Recently, a study was made public that tied physical strength to political ideology. There were problems with the study, of course, but it was still pretty interesting.
A new study from Brunel University London found that physically weaker men are more apt to believe in socialist policies, such as redistribution of wealth. Meanwhile, stronger men are more geared to believe in the capitalist concepts, such as the idea that people should keep what you earn.
Brunel University academics studied 171 men aged 18 – 40, examining their overall physical strength, bicep circumference, weight, and height. They also noted the amount of time each individual spent at a gym, and examined these variables in light of whether they subscribed more to capitalist or socialist ideologies. They found that the more physically strong the men were, the less they believed in socialist policies, and the more they believed certain social groups should be dominant.
According to The Times, Brunel University’s senior lecturer in Psychology in the College of Health and Life Sciences Michael Price said the study raises questions about the correlation between physical strength and egalitarianism — and also poses something of a “chicken or the egg” philosophical question.
“We believe that this link between perceived formidability and egalitarianism could be explained in a number of ways,” Price said in the report on Brunel University’s website. “It could be the result of men calibrating their egalitarianism to their own formidability. It could be the case that less egalitarian men strive harder to become muscular. Or there could be a third variable at play affecting both egalitarianism and muscularity.”
Additionally, Price found that stronger men tend to reject the redistribution of wealth, whether they are financially rich or poor.
Now, first let’s take about the problems with this study. The number one is sample size. It’s 171 men. That is not a particularly big sample. Sample size is important because the more people you use, the easier it is to determine what is average for the population as a whole.
When you only have 171 people, it’s harder to filter out anomalies within that sample.
That’s why scientists like to use as large a sample as they can.
Additionally, this study was done in London and therefore has more to do with British politics than American political ideologies. It also is more of a reflection on the UK’s welfare system than welfare as a whole.
Finally, there is an argument that this is merely corollary. Two things can be found on trending in the same direction without one having any bearing on the other.
Now, I don’t think it’s a case of a simple correlation and nothing more because it somewhat mimics my own experiences. I’ll admit that I may be wrong, but bear with me and see if this makes sense.
While there are still people who work in jobs that require physical strength so often that those people don’t need to hit the gym, they’re a minority in this day and age. There’s a reason I advocate physical training for men, after all.
Because of this, these men are taking time out of their day and working toward a goal. Anyone who has trained for long knows that physical training is tough, grueling work. These are people who take hours out of their day to meet personal goals.
Meanwhile, they see their tax dollars going elsewhere.
Now, few object to money going to the elderly or disabled. Few take issue with that money helping those who have hit a rough patch for long enough for them to get back on their feet.
The issue tends to be those who live their lives on the dole. You want to tell people who are driven to achieve physical goals
You want to tell people who are driven to achieve physical goals while also living their lives that they should support people too lazy to get off their asses and get a job?
Yeah, can’t imagine why those people might have a hint of resentment regarding people who want money for nothing. Can you?
Of course, this study has also introduced hilarity into my life. Primarily in the form of progressive dipwads whose ability to debunk the study apparently begins and ends with the phrase, “I’m strong and hate capitalism” or some variation of it.
Studies tend to speak in generalities because individuals are more complicated. It’s not hard to find a weak capitalist, nor do I suspect it’s all that difficult to find a powerlifting socialist. However, these people don’t necessarily represent the norm.
Further, it’s amusing how few of these people understand what “strength” means. One insisted he was “built like a linebacker.” Those are height and weight measurements that have no bearing on strength. My 15-year-old son is built like a linebacker too…and he’s not particularly strong for his age by any stretch.
How someone is “built” isn’t representative of their strength. Even a muscular bodybuilder isn’t necessarily as strong a smaller powerlifter, as an example.
Honestly, it’s been funny as these socialist alpha male wannabes show just how little they understand about strength. It’s also kind of sad, now that I think about it.