I rarely read Nicholas Kristof columns, largely because I have a strict limit on the number of angry articles about Darfur I may read in a year (Just one. Thanks for reminding me of my impotence to cure man's inhumanity to man, Nick), but he has an interesting column today, which I read by accident at the gym:
Would You Slap Your Father? If So, You’re a Liberal
Seems that your relative tendency to be a conservative is correlated with how likely you are to find something disgusting. At least, that's what some researchers at the University of Virginia say. And if it's happening at UVA, then I am inclined to believe it.
But still, I decided to take the survey myself (actually, it's a bunch of related surveys, and it took some time to complete them, but it's not like I have any actual paying work today, so what the Hell).
Your Morals survey
And, of course, it isn't as simple as Kristof suggests, but the results are fairly interesting. Turns out I am very slightly more prone to be disgusted than the average of people who have taken the survey, but mostly related to actually contaminated stuff - spoiled meat, spoiled milk, that kind of thing. Stuff that might be called merely "icky", like touching a dead body or seeing rats, doesn't bother me much at all. But I knew that already. I wonder to what extent my experience as a cook skews my responses - I think I am particularly sensitive to food that is bad simply because I have been exposed to food so intimately all my life and it is so important for me to be aware of the quality and condition of ingredients.
I wonder if cooks are more conservative. Maybe that's another survey.
There are a couple of oddball problems with the survey. For example, the "sacredness" survey tries to gauge how likely to are to violate some core principle for money by asking you how much it would take to do certain things, such as shoot an endangered animal or curse your parents. They call it the "what would you do for a million dollars" survey. The problem at least for me is that I am not terribly motivated by money (or I wouldn't be a journalist, obviously), so I answered either I'd do it for free or I would never do it for any price to every question. I mean, if someone wanted to actually pay me to flip off my professor, I'd be glad to take their cash, but I might very well do it free anyway just to see what happens. But at the same time, even a million dollars wouldn't induce me to cut off contact with my family for a year.