There are many reasons that conservatives are losing their minds over the newly announced negotiated deal with Iran over their nuclear program. Part of it is pure politics — one of their primary narratives is that Democrats, especially Obama, are “weak” on defending the country. But I want to argue that they are losing their minds because of the nature of their minds, which is to say their brains and their basic psychological makeup.
There is a reason why that has been the constant narrative from the right for decades and it’s more than just an attempt to gain a political advantage. It goes back to some of the core psychological differences between liberals and conservatives. There’s a lot of research on this subject that shows several psychological traits of conservatives that contribute to this knee-jerk reaction to not just this deal, but to any act of constructive diplomacy.
1. A tendency to see the world in absolute black and white, us vs them.
2. A tendency to react most strongly to external threats.
3. A tendency to resort to force to get their way.
4. A tendency to see military as a first option rather than the last.
5. A very strong in-group identification and distrust of anyone in an out-group.
All of these things mean that they tend to value this highly toxic form of masculinity that feels the need to constantly posture and intimidate with threats of violence, especially in response to perceived external threats. So the idea that a problem could be solved without those things, with thoughtful diplomacy rather than false machismo, is anathema to them. And if it works, it shows just how juvenile and absurd their whole approach to the world is.