What is Different about the Left Wing Leaning Who Publicly Oppose Their Party’s Agenda of Injection Mandates
What is Different about the Left Wing Leaning Who Publicly Oppose Their Party’s Agenda of Injection Mandates
Joanna J. Jech
Research Methods & Program Evaluation - CNST-710E-A
Teacher - Harris Friedman
Research Proposal Introduction:
What is different about people who (leading up to March of 2020) identified as somewhere on the left wing spectrum and now publicly oppose their party's agenda of injection mandates? The term left wing which is well known for its roots in altruism will be used interchangeably with progressive, democrat and liberal because all of these terms fall on the left side of American politics. “In politics, left refers to people and groups that have liberal views. That generally means they support progressive reforms, especially those seeking greater social and economic equality” (Dictionary.com, 2021). Humans are complex, yet people who tend towards one side of the political spectrum also tend to be a part of friendship circles who carry the same ideals. For this reason, it has been my observation that left wing identifying individuals who have publicly opposed the left's injection mandates have not done so without social rejection consequences.
Keywords: Vaccine mandates, groupthink, political affiliation, conformity, compliance, belonging, safety, deviance, rejection
What is Different about Progressives Who Publicly Oppose Their Party’s Injection Mandate Agenda
In the era of Evolutionary Environmental Adaptedness (EEA), during hunter-gatherer times, belonging to our tribe and identifying the threat others posed was critical to our survival. In The Social Animal, Aronson and Aronson (2018, p.63) tell us, "Evolution has shaped our minds to be tribal, exquisitely tuned to categorizing other individuals as part of us or part of them." The rapid growth of civilization and technology has not changed this tribalistic mentality. This instinctual drive uses the presence of a them to create a stronger bond among us. As the ancient proverb goes, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Tribalism has played out in politics for centuries. Only now in 2021 the polarizing nature of the two frontline political parties in the United States have become more escalated than anything we have seen since the Civil War. There are many psychological reasons that people become rigidly established within their political group. Identity and the need for belonging are two of the most significant. Baumeister and Leary (1995) elaborate on belonging, "The innate quality presumably has an evolutionary basis. The desire to form and maintain social bonds has both survival and reproductive benefits." Conforming to the rules of the group not only gives us a sense of belonging, but our desire to belong is also enmeshed with our need for safety. With mortality reminders playing incessantly on every news channel since the beginning of the pandemic, our attention has been directed largely to the need for saf ety, therefore likewise increasing our perception of our need to belong. In the United States a key factor in identity formation is political party affiliation. Many people will side with their own political party without investigating deeper into the nature of a bill. “Liberals preferred the plan they thought came from Democrats and conservatives preferred the plan they thought came from Republicans -- regardless of the actual content they read” (Aronson & Aronson, 2018, p. 66). Because the democratic party is the group that has put forth the vaccine mandates, it is no surprise that many progressives feel aligned with this plan. Much of this can be attributed to heuristics and cognitive misery. Humans naturally take shortcuts to quicker decision making to save cognitive energy and in doing so quickly and hastily align with their chosen group rather than investigate the issue further. But in the face of vaccine passport proposals, I have noticed a significant number of progressives are questioning their party's agenda and are going against their own political group to oppose the mandates. My curiosity lies in what gives them the impetus to reject the instinct to simplify their decision making process, face the pain of rejection and disregard their own group’s values to oppose the vaccine passports.
Bias disclosure. I myself reflect the people who are the subjects of interest in this study proposal. A progressive (prior to the pandemic) who opposes the democrats' injection mandates. I have lost a few left wing friends as a result. I have also encountered many (former) progressives like myself who feel astonished that one's own left wing political party affiliations are putting forth such draconian mandate measures. For example, I know many LGBTQ individuals who have had to fight for the right to be themselves their whole lives and felt supported in that fight by the left wing party. Now many of these individuals I know personally feel like they can no longer belong to either camp due to the injection mandates put forth by the democrats with which they can not align and the ongoing ostracization of their sexual orientation from the right wing party.
“LeadingAge has started to track the vaccine mandate trends in each state; as of today’s date, we find that 24 states have vaccine mandates; 9 states (so far) have vaccine mandate bans. Twenty-one of the states with mandates have language specific to healthcare settings or long term care. Some states’ mandates are strictly ‘vaccinate or terminate;’ others have a ‘vaccinate or weekly testing’ dichotomy. This article will be subject to change and updated as there are new developments” (Vaccine Mandates by State: Who Is, Who Isn’t, and How?, 2021). Last Updated - Oct. 5th
This basic research will use mixed methods of both qualitative and quantitative.
My interest lies in the subgroup of progressives who stand in public opposition to their own political party. Public opposition means not hiding their deviance from their friends and family. This could mean expressing their dissenting belief face to face or on social media. For control groups, I will gather an equal number of progressives who are in favor of and who oppose the vaccine mandates for participation in this study. One thousand from each group. They will be gathered through social media vetting and invitation. To be clear, participation does not depend on whether one has made a personal choice to receive the injection. Which group the participant will be assigned to only concerns their political leanings and whether or not they support the injection mandate, regardless of their own injection status.
Assessments and Measures
Participants will fill out a curated online survey and will be informed of complete anonymity and confidentiality of their personal information. Subjects will also be asked to fill out online the only scientifically backed personality assessment. “The most popular — used by the vast majority of scientists who study personality — is called the Big Five, a system that organizes personality around five broad clusters of traits: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience” (Koerth, 2019, para. 6). Specifically the (Big Five Personality Test, 2019).
I will borrow from the statistical analysis performed in Ebrahimi et al. ((2021) study as it appears the data collection used there is almost identical to my intentions for this present study proposal. The Big 5 results will be analyzed for patterns and similarities among participants across the board, and a sensitivity analysis will be conducted to provide clarity on data as represented by demographics. Multiple linear regression analysis will be used to calculate all dependent variables contained in the survey and run through Cook’s Distance Statistics to detect any potential data points of bias.
Even if a person is not particularly politically active, the political party most in alignment with the participants' established values plays a role in friendships, group affiliation and identity. Publicly going against one’s own identified political party causes cognitive dissonance associated with rejection and the need for identity restructuring. Therefore, there must be something bigger than the desire to avoid cognitive dissonance at play driving one who makes this decision. Many progressives feel aligned with the democratic party's injection mandates. A large number of progressives are forming individual opinions and speaking out about those opinions which oppose their prior pandemic political party affiliates. There is always the potential in any society for a totalitarian government takeover, especially when the government mandates medical procedures on it’s citizens. Lastly, I assume people will answer honestly when filling out the survey.
Literature ReviewPhysical Distancing and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Factors Associated With Psychological Symptoms and Adherence to Pandemic Mitigation Strategies by Ebrahimi et al. 2021. In an epidemiological investigation looking at the prevalence of mental illness during the covid-19 pandemic in Norway, findings showed that symptoms of depression and anxiety were 2 to 3 times higher during the pandemic than pre-pandemic. They looked at the relationship between the prevalence of anxiety and depression and adherence to NPI's (nonpharmacological interventions) such as social distancing, quarantine, and mask mandates. A total of 10,061 adult citizens participated in the study. The study took place over a two week period in which participants reported their level of adherence and filled out a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 scale (GAD-7). An online survey was administered, and the following variables were accounted for in random order: Demographics included sex and self-reported sex identity, age, ethnicity, marital status, education, and employment status. While employment status gives some indication of financial stability, I'm curious why the authors did not include socioeconomic status here. Fear of being infected with COVID-19 and fear of dying from COVID-19 were assessed in the survey. The presence of a pre-existing psychological diagnosis was also included in data collection. "In the present research, we thus aimed to empirically clarify the relationship between these theorized and called for variables in terms of (a) central psychological symptoms (i.e., depression and anxiety) and (b) adherence" (Ebrahimi et al. 2021, para. 8). Increased rates of both anxiety and depression in the high NPI compliance group were found. "Such differences have been found for anxiety symptoms during the present pandemic, revealing that quarantined individuals reported significantly higher symptoms of anxiety than nonquarantined participants (Zhao et al., 2020). The present results extend to the literature by revealing these associations with regard to depressive symptoms." (Ebrahimi et al. 2021, para. 38). This finding comes as no surprise as previous research has established the same connection. Johann Hari (2009, p.89) explains the results of Kagan's study on loneliness in his book Lost Connections. "Feeling lonely it turned out caused your cortisol levels to absolutely soar -- as much as some of the most disturbing things that can happen to you. Becoming acutely lonely the experiment found, was as stressful as experiencing a physical attack." Because depression and anxiety are both symptoms that lower risk tolerance in individuals, it is unclear if depression and anxiety were the cause of greater adherence to NPI's or if the greater adherence to the NPI's were contributory to the greater levels of depression and anxiety. I suspect that both phenomena are likely to be occurring simultaneously. The findings revealed lack of adherence was correlated with lack of perceived risk regarding younger