General Question

ragingloli's avatar

Are conservatives more likely to cheat?

Asked by ragingloli (41507points) January 18th, 2014

As you may or may not already know, the world of German politics has been plagued for some years now by scandals involving politicians being exposed to have plagiarised their doctoral dissertations.
What is interesting here is that almost all of the exposed politicians have been members of the CDU/CSU (christian conservatives) and the FDP (what would be called libertarians in the US).
How would one explain that the vast majority of plagiarists are conservatives/libertarians?

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30 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s indiscriminate, this has no correlation in political belief. Politicians are generally all cheating no good, sociopathic human waste. I’d blame the university for allowing a couple of letters be added to their name. Libertarians are not always Christian here. Libertarians are not always conservative either.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Maybe. Constantly conforming to rigid rules of perfection is not easy. It may be the downfall of modern religion.

janbb's avatar

I wonder if it depends on who is doing the exposing?

I would think that unethical behavior is one of the few things that cuts across party lines.

thorninmud's avatar

Conservatives (at least here in the US) tend to be the most vociferous critics of cheating. They have been the driving force behind efforts to clamp down on “welfare cheats” and voter fraud (arguably a non-existent problem) and immigrants who “jump the line”. Publicly at least, they are all about playing by the rules.

Conservatives tend to be those for whom the system (and its rules) works. Generally, they’re the winners under this set of rules, and the rules serve to entrench and shield their power. But my impression is that the concern for playing by the rules drifts whenever they find themselves on the wrong side of the rules.

If you think of yourself as someone favored by the rules, then when the rules work against you for a change, that seems like an aberration: “It’s not supposed to work that way. I’m supposed to succeed. I’m a good guy; the system rewards me.” From that perspective, quietly breaking a rule or two can be justified as a correction of some unfortuate impediment to what was clearly meant to be.

bolwerk's avatar

Germany seems like a fairly technocratic society, putting much stock in learning expressed through academic credentials. The “moderate” right-wingers of Germany, the liberals and conservatives, actually seem to somewhat value that quality, certainly a lot more than their counterparts in the English-speaking world. At least in theory, conservatives should favor staid wisdom and understanding of tradition as good qualities when crafting policy. What better than a Ph.D. to show you know a lot about stuff?

Defensible, vetted research in the English-speaking world shows “conservatives” are actually dumber than “liberals” – which effectively means the right-wing is more dumb than those more left-wing. Maybe they cheat more in Germany because they’re not as capable or intelligent, and have more difficulty passing through university? Or maybe they don’t care about the academic degree but are taking a short cut to meet others expectations?

I actually have trouble thinking conservatives would merely be more likely to cheat because of an intrinsic lack of ethics. If they cheat more, something is motivating them to cheat more. The English-speaking world generally doesn’t seem to demand such high-level credentials from its politicians. The Germans seem to.

gailcalled's avatar

François Hollande of Franch, the latest cheater, is a member of the socialist party.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I think it’s hilarious when one political ideology tries to frame the other’s constituents as intellectually inferior. There numerous are “studies” that show both ways.

bolwerk's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: no, there really aren’t.

DWW25921's avatar

I would be willing to bet the scandals are just as bad on the other side of the isle they just don’t get reported as the media tends to show liberalism in a positive light. So, my answer to how I feel about it is this; there’s an election coming up and the press is helping their buddies. The same thing happens here. I don’t trust the media. Suspect everything and believe nothing.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I don’t have a dog in this fight A. Because I’m a centrist and don’t give a fuck & B. because anyone who thinks that they are smarter than someone else because of a particular ideology is both fooling themselves and a dumb ass. It’s not intelligence that they are measuring. Intelligence is how fast your brain works not how it works. I would agree with this assesment

bolwerk's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: You are confusing centrism with impartiality (the purported center between two right-wing ideologies at that). You have such “a dog in this fight” that you get upset when your purported opponents are evaluated objectively. You get so upset you feel the need to resort to veiled personal attacks over a perceived offense toward a group you are at least pretending not to be a member of.

The funny part is #2 on that assessment is basically a reflection of what I said, though they evidently didn’t dare cite some of the more damning research. Conservatives are typically dumber. It doesn’t mean there aren’t extremely smart conservatives, but at least self-identified conservatives will statistically tend to be dumber.

Also, your definition of intelligence is comically wrong and biased toward making snap judgments without regard to the quality of the outcome. It favors stupid people who don’t think things through.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Centrism and impartiality are NOT the same. Impartiality implies that someone either does not care, know or is indifferent. I hold beliefs on issues that are solidly liberal and others that are solidly conservative. That is centrism. How someone thinks and what they believe is not a measure of IQ. Reducing ideological opposition to “your stupid” really is an act of insecurity with overtones of hate and disdain which are not liberal qualities. You sir were trolling, all I did was feed you.

bolwerk's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: even ignoring some shaky use of vocabulary, you are showing a consistent lack of understanding for someone who drops accusations of naiveté and being a “dumb ass” all over the place. In fact, you aren’t even understanding the pertinent correlation here. It’s not that having a certain ideology makes people smart or stupid. It’s that stupid people will tend toward a certain set of ideologies. Before reacting, think about it: why wouldn’t they? You even cited something that says as much and claimed to agree with it.

And where the fuck did I say I’m a liberal? If anything, my concern about liberals is that they can be more dangerous and oppressive than conservatives precisely because they’re typically smarter. In fact, if you reread my original comment with the OP’s context in mind, my response basically presupposes Germany’s liberal party (the NDP) is subject to the exact same phenomenon, though I don’t speculate as much on a reason.

No hate or disdain required; an impartial evaluation requires admitting “conservatives” just tend to be dumber. Direct complaints to the universe, not me. Speaking of hate and disdain, the NDP is a liberal party with an unusually chauvinist nationalist bent even for Europe’s mainstream right-wing.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I never said you were liberal, I don’t know what your views on things are overall. I do get the connection between intelligence and gravitating to a certain ideology. However I don’t think that you are seeing exactly what I’m driving at here. That argument that “conservatives” are dumber only makes a “liberal” appear like they must do so in order to gain some sort of phantom intellectual high ground. Not good for their arguments and this makes them annoying and abrasive. I don’t think it’s really intelligence where I live, it’s obviously more the behavior of thinking. This may be different where you live. I will say that while in my field I’m surrounded by very highly intelligent conservatives (with whom I don’t always agree with…they ARE arrogant bastards) if you were to survey the bumpkins in surrounding areas it could very well be different. I think that article I posted nailed it. Conservatives are more reactionary, fear & consequence driven while liberals are more upbeat, risk taking but often ignore unforeseen consequences. I have seen this in real life. My liberal buddies are constantly taking risks and getting burned because the are only seeing the positive and my more conservative friends often fail to do anything substantial because they often don’t take the risk. As far as just average joe of average intelligence they’ll be whatever everyone else is around them. I’m fortunate to have two big circles of friends who see things very differently. It makes it all too obvious that there are major shortcomings to both modes of thinking. It kinda takes both to see the world realistically.

creative1's avatar

If we all just face the fact that politicians are human and make mistakes regardless of which country, political affiliation, or even religious affiliation and not care about the cheating but what kind of job they are doing instead maybe we would have less scandal and cover up and more work being done in what ever office they are holding. To be honest I don’t care who’s sleeping with whom as long as I am not doing the cheating or the one being cheated on. Let them work out their own personal problems on their own time and dime and not when they should be working for the government. Look at all the expense that was involved in impeaching Clinton for his indiscretion when frankly I could have cared less and would have rathered had them focusing on the government and not what Clintion was doing with Lewinsky.

ragingloli's avatar

this is not about diddling other women, this is about plagiarising doctoral dissertations.

Seek's avatar


Honey, I’m in America. We recently had a president with a low C from Yale.

He wasn’t even smart enough to use his daddy’s money to buy himself good grades on a Master’s degree.

I’d be proud to live in a country that required its politicians to hold doctorates.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

In a true logical sense there can’t be no cheating, to use whatever to gain is what one is suppose to do as if a basic survival instinct. Neither cheats or they all are doing it one way or another.

glacial's avatar

I’m surprised no one has mentioned Rand Paul’s bizarre tendency to plagiarize Wikipedia pages describing film plots or Herman Cain’s weird plagiarism of the Pokémon theme song.

Perhaps the most telling thing is the reading level of the material being stolen?

RockerChick14's avatar

Maybe, Maybe not

Paradox25's avatar

I think conservatives simply tend to stand out more when they do these things since they openly preach moral values more so than their opponents. I’m not so sure that conservatives cheat more though.

ETpro's avatar

In American politics, there have been sex scandals on both sides of the isle, but I looked up those at the Federal Government level from 2000 to 2014, 7 involved Democrats and 23 involved Republicans.

Here the Democrats are:
1   2001   Gary Condit
2   2008   John Edwards
3   2008   Tim Mahoney
4   2010   Eric Massa
5   2011   Robert Decheine
6   2011   Anthony Weiner
7   2011   David Wu

  1   2003   Steven C. LaTourette
  2   2003   Strom Thurmond
  3   2004   David Dreier
  4   2004   Don Sherwood
  5   2004   Ed Schrock
  6   2004   Jack Ryan
  7   2005   Jeff Gannon a.k.a. James Dale Guckert, a.k.a. “Bulldog”
  8   2006   Mark Foley
  9   2007   David Vitter
10   2007   Larry Craig
11   2007   Randall L. Tobias
12   2008   Vito Fossella
13   2009   Chip Pickering
14   2009   John Ensign
15   2009   Mark Sanford
16   2009   Samuel B. Kent
17   2010   Mark Souder
18   2010   Tom Ganley
19   2011   Chris Lee
20   2011   RNC Administrator fired for allowing Club Voyeur expenses for B&D strippers
21   2012   David Petraeus
22   2012   Herman Cain
23   2012   Thad Viers

It’s not just that Republicans are caught in hanky-panky 3 times as often as Democrats that brings my ire on them. It’s that they tend to be so sanctimonious in campaigning. They are the party of God and the Christian Right, family values, the champions of old-fashioned moral values, the enemies of abortion rights, birth control, sex education, LGBT rights, etc.

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Bill1939's avatar

Maybe feeling guilt, Republicans want to get caught, but Democrats do neither? ;-)

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