Tuesday, May 10, 2005

IN HIS BEST-SELLING BOOK, What's the Matter with Kansas?, Thomas Frank wrote about the striking phenomenon of a working class that has morphed over the past century from radical to right-wing. The socioeconomic demographic that once fought for labor unions, a strong minimum wage, employee benefits, the 40-hour work week, and laws against sweatshops and child labor, is now supporting and voting for tax breaks for the wealthy, anti-union candidates, and economic policies that benefit corporate giants like Wal-Mart who stiff their employees on benefits and wages.

Why? Timothy Noah at Slate draws our attention to a possible answer in a study done a couple of years ago by Frank Sulloway -- the well-known theorist on the effect of birth order on personality. Sulloway's explanation for why the political loyalties of the American working class are at odds with their economic interests? " '...[L]ike virtually all other belief systems,' conservative beliefs are adopted 'in part because they satisfy some psychological needs.' "

In other words, conservatives are crazy.

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