participants. A correlation between female gender and higher rates of compliance were shown. These results indicate the need to include age and gender as a variable to investigate in this current research proposal. "Finally, worry about prolonged duration of implemented NPIs was associated with lower adherence" (Ebrahimi et al. 2021, para. 46). But the study's lack of acknowledgment of the potential connection between lack of adherence and personal beliefs, which conflict with the NPI's or the fear that following the NPI's might lead to greater unwanted government control, appears to be a glaring blind spot (Ebrahimi et al. 2021). "Taken together with the other findings of this study, the latter association seems to reflect an emotional burden of adhering to NPIs, as is evident from the severely high prevalence rates of depression and anxiety in this sample" (Ebrahimi et al. 2021). Their conclusion ignores or denies any opinions of their study subjects that might dissent from the mainstream narrative. As pointed out by Schachter in his study on deviation, rejection, and communication, "Locomotion will be facilitated if all members agree on a particular path toward the goal" (Schachter, 1951, para. 11). Furthermore, it assumes everyone in the study (and therefore in the country since the study subjects were sourced with 70% random selection across Norway) shares the belief that following the NPI's are generally the best course of action to resolve the pandemic. This assumes that some are just less committed than others due to circumstances outside of belief. Even addressing the youth’s lowered perceived risk is not the same as a fundamental belief. These beliefs might not only stem from spirituality, religiosity, or politics. They may also stem from science. The fact is that there is currently a media blackout and disregard for all of the science to be investigated and brought to the table (Bruno, 2021). Some progressives are aware of this and therefore have doubts about the transparency and viability of only one side of the science driving the mainstream narrative which is advocating the vaccine mandates. Studies such as the recent Harvard study have found that increases in Covid 19 case were unrelated to vaccination rates seem to fall silent among media drive to vaccinate (Subramanian & Kumar, 2021). While I don’t doubt depression and anxiety play a huge role in behavior around compliance to NPI’s, these gaps in scientific inquiry related to belief inspire the critical need to explore through empirical investigation the possible connection between opposition to government mandates and fear of government overreach. In conclusion, the study declares that "Taken together, the presented results suggest that the present pandemic and its implemented mitigation protocols are associated with detrimental mental health symptoms'' (Ebrahimi et al. 2021). Decision-making is a multi-faceted implementation that involves somatic attunement, conscious and non-conscious processes, and external influence. “Over the past 30 years, there has been much research on the extent to which people are aware of the important influences on their judgments and decisions and of the reasons for their behavior. This research, in contrast with the cognitive psychology tradition, has led to the view that the unconscious mind is a pervasive, powerful influence over such higher mental processes (see review in Bargh, 2006)” (Bargh & Morsella, 2008). Suppose we trust that human beings have innate non-conscious instincts towards a course of action best suited for their own particular well-being. In that case, we should now be asking, were participants who were less inclined to follow the NPI's closely, in some way aware of their own detrimental mental health risk associated with following NPI's? If so, were they non-consciously responding to this with a personal well-being cost-benefit analysis that led those who did not follow the NPI's closely to make those decisions? I have not factored in a method for assessing this in this present study proposal, but I see this as an essential point of inquiry for future research.
The 1956 Studies of Independence and Conformity: A Minority of One Against a Unanimous Majority by Solomon E. Acsh. Some individuals are more inclined to dismiss their own senses in favor of going along with the group. Others tend to stick to their own perceptions regardless of whether it is clearly in opposition to the group's perspective. The study included twelve separate sessions, and each session contained 18 rounds. All confederates and the critical subject were white male college students from varying economic backgrounds. In each session, a presenter at the front of the room showed two images to a group of seven to nine men. The first image presented was a vertical line. The second image was placed directly next to the first image. It was of three vertical lines, all different in length, but one of the lines exactly matched the length of the line shown in the first image. The length of the inaccurate lines were different enough that the correct answer was obvious. The presenter then asked each subject to name out loud which line (a, b, or c) in the second image matched the line length in the first image. All but one participant were paid confederates who were instructed to make an inaccurate assessment to establish the predetermined majority. The lineup assured the critical subject was always the second to last person to declare his answer. The control group contained no confederates, and the results were almost 100% accurate with a mean error of .08. The experimental groups, however, had a mean error of 4.41. Among the critical subjects, "One-fourth of the experimental groups (24 percent) gave errorless estimates, while an approximately equal number (27 percent) gave majority-determined estimates from eight to twelve times. Between the extremes is to be found one-half of the critical group, with errors ranging from one to seven" (Asch, 1956, p. 11).
Qualitative data outcomes.
After the quantitative portion of the experiment was complete, interviews were conducted with the critical subjects to explore commonalities and differences between the three varying susceptibilities to the majority effect. The following are some of their observations. The Independents took self responsibility and seemed ready to take on the cognitive dissonance that comes with the willingness to admit to being wrong. They were less preoccupied with self-justification than the Yielding group. "In general, the independent subjects were more frank and realistic. They frequently showed a clear awareness of what they had been doing. This was especially evident in the cognizance they took of their occasional errors, which they acknowledged and discussed in a forthcoming way, in contrast to yielding subjects who so often minimized them and attributed them to circumstances outside themselves" (Asch, 1956, p. 33). In a journal article about the cognitive dissonance they saw associated with refusing mask mandates, Aronson and Tavris (2020) affirm, "Admitting we were wrong requires some self-reflection--which involves living with the dissonance for a while rather than jumping immediately to a self-justification." "The reactions of yielding subjects were more often evasive and shallow, and some revealed until the end a lack of appreciation of the situation and of the possible significance of their action" (Asch, 1956, p. 33).
Could it be that the progressives opposing their party's vaccine mandate agenda have in common a concern for government overreach and impending totalitarianism? Suppose progressives going along with their party's vaccine mandate have something in common with the yielding subjects in Asch's study. Could it be that they have no awareness or concern of the potential for totalitarian takeover when a government imposes medical procedures upon their citizens? This inquiry will be included in the research survey proposed. "The subjective reactions to the conflict of independent and yielding subjects differed markedly in certain respects, (a) Conviction of rightness, freedom from doubt, and absence of temptation to join the majority were more frequent among independent subjects” (Asch, 1956, p. 70). These findings illuminate the necessity for questions around doubt, conviction, and temptation to go along with their political party's mandates to be included in this present research proposal. "Yielding subjects seriously underestimated their compliance. They offered a variety of reasons for their errors, the most usual being the painfulness of standing alone against the majority" (Asch, 1956, p. 70).
Stanley Schachter’s Deviation, Rejection, and Communication. In Schachter, S. (1951) study on deviation, rejection, and communication, he wanted to discover the mechanism of rejection in relationship to deviance from the group's perspective. He developed four clubs of varying cohesion based on how much the participants wanted to be a part of their specific group. Each club contained a total of 7 to 9 members. Three members of each club were paid confederates; a deviant, a slider, and a modal. The group was asked to discuss and decide in 45 minutes time the fate of a juvenile who had committed a crime. The paid deviant went against the majority of the group and did not bend. The paid slider started out deviant but then slid over to the group majority position as the group discussion ensued. The modal position went along with the majority of the group's opinion on the issue at hand and stuck to it. The study results indicated the deviant was the least liked participant in the group. After trying to convince him to change his position for a while, the group gave up. They essentially ignored the deviant for the duration of the conversation. One thing was made clear from this study, among others. That is, deviating from one's group in favor of one's personal belief almost always causes painful rejection. Given these results, more research is needed to determine what goes into a person choosing their own truth even though they will undoubtedly have to deal with the sting of rejection and even a kind of exile. Everyday people without access to Schacher's study results know the pain of rejection. We all have personal experience with this. It is not as if these non-conformists are not aware of the consequences of their dissenting voices before speaking out. Is it something different in their inner fortitude? Their past experiences? Or is it something circumstantial that supports this act of independence? The study I am proposing here seeks to discover just that.
Neurobiological Correlates of Social Conformity and Independence During Mental Rotation. Berns, G. S., et al. Confirming the pain of rejection from the choice of non-conformity within a group, Gregory Bern's (2005) study used MRIs to measure participants' brain activity in an Asch replication study. Imaging results showed that compared to yielding participants, Independent participants showed heightened amygdala activation. The amygdala is a part of the brain associated with stress, fear, and pain. The question is, what made them willing to endure this?
Effects of Different Conditions of Acceptance Upon Conformity to Group Norms. Dittes, J. E., & Kelley, H. H. (1956). In a study on the Effects of Different Conditions of Acceptance Upon Conformity to Group Norms, Dittes and Kelley (1956) found evidence to support the idea that when someone feels liked and secure within their position in a group, they are more willing and likely to speak out about their dissenting opinions to the group. Alternately, when someone feels insecure in their position in the group, they are more likely to withhold any deviance. Study subjects were white male college students who were invited into a distinguished club. When the club met to discuss teenage delinquency and crime, they informed the men that efficiency was crucial. Therefore, they could decide to kick anyone out of the group at will who was interfering with that at any point. Then they paused the discussion intermittently, asking the members to rate each other's worth in the club. After the discussions, each member was informed of their group approval rating, which was predetermined and delivered by paid confederate group members. The members who thought they were well-liked and accepted more often spoke out against the group's majority at subsequent discussions.
These findings lead me to consider if progressives who oppose the vaccine mandates may have in common a sense of a secured position among the group of their progressive friends. Does this security allow them not to feel the threat of losing their friends even amidst this highly volatile time in history? Questions about feelings of security among their progressive friends and whether or not they actually lost these friends after openly dissenting will provide valuable data to help answer this question. This leads me to hypothesize that The Big 5 Personality scores of our non-conformists subjects may be high in the qualities that tend to be more likable, such as agreeableness and extraversion. But, because agreeableness is the antithesis of non-conformity, I retract the consideration of them scoring high on agreeableness.
Hypothesis (Reveals bias). There is a discoverable commonality among progressives who publicly oppose the injection mandates. Progressives who oppose the mandates will show a marked similarity in scores on the Big Five Personality Test. Score specific hypotheses are as follows; Openness - high, Conscientiousness - high, Extraversion - high, Agreeableness - low, Neuroticism - low. The need for belonging is strongly linked to the pro mandates position. Subjects who feel secure in their social circles or have a number of friends in their social circles from across the political divide will be more likely to publicly express descent from the liberal party’s agenda. Due to availability heuristics, cognitive misery and the illusory truth effect, there is a correlation between people who watch or listen to more news and people who are pro-mandates. Progressives who publicly deviate from their party’s position on injection mandates have an inner fortitude that has come from previous life experience of living through rejection, betrayal and/or growing up in totalitarian governments or being the descendant of elders who lived under totalitarian government regimes. Having a history of partaking in plant medicines including but not limited to Ayahuasca, Psilocybin & MDMA puts a person more in touch with their own truth and less susceptible to groupthink therefore, this may be a contributing factor in the non-conformist act of progressives opposing the injection mandates. Progressives opposing their party's vaccine mandate agenda have in common a concern for government overreach and impending totalitarianism. Progressives who are pro-injection mandate lack concern of the potential for totalitarian takeover when a government imposes medical procedures upon their citizens.
•What political party did you identify with prior to the pandemic which hit in 2020?
•What political party do you identify with now?
•Do you receive annual flu shots?
•Please describe your diet and self care practices that you do to care for your body.
•Do you try to eat organic food?
•Do you have any addictions?
•If yes, please describe the nature of your addictions.
•How many of your friends that you know of have received the COVID shot?
•How many of your friends that you know of plan to receive the COVID shot?
•How many friends do you know who do not plan to receive the COVID shot?
•How many friends do you know who are against COVID shot mandates?
•Please describe the level of security you feel among your friends who are progressives. How well liked do you suppose you are in these social circles?
•Have you lost any friends or family since the start of the pandemic due to differences in views on mandates?
•Have you lost any family or friends due to death from COVID or the COVID shot?
•Has anyone you know personally had complications or been hospitalized due to COVID or the COVID shot?
•If so, was it COVID or the shot?
•If so please explain the person’s symptoms
•Do you live with other people?
•a. If yes, how many people do you live with?
•b. What political party do they identify with?
•c. Are they in favor of the mandates or do they oppose them?
•Do you have a spiritual practice?
•Do you drink city water?
•If so, for how long?
•Do you watch or listen to the news?
•a. If yes ,approximately how many hours a day?
•b. What news stations do you tune into?
•Do you use social media?
•Have you ever done plant medicine or any other psychotropic substances like psilocybin, MDMA, or Ayahuasca?
•Do you trust the government?
•What is your biggest fear right now?
•Were you happy and content in your life?
•Please explain the ways in which you felt happy and content or depressed & discontent.
•Did you feel a sense of purpose in your life? Something you were living for that was greater than yourself? If so, please explain.
•Were you on medication for depression, anxiety or any other psychological diagnosis?
•Please describe your sense of belonging
•Did you feel unconditionally accepted by your family and friends?
•Were you part of a church or spiritual organization?
•How has your sense of belonging changed since the start of 2020? Are you close with the same people? Or new people? Please explain your social network and how it has changed in detail.
•Please describe a day in the life of yourself prior to the pandemic hitting and list any recurring common feeling which represented a theme in your life.
•Please list your age, gender, sexual orientation,annual income, race & nationality, marital status, and highest level of education completed.
•Have you ever been betrayed in your life?
Please describe what happened.
•Have you experienced living under the oppression of a totalitarian government?
•Has an elder relative that is close to you grown up in a totalitarian government?
•Do you have a present concern of a totalitarian takeover?
If not, what do you expect might cause concern in you about this?
If none, do you believe there is no chance of a totalitarian takeover in America ever?
• Describe how convicted you feel in your position on injection mandates.
•Do you or have you experienced any doubt about your rightness on this issue?
If so, please describe.
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