The University of Cincinnati is at it again.
The University of Cincinnati has yet again expressed its disdain for conservative thought. On Saturday, September 2nd — while most of us welcomed the return of College Football Saturdays — the official University of Cincinnati Twitter account (@uofcincy) published a study done by a pair of professors. The study, conducted by Assistant Professor of Marketing Anthony Salerno of the University of Cincinnati and Assistant Professor Keri Kettle of the University of Manitoba, attempted to draw connections between the amount of anger an individual exhibits, and their political preferences. The caption on the Tweet was “Study: Anger linked to conservative economic views.” Regardless of this being an incredibly provocative caption that does not wholly reflect the findings of the study, the fact remains that it is not unrealistic for the University to tweet out studies published by its faculty. However, the Twitter account in question has rarely shared any studies, but has always been used for promotional purposes.
Matt Koesters’ article on the University of Cincinnati website is titled as “People Become More Economically Conservative When Angered.” This statement asserts a correlation between what they define as “conservatism” and anger, and suggests a causal effect between the two. By disregarding the foundational basis in reality of laissez-faire economic policy, the conductors of this study attempt to link emotion to an inherently unemotional policy. After all, it is in the name of empathy that more progressive economic policy stances find their foundation. Whereas conservative economic policy is drawn from classical liberalism, as true American Conservatism is the closest thing to it in existence today.
“By disregarding the foundational basis in reality of laissez-faire economic policy, the conductors of this study attempt to link emotion to an inherently unemotional policy.”
Koesters, and the professors who conducted the study, are likely suffering from a definition deficiency. They opted for the definition of conservatism that in reality is protectionist/populist. Not only are they mislabeling “conservative” policy, but they are propagating the idea that anger is a constant state, rather than one that extends and retracts over time. Nobody is always angry, just like no progressive remains in a constant state of bliss (exemplified by the rioting Antifa members in Berkeley), as Matt Koesters would have you believe.
“In the first of four studies, 538 undergraduate students were asked to score how prone they are to anger, how competitive they are and how strongly they agreed or disagreed with statements like, “Laws of nature are responsible for differences in wealth in society,” and “If people work hard, they almost always get what they want.” The study showed positive relationships between anger proneness, economic conservatism and competitiveness, providing preliminary evidence that anger enhances support for economic conservatism by making people more competitive.”
This excerpt from Koesters’ article shows a massive flaw in the study: the respondents were asked how “prone to anger” they are. Are individuals capable of objectively assessing their “proneness to anger?” Rather than forming a controlled experiment in which respondents were subject to a set of triggers (for lack of a better term) that would actually test their “proneness to anger,” they relied on hearsay. But the flaws in the study are really second to the biggest issue in this situation.
The University of Cincinnati, a public institution, is supposed to allow diversity of ideas. Instead, they tweet out this study and snub half of their student body and alumni as anger-peddlers. By tweeting in this manner, UC is receiving a quite deserved amount of flak from conservative students and alumni.
But perhaps they are right, as a current angry alumnus, I plan on being rather “conservative” with any future donations to the University.
Follow this author on Twitter: @bradjCincy