Individuals’ whose views more closely align with neoliberalism are the most likely to buy into vapid political slogans and meaningless jargon, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Amsterdam.
The study, titled “Political Bullshit Receptivity and its Correlates: A Cross-Country Validation of the Concept,” categorizes various forms of political messaging including “political bullshit statements,” “slogans,” and “bullshit programs,” and measured the correlation between a person’s approval of the messaging and their ideology. The researchers measured social ideology, economic ideology, support for neoliberalism and support for populism.
Now that we have an extreme neoliberal in power (or rather, an even more extreme neoliberal than her predecessors) we really need to know what neoliberalism is. Yet most people have never even heard of it. It’s as if people in the USSR had never heard of communism.
— George Monbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) September 20, 2022
Data was drawn from the United States, Serbia and the Netherlands. Neoliberals were the only group to consistently correlate with all three of political bullshit statements, bullshit programs and slogans. Across the three countries, and three categories of “bullshit” each, neoliberalism was a predictor in eight of the nine scenarios, the researchers found. (RELATED: Kamala Harris: ‘You Need To Get To Go And Need To Be Able To Get Where You Need To Go, To Do The Work’)
Participants were presented with various slogans, statements and programs and asked to rate them on a scale of least persuasive or convincing to most persuasive or convincing. Some of the tested statements include “Today, science tells us that the essence of nature is joy,” “Our driving force is faith in progress” and “We should bring back meaning to politics.”
“Although the term could be controversial, our research suggests that the concept of political bullshit exists and can be measured,” the researchers wrote.
Neoliberalism is often defined as a belief in free market economic principles along with liberal social values. The Center For New Liberalism, a self-described neoliberal project, defines its tenets as inclusion and non-discrimination, a market-based economy, support for globalism and increased immigration. Some politicians who are often classified as neoliberal include Barack Obama, the Clintons and Ronald Reagan.