Liberals, Conservatives, and Change Don Boudreaux
Here's a report of research that allegedly finds that the brains of persons who describe themselves as "liberal" are wired differently than are the brains of those persons who describe themselves as "conservative."...But I'm very reluctant to draw conclusions from this study if only because of the ambiguity of the terms "conservative" and "liberal."
In the English-speaking world, many people who favor free markets and who are suspicious of top-down planning call themselves "conservative". And yet these persons generally are much more tolerant of the inherent uncertainties of market processes than are many (most?) persons who call themselves "liberal." Many modern, self-described "liberals" worry that changes from familiar patterns -- for example, changes in the types of industry that flourish in a country; changes in the pattern of "income distribution"; changes in the natural environment -- are so likely to cause problems that "liberals" want government to use its powers to try to avoid or, at least, to moderate these changes. (Modern "liberals," note, are much more likely than are modern "conservatives" to endorse the application of the "precautionary principle.")
I am not saying here that all modern liberals are fearful of markets and that all modern conservatives celebrate, or even tolerate, markets' dynamism and change. My point is merely that it is a gross error to suppose that people today who self-identify as "liberals" welcome change while people who self-identify as "conservatives" do not. Email this • Technorati: 2 links to this item • Save to del.icio.us • Digg This! • Stumble It! Posted in Myths and Fallacies Permalink Comments (33) TrackBack (0)