Friday, June 5, 2009

Gay rights are apparently not for the faint

An interesting bit of research appeared in the June 3, 2009, ChronicleOnline from Cornell University. It says that there's a correlation between a person's susceptibility to being more easily disgusted and political conservatism.

Assistant professor of psychology at Cornell, David Pizarro, surveyed people with two indexes: the Disgust Sensitivity Scale, and a political ideology scale.

Here are a few cherry-picked highlights from the article:

  • Participants who rated higher in disgust sensitivity were more likely to oppose gay marriage and abortion, issues that are related to notions of morality or purity. The researchers also found a weak correlation between disgust sensitivity and support for tax cuts, but no link between disgust sensitivity and the other issues...
  • Conservatives have argued that there is inherent wisdom in repugnance; that feeling disgusted about something -- gay sex between consenting adults, for example -- is cause enough to judge it wrong or immoral, even lacking a concrete reason. Liberals tend to disagree, and are more likely to base judgments on whether an action or a thing causes actual harm....
  • The research speaks to a need for caution when forming moral judgments, Pizarro added. "Disgust really is about protecting yourself from disease; it didn't really evolve for the purpose of human morality," he said. "It clearly has become central to morality, but because of its origins in contamination and avoidance, we should be wary about its influences."

I'm not sure how to draw my own conclusions. I'm not particularly disturbed by animal blood and guts (human is a very different story), but I am very wary of the gun control agenda. Certain scenes in Brokeback Mountain really give me the willies (no pun intended), but I strongly feel that homosexuals should have equal rights under the law.

Do these contradictions make me a conservative liberal or a liberal conservative?

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