Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Differences In How Liberals And Conservatives Think

The  following is from a recent article in The Economist magazine about the origins of human morality. This excerpt has to do with the differences in how liberals and conservatives think.  Here is the full article

….. Liberal teenagers always felt more stress than conservatives, but were particularly stressed if they could not decide for themselves whom they spent time with. Such choice, or the lack of it, did not change conservative stress levels. Liberals were also loners, spending a quarter of their time on their own. Conservatives were alone for a sixth of the time. That may have been related to the fact that liberals were equally bored by their own company and that of others. Conservatives were far less bored when with other people. They also preferred the company of relatives to non-relatives. Liberals were indifferent. Perhaps most intriguingly, the more religious a liberal teenager claimed to be, the more he was willing to confront his parents with dissenting beliefs. The opposite was true for conservatives.

Dr Wilson suspects that the liberal package of individualism and confrontation is the appropriate response to survival in a stable environment in which there is leisure for learning and reflection, and the consequences for a group’s stability of such dissent are low. The conservative package of collectivism and conformity, by contrast, works in an unstable environment where joint action, and thus obedience to their group, are at a premium. It is an interesting suggestion, and it is one that plays into the question of how morality actually evolved.

I know this mix of seeking time alone and sometimes finding myself in a confrontation matches some of my own experiences. Its also so that family has not been the center of my life.

Like anything that deals with many people, these findings are generalizations.  Still, they appear to hold some truth.

Any thoughts?

March 18, 2008 - Posted by | Politics | , , ,


  1. All I can say is that the description of a liberal youth is a scarily accurate description of me as a teen.

    Comment by Brendan | March 19, 2008

  2. yep—I know the feeling.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | March 20, 2008

  3. i still want to break everything after all these years!

    Comment by bill brady | March 21, 2008

  4. yep–I know that feeling as well.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | March 21, 2008

  5. I can relate to that almost 100%. However I did not get the gist of this blog post? Are they insinuating that liberal teenagers are out of touch with reality and that conservative teenagers are the normal ones?

    Comment by Mark | April 29, 2008

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