the populace needs to be exposed to the negative side of the liberal worldview.
Traditionally, the negative side of any currently ruling worldview was the domain of a free press. However, that press barely exists and what has taken its place is an obsequious pack of sycophants clamoring each day for their bit of propaganda to publish.
So how does the true nature of the liberal worldview get revealed? I am afraid, this time, it will require that the agenda of the left become implemented. Not that this has not occurred before many times in history, but the populace of this once free nation has been lulled to sleep. Short of a genuine revival (yes, that kind of a revival), I don't see much to stop the nation from playing out the time-honored script of the left. The assumption of power in the name of "the people" by corrupt individuals who very quickly oppress those they claimed to be freeing, followed by prison and/or death to dissenters, and, eventually, revolution. Given the power of technology today, I am inclined to expect those deaths to be in the millions and the likelihood of a successful revolution slim.
Everybody has stories about the crazy or stupid things their parents did on vacation.
Our kids have similar stories about the crazy or stupid things we do on vacation.
For all anyone knows, Romney's less of a psychopath than you are.
We need more pictures of Detroit and California and the like
You are wholly correct.
I’m not making the point Republicans can or should ignore the base. Rather, I am hoping Republicans will see that you make a Republican by relentlessly attacking the Liberal position, and pointing out Liberals are the enemy of the country.
If you drive that point home enough, you strip Liberalism of it’s moderates, and that only helps. Of course, if a candidate attacks Liberalism enough, he will tend to excite the base as well.
>Your amygdalae-related explanation fogs the point youre trying to make which (IMO) is that the country in general lacks a proper grasp of where we are, and the consequences of continuing the status quo.
Interesting. I may think differently, so this seemed good to me. Perhaps most others don’t?
>From top to bottom, its my opinion that the populace is damaged. Whether you could reach them through honest ad-engineering or not remains to be seen. Until the current crop of appeasers and panderers is flushed from the party (or a conservative party is properly formed, which in itself seems an insurmountable challenge), the party will not be willing to perform what they see as political suicide through negative, hateful and divisive ads.
My hope is some will read the research on my site, and realize the damage is almost certainly not so much damage, as atrophy of the amygdala, and that research indicates that it can actually be corrected, through an aggressive derision of the Liberalism.
Thank you for the feedback. I increasingly realize we all think differently, and appreciate others giving me a window into their perceptions of my unique (odd?) angle on things.
I think ideologues are, by definition, reactionary, even if they might temper this with a subsequent logical examination fo things.
>So how does the true nature of the liberal worldview get revealed? I am afraid, this time, it will require that the agenda of the left become implemented.
I cannot argue with any of the rest of your post. I just hope as we head there, perhaps somebody in power will hear what I am saying - that aggressive denigration of Leftism now might avert the real world agony which is coming.
Thank you for the comment.
Could be, though I can’t possibly see the dog thing playing out with me in the lead me. But there have been other little indicators, from the bug squishing, to his getting snakebit on Benghazi, to his brilliance in finance.
For the record, I don’t think he’s “bad,” - he has compensated (probably through religion) quite well. But I strongly suspect the unusual brain function is there.
Yes, combined with an aggressive in your face denigration of Liberalism.
I haven’t seen the film - I’ll take a look. May I ask what the connection you see is?
I despise them as much as I do the demonrats, if not more so, with each and every election. Republicans are the Luke Warm Spew party.
They won't fight, don't believe in principles and give the demonrats whatever tools they want/need to enslave, control and fleece we, the foolish.
May they all reap what they have sown along the way and for the commandments they've broken to gain and hold "power" and wield influence.
Based on your response it seems you’re intentionally taking a scientific angle on the problem. If so, the original post makes perfect sense.
That you for that video.
My feeling is the pacifist Libs in the Party do what they do becasue they “feel” like it’s right. So my hope is to outline a technical mechanism that would indicate their feelings are in error, leading them to question their feelings, and maybe change course.
Thanks again for the response.
Thank you for the kind words. I agree on the party, but hope things may change, as times turn bad. When everything is in the crapper, all because of the Libs, maybe we won’t be in such a good mood.
Some say both, which is the short term sell for a variety of addictions, including voting for rinos and demonrats, but not the way to being truly successful at any level.
How do you sell delayed gratification? Romney may have had some business sense, but he's no salesman. He didn't fill in the blanks like you did.
The republicans don't need more lawyers or consultants. They need salespeople. The market is waiting...
Biology and even psychology is not destiny, fortunately.
As near as I can tell, personal destiny seems to be more about answering the question “how bad do you want it?”
Op-Ed: Humans evolving into bigger idiots? Stanford professor thinks so
Digital Journal | November 21, 2012 | Paul Wallis
Posted on 11/24/2012 5:54:09 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
It’s a good movie that tackles some of your questions. Worth seeing.
>which is the greater motivator: avoiding pain or seeking pleasure?
Actually, as one example of how this discussion can illuminate, that can vary with previous experience, and amygdala development (as well as the related dopmaine receptor density in the brain). One example might be addiction. Eliminate pain completely, crush dopamine receptor density, and suddenly one might do anything to avoid returning to reality.
The argument I am trying to make, in the hopes it will spread, is that the GOP’s avoidance of conflict is counter productive, as all it does is foster converting the moderates into conflict-avoiding pansies.
If the GOP gets out there, and starts kicking in Liberal teeth, they might be surprised at how quickly the populace becomes more Conservative, and repulsed by the Liberal brand. By highlighting the amygdala mechanism, I am trying to create an arugument for this which bypasses the emotional reasoning that Republican Liberals tend to use, and focuses instead on a simple logical mechanism to explain why this would work.
I just can’t believe these guys could have Reagan show the way forward, clearly see how successful he was, and then turn their back upon it, and go with this pathetic appeasement strategy they are going for now.
>As near as I can tell, personal destiny seems to be more about answering the question how bad do you want it?
“How far am I willing to go, to avoid the alternative?” can be just as strong, if not stronger. Many will run faster from poverty than they will towards wealth.
The amygdala was designed to keep us alive, and thus is a part of the strongest drive of mankind.
Thank you. I wil take a look.
It doesn't really matter beyond that, which is why your thought process examples have practical value. You've created a need/want/desire and then offer the solution.
Your examples use the avoid pain side of the equation to create the need/want/desire to avoid that pain by making that pain real and then you answer with the gaining pleasure side by showing how freedom and liberty (built in universal human traits) enable someone to satisfy that need/want/desire for themselves (another built in human trait).
How does the competition stack up? Contrast that sales approach's answer against the short term socialist answer which, like any other unrealistic, potentially harmful but addicting substance or activity, provides short term pleasure but at a long term cost.
It shocks me that people can figure out how to sell almost anything to almost anyone, including Pet rocks to otherwise savvy consumers, but not freedom and liberty to an alarmed population???
Whether products, ideology or your self, it always comes down to sales. Over complicate all you feel you need to, but once the biochemistry has been worked out inside each individual, it's usually simple selling know how that made it happen and gets it done.
The real problem? The GOPe doesn't know how to sell. It/They doesn't/don't believe in the product, understand the consumer or the market.
You go out of business with a team like that. And here we are, having been sold even more poorly made crap and stuck with lousy customer service.
Time for real competition from people who know how to sell!!!
One of our greatest strengths and greatest flaws is our ability to rationalize ANYTHING, good or bad, right or wrong, altruistic or just plain evil.
History is full of examples of each and all, along with the consequences.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.