09 November 2007

Just a Guess

A young friend of mine recently told me that about 90% of the people he meets in his "Journalism and Mass Communication" major in college are liberal, and asked me whether that was the case back in the prehistoric days when I attended college.

I didn't have intimate knowledge of our Communications Dept. at Marist, since I was a poli-sci major with a pre-law focus. But I did know some of them, and I had to tell my young friend that, yes, they were probably to the left of the campus average, however exactly one would go about measuring or defining the scale.

He asked whether I had any thoughts on why this is so. The best I could do was this:

I suspect that the characteristics that go by the label "liberal" in the US are, largely, characteristics psychologically associated with the love of words, word-play, compositional skill, etc.

I also suspect that "conservatism" tends to be psychologically associated with the love of numbers, calculation, and and keen sense of spatial relations.

I have no real good evidence for any of that, its just a hunch based on personal experience.

If there's anything to it, one would expect budding journalists to be "liberals," except possibly those who wanted to specialize in financial and/or science journalism, who might be numbers-people, and thus "conservatives."

This sort of psychological (neurological) clustering may, indeed, be at the bottom of what the words mean.

1 comment:

Henry said...

The association you have noticed may well be true, and I want to add only that you do not claim any causal relationship. That is, a love of words may cause one to be liberal, being liberal may cause one to love words, or both loving words and being liberal may be symptoms of deeper psychological (neurological) factors. Likewise with respect to the love of numbers and being conservative.

Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.