Conservatives tend to find the past informative; Leftists live in an eternal present

Conservatives tend to find the past informative; Leftists live in an eternal present, by John Ray. Comments about a new paper from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, by J. Lammers and M. Baldwin.

My heading above is a good summary of actual politics and is something conservatives often say. So, would you believe it? Some Leftist psychologists have just “discovered” that historic contrast.

They found that if you supported a Leftist claim by pointing out some historical support for it then conservatives were more likely to believe it. They also found that history didn’t move Leftists.

Amusing that they think they have discovered something new. It shows how rarely Leftists listen to conservatives. They managed a bit of “spin”, however. They refer to interest in the past as “nostalgia” — showing how Leftist they themselves are. Nostalgia is roughly definable as a foolish liking for the past. Conservatives don’t think the lessons of the past are at all foolish.

John is a psychologist who also makes some general comments that bear thinking about (a lot more at the link):

At its most basic psychological level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. And both are largely dispositional, inborn — which is why they so rarely change.

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not. So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do.

Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal — and never can be — fall on deaf ears. …

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family — “Better together” in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is “all men are equal”. And that is the envier’s gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. …

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug. …

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don’t say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual (“all men are equal”, “all men are brothers” etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don’t suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale.

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story.

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It’s very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. …

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility. …

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools — arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us — including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. …

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don’t understand that — which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs. …

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place. … Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves. …

It’s the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left. …

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it. …

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work. …

There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals …

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. …

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin’s Communism. The very word “Nazi” is a German abbreviation for “National Socialist” (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler’s political party (translated) was “The National Socialist German Workers’ Party”. …

Because of the fragility of a Leftist’s ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: “How DARE anybody question what I believe!”. Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason. …

The research shows clearly that one’s Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited.