UCBerkeley News has an interesting release entitled Researchers Help Define What Makes a Political Conversative detailing efforts to find the lines of consanguinuity that tie together disparate versions of political conservatism or "right wing" thought. The principle common characteristics the researchers distilled from their sampling of over twenty-two thousand sources were: fear and aggression, intolerance of ambiguity, uncertainty avoidance, need for cognitive closure and terror management. From the article:
The avoidance of uncertainty, for example, as well as the striving for certainty, are particularly tied to one key dimension of conservative thought - the resistance to change or hanging onto the status quo, they said...Concerns with fear and threat, likewise, can be linked to a second key dimension of conservatism - an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond...

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