According to a new study, liberals tend to become more like conservatives following a terrorist attack. The study, published in the academic journal Psychological Science, pored through survey data collected after the July 7, 2005 bombings in London. These bombings, which killed 52 people, were found to be carried out by Al Qaeda.
According to the researchers, Muslims terrorists killing their fellow countrymen led to a shift in liberal attitudes towards Islam.
“Our findings show that terrorism shifts public attitudes towards greater loyalty to the in-group, less concern with fairness, and greater prejudice against Muslims and immigrants, but it seems that this effect is stronger on those who are politically left-leaning than those who are right-leaning,” said the researchers.
According to the researchers, it is important for politicians to find ways to combat these prejudices after a terrorist attack.
“An important challenge following dramatic terrorist attacks is to know how to engage with public perceptions and attitudes, for example to prevent an upsurge in prejudice and its effects,” said one of the professors leading the research.
Of course it is. It couldn’t possibly be that terrorism knocks liberals off their utopian high-horse, forcing them to finally confront the realities of the world they live in. It couldn’t possibly be as simple as to say that these attacks prove that conservatives were right all along. No, no. Of course not.
In presenting these findings, the study’s authors jubilantly ignore the inherent bias in their position – that conservatives are, by default, bigoted. That’s just to be taken as a matter of undisputed fact. The concern, therefore, is what leaders can do to prevent a country’s level-headed liberals from going insane after their friends and colleagues are slayed by terrorists.
As much as the media and social sciences want to paint a picture of the racist, fearful conservative, it just doesn’t jibe with the truth. Absent terrorism (and polls showing that a disturbing number of Muslims support Sharia Law), conservatives would not have the slightest problem with Islam. Conservatives do, however, have a problem with ignoring realities that put innocent people in mortal danger. We don’t want an all-white, all-Christian Western world, free of ethnic and religious differences. How utterly boring.
What want a national unity based around certain fundamental values. And when we see people who want to destroy those values – values that have nothing to do with race or ethnicity – so that immigrants can feel more comfortable, we oppose it strongly. Not only is it a threat to our security, it is a threat to everything we believe in.
For liberals, the latter threat doesn’t exist because they don’t believe in anything. America (and presumably, the UK) to them is whatever they decide it is on any given day. So if some respected social scientist comes out tomorrow with the opinion that America would be better off under Sharia Law, most of them would be happy to embrace that belief. It’s only when they begin to fear for their own hides that they finally start getting “prejudiced.” Their ideological shift is based on their cowardice, both intellectual and physical. The conservative position remains solid because it’s not based on the events of the day but rather an underlying belief in facts, tradition, and the inarguable truths of the human condition.
Principle, in other words. A word absent from the liberal vocabulary, regardless of how they feel about Muslims on that particular day.