After poring over 50 years of literature on the psychology of conservatism, the researchers identified five personality traits that typify people who adhere to a conservative ideology, "fear and aggression, dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity, uncertainty avoidance, need for cognitive closure and terror management."
Taken in broad terms, rightwing thinking is ego-driven, causally autistic, and thus premised on a series of double standards. Hypocrisy and selective forgetfulness are among the defining features of the rightwing mind.
Conservatives are, after all, the people who talk in quasi-religious tones of `enterprise', `hard work and entrepreneurial drive', while rewarding capital gains over wages and salaries.
The Conservatives' trademark disregard for environmental concerns, even those of apocalyptic proportions, reveals a compulsive unreason at the heart of the rightwing mind.
As the U.S. election nears, Conservative websites are aglow tith visions of an uninterrupted Republican future stretching out for all posterity: One world, one operating system. There is, however, another possibility. Centuries from now, assuming we survive this eerily psychotic era, Republicanism, Conservatism and the rightwing mind in general could well be regarded not as a political movement, but as a mental health issue.
David Thompson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the arts and books pages of The Times and The Observer. This article was published in 2004.
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