Sunday, September 04, 2005


Left and Right Mentalities

Fear Factor

There seems to be a prediliction or a predetermination for an individual to accept and make his own a group of ideas originating from either the left or the right sides of the political spectrum. One is apparently born with the leanings one way or another, and one's life experiences , more often than not, reenforce the side one is born with. Obviously, this is not a perfect prediliction, and to try to predict which side a person is on can fail miserably, but on the average, I believe our leanings are inborn and will show up as we mature.

This is most obvious between men and women. The man/warrior/hunter is instinctively ever ready to take hard action, and can only be tempered by older warriors they respect who can council a better way at the moment. The woman/nurturing/mothering person is highly tuned to security of the family, making a nest and raising children in a peaceful environment. This aggressive versus passive tendency is a common conflict in today's families.

It would appear that the recent Presidential election results tend to bear this out, where more men than women voted for Bush, and more women than men voted for Kerry. But the more interesting result would be how many men (and women) out of the total number of men (or women) voted for Bush over Kerry. If I remember correctly the breakdown I saw, 58% of men voted for Bush, and only 42% of the men voted for Kerry.

It is also obvious that many other factors enter into the situation, so I speak only of tendencies. A set of major additional factors over and above prediliction would include: intelligence; education; environment; influence of others; psychological makeup and defining events. These factors would be very difficult to sort out accurately as to their relative influence on each individual.

But I propose that psychological makeup has a dominant role to play in forming a prediliction to adhere to the right or left in an individual's thinking. In particular, I would select fear as the driving motivation, and even more specifically, an unreasonably high fear of death; fear of the great unknown; fear of suddenly not being. Death is the demarkation line between the life we know and the non-life we will know so soon from now. How each man or woman deals with this innermost fear of death and its projection into the life they live has much to do with how they lean politically. The atheist, the agnostic, the Communist and the Socialist do not believe in an afterlife. To them, there is only the here and now, except after midnight in their beds, when the dark fears of death overcome them.

This leads to two broad generalizations. The party that offers more comfort, higher security, greater certainty, inclusiveness, expanding benefits and minimal risks will attract the overly fearful, intellectual and inhibited types of people. The opposing party that offers leadership, direct action against threats; use of power to solve problems; a view of man as self-standing; as well as offering progress towards greater security and comfort will attract the less fearful, the more shrewd, aggressive, and self-confident types of people.

Of course, very few people would be able to trace their leanings to their own inner fears, and then to voice them in a public way. The tendency would be to externalize their fears onto others, or in behalf of others. Perhaps they would adopt a radicalized belief in the sanctity of life that goes beyond reason and rational conduct, mainly because that is how they want their life to be protected also, as they are always living in fear of death.


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