Friday, April 12, 2013

Conservative/Liberal mind

- The conservative mind* is hierarchic, foundationalist, and tends towards closedness.
- The liberal mind* is rhizomic, nonfoundationalist, and tends towards openness.

This is my takeaway from Chris Mooney's The Republican Brain, which I enjoyed very much, and his subsequent posts on this subject at Mother Jones and other places. With these two descriptions, much can be understood. It explains why conservatives end up in the Republican Party, which is the home to people with strongly held Christian and "patriotic" beliefs, and liberals in the Democratic Party. Libertarians now end up as Republicans given their religion-like devotion to the "free"-market, a devotion that is shared with conservative Christians.

It is useful to replace the terms 'conservative' and 'liberal' (which have political baggage associated with them) with the descriptors (in italics) above (which are politics-free and have to do with how one perceives the world). One can predict to a fair degree of accuracy one's politics (and today, Party) based on them.

Economic libertarians and conservative Christians are on the same page when it comes to the the belief in the supremacy of the "free"-market: The conservative Christian (calling it "Biblical Capitalism") believes it is God-ordained. This shared belief is how they will stay together in the GOP — the rift between them is exaggerated. Rand Paul is called a "libertarian" by the media even though he has a "life begins at conception" bill that would outlaw just about all abortions (he says this is the true "libertarian" position), but he melds so well with the economic libertarians that it doesn't separate them into different Parties.

* 'Brain orientation' is a better term than 'mind'.

see also Rationally Speaking: Understanding the conservative mind, without brain scans