How do Petersen, Osmundsen and Arceneaux measure this “need for chaos"? They conducted six surveys, four in the United States, in which they interviewed 5157 participants, and two in Denmark, with 1336. They identified those who are “drawn to chaos” through their affirmative responses to the following statements:The ancient longing for Apocalypse is still very much with us. Unfortunately leaders like Trump (or Lenin) give people a way to take their longing for upheaval out of the church and operationalize it.
- I fantasize about a natural disaster wiping out most of humanity such that a small group of people can start all over.
- I think society should be burned to the ground.
- When I think about our political and social institutions, I cannot help thinking “just let them all burn.”
- We cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over.
In an email, Petersen wrote that preliminary examination of the data shows “that the ‘need for chaos’ correlates positively with sympathy for Trump but also — although less strongly — with sympathy for Sanders. It correlates negatively with sympathy for Hillary Clinton.”
- Sometimes I just feel like destroying beautiful things.
In their paper, Petersen, Osmundsen and Arceneaux contend that “the extreme discontent expressed in the ‘Need for Chaos’ scale is a minority view but it is a minority view with incredible amounts of support.”
The responses to three of the statements in particular were “staggering,” the paper says: 24 percent agreed that society should be burned to the ground; 40 percent concurred with the thought that “When it comes to our political and social institutions, I cannot help thinking ‘just let them all burn’ ”; and 40 percent also agreed that “we cannot fix the problems in our social institutions, we need to tear them down and start over.”
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Thomas Edsall delves today into a study of "chaos voters," who are motivated mainly by a desire to see existing institutions and elites overthrown. Some of these people are internet trolls who love sharing wicked rumors about politicians, not caring if they are true or not. Others have thrown themselves into supporting Trump. All are united by an angry desire to trash the system: