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World & Current Events > Study of right- and left-wing readers throws up interesting results

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message 1: by Mike (new)

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 264 comments A study carried out using Goodreads suggests that readers to the right of the political spectrum are better able to accept cultural compromises in their reading, and are more sophisticated in their discussion of books. Is this true? The authors of the study say that their research disproves the "angry white man" stereotype, but I wonder if it does; are they looking at people like that on the new right, or at readers who are conservative in a more traditional sense? I suspect the latter, but there is plainly more analysis to be done here. Link to article: https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...?


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Completely fascinating! I'm not completely surprised because it backs up my belief that people are far more rational and tolerant when they are in an individualized environment whereas idealogical mob mentality becomes the norm in polarizing settings. When it comes to politics there is no safety in numbers. The left, right and middle still run in packs and vote as a collectorate. But this article does offer a spark of hope, however.


message 3: by Nik (last edited Oct 13, 2016 09:50AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments I like article's premise that books can be a common denominator unifying the opposite camps. Not sure the research proves it, but it offers some interesting data anyway. Well, kinda not surprising to discover some blockbusters among the 'bridging'-:) Moreoever, I'm not surprised conservatives appear to have a milder and more compromising rhetorics. Don't know, but aren't liberals/liberators become revolutionaries more often, while conservatives support the existing order? -:)


message 4: by Mike (new)

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 264 comments I think you have both identified factors here. Yes people are more rational outside of a group setting - interestingly, Max Weber apparently believed that charismatic authority trumped rational authority in a group setting. (Not sure if trump is the right word there.)

Also, I suppose the less change-oriented you are, the less aggressively assertive you are - which would apply to conservatives (but not to the ideological New Right). I also wonder if conservatives tend to be older, and thus have better manners. ...Now there's a generalization :)


message 5: by Sci-Fi & Scary (last edited Oct 13, 2016 09:14AM) (new)

Sci-Fi & Scary (scifiandscary) Ooh, this is interesting.

simple-minded readers of formulaic fiction (conservatives)


I object to that! LOL. I'm definitely a liberal, and I love my "low-brow fiction".

Overall, I thought it was a cool read, and I'm definitely going to look further into it once I have the time.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Lilyn G. (Scifi and Scary) wrote: "Ooh, this is interesting.

simple-minded readers of formulaic fiction (conservatives)

I object to that! LOL. I'm definitely a liberal, and I love my "low-brow fiction".

Overall, I thought it wa..."


xD


message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments Mike wrote: "I also wonder if conservatives tend to be older, and thus have better manners...."

Not sure about that. My personal experience surely cannot replace statistics and research, but I do encounter examples personally and in the media of rather old leftists with quite an aggressive approach -:)
But I do notice and what media (at least here) affirms that the majority of bohemia, more educated and high-achieving population seem to be more liberal/leftist, while more 'simple' people are inclined towards a more conservative approach.


message 8: by Marie Silk (last edited Oct 13, 2016 10:48AM) (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments That's really interesting, Mike. Conservatives have certainly been portrayed as not much more than angry racists of low intelligence, especially in the current election.

I haven't conducted an official study of course, but I don't have to look further than my daily facebook feed to see that most of the contempt and aggression is not coming from voters on the right at all.

Conservatives are regularly accused of everything from KKK involvement to a host of mental problems. Seriously?

I'm a Latina woman of decent intelligence and I'm what they call conservative, which is supposed to be an impossible combination :D.

Just an aside, it was a Republican vote that finally enabled women's voting rights, and Republicans who advocated race equality, while the Democrats were against. Nowadays the thought is that if you are republican/right/conservative, you must not like women or anyone who isn't white. It's all nonsense of course.


message 9: by Mike (new)

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 264 comments An awful lot of it is. I am on what some people would call the extreme left, and am an agnostic. But I don't find it hard to relate to people with conservative views and family-oriented values, or those with Christian convictions. To me, the real dividing line is decency - it is between people who disparage other humans, and those who do not.

I do think that this interesting study raises as many questions as it answers. I encounter plenty of fellow book-enthusiasts on Goodreads who have conservative attitudes, and I would endorse the finding that they are at least as thoughtful as anyone else. What you are less likely to find here, is the bigoted fascist type (who probably shouldn't be described as conservatives, anyway - I think they are something else). So these researchers' distinction between right and left was probably not nuanced enough.


message 10: by Marie Silk (last edited Oct 13, 2016 12:28PM) (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments Thank you for this response, Mike. I don't find it hard to relate to those on the extreme left, either. I think you can be intelligent, decent, well-reasoned people on either side of the spectrum. I figure we all have our reasons for thinking why government should be this way or that, and these reasons are legit for us, whatever side that might put us on.


message 11: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments Nik wrote: "But I do notice and what media (at least here) affirms that the majority of bohemia, more educated and high-achieving population seem to be more liberal/leftist, while more 'simple' people are inclined towards a more conservative approach.."

Interesting stuff, Nik :)


message 12: by Jen Pattison (new)

Jen Pattison | 409 comments Mike wrote: "To me, the real dividing line is decency - it is between people who disparage other humans, and those who do not. What you are less likely to find here, is the bigoted fascist type (who probably shouldn't be described as conservatives, anyway - I think they are something else)."

Well said, Mike. I really don't care what the politics of others are, I respect our differences and everyone's right to opinions that differ from my own and I am fond of you all for our shared love of books and reading.

Marie wrote: "I haven't conducted an official study of course, but I don't have to look further than my daily facebook feed to see that most of the contempt and aggression is not coming from voters on the right at all. "

Same across the Pond here Marie, I couldn't believe the vitriol over the referendum from the Remainers who branded all Leavers as Neanderthal right-wing bigots. Well, I have neither of those three attributes and my heart is on the Left, but I agree blindly less and less these days with the party line; maybe I'm becoming less radical in my old age.

"Nowadays the thought is that if you are republican/right/conservative, you must not like women or anyone who isn't white. It's all nonsense of course. "

Of course it is! I'm finding the Left a lot more stridently intolerant these days, though they make these stereotypical generalisations about conservatives whilst they condemn stereotypical judgements directed towards others. That strikes me as hypocritical. Interestingly I read a FB comment recently from a Marxist friend who reads deeply into political theory and who said that the Left was becoming 'regressive'.


message 13: by Mike (new)

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 264 comments I have to say, I have seen some quite nasty stuff on both sides. I wrote a blog post on a European press review site just before the referendum, explaining (politely) why I thought Brexit was a bad idea. Some of the comments I got from the Brexit camp were sheer acid. Here on Goodreads we mostly don't behave like that, whatever our views, but out there it's a zoo.


message 14: by Jen Pattison (last edited Oct 14, 2016 12:07AM) (new)

Jen Pattison | 409 comments Mike wrote: "I have to say, I have seen some quite nasty stuff on both sides. I wrote a blog post on a European press review site just before the referendum, explaining (politely) why I thought Brexit was a bad..."

That's a fair point Mike and very true. It does strike me though that there is increasing intolerance from quite a few Left-leaning people, and we always tended to associate that behaviour with the Right. I do wonder if the import of Jerry Springer-type shows in addition to the anonymity of social media that gives rise to trolling has made many people more aggressive and intolerant generally? Like you say, it's on both sides and I abhor it. It doesn't bother me in the slightest if someone doesn't agree with my views as long as they don't harangue me and that's why I like GR, as on the whole people here are tolerant.


message 15: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 7093 comments If we imagine for a moment that the whole left wing, right wing, political paradigm was the space between the center of the sun and the orbit of the Earth, than my political position would be Alpha Centauri.

(Heheheheh....hehe...)

I hope that clarifies things.


message 16: by GR (last edited Oct 14, 2016 02:24AM) (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments Mike wrote: "A study carried out using Goodreads suggests that readers to the right of the political spectrum are better able to accept cultural compromises in their reading, and are more sophisticated in their..."

I agree with you about Alpha Centauri.

