Conservatives are more attuned to threats in their environment than liberals. But it makes them blind to the greatest threat, Climate Destabilization.
The paper, “ Differences in negativity bias underlie variations in political ide...,” by lead author John R. Hibbing of the University of Nebraska ... advances three successive waves of evidence, which combine to show that conservatives differ from liberals by having stronger, more intense reactions to negative aspects of the environment — such as physical threats, or potential sources of disease — which are ultimately physiological.
Conservative fears of nonexistent or overblown boogeymen — Saddam’s WMD, Shariah law, voter fraud, Obama’s radical anti-colonial mind-set, Benghazi, etc. — make it hard not to see conservatism’s prudent risk avoidance as having morphed into a state of near permanent paranoia, especially fueled by recurrent “ moral panics,” a sociological phenomenon in which a group of “social entrepreneurs” whips up hysterical fears over a group of relatively powerless “folk devils” who are supposedly threatening the whole social order.
... what conservatives have been doing ... makes perfect sense in terms of expressively defending a threatened group identity — and that is very much in line with what researchers have found to be the defining characteristics of conservatism.
A lot of the language that one hears ... is fear of disease and impurities ... It’s fear of pathogens.
... Hibbing’s team ... wrote the book ”Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Politica....” Where “Political Conservatism” talked about psychology, Hibbing’s work also talks about brain structure and function. It burrows much more deeply into who we are, and by surfacing the far-reaching power of a single unifying factor — differences in threat bias — it achieves a dramatic simplification of the overall picture of the field.
They point out that “Good evolutionary reasons exist for negativity bias given that negative events can be much more costly in fitness terms than positive events are beneficial; to state the obvious, infection, injury, and death curtail reproductive opportunities.” [emphasis mine]
Conservatives are so attuned to the threats of the past that they're oblivious to new threats in their present and future. How ironic that PAST-threat negativity bias makes us blind to orders of magnitude more potent planet-scale threats.
We can't see Climate Destabilization
Some of us are apparently so hard wired to defend our group identity that we don't notice we face fossil fuel-based self-extermination.