The Science of SWRVs

I’ve mentioned Scared White Republican Voters a few times here. The idea is that Republican politicians play on fear to get people to comply with their plans in a way that politicians of other parties do not.

I didn’t mean to say that all, or even most, Republicans are scared, but it turns out that there is science correlating traditional “conservative” Republican rightist attitudes with fearfulness:

Those individuals with “measurably lower physical sensitivities to sudden noises and threatening visual images were more likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, pacifism and gun control, whereas individuals displaying measurably higher physiological reactions to those same stimuli were more likely to favor defense spending, capital punishment, patriotism and the Iraq War,” the authors wrote. (

Lest the Democrats / “liberals” / progressives among you start feeling smug and superior, consider what politicians on the left use to secure your compliance:

Chronic fear is bad for our health in a way that chronic hope is not, but hope is not inherently more truthful than fear. Coming from a politician, “things will be better if you elect me” is no less of a lie than “things will be worse if you don’t elect me.”

One response to “The Science of SWRVs”

  1. In a short post, you’ve essentially summed up the reason why I generally no longer engage in political discussions of any sort. It’s not that I think such tactics (as you aptly point out, on both sides of the aisle) are anything new. Rather, I’ve come to realize that most people deny the existence of these tactics, either knowingly, or through their own ignorance. The former lack the intellectual honesty for rational debate, while the latter lack knowledge.

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