"... including the incidence of natural disasters, disease prevalence, residents’ levels of openness and conscientiousness, drug and alcohol use, homelessness and incarceration rates.... The South dominated the tight states: Mississippi, Alabama Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and North Carolina. With two exceptions — Nevada and Hawaii — states in New England and on the West Coast were the loosest: California, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont...."
In a 2019 interview, [psychprof Michele J.] Gelfand said that
Some groups have much stronger norms than others; they’re tight. Others have much weaker norms; they’re loose. Of course, all cultures have areas in which they are tight and loose — but cultures vary in the degree to which they emphasize norms and compliance with them.
Cultural differences, Gelfand continued, “have a certain logic — a rationale that makes good sense,” noting that “cultures that have threats need rules to coordinate to survive (think about how incredibly coordinated Japan is in response to natural disasters). But cultures that don’t have a lot of threat can afford to be more permissive and loose.”
The researcher is choosing which things to inspect for tightness or looseness. What if you had to argue that California and Oregon were "tight"? You'd just identify some areas of ideology about which leftish folk are harshly disciplinarian.
The tight-loose concept, Gelfand argued,
is an important framework to understand the rise of President Donald Trump and other leaders in Poland, Hungary, Italy, and France, among others. The gist is this: when people perceive threat — whether real or imagined, they want strong rules and autocratic leaders to help them survive.
I'd say we need to watch out for autocrats, but if you think they're all coming from the right, you're going to get blindsided.
My research has found that within minutes of exposing study participants to false information about terrorist incidents, overpopulation, pathogen outbreaks and natural disasters, their minds tightened. They wanted stronger rules and punishments.
"Tight" is a confusing word. It could describe orderliness and cool practicality. I think of a "tight ship." But it could imply rigidity and fear of change. Why was "tight" ever used for "drunk"? "Loose" is confusing too. Is it relaxed and creative or lazy and disorganized? I wrote that before reading this:
In her book, Gelfand writes that tightness encourages conscientiousness, social order and self-control on the plus side, along with close-mindedness, conventional thinking and cultural inertia on the minus side. Looseness, Gelfand posits, fosters tolerance, creativity and adaptability, along with such liabilities as social disorder, a lack of coordination and impulsive behavior.
So, Gelfand embraces the confusingness. We need a balance of loose and tight, apparently — like yin and yang.
Edsall poses the question:
If liberalism and conservatism have historically played a complementary role, each checking the other to constrain extremism, why are the left and right so destructively hostile to each other now, and why is the contemporary political system so polarized?
Psychprof Laura Niemi answered:
Unlike liberals, conservatives strongly endorse the binding moral values aimed at protecting groups and relationships. They judge transgressions involving personal and national betrayal, disobedience to authority, and disgusting or impure acts such as sexually or spiritually unchaste behavior, as morally relevant and wrong... [Liberals stress] caring, kindness, fairness and rights — known among scholars as “individualizing values” — while conservatives focus more on loyalty, hierarchy, deference to authority, sanctity and a higher standard of disgust, known as “binding values.”
The left supports individualism? The left goes for fairness and rights? I think that's only because you are choosing where to look and your choice is based on what you want to see.