by Thomas Riggins
A recent article at ScienceDaily.com (10-28-2008) reported on the research of Professor Kennon Sheldon (psychology, University of Missouri) on the relation of religious values and politics. He only asked Republicans and Democrats for their opinions (Marxists, not being religious, can't be judged by these findings).
He compared "extrinsic" versus "intrinsic" values-- i.e., worldly success [$$$, etc.,] versus humanistic concerns [personal growth, a desire to help people in need, closeness in relationships, etc.]
He got a profile of four different groups: religious and non-religious Republicans and Democrats. Members of all four groups gave lip service to the intrinsic values. But there were some differences. Non-religious and religious Democrats were just about equal in their support of intrinsic values. Non-religious Republicans veered off in favor of extrinsic values compared to the Democrats. So did religious Republicans but not to the extent of the non-religious Republicans.
Since Republicans are always talking about God and Country I wonder where Sheldon found his non-religious Republicans: not among the yokels that make up the base of the party I'm sure.
As a result of his research Sheldon "wondered whether the primarily economic-oriented values of Republican politicians can allow them to work for large changes that seem needed, such as shifting to an alternative and sustainable energy economy in the face of increasing climate change, or shifting toward greater inclusiveness in the face of increasing racial diversity."
I understand why Professor Sheldon is so cautious in his findings. I used to teach in Missouri and intrinsic values were pretty low on the totem pole. There are however signs of progress. Missouri went for W in both previous elections but McCain won the state by less than 1% of the vote. But I doubt it was humanistic concern for "help thy neighbor" as opposed to self interest that prompted the change of heart among so many former Republican voters.
At any rate progressives can draw the correct conclusions that Sheldon can only hint at: i.e., Republican politicians, for the most part, are a bunch of selfish, hypocritical, racist SOBs that only care about money and the rest of us can all go to the Devil.
Hey, that's not me, that's science!