The Block Study – A Closer Look

Ken AshfordRepublicansLeave a Comment

Conservatives in the right blogosphere are apparently put off by the Block study, and are making efforts to punch holes in it.

So having made the study available, I decided to take a closer look.

Most of the criticism from the right focuses around the fact that the research was done at Berkeley, and Berkeley is a hot-bed of liberalism.   

This, of course, is a pretty weak criticism.  The study does not purport to talk about the general numbers of conservatives versus liberals in the general population.  Nor does it attempt (as some critics apparently believe) to lump all conservatives and liberals into one pile.  Instead, the study acknowledges that there is a continuum of political orientations from "liberal" to "conservative", and as one progresses to either end of the spectrum, it is more likely that they exhibited certain personality characteristics as a child.

Even when you look at some of the study’s conclusions, I don’t think many will find it alarming.  Take, for example, this excerpt:


Is the characteristic of conservo-children as being "moralistic" or "conventional" something that conservatives are likely to disagree with?   And how can they complain about liberals being the "intellectual elite" while denying that liberals (as children) are "bright" and "complicate the simple"?

And what about the women?  Before I give you the study’s conclusion, let me give you two mental images: Jane Fonda, and June Cleaver.


Well, well, well.  Seems like the study pegged them pretty good.

So what, I ask, is offensive — or even controversial — about the study?