Saturday, October 11, 2003


The tricks that Leftist psychologists get up to in a desperate attempt to defend their totally inadequate understanding of the world are normally pretty laughable but some are more laughable than others. My latest academic upload (see here or here) takes as its starting point an article by one William Eckhardt that must be a favourite candidate for the most laughable piece of “research” ever published in an academic journal. Eckhardt wrote an article that purported to be a study of militarism. So who did Eckhardt interview for his study of militarism -- Army personnel? Former Nazis? Far-Rightists? Believers in Imperialism? Vietnam “Hawks”? Guerillas? Spanish Falangists? He interviewed none of those. He interviewed a group of 46 QUAKERS! And it goes downhill from there. I did my best to be polite about it at the time but it was not easy.

It would actually have made more sense to do a study of pacifism using a sample of generals from the Oberkommando der Werhrmacht. Military men do at least normally have a healthy understanding of the horrors of war.

As bad is most likely to be driven out by better, I proceeded to do a study of my own which DID include Army personnel. I defined militarism as a liking for the Army and surveyed an intake of conscripts into the Australian army. I found that militarists were more racially tolerant than others (contrary to Eckhardt), that militarists were better adjusted than others (contrary to Eckhardt) and that people who wanted more equality in society were less well-adjusted than others (contrary to Eckhardt). There was a slight tendency for conservatives also to be better adjusted and for conservatives to approve of the Army.

If psychology were a science, my study would have been pretty fatal to the old Marxist theory that conservatives are maladjusted “authoritarians” but no psychologist to my knowledge took the slightest bit of notice of my findings. The Marxist theory is believed to this day.


I knew that the smokers would strike back after my recent mention that they are more likely to be wackos. Here is one comment: "I do recall some study made the news a while ago, although I cannot now find them on the web, that tobacco actually alleviated symptoms of schizophrenia. As well, I once had a tenant who told me that he chain-smoked for that very reason (for whatever that is worth). Still it is not unreasonable to suggest that maybe schizophrenics smoke because they are schizophrenic (and it alleviates symptoms)rather than to suggest that smoking is a symptom, or even a cause. After all, do we not all die after a life-long addiction to dioxide? And an excess of oxygen can also cause cellular damage."

Jeff Jacoby too has now come out slugging at the way most of the media have misrepresented the recent report on Iraqi WMDs.

Maybe Australia’s ABC (public broadcaster) has learnt a tiny bit from the recent debacle at its British equivalent (the BBC). It has just admitted that ONE of its programs was biased about the Iraq war. Very big of them! The finding of bias was by “an independent panel” which was “appointed by the ABC board” (!).

Margaret Snyder compares American "liberalism" with Communism and Fascism and concludes: "So it is that liberalism has taken away the self-respect of whole classes of people. It has done so by the same elitist mentality that characterized the two vilest socialisms of the twentieth century. Most people who consider themselves liberals consider their motives to be pure, and I don't doubt that they are. But by their attitudes and policies, they encourage dependency on the state and ultimately do much more harm than good."

This is from 8 months back but a sensible column in the Guardian is a bit of a rarity so I can't help quoting it. Nick Cohen notes how the Left cheerfully allied itself with the Islamic fundamentalists to oppose the Iraq invasion and comments: "The absence of principle is matched only by the absence of intelligence. What is the Left offering Iraq? It has no strategy other than the continuation of a brutal status quo. It can't support the Iraqi democrats because they say Saddam can only be overthrown by violence. It can't support the Iraqi Kurds because they agree. It has been reduced to allying with religious bigots". But who ever said the Left had principles?

Leftists often claim St. Francis of Assisi as one of their own -- because of his vow of poverty. That vow was solely for religious reasons however and it was in fact the disciples of St. Francis who first put together what we now recognize as the theory of capitalism and free markets!

Admiral Carey puts the boot into the U.S. Iraq skeptics: "Yet it certainly appears to me that we have men and women dying in Iraq and Afghanistan right now that in some instances are facing this danger because these enemy actions are being inadvertently encouraged by public statements made by some of their fellow citizens."

Arafat was trained and for many years bankrolled by the KGB.

It's an article of faith among Leftists that FDR rescued America from the great Depression. If you look at some of his absurd policies, however, it is clear that he PROLONGED it rather than cured it. Previous depressions where the government did nothing ended much sooner.

Research shows 'negative' political campaign advertising works better than positive adverts. This research seems to reinforce the findings of the public choice school of economists who argue that people have more incentive to make a reasoned choice in the private marketplace than under traditional democratic political rules, thus markets more closely resemble 'ideal democracies' than do modern states.

Speaking of Schwarzenegger’s victory, Henninger notes: “23% of blacks voted Republican, as did 41% of Hispanics. That this should happen once under any circumstances is extraordinary” and argues that it shows a Rightwards shift in American politics generally.


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Friday, October 10, 2003


In response to my recent post about French attitudes, a reader emailed me a few of his own experiences with these delightful people:

"In the early 90's I worked for a French Investment Bank in New York which was supposed to be the "most International" of all the French banks. This meant that we local hires had first hand dealings with the archetypal French upper crust snob. It was very amusing watching these guys at work. They all wore the same clothes, had the same mannerisms and were usually not very good at their jobs because they all seemed to practice "the cover your ass" outlook towards work.

