It is almost a truism among psychological researchers that conservatives are simple-minded and dogmatic. Liberals, meanwhile, are supposed to be more complex and open-minded thinkers. But a new paper is calling those conclusions into question.
The more interesting and telling results were found when comparing the liberal and conservative results derived from the environmentalism and religion dogmatism scales. The researchers report, “Conservatives are indeed more dogmatic on the religious domain; but liberals are more dogmatic on the environmental domain.” In fact, they note that “the highest score for simplicity was for liberals” (emphasis theirs).
They note that liberals scored high for dogmatism in response to these three items:
9. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are for the truth that the planet is warming and those who are against that obvious truth.
3. When it comes to stopping global warming, it is better to be a dead hero than a live coward.
10. A person who thinks primarily of his/her own happiness, and in so doing disregards the health of the environment (for example, trees and other animals), is beneath contempt.
The researchers point out, “Those are not just statements about having an environmental position: They are explicitly and overwhelmingly dogmatic statements. And liberals are more likely to agree with such sentiments—for an environmental domain.” The liberal respondents are not just asserting “‘I am an environmentalist’ but rather ‘all people who disagree with me are fools.'”
Ultimately, the researchers report that both liberals and conservatives are almost equally simple-minded when it comes to topics about which they feel strongly
And we may be born with a proclivity for being Conservative or Liberal.