This attribute sits at the overlap between two very different psychological orientations. One is oriented around concerns for justice, openness, global awareness and so on – what we might term universalism. The other embodies a more chaotic orientation, seemingly driven mostly by adrenalin – a desire for adventure, excitement and the buzz of breaking the rules. These orientations occur roughly in the ratio of 1:2 amongst Free espousers.
Free espousers with the universalism tendency, the minority, are strongly motivated by their desire for justice and a willingness to be open to other people, cultures and ideas. They take a wide view of life and make their decisions based on their conscience.
The liberal side of the political debate might describe them as natural Progressives, while at the same time, rather uncomfortably, having to admit that they might be a bit too progressive. The conservative side might describe them as natural trouble-makers, even borderline terrorists. A UK reader would understand the phrase ”Guardian readers” used in a pejorative sense.
Certainly, they have a strong tendency to be concerned about the environment and also to be concerned about the fairness of laws on the statute books. Their conscience will drive them to act when their sense of justice, toward people or toward nature, is rattled. Not only will they make a noise to express their concern, they are also likely to do something actively about it. That may be at a strictly personal level or at a wider “movement” level.
The more chaotic Free espousers, the majority, by contrast could not possibly be described as being driven by their consciences. If an archetypal description was required, this would be the young male with more testosterone than brains, driven in the main by his ego and libido.
Indeed, the occurrence of them amongst Free espousers is about 2:1 male to female. Amongst those aged under 35, they are about a quarter more likely to be present – and about a fifth less likely amongst those aged over 35.
Their choice to obey or disobey what they consider to be a “stupid law” is not based upon any notion of fairness – only on personal convenience. They actively seek out opportunities to break the rules – to step outside of the safety zone of social mores and norms.
They take criticism of their actions like water off a duck’s back. In fact, they love the frisson of other people being aware of, and reacting to their rule breaking. It feeds their ego and their fantasies of excitement and adventure. They are excited by the thought of social disorder and feel they would enjoy being involved in a street riot or some other socially disruptive activity.
For authorities of all persuasions these espousers are troublesome. Their natural exuberance and boundary pushing goes against the grain of all those who want others to obey ‘the rules’.
On the one hand, the threat comes from the individual’s conscience speaking louder than the law. On the other hand, the threat comes from the individual’s ego (or libido) speaking louder than the law.
They include espousers of the far right and far left of the political spectrum. The original Tea Party in the US attracted a lot of Free espousers based on their anti-establishment libertarian appeal. In the UK members of far left groups who find the Labour Party too right-wing are very likely also to espouse this orientation – the politics of testosterone and fun.
1) Over-indexed: Male.
2) Under-indexed: Female, 65+.
Free espousers also espouse other Attributes. The top five most highly correlated Attributes of Free espousers are, in order of the strength of relationship:
1) Stupid law
In total those who espouse Free also over-index significantly on 28 other Attributes.
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