Sticks and stones will break my bones; names will....

"...names will never hurt me!"

Growing up in what I later (after a sociology course) realized was a lower middle class environment, my siblings and I and kids we played with used those words to prepare ourselves for the world.

"...names will tell me more about you than about me!"

After learning about projection in a psychology course, I realized I could have used those words. Kids wouldn't have understood them.

Why this discussion? It's about words we see in posts here. Read on a bit.

Chris Mooney's The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science--and Reality has another take on the sometimes stressed-out language we see here.

Mooney tells of research by, among others, Linda Skitka at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research placed both conservatives and liberals in a variety of stressful situations and found that stress moves liberals in a conservative direction.

Skitka observed, "It is much easier to get a liberal to behave like a conservative than it is to get a conservative to behave like a liberal."

In research by others, drinking alcohol produced similar results. "Much like the Skitka study's 'cognitive load,' alcohol shuts off complex thinking."

The movement toward the right is not due to liberals being swayed by conservative arguments; it seems to result from an increased need for less nuanced thinking, a need for closure.

And so, we might say "Sticks and stones will break my bones, names will tell me you need closure."

What say you?

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Intriguing concept, Tom.  How much conservative thinking is a result of mental or emotional trauma or an upbringing which fosters such thought, I don't know.  Name-calling generally reflects discomfort with what or who is being named.  Question becomes, what gave rise to that discomfort in the first place?

Certainly for me, some kind of insult occupies my thoughts enough to make me not want to continue the conversation.  That's partly because I grew up in a very insulting family.  But for people in general, it often has that effect, it seems - they figure if someone is going to be negative with them, they won't continue the conversation.

Of course that's the purpose of being insulting - to push people away who disagree with the person, and thus to guard their viewpoint. 

When people don't have an argument handy, they resort to insults. 

The less of that here, the better.




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