From John Ray's shorter notes
February 03, 2018
Attractive people are more likely to be conservatives -- because they have it 'too easy'?
The basic finding below is a fairly well-established one so I am not going to question it. It in fact fits in with three other well-established findings. The happiness research shows that your degree of happiness is inborn and largely fixed throughout your life and it also shows that conservatives are reliably happier. And the third finding is from genetics research and shows that your degree of conservatism is largely inborn. And with the help of political history we can refine the conclusion from happiness research to say that the psychological basis for conservatism is contentment. Contentment could be regarded as the chronic form of happiness.
So I draw a different but related conclusion from the one below. I think it fits in best with existing research to say that attractive people are more content and hence less aggrieved. It is undoubted that they have an easier time in all sorts of ways so have little to complain about. And that is the psychological foundation of conservatism: Contentment.
Leftists on the other hand are characterized by complaint and grievance. They see all sorts of things that are wrong in the world about them and are unhappy about it, sometimes to the point of rage. And that may be because they have not done well in various ways. So what we see below is another instance of the generalization that conservatives are the contented people. It's a great way to be. And, fortunately it's not only good looking people who are contented. And if you want to be contented but are not, there is a myriad of self-help books which claim to make you more contented
It may be noted that we have here an example of something that every scientist aspires to: A demonstration that a particular thing is an example of a more general rule. In this case we see that attractive people are conservative because contented people in general are conservative. There is no need to postulate that attractive people are insensitive, uncaring etc. We have no evidence of that.
So I think that is the straightforward explanation of the findings below. But there may be other contributing factors. It seems to me likely that Leftists on the whole take less care of their appearance, the extreme ones particularly. Men with scraggly beards and dreadlocks may be quite happy about their appearance but will not generally be seen as attractive. And Leftist women who use little or no makeup and wear baggy clothes will definitely contrast adversely with a carefully presented conservative lady. So the causal arrow can point backwards, with Leftism leading to unattractiveness. Leftism may be the egg that produces the chicken of unattractiveness.
And it seems likely that there is another influence of that kind. Who looks more attractive, a person with a happy smile or a person with an angry face? There is no doubt of the answer to that, is there? So again, Leftism might lead to ugliness. And that could be permanent or semi permanent. In the psychological literature on masking behaviour, we do come across examples of a habitual facial expression becoming more or less permanent. So a face that is often angry may become normally angry, angry-looking regardless of the mood at the time.
Trygve Braatoy's "psychomotor therapy" of the 1940s even claimed that if a mask is worn long enough it becomes the person. There is some apparent experimental confirmation of that.
Perhaps I can close with a small personal anecdote. Around 50 years ago, I noted that there was one person prominent in Australian public life who seemed to my judgment to be very good looking. He was David Flint. He is now 80 but for decades now he has been remarkably and publicly conservative across the board, which is all the more remarkable since he is homosexual. And he still writes well, including praise for Mr Trump. His reaction to Trump's SOTU address: "The West has at last a great leader who will not only make America great again, he will do that for the West"
Because the internet is less and less comprehensive the further back you go, I could find no pictures of the young Flint. In the picture below he was in his 40s but it may give you some idea of his early looks. He has some slight Asian (Indonesian) ancestry which may have something to do with his good skin.
Scientists know that being attractive influences huge areas in a person's life, including how much they earn and what they enjoy doing in their spare time.
Now, a new study claims that beauty can make a person right-wing.
The research argues that people who are attractive are more likely to be conservative because they are 'blind' to the struggles of those who are less fortunate.
Attractiveness in a person often results in an easier life, which can cause desensitisation towards the need for many left-wing policies, such as financial aid
The study was conducted by Dr Rolfe Daus Peterson, a political scholar from Susquehanna University and Dr Carl Palmar, assistant professor in politics at Illinois State University.
The researchers claim that there is 'good reason to believe that individuals' physical attractiveness may alter their political values and worldviews'.
The scientists said in their study that attractive people have better social skills and are more popular, competent and intelligent due to something known as the 'halo effect' - where an individual's view of other people is altered by bias and stereotypes.
But their beauty also makes them less empathetic towards those who find life a struggle, making them more likely to be conservative.
The authors also noted previous studies have shown good-looking people are treated better than others, achieve higher status and are happier, and so are more likely to see the world as 'just' place.
To come to this finding, the scientists took figures from the 1972, 1974 and 1976 American National Studies surveys that asked those taking part to evaluate the appearance of others.
The survey also looked at participants political beliefs, income, race, gender, and education.
The researchers then compared those results with the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) that looked at the characteristics of over 10,000 high school students who were rated by others on their level of beauty.
By combining these results, the researchers said they found a link between political alignment and attractiveness.
They found that more attractive people have a 'blind spot' which results in conservatism. This blind spot stops them from seeing the need for government aid and support, which is a staple of the liberal manifesto.
In the study the researchers say: 'Even though this blind spot may not be universally held and physically attractive individuals do not always have easier lives, on average, physically attractive individuals face fewer hurdles navigating the social world.'
The results come almost a year after another study was published. The study, led by the Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Sweden, looked at the correlation between attractiveness and political belief in candidates.
They found that being better looking made you more likely to earn more, and that richer people are typically more opposed to policies favoured by the left, such as progressive taxes and welfare programmes.
In their paper, published in the Journal of Public Economics, the researchers, led by Niclas Berggren, wrote: 'Politicians on the right look more beautiful in Europe, the United States and Australia.
'Our explanation is that beautiful people earn more, which makes them less inclined to support redistribution.'
Previous studies have found that the more attractive people perceive themselves to be, the lower their preference for egalitarianism – another value associated with the political left.
To assess the link between attractiveness and political values, the researchers showed people pictures of political candidates in Finland, the US and Australia, and asked them to rate them on attractiveness.
The results showed that right-wing politicians were seen as more attractive than left-wingers.
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