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I guess I should not have been surprised by this one, but the clarity of it is pretty breathtaking. A study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at attitudes about energy efficiency in liberals and conservatives.

First, they gave people a fixed amount of money and gave them a choice of buying an old-school (low efficiency) incandescent light bulb or a new (high efficiency) compact florescent light bulb (CFL). When the bulbs cost the same, and even when the CFL cost more than the incandescent, both conservatives and liberals were equally likely to buy the efficient bulb.

Now here’s the interesting part. When they took the same choice, but this time put a message on the CFL saying “Protect the Environment”, there was a significant drop-off in conservatives picking the CFL.

That’s right. The same choice, the same price, but labeling something as helping to protect the environment made conservatives (and even the more conservative moderates) less likely to buy it. So either conservatives love to destroy the environment, or (more likely) they are automatically against anything that liberals are for. You know, “them damn liberals are always trying to protect the environment, and I hate liberals”. Therefore, they will not buy the energy efficient bulb (even though it would save them money) because it might allow them to piss off some imaginary liberal!

Isn’t it ironic that once upon a time, the conservative movement stood for conserving things? Now I’m not sure if it stand for anything, but instead is just about being against things (in particular, anything that liberals like).

UPDATE: This definitely applies at the national political level. The Republican National Committee has released an ad attacking Obama for not passing gun control legislation. What is not mentioned in the ad is that it was the Republicans who filibustered it.



  1. Scott Segraves wrote:

    Kinda like a corollary of what Pat Toomey said yesterday: “If Obama/Liberals/sentient humans are fer it, I’m a-gin it.” Yeah, I know my leg’s on fire — but it was That One who brought me this extinguisher, so I’ll just let it burn off up to my hip. That’ll show HIM!

    Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink
  2. Michael wrote:

    It’s just another part of the ditto-head legacy of Rush.

    Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink
  3. Dave TN wrote:

    I believe we should be monitoring the water more closely for lead content, the only other excuse I have is inbreeding.

    Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
  4. oregonbird wrote:

    The absolutely inadequate legislation that the Veep brought to the table wasn’t worth passing — it put nothing on the manufacturers of armaments, who constantly lose guns between manufacture and shipping container. They turn out the children’s guns, they turn out military guns and clips into the civilian populations. Obama, once again, protected the corporations and their profits.

    So I blame Obama for the lack of a real piece of legislation, and I blame Reid – that sanctimonious bastard – for setting up the GOP’s ability to end the legislation with a single sentence that didn’t require any effort on their part, for FAILING to rally his own senators, and for setting the entire matter aside. Done. Ended.

    Obama is going along with that too. I will put the blame where it belongs — on an administration so dedicated to corporatism and capitalism, it is giving the 1% direct access to our government through advisory seats.

    Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    Well, if you want to use that kind of thinking, then I blame you, for not working as absolutely hard as you can to get people elected who will stand up to all the corporate money. Let’s put the blame where it really belongs. The wonderful thing about a democracy is that we get the government we deserve, which is the government we elect. Or in our current case, the government that we allowed to be bought and paid for.

    Friday, May 3, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink