CONSERVATIVE or LIBERAL
Which side of the fence do you sit on?
If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and Jesus silenced.
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.
If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he's "offended."
Still don't know?
Okay, according to scientists, political orientation is related to differences in how our brains process informaton. There are also real personality differences between conservatives and liberals -- not just different views or values, but underlying differences in temperament that are evident even during childhood. Here are eight more ways they are different:
- 1. Liberals are smart. According to a study in the Social Psychology Quarterly, liberals are more intelligent than conservatives. Other studies show that liberals have higher IQs and that more intelligent children are likely to grow up to be liberals. (Smarter people are also more likely to be atheists.)
- 2. Conservatives are serial killers. What do Ted Bundy (the good-looking George W. Bush lookalike), Gary Ridgway (the nice guy who had sex with his victims after he killed them), and Dennis Rader (Witchita's BTK killer) have in common? If you guessed that they're all serial killers, you'd be partially right, but if you guessed that they're all serial killers who were big supporters of the Republican Party, then you'd be even more right (so you're probably a liberal -- see #1). Anecdotal studies support the theory that most serial killers are Republicans. Once caught, their conservative pals are most inclined to give them the death penalty.
- 3. Liberals are unhappy. Married or single, rich or poor, church-going or not, right wingers report greater life satisfaction than left wingers. One study pinpoints the reason: Conservatives tend to rationalize social and economic inequalities -- they think the world is fair and this makes them happy. Liberals aren't able to look at inequality in a positive light so they're frustrated and unhappy.
- 4. Liberals are slobs. Much messier than conservatives, liberals' rooms have more clutter and more color, and they tend to have more travel documents, maps of other countries, and flags from around the world. Conservatives are neater, and their rooms are cleaner, better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional.
- 5. Conservatives are skittish. Calm people tend to be liberals, while those who react strongly to sudden noises and threatening images tend to be political conservatives. According to a study in the journal Science, calm individuals are more likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, pacifism, and gun control. Skittish individuals are more likely to support conservative policies, such as military spending, school prayer, the death penalty -- and the right to carry guns. (I don't know about you, but jumpy people and handguns make me nervous.)
- 6. Conservatives give more. Arthur Brooks, the author of Who really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, says that conservatives are eighteen percent more likely to donate blood than liberals, and also donate more of their time and money to charities.
- 7. Liberals are more open-minded. Conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments whereas liberals are more open to new experiences, and tolerate ambiguity and conflict better. Conservatives say things like "I'm the decider." Liberals say things like "What do you think?"
- 8. Conservatives pump iron. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that men with the most physical strength were the most likely to feel entitled to good treatment, anger easily, view themselves as successful in winning conflicts, and believe in physical force as a tool for resolving interpersonal and international conflicts. Women who thought of themselves as pretty showed the same pattern of greater aggression.