Why Are Liberals More Afraid of Virus Than Conservatives?

Why Are Liberals More Afraid of Virus Than Conservatives?
(Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

In recent years, there’s been an explosion of academic work on the psychological foundations of our politics. The basic theory goes like this: Some people are innately more suspicious of change, of outsiders, of novelty. That base orientation will nudge them toward living in the town where they grew up, eating the foods they know and love, worshipping in the church their parents attended. It will also nudge them toward political conservatism.

The reverse is true, too. Some people are naturally more oriented toward newness, toward diversity, toward disruption. That base orientation will push them to live in big cities, try exotic foods, travel widely, appreciate weird art, sample different spiritualities. It will also nudge them toward political liberalism.

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