Comment on Todd Gitlin, “The Drum Smash and the Blaring Trumpet”

Response to article by Todd Gitlin on Moyers & Co. blog, January 19, 2017.

It’s all very Ayn Randian, isn’t it? I feel when listening to these folks that their contempt and hatred is so intense they would send us all to the ovens if someone only gave them the opportunity.

There is a lot of very interesting research on personality and conservative ideology, and it paints a scary picture. See Hibbing, John R., Kevin B. Smith, and John R. Alford. “Differences in negativity bias underlie variations in political ideology.” BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES 37 (2014): 297-350. Also lots of research on how these predispositions translate into morality beliefs, again very, very scary. See Kugler, Matthew, John T. Jost, and Sharareh Noorbaloochi. “Another look at moral foundations theory: Do authoritarianism and social dominance orientation explain liberal-conservative differences in “moral” intuitions?.” Social Justice Research 27.4 (2014): 413-431.

Bottom line: conservatives are extremely susceptible to moral claims based on obedience to authority and purity, to such an extent that they can override more basic moral concerns about fairness, justice, and avoidance of harm. Inconvenient conclusion: Fox News may be first and foremost a little fascist incubator.

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