Thursday, July 03, 2008

Are Liberals More Open-Minded Than Conservatives?

Self-confessed hater, Jonathan Chait says below that they are. I add some comments below that -- JR
In a paper they wrote about the ideological leanings of blog readers and news-watchers, Henry Farrell, Eric Lawrence and John Sides find that conservatives tend to read only conservative blogs, while most liberals read only left-leaning blogs. That's not a huge surprise. They also find this:
Those few people who read both left wing and right wing blogs are considerably more likely to be left wing themselves; interpret this as you like.

I'm going to go ahead and interpet it: Liberals are more interested in listening to opposing points of view than are conservatives. Now, most people in general do not like listening to opposing views, but those who do are overwhelmingly on the left. I'm going to wallow in smug self-satisfaction for a few minutes, then go over to the Corner to see if anybody has a rebuttal.


Chait is quoting some research about blog readers that appeared on the Leftist "Crooked Timber" website. Even if the findings concerned are sound, therefore, they tell us nothing about the population at large. From blog readership alone, for instance, we can tell that blog readers are far from typical. Leftist blogs in general have far higher readership than conservative blogs. Kos readership completely dwarfs Instapundit readership, for instance. Most blog readers are Leftist but that is not true of the population at large.

So what IS true of the population at large? Are people in general more open-minded if they are Leftist? That is a very old question among political psychologists -- going back to the book The open and closed mind by Milton Rokeach, published in 1960. Rokeach constructed a questionnaire (the D or "Dogmatism" scale) to measure open mindedness. He allowed for it being equally prevalent on both sides of politics but found some tendency for Leftists to be more open-minded.

As it happens, by far the most prolific author of the many subsequent papers in the academic journals on the subject was myself. You can access all my papers on the subject here.

What I found at the end of many years of research was that the "D" scale really measured nothing at all. Since the topic was a very popular one within political psychology, it seems reasonable to say that the best brains on the subject have so far been unable to produce a definitive conclusion. In the circumstances, I think we have to treat Mr Chait's assertions as mere unsubstantiated opinion.


McCain is right on trade -- but it may sink him

John McCain demonstrated the global reach of America's presidential election last night by flying to Colombia where he will once more declare his support for the free-trade deals opposed by Barack Obama. The Republican nominee claims that Mr Obama's promise to embrace the rest of the world is contradicted by his populist rhetoric pandering to US trade unions and Rust Belt voters who blame trade deals for the loss of industrial jobs.

Opinion polls suggest that two thirds of US voters believe their economy has suffered from globalisation and, speaking before his visit to Latin America, which will also include a stop in Mexico, Mr McCain said that he had a "very tough" task in convincing the electorate that trade can help them.

He cited the example of President Hoover, whose 1930 decision to sign sky-high tariff legislation into law had ensured "we went from a recession into one of the great depressions of our history". Mr McCain added: "You gotta stand on principle. I believe in the principle of free trade." Mr Obama, described by the McCain campaign as "the most protectionist candidate that the Democratic Party has ever fielded", is planning his own international tour of Europe and the Middle East this summer.

More here



Greedy unions and complacent management get their just reward: " GM, once an emblem of U.S. post-war economic might, is being driven to the brink by dwindling sales that are expected to test cash reserves and the nerves of investors in the months ahead. Crosstown rivals Ford Motor Co and privately held Chrysler LLC face similar pressures. As the automakers weigh their options to ride out the industry's most-trying slump in 25 years, thousands of Detroit families are doing the same.... GM's sales have dropped 15 percent so far this year, and its share of the U.S. market is down to just 21 percent. When major automakers report sales for June on Tuesday, there is a chance that GM will be overtaken by Toyota Motor Co as the monthly sales leader, a reversal that points to the popularity of small cars like the Yaris and the abandonment of SUVs and trucks like the Yukon and Silverado. GM has responded by slashing costs, cutting truck production and slashing its factory work force to less than half of the 118,000 it employed four years ago. For Detroit, the downturn has been brutal. Michigan's jobless rate jumped to a 16-year high of 8.5 percent for May. Detroit led the nation with its home foreclosure rate in 2007."

Brainless attacks on oil companies: "Rather than do something productive to increase fuel supplies, Congress wastes time hunting bogeymen and fabricating distractions. Lately they have excoriated Big Oil for the cardinal sin of "under-investing" in alternative energy... But before Congress tars and feathers Big Oil CEOs for this alleged inaction, a simple question occurs: So what? Where is it written that any industry must spend money to subvert its business model? Since when must any company plow scarce resources into helping consumers avoid its products? If enterprises now must meet this standard, the interesting possibilities are endless... why does Senator Barack Obama (D., Ill.) insist on fundraising only for his campaign? When will he hold a benefit for John McCain? Despite this notion's manifest absurdity, Big Oil, in fact, has spent plenty on alternative energy. While Washington politicians spit venom at the petroleum industry, it funds more of such research than does Uncle Sam".

Britons set to retire in poverty: "British workers are set to retire on less than half their annual pay in retirement -significantly lower than many workers worldwide. The average British worker is looking at a retirement income of about $430 a week, according to research from investment house Fidelity International, less than the current minimum wage. In America and Germany, pensioners will expect to receive 58 per cent and 56 per cent of their current earnings respectively. Only Japan is on a par with the UK, with their pensions set to reach an average of 47 per cent of a worker's salary. The average weekly wage in the UK is $914, said Simon Fraser, president of the Retirement Institute at Fidelity International. But in retirement Brits can expect to receive just $430 a week on average, which would be less than those working a 40-hour week on the minimum wage of $11 an hour".


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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" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


1 comment:

Room207 said...

"Those few people who read both left wing and right wing blogs are considerably more likely to be left wing themselves; interpret this as you like."

Thank you. I will. I already know what the left wing thinks. I read (left-leaning) newspapers with their (left-leaning) columnists and I read (left-leaning) news magazines and I watch (left-leaning) TV news and I listen to (left-leaning) Public Radio and I talk to (left-leaning) fellow teachers who parrot the (left-leaning) line.

Why do I need to read (left-leaning) blogs, too?

If I know what Senator Reid said and what Paul Krugman and Frank Rich wrote, what more do I need? Bob Herbert and Nancy Pelosi? Or Kos and Firedoglake? Redundancy.