Further Reflections on The Conservative Central Nervous System

I had a discussion recently with a fellow liberal who brought this notion forward:
“In my experience, I have found certain right wingers are self-centered, self-serving individuals who tend to blame everyone else but themselves for whatever situation they might be involved in. They are the type that always have to be right and have to get in the last word.They have little or no empathy for others and think of number one first and foremost. Stress seems to roll off of them like water off a duck’ s back as they seem to project it onto others that they instinctively know will take things to heart”.

He hypothesized that by virtue of this tendency towards externalization and projection of accountability, that there would be less prevalence of depression and guilt relative to that felt by liberals. This seems to be a logical conclusion. Reviewing experiences of psychotherapists down south I have observed that Trump’s reign has created widespread alienation and fear among many Americans. Trump is normalizing behavior that therapists fight to reverse, including “the tendency to blame others in our lives for our personal fears and insecurities,” and “a kind of hyper-masculinity that is antithetical to the examined life and healthy relationships.”

What little empirical research I could find, points to the susceptibility of liberals to depression. Liberals also show a greater tendency for multi-tasking, which is also a trait of people reporting depression and chronic anxiety.

Overall conservatives are a happier bunch because research suggests that conservatism is giving something to people that liberalism is not — community, stability, certainty- an “emotional buffer” against all the unfairness in the world.

But to accomplish this requires black and white concrete thinking, evangelical Christian religiosity and a healthy dose of xenophobia. So if things go bad it’s not me, it’s the other (ie projection). The “they” are a threat and so lets kill, extrude, ban or build a wall. Safety and security are front and centre in the mind. Advanced evolutionary traits like compassion , altruism and mercy are not even part of the conservative lexicon. This is because of the neural bypass they suffer from. And so, lets yank a “dangerous”, undocumented, hospitalized brain tumour patient out of the hospital and send her back to El Salvador post-haste.

Recent neuroscience data demonstrates that conservatives are limbic controlled: a fight or flight protection stance that assumes priority over reason and accountability. This paranoid position is a direct result of the defence mechanism of projection but with a clear neurological substrate. Conservative parties are big on national defense and magnify our perception of threat, whether of foreign aggressors, immigrants, terrorists, or invading ideologies like Communism. To a conservative, the world really is a frightening place and conservative politicians realize the value of reinforcing this perspective.

Political affiliation is often attributed to cultural factors such as family, upbringing and geographical location, but research suggests that biology predisposes us to adopt certain political ideologies, and also prevents us from letting them go. So changing the right-wing  mind may be just as difficult as getting Trump to march in a gay pride parade.

The scary part is that conservatives are or act in a fairly dumb childlike manner. Consider this recent experiment of mine involving commentary on Fox “News”. The first topic pertained to the potential secretary of the navy withdrawing his application to the post. Needless to say I was being purposefully provocative, something risky to try with Fox “News” viewers…

Me: “Neuroscience has revealed that the conservative brain is short circuited by limbic override due to an oversized amygdala. So whatever limited intellect is available is bypassed. There is a reason why republican is sandwiched between reptile and repugnant in the dictionary. There is no treatment beyond censure and limit setting. Nobody with a functioning neocortex wants to be in proximity to such brain impaired people.”
Reply #1:Brilliant, simply brilliant. “Liberal” is sandwiched between “lame” and “loser” in the dictionary so what is your point? The alphabet is fun! The word “conservative” contains the word “con” in it! Holy crap! Illuminati!!!!!!”
Reply #2: Being a Canadian and a liberal? I’m surprised you can read 😂
Reply#3:“This coming from a country that elected a socialist? Blow me, eh?”
How does one respond to this display of intellectual prowess? Enough to make you depressed.

Lets try this again on a different topic. This time Trump blames Obama (of course he does) for recent government leaks and protests…..
Me:“No point having an intelligent debate with conservatives. Neuroscience research has demonstrated they are brain dysfunctional.”
Reply#1: “No one cares to discuss anything with some snotrag from French Canada.”
Reply#2: “Must be the same neurological scientists that swear climate change is destroying the world. 🐥”
Naturally this is how I pictured my counterparts..

It has been noted that conservatism is related to low performance on cognitive ability. In 2012, a paper reported that people endorse more conservative views when drunk or under cognitive pressure; it concluded that “political conservatism may be a process consequence of low effort thought”. That seems self-evident.

I have observed that offering reality-based rebuttals to conservative world views only makes conservatives cling to their lies even harder. In essence, schooling some conservatives makes them more stupid.

I think the only hope lies in the application of the old TB drug Cycloserine noted to be a cognitive enhancer and reducer of traumatic anxiety. But unfortunately that requires consent and furthermore this pharmaceutical research was done in Sweden-oops the anti-Christ of democratic socialism.

 

The author is grateful to Mr Claude Francis for his input

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One Response to “Further Reflections on The Conservative Central Nervous System”

  1. Claude Francis says:

    The defensive and almost confrontational replies are typical and to be expected by conservative the minded.

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