I've often said that conservatives are marked by their fear-- fear of uncertainty, fear of change, fear of losing what one has (e.g. "way of life", inheritance) fear of people different from themselves (thus Scalia's irrational outburst regarding the utter chaos likely to be brought on by not outlawing consensual sex between adults). Now, we have some research that supports this view. Of course, the researchers are from Berkley so they will quickly be dismissed by most conservatives, but "what the heck." That doesn't scare me. Here's an excerpt:
Researchers help define what makes a political conservative
BERKELEY – Politically conservative agendas may range from supporting the Vietnam War to upholding traditional moral and religious values to opposing welfare. But are there consistent underlying motivations?
Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:
* Fear and aggression
* Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
* Uncertainty avoidance
* Need for cognitive closure
* Terror management
"From our perspective, these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination," the researchers wrote in an article, "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition," recently published in the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin.