Whiny conservatives

Slate's William Saletan recently ran a column on the 10 best stories from his Human Nature column in 2006.  Despite being a big fan of Saletan's writing, I apparently had missed out on this story:  Whiny kids are more likely to grow up to be conservative

The research, in the latest Journal of Research into Personality,
does not exactly say that Dick Cheney, the Vice President, must
therefore have been the most tiresome wimp in school. Or that Al Gore
won the school popularity contest. But it comes close. “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 professor found after selecting 90 children for his
experiment and following their development over two decades to
adulthood.

“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
introspective.” Conservatives point out that the pool of children
around Berkeley in San Francisco may not be scientifically
representative of America.Jeff Greenberg, a social psychologist at the
University of Arizona, said: “I found [the study] to be biased, shoddy
work, poor science at best.”

The columnist Jonah Goldberg said: “If one or two of the whinier
kids turn out to be conservative, it might have more to do with the
fact that their parents are whiny conservatives. Heck, if I lived in
Berkeley, I might be whiny, too.”

Not having actually read the study, I really don't know how valid it is.  Of course the liberal in me would like to believe it.  On the downside, if it is true, my son David is basically doomed to grow up conservative.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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