03/23/2006 11:14 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Whiny Children Grow Up to Be Conservatives

What happens when professors from Berkeley get together with Canadians? Sunday's Toronto Star reported on a study from the Journal of Research into Personality that concluded that insecure kids look for the reassurance provided by tradition and authority, and find it in conservative politics. The more confident kids are eager to explore alternatives to the way things are and gravitate toward liberal politics. A similar 2003 study out of Stanford concluded that people who are dogmatic, fearful, intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, and who crave order and structure are more likely to gravitate to conservatism. Critics branded it the "conservatives are crazy" study and accused the authors of a political bias.

The truth hurts, no?

Just to present an alternative theory, the Star offers "that even if they really did tend to be insecure complainers as kids, they might simply have recognized that the world is a scary, unfair place. The safest thing is to stick to tradition could well be the right one. As for their 'rigidity,' maybe that's just moral certainty."

Of course, whiny-ness and insecurity also means overcompensation. Ever wonder why draft-dodging Republicans are so eager to beat their chest and send other people's kids to war?

Donnie Fowler
San Francisco