Saturday, December 12, 2009

Corporal punishment and voting behavior

In a way I am really not at all surprised to find the two linked. And when I followed Ezra Klein's link to TPM, the basic explanation seems to be apt enough. One thing I've learned from years of social science research is that one's attitude toward corporal punishment makes for a good marker of one's authoritarianism. Individuals who are highly authoritarian also tend to favor the use of corporal punishment. It's also not too surprising that the GOP is populated primarily if not outright exclusively with highly authoritarian leaders and members. So, yeah, when you present me with data showing a fairly strong positive correlation between percentage of states' voters who cast a vote for McCain/Palin and percentage of individuals within each state who favor corporal punishment, I'm not the least bit surprised. I'm not the least bit psychoanalytically oriented, but I would wager that the authoritarian attitudes exhibited by the GOP base (including of course birthers, deathers, and a large proportion of tea party participants) were forged very early in life through a combination of experiencing physical and psychological abuse as kids (and I consider any form of corporal punishment to be abusive - somewhat along the lines of Alice Miller) and basic observational learning.

Note, the above has nothing to do with how the Dems actually govern. A good case can be made that the White House, for example, under Obama has largely continued the authoritarian policies of the previous Bush II White House. What the data do tell us is a little something about the worldviews of those who participate in elections, and give us an idea of just how distinct the probably GOP party's base is from the rest of us - whether Dem, independent (in my case), or whatever.

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