The recent study into the brains of liberal thinkers and conservative thinkers has raised some interesting theories. There is chatter regarding the results on almost every forum and in every newspaper I have looked at in the past week. Are the results true? What do they really mean?
For those of you who are unaware, the study found that liberal thinkers are hopeful, brave and open to change. Conservative thinkers are fearful, scared and wary of change. Sounds intriguing but how does that affect current politics and what is the result indicative of?
Essentially, what it says is that those who are conservative are pessimistic and those who are liberal are optimistic. This can be roughly applied to all policy that is currently on the table in Federal and State politics. The Cairns Post stated that this is true of most politics but does not translate when it comes to the most controversial of topics, climate change.
The argument is that those who believe in climate change, mostly liberal thinkers, are effectively pessimists for holding that belief while conservative thinkers are optimistic as they choose to align themselves with the 5% of scientists who disagree with the theory. I disagree, strongly.
As far as I am concerned, believing in climate change is realism. That does not fit into either category. If something is proven and it's proven by most of the great minds in the world, you would have to be slightly foolish to disagree. The optimism comes in believing. Only if you believe in climate change can you be hopeful that we have the power to undo some of the damage we have done, or at least halt it. It takes a large degree of optimism to focus on the positive change that can be made for the betterment of our world.
A pessimist, by ignoring the facts, is essentially admitting to themselves that they believe the problem is too large and cannot be reversed. Andrew Bolt's interview with Tim Flannery is a perfect example of this. He was asking questions about the immediate results of a reduction of carbon emissions. He knew the answer before asking the question. The answer was given by someone optimistic about the survival of the planet in the long term. Andrew's questions portrayed a man only interested in the future of the world....while he is still in it.
A positive thinker will look beyond themselves to future generations as they are not scared of what will come next, they choose instead to believe that they have the power to make changes now that will be felt in 100-200 years because they know that they will probably have relatives around who will benefit from the decisions they make today. These are the ones who donate to Amnesty International believing that human rights can be achieved in every country, while the pessimist gives to the stock market believing that they only have the power to affect their own lives.
It's not true you know. We all have the power to make positive changes in other people's lives. Sometimes the journey is long and the results may not be seen by our generation but that's no excuse not to try. It doesn't mean that the pessimist (conservative) is a bad person, just afraid. It doesn't mean that the optimist (liberal) is always right either, sometimes it pays to have a little cynicism so you don't go blindly into tomorrow.
The fact is we probably need both sides in order to effectively run the country and create stable communities. I have professed many times over to be the leader of the optimism party and proudly admit to that. The balance is achieved by having that healthy dose of realism I mentioned earlier. It's essential, regardless of which way you lean.