I find that people who are on the Right, read more non-fiction. I don't know if this is true, or it's only the people I know who are Right-wing. But, I think it is more of what Right-wing readers what to be known as more cultural superior. I find that Right-wing people are narrow in the sense, that they only accept what they want, not necessarily both sides. This is true for Left-wing people, too. What is true for the Right, is also true for the Left. It's just another way of looking at the world in a superior light and thinking one is better than the other. My question: what is better, and what is worse? If all things being equal, they're the same: equally unequal. Or is it the other way around?


message 17: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 7093 comments Is the left right paradigm simply a system of control designed to ensure that we focus our efforts of fighting each other rather than realising our actual mutual imprisonment and devoting our efforts to freeing each other?


message 18: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments The site has the aura of intelligentsia here and people tend to behave whether from inner conviction or in line with expectations-:). But maybe literature can be a peacemaker indeed?


message 19: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2108 comments They say more and more people are registering as Independent, but that's not because we have more independents in this country, it's because the two parties have been driving out anyone with more moderate views from their ranks in the past 30 years. Marie pointed out some of the advancements in race issues made by Republicans in the past, but it's also easy to forget things like the Environmental Protection Agency - a hated target of Republicans today - was signed into law by Richard Nixon - a Republican. Richard Nixon was also the one who opened relations with China - a Communist country - in the middle of the Cold War.

There are a lot of people who consider themselves Conservative because they believe in smaller government/fiscal responsibility, less intrusion/more personal responsibility, etc. But those are the people who feel the party today has abandoned them. A lot of civil rights issues and platforms we think of as liberal ideas, should be conservative ideas. It is not fiscally responsible to find ways to imprison groups of people just because we don't want them in society. It is not fiscally responsible to spend a boatload of tax dollars waging this war on illegals instead of creating a compromise that brings them into the light and turns them into full taxpaying members of our society.

I think it would surprise people just how many who consider themselves to be conservative don't think all these social issues are big priorities. Every time a politician wastes time refighting Roe v. Wade, there are more of your tax dollars going down the drain. Every time a local official insists the Ten Commandments belong in a school, there are you tax dollars going to waste fighting a battle that's already been decided.


message 20: by Mike (new)

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 264 comments Graeme Rodaughan wrote: "Is the left right paradigm simply a system of control designed to ensure that we focus our efforts of fighting each other rather than realising our actual mutual imprisonment and devoting our effor..."

Interesting question, Graeme. I am just about to publish an essay on that topic (available for Kindle some time in November!).


message 21: by Mike (new)

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 264 comments Nik wrote: "The site has the aura of intelligentsia here and people tend to behave whether from inner conviction or in line with expectations-:). But maybe literature can be a peacemaker indeed?"

Maybe people who are thoughtful enough to read literature (however one defines that) are just less likely to be bad-tempered and abusive.


message 22: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments Mike wrote: "Maybe people who are thoughtful enough to read literature (however one defines that) are just less likely to be bad-tempered and abusive. ..."

I'm quite confident this being true


message 23: by Sci-Fi & Scary (new)

Sci-Fi & Scary (scifiandscary) Mike wrote: "Nik wrote: "The site has the aura of intelligentsia here and people tend to behave whether from inner conviction or in line with expectations-:). But maybe literature can be a peacemaker indeed?"

..."


Think you nailed it.


message 24: by Jen Pattison (new)

Jen Pattison | 409 comments Graeme Rodaughan wrote: "If we imagine for a moment that the whole left wing, right wing, political paradigm was the space between the center of the sun and the orbit of the Earth, than my political position would be Alpha Centauri."

Haha! The more I follow politics, the more inclined I am to follow you out into the universe.

I do think you're right too about divide and rule; anyone remember the lyrics of The Who's song Won't Get Fooled Again? Plus ça change, c'est plus la même chose.


message 25: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Kuhn (kevinkuhn) | 45 comments One of my favorite quotes is something like, "A young conservatve has no heart, and an old liberal has no wisdom." I cheat and pretty much stay in the middle.


message 26: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Kuhn (kevinkuhn) | 45 comments So maybe I have no heart or wisdom . . .


message 27: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9249 comments Good literature presents things to think about, but political enthusiasts tend to interpret such writing according to their preconceived ideas. The "bridge books" may be more open to multiple interpretations, or even downright ambiguous.


message 28: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments Graeme Rodaughan wrote: "Is the left right paradigm simply a system of control designed to ensure that we focus our efforts of fighting each other rather than realising our actual mutual imprisonment and devoting our effor..."

We're all getting sucked by pacifiers: music, movies, food, drink. Buy this to make your life better. Eat this to become healthier. All the vices that was once were sins are now encouraged. I wouldn't be surprised if the ingredients in our soft drinks and food have pacifying chemicals in them. In the next ten years, people will be walking around like zombies whistling a happy tune--thanks to pharmaceuticals. How else is society going to cope with crime and unemployment and its dystopia.


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