John Hood: Psychology and Political Division

John Hood: Psychology and Political Division

John Hood: Psychology and Political Division

December 28.2019

Disputes over political philosophy may be fought out on the battlefield of ideas, but they germinate deep within the mind, according to columnist John Hood, a founding leader of North Carolina’s libertarian-oriented John Locke Foundation. Ideology might actually boil down to what psychologists call the “locus of control,” a measure of whether or not people view major life consequences as the result of their own thinking and doing. Hood cites a study linking the question to political identification. “While Americans as a whole lean towards internal locus of control to a remarkable degree — much more so than Europeans and Asians tend to do — American conservatives are more likely than American progressives to express the internal-control view,” he says. Locus of control connotes with opinions about the appropriate role of government. “What we can say is that our political differences extend far beyond our contrasting views on specific pieces of legislation or electoral candidates,” Hood says. “Deeply held feelings and values are at play.”

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