Perhaps they should do a study on the liberal blogosphere and opinion media

Rather than 95 kids from Berkeley over the course of 20 years. This is hilarious:

Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.

At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.

The study from the Journal of Research Into Personality isn’t going to make the UC Berkeley professor who published it any friends on the right. Similar conclusions a few years ago from another academic saw him excoriated on right-wing blogs, and even led to a Congressional investigation into his research funding.

But the new results are worth a look. In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids’ personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months. There’s no reason to think political bias skewed the ratings — the investigators were not looking at political orientation back then. Even if they had been, it’s unlikely that 3- and 4-year-olds would have had much idea about their political leanings.

A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking again at personality, and this time at politics, too. The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.

The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.

Kerfuffles asks: “Does that mean that White House reporter Helen Thomas is a conservative?”


Block ought to, for starters, check out the liberal reaction (noted by Stephen Spruiell here, Bob Owens here, and Danny Carlton aka “Jack Lewis” here) to the announcement of the Washington Post’s new “Red America” blog to see classic cases of liberal whining at it’s – er, most dramatic – all of which shows that conservatives don’t have a lock on “whining” – not by a long shot.

There are so many more cases of liberal whining out there, but the liberal reaction to the Red America blog controversy is a good place to start :)

Also commenting on this: Ben Domenech (heh!), Riehl World View, Main Street Journal

PM Update: Michelle Malkin has a .pdf link to the actual study itself, as well as links to blogger/pundit reax to this study.

56 thoughts on “Perhaps they should do a study on the liberal blogosphere and opinion media

  1. I know the ‘discussion’ is long over, but I felt I’d jump in for a moment…

    “Creationism” and “Evolution” are not mutually exclusive.

    Evolution, while reasonable, will always fall under the category of ‘Theory’, simply because of one of the basic tenants of the Scientific Method–ie, something is only ‘proven’ if a human, given the proper tools and test material, can replicate the results accurately as many times as they desire. Some things, like Gravity, are ‘theories’ only because we don’t know HOW they work (we can observe the effects, we know THAT it works, but whether it’s some particle or variant of existing force is uncertain). Some things, like Evolution, might be factually true or possible, yet will ever qualify as ‘theory’ simply because it is impossible for someone to replicate the results (doing so takes several orders of magnitude more time than said person’s lifespan).

    In general, Science is concerned with ‘how’ and Religion is concerned with ‘why’. Science doesn’t ask why something happened, it asks how it happened. Religion is usually the reverse, as it’s not so important as to how a creator or figure from the past accomplished a miracle, but for what purpose they did so.

    The two, however, do not cancel each other out. It is entirely possible for, say, an Abrahamic religion to state that both coexist perfectly in that their Creator used the methods we have discovered by science as the ‘tools’ by which things were made and that most of the descriptions we have are how, as Lorica states, a person from that era would understand the concept or describe it to another (though I must stop to note, real quick, that the Brontosaurus is a human-conceived Chimera and not an actual dinosaur. There are, however, numerous other large beasts that could qualify).

    Also, Science generally has holes simply because whatever is in the ‘hole’ hasn’t been discovered yet. Like the whole ‘missing link’ concept, each time a new thing is discoverd, the holes get smaller, but until everything is explained perfectly, there will always be holes. Religion, again, is the reverse, not caring so much about the ‘holes’ since they are considered unimportant to the basic purpose or concept at the time. One could point out countless ‘holes’ in various religions that will likely never be completely filled, but such is not important to the actual message or purpose behind it anyway.

  2. I think the whiny kids were just suffering from nervous exhaustion. After all, when you’re growing up in Berkeley, California, The Abortion Capital of America, your worst nightmare is that someday they’ll approve retroactive abortions, and then where would you be?

    Here’s my take on it.

  3. Here is what the study said about nursery school girls who grow up to be LIBERAL:

    Is a talkative child,
    Behaves in a dominating manner,
    Expresses negative feelings openly,
    Is verbally fluent,
    Teases other children,
    Seeks to be independent and autonomous,
    Is self-assertive,
    Attempts to transfer blame to others,
    Is aggressive (physically or verbally),
    High standards of performance for self,
    Tends to be judgmental of others,
    Can admit to own negative feelings,
    Likes to compete,
    High intellectual capacity,
    Is curious and exploring,
    Is self-reliant, confident,
    Tries to be the center of attention,
    Is resourceful in initiating activities,
    Tends to dramatize, exaggerate mishaps,
    Is emotionally expressive.

    And here is what the study said about nursery school girls who grow up to be CONSERVATIVE:

    Indecisive and vacillating,
    Is easily victimized by other children,
    Is inhibited and constricted,
    Keeps thoughts, feelings, to self,
    Prefers non-verbal communication,
    Is neat and orderly in dress,
    Is shy and reserved,
    Anxious in unpredictable environment,
    tends to yield and give in,
    Is obedient and compliant,
    immobilized when under stress,
    Is fearful and anxious,
    Looks to adults for help and direction,
    Tends to go to pieces under stress,
    Has a readiness to feel guilty,
    Likes to be by him/herself, Cries easily.

    The “liberal” traits that are perceived as appealing to the researchers I see as: bullying, willfully imposing themselves onto others, disrespectful of others, domineering, careless, cheater, complainer, unjust, self-centered, disruptive, rude, and more than anything: SELFISH loudmouths. Read the list again. Those kids were the jerks. The “conservative” traits that are seen as negative I see as: respectful of others – particularly elders and those in authority, careful, organized, thoughtful of others, obedient, desires to please, desires to do the right thing, does not cheat, reliable and honest, well behaved, does not want to impose on others, sensitive, seeks guidance in order to do the right thing, does not pretend to know more than she does, is not full of herself- sees the world as something other than herself.

    I would love to have a conservative child!

    Huge holes in the study:

    -23 year olds are not politically mature. They know nothing yet of the world. They have not yet truly worked and earned their way. Their politics are largely formed by teachers/professors, media, and cultural influences – all of which are, especially in S.F., liberal. It is a false to conclude in this study that childhood personality can predict adulthood political affiliation because these 23 year olds will not necessarily remain true to their current political leanings. Liberal S.F. certainly influenced these young adults’ politics.

    -Many of the study’s perceived “well-balanced” 23 yr old liberals would not be liberal if they grew up in a different cultural environment (anywhere but S.F. – look at European kids – similar cultural influence, similar politics). Those liberals would be conservatives if they were properly introduced to conservative thinking.

    -Roughly 100 kids, all from S.F., is NOT a representative sampling.

    -Bias of those Berkley grad students who evaluated the young children. Did they know the childrens’ parents? – any bias find its way into unfavorable evaluations of the disliked/liked parents’ children? Or did those (undoubtedly liberal) grad students see behaviors in the children they themselves had and parlayed them into favorable traits? Were these grad students qualified to evaluate child personality traits? They weren’t doctors. They hadn’t raised children. What do they know?? Could it be too that the self-absorbed liberal researchers of this study describe the traits of the young and adult liberal subjects in glowing terms because they themselves share these traits?

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