Sunday, November 26, 2017
Can Science Turn Conservatives Into Liberals?
Ever since my days at McGill, I've been interested in studying the brains of Cons, to try to determine what makes them so dumb and so bestial.
And for years I've known that what sets those brains apart from those of normal people is the size of the amygdala, or fear gland.
Peering inside the brain with MRI scans, researchers at University College London found that self-described conservative students had a larger amygdala than liberals. The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that is active during states of fear and anxiety.
Which in a stressful moment can turn them into fearful creatures, or quivering cowards.
As we sadly, know only too well.
But while the condition is a terrible one, I never thought it could be cured.
I thought their fear glands would just grow and grow until it turned them into monsters, like the fungus that turns ants into zombies.
Carpenter ants of the Brazilian rain forest have it rough. When one of these insects gets infected by a certain fungus, it turns into a so-called “zombie ant” and is no longer in control of its actions.
After all I've studied our Con zombies for years...
Take the case of Vic Toews for example, who even after he left government only got worse.
Manitoba Judge Vic Toews has dropped his court challenge of a federal ethics commissioner's ruling that found he violated the Conflict of Interest Act when he received money from two Manitoba First Nations.
But while I've also known that Con zombies should never be made judges...
Especially if they are religious fanatics.
What I didn't know is that apparently Cons CAN be cured, and believe it or not, turned into LIBERALS!!!
Conservatives, it turns out, react more strongly to physical threat than liberals do. In fact, their greater concern with physical safety seems to be determined early in life: In one University of California study, the more fear a 4-year-old showed in a laboratory situation, the more conservative his or her political attitudes were found to be 20 years later.
And many other laboratory studies have found that when adult liberals experienced physical threat, their political and social attitudes became more conservative (temporarily, of course). But no one had ever turned conservatives into liberals.
Until we did.
And it seems the key to curing them, and turning them into liberals, is to make them feel absolutely safe.
Which is harder than it sounds, but it does provide a path forward. It does explain why politicians act like they do:
This is why it makes sense that liberal politicians intuitively portray danger as manageable — recall FDR’s famous Great Depression era reassurance of “nothing to fear but fear itself,” echoed decades later in Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address — and why President Trump and other Republican politicians are instead likely to emphasize the dangers of terrorism and immigration, relying on fear as a motivator to gain votes.
It does explain how voters can be so easily manipulated.
All of us believe that our social and political attitudes are based on good reasons and reflect our important values. But we also need to recognize how much they can be influenced subconsciously by our most basic, powerful motivations for safety and survival. Politicians on both sides of the aisle know this already and attempt to manipulate our votes and party allegiances by appealing to these potent feelings of fear and of safety.
And why people like Donald Trump or Andrew Scheer pose such a threat to civilization.
Because there is a deadly serious message in all of this. Ignore that desire for safety and survival, however absurd it may appear, and risk ending up living in a fascist society.
Especially in a country with a large aging population like this one.
Immigration fears created Brexit and brought down Britain. The same primitive fears helped propel Donald Trump to power.
And you don't have to be a weatherman to see where our Schmeagol would take us...
Because we've been there before...
But at least now, if all fails, we know what to do.
Give the Cons a lobotomy, a hot water bottle, and a teddy bear.
And send their leaders to a safe place, where they rightfully belong...
And of course, if we want to feel safe.
Never ever let them go...