A 2003 study published by the American Psychological Association concluded that political conservatism is rooted in “fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity” and other psychological factors.
According to the article, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature report that the core of the right-wing ideology is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality. http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/07/22_politics.shtml
The emergence of the Tea Party movement has ignited passion among the most extreme adherents of conservatism in Republican politics, a phenomenon ending the careers of many longtime GOP establishment politicians.
Terror management is another psychological factor that influences conservatism, along with a need for certainty and cognitive closure. These primal instincts help define what makes a political conservative at a time in history when human survival probably depends upon a greater adherence to logic and reason.
Research has shown that people in a state of distress by nature are prone to the allure of charismatic leaders but it’s hard to imagine what would have happened if unbridled emotions drove the Kennedy white House in October 1962 instead of cool intellect. http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html
Tea bag conservatives reject science as part of their blind loyalty to discredited anti-intellectual ideas and self-righteous faith-based morality, because by not allowing facts to dillute their perspective, they achieve the certainty they prize. http://silentmajority09.com/2010/09/24/conservatives-assault-science/
The leading tea baggers exhibit ultra-conservative craziness that seems to be overlooked by many voters who would normally object the their agenda: Ken Buck, Christine O’Donnell, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle,Carl Paladino, Mike Lee, Joe Miller, Marco Rubio and others. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/15/september-14-primary-elec_1_n_717242.html
Colorado Republican Ken Buck wants to outlaw birth control and a common fertility treatment and he says teenage rape victims should be forced to have babies. http://www.9news.com/news/elections/article.aspx?storyid=151144&catid=140
Republicans advocate a regressive 30 percent sales tax on everything you buy – which they call ‘the fair tax’ — while cutting income taxes again for the richest three percent of the people, tax breaks for multinational corporations that export American jobs. http://www.factcheck.org/taxes/unspinning_the_fairtax.html Regressive taxes make the poorest pay higher rates than the wealthy so Republicans are entirely disconnected from the American people, even if some Democratic incumbents have disappointed many people.
Republicans want to repeal President Obama’s Wall Street reforms, repeal the new rules that stop insurance companies from dumping sick children, repeal changes helping America’s war veterans — and then they want to tie down the administration with subpoenas and investigations that will preclude the president from solving any real problems facing Americans. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20011464-503544.html
Social Security and Medicare are one again in the Republican crosshairs, with Rep. John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, planning to cut benefits and raise the retirement age. http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/106135-boehner-raise-social-securitys-retirement-age-to-70
The author of the GOP agenda, Paul Ryan, has put a plan on the table would end Medicare as we know it and leave the nation’s seniors to the private insurance industry. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/08/paul_ryans_plan_would_end_medi.html
Most of these ideas are well outside the main stream but if Democrats keep pushing for health reform, jobs creation, restrictions on Wall Street and credit cards — essentially all the things they stand for — then they could be in for more than a political fight.
Nevada Republican Sharron Angle said armed rebellion against the federal government saying, “if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies…” and she sought support from members of a right-wing extremist group, “The Oath Keepers,” whose members are police or military personnel who believe they need not follow orders and which was formed “In response to the obscene growth of federal power and to the absurdly totalitarian claimed powers of the Executive…” http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/reid-opponent-embraces-patriot-group-that-warns-of-giant-concentration-camps.php
Perhaps to enable ‘those Second Amendment remedies,’ for political New Jersey state Sen. Jeff Van Drew wants to make it easier for residents to carry handguns. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/nj_senator_pushes_law_allowing.html
The bizarre policy positions are weighted with even more extreme anti-government craziness. According to a Sothern Pverty Law Center report: “U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said she feared that the president was planning ‘reeducation camps for young people,’ while U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), evoking memories of the discredited communist-hunter Sen. Joseph McCarthy, warned of 17 ‘socialists’ in Congress.” http://www.splcenter.org/images/dynamic/main/The_Second_Wave.pdf
The same report stated:
[Fox News host Glenn] Beck is just one of the well-known cable TV news personalities to air fictitious conspiracies and other unlikely Patriot ideas. CNN’s Lou Dobbs has treated the so-called Aztlan conspiracy as a bona fide concern and questioned the validity of Obama’s birth certificate despite his own network’s definitive -debunking of that claim. On MSNBC, commentator Pat Buchanan suggested recently that white Americans are now suffering “exactly what was done to black folks.” On FOX News, regular contributor Dick Morris said, “Those crazies in Montana who say, ‘We’re going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.’s going to take over’ — well, they’re beginning to have a case.”
The insane ideas are being backed up by action. The Second Wave includes a chapter outlining 75 right-wing terrorist plots, conspiracies and racist rampages since 1995, when conservative Republican Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people, including 19 children in a day-care center, and injuring another 500. http://www.splcenter.org/images/dynamic/main/The_Second_Wave.pdf
In March 2010, after the report was published, nine Hutaree militia members were arrested in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, for alleged involvement in a plot to murder a law enforcement officer and then attack police officers at the funeral using illegal explosives and firearms in order to incite revolution against the government. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hQlDq4d5Js2bVnV83z7R1ORbsZPA
People who make up the Tea Party movement are largely conservative and get their news from Fox; they’re generally old and of moderate to low income; and they’re fairly convinced that their taxes are going to rise in the next few years, even though they won’t.
“It’s the type of group that would likely benefit the most from Democratic governance, with commitments to Social Security, Medicare, and middle-class job creation,” said that report.
Tea baggers also have exceedingly poor views of President Obama. In the aforementioned poll, 81 percent disapproved of his job performance.
The scientific research identified the paranoia and obsession with certainty associated with conservatism but here are some hard examples of how they depart from reality and embrace delusion:
Fueling the myth mongering that Barack Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in a recent interview that the president may follow a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview.
Southern Baptist Pastor Carl Gallups suggests Obama isn’t just Kenyan — he’s also the Antichrist.
Such lunacy is not being immediately rejected by voters. Crazed tea baggers won Republican nominations for seven U.S. Senate seats, for New York governor and for dozens of seats in Congress. They are all over the place on ballots for city council, mayor, plus county and state offices.
The Harris Poll of 2,320 adults surveyed online between March 1 and 8, 2010 finds that large numbers of Tea Party supporters have not just extremely hostile opinions of President Obama but believe many of the false statements about him circulated on cable news and the internet.
The numbers among Tea Party supporters are scary, indeed: 67% believe the President is a socialist, although Harris didn’t do anything to verify that respondents knew what that word meant. More than half believe he is a Muslim,
The real sizzlers, are the 45% who believe he wasn’t born in the US, and the 25% who say he “may be the Antichrist” and 24% who say he wants the terrorists to win. These people think our president is a Nazi-esque Muslim Antichrist. http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/117/Default.aspx
The Republican leadership’s willingness to flirt with ideas like the birth certificate conspiracy, or their insistence that health care reform is an “apocalypse,” paints all Republicans as unhinged loons and obliterate conservative credibility.
If you are still thinking about voting Republican, please see a mental health professional at once.