Study shows liberals at UW believe conservatives are 'evil,' 'inhuman'
We are being constantly bombarded in the news and in popular culture with the message that conservatives are stupid, even evil. So it shouldn't surprise us that a study conducted by a team of psychology professors at the University of Washington-Seattle found that some students at the largely liberal college have received that message loud and clear.
Tony Airaksinen, writing for PJ Media, reports on the results of the study and why it "should raise worry for any parent with a conservative kid in college."
So, Kantor designed and held a four-hour experimental workshop with 20 student volunteers. After two hours of putting students through team-building activities designed to foster empathy and compassion, the workshop turned political.
This was intentional, of course.
Students were then instructed to discuss their political views, but in a personal way. For example, one Second Amendment supporter told the story of how he hunted deer with his grandfather growing up, to explain the origins of his strong support for gun rights, said Kantor.
Liberal students, in turn, also told stories.
Before and after the workshop, the UW students were asked to what extent they agreed with statements like:
"Most conservatives are unsophisticated rednecks."
"Most liberals are motivated in part by their hatred for America."
"This country would be a better place if most conservatives packed up and moved out."
These questions were designed to gauge students' feelings of political Manichaeism.
"Political Manichaeism is when you demonize somebody who's different [from] you[.] ... The idea is basically that, if you're a conservative, and I'm a liberal, then you're evil and inhuman, and vice versa," Kantor explained.
The study found that liberal students harbored stronger feelings against conservatives than conservatives did against liberals:
Fortunately, in the hours after the workshop, students' feelings of Manichaeism decreased.
But when re-surveyed a month later, the students, especially liberals – who reported stronger feelings of manichaeism in the first place – basically went back to hating their political opponents.
"Liberal beliefs that conservatives are evil only temporarily improved," the study concluded.
There is nothing subtle about the messages being broadcast on TV by the media and popular culture. Conservative Christians are crazy and hate everybody who isn't like them. Political conservatives are heartless monsters. Conservative politicians are hypocrites and crooked.
The portrayal of conservatives in TV and movies is only part of the problem. Liberals in the media don't even bother to hide their bias anymore. It's out in the open for all to see. Jim Acosta of CNN is only an extreme example.
This isn't the first time in the postwar era that conservatives have been demonized and marginalized. The 1950s saw conservatism made into a punch line – a joke of a philosophy that only rednecks and button-down WASPs believed in.
It took superior ideas and personalities to change that dynamic. It can change again.