Because they were French expats they were not on the same compensation as the locals which bothered them no end. It was difficult for them to understand how they could be paid less ( they didn't work very hard) despite the fact that their jobs were " guaranteed for life. Locals could be fired at a moment's notice in New York. Political intrigue was their most important daily workhabit. Honestly, most of them reminded me of Inspector Clouseau as they frequently argued points that made no sense.

I once discussed the reasons for the high French unemployment rate with a high level executive who was visiting. He told me that most influential French did not think there was such a high unemployment ( at the time the rate was 10%) rate in France for which he gave the following account: Of the 3 million unemployed in France 1 million were in the latter part of their working life (middle aged) who would not be able to ever find a job but were well looked after by the state. One million were Arabs or North Africans who were considered sh.t who would never be offered a job by French companies. The last one million were French youth and it was this group which was the most worrying. He said that the true French unemployment rate were the 1 million youth and that was not a really high number anyway.

This is how these people thought and that's why France will change only when there is a revolution. The hatred they have for the US could be easily seen at the time -- though then manifested in another way. At the time they thought the Americans were simply a country full of stupid people and of lesser social ranking than the French.”


In response to my recent note about Ronald Reagan’s unforgettable speech at the time of the “Challenger” disaster Four Right Wing Wackos kindly sent me a link to the transcript of the speech. It still moves me to tears. And to have seen that good and dignified man himself giving it.....

In the wacky world of Leftist intellectuals, conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. So by that criterion, it looks like Reagan was NOT a conservative. He said: "'Status quo,' you know, that is Latin for 'the mess we're in.'" But if the Gipper was not a conservative, who would be?

The Leftist smear that Reagan was just an actor and a puppet with no ideas of his own is refuted eloquently in the book of Reagan’s own handwritten notes reviewed briefly here


Ann Coulter responds to the Leftist accusations about her “Lies” and shows who the real deceivers are.

In another one of his gargantuan posts, Captain Clueless spells out his view of why Leftists often seem hypocritical and self-contradictory. I would summarize it much more simply by saying that Leftists have no real principles so will say anything that they think sounds good at the time in the hope that doing so will get them power or influence. As a man who voted for Al Gore, however, the good Captain is trying to make it sound better than that. At least he now realizes that Leftists have no respect for democracy.

Good stuff! The American Anglican Council has in effect called for a schism with the Episcopal Church over the un-Biblical doctrines of the Episcopal leadership (homsexual bishops etc). A schism could get a lot of genuine Christians among the church membership out from under the influence of their atheist bishops.

Watcher of Weasels has an interesting feature: They put up lists of recommended posts from other blogs. Seeing I have made the list, I respect their judgement!

Australian blogger, Personal Independence Day has a BIG post about immigration and xenophobia. He shows that, despite Australia’s tough treatment of illegal immigrants, Australians are no-more anti-immigrant than people from most other countries and that Australian attitudes have become MORE anti-immigrant since the big postwar immigration influx began.

Chris Brand's is still posting up a storm at the moment so I have transferred some more of his recent posts here for convenience. He has an interesting comment about how many self-made millionaires are dyslectic.

China Hand is back in Australia on vacation and outraged at the cost of dentistry here. But the fillings he got in China fell out! He is now looking for a middle way.

The Wicked one has come out in favour of the Vatican’s stance on condoms!

My latest academic upload again points to the generally unscientific culture that prevails in academic psychology. See here or here.


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Thursday, October 09, 2003


I have posted another extract from an academic journal article here. It shows that there is such a thing as a religious personality. I wonder where I fit into that? I was very evangelical in my teens and still love religious music (particularly Bach) but I have been an atheist since I was 19. No doubt someone will say that conservatism is now my religion but I think I am a conservative precisely because I am skeptical. I need evidence before I accept things -- unlike Leftists who seem to regard evidence as an inconvenience. I think Leftism is the religious end of the political spectrum -- though people of other religions do of course have political views too. The anarcho-capitalist extreme of libertarianism can be pretty religious at times too in my judgment.

There is a blog called Marginal Revolution run by a couple of economists which has some excellent posts. Their comment on the current panic about loss of jobs in American manufacturing (under the Oct 4th heading "Manufacturing Fallacies") has this pointed conclusion: "Job destruction" is a vital aspect of progress. If we had not destroyed millions of farm jobs most of us would still be working in agriculture today." And their Oct. 6th post under the apt heading "Doomsday Scenarios collide" is a great comment on the nutty extrapolations that the Greenies go in for. One of the bloggers concerned has also written an excellent survey of the socialist roots of antisemitism

The flippant Chris Lawrence does a bit of straight shooting about the widespread ignorance of statistics among "social scientists": "Frankly, a lot of the stats you see in top-flight journals are flaming crap _ among the sins: misspecified models, attempts to make inferences that aren't supported by the actual econometric model, acceptance of key hypotheses based on marginally significant p values, use of absurdly small samples, failure to engage in any post-estimation diagnostics." To that I would add treating your source of data as a sort of black-box -- without looking at what is in the box.

There is a powerful expose here of the rampant Stalinism still common among the current crop of American historians. Now that the Soviets are long gone, American historians are still defending them -- and teaching their students that Communist spys were the good guys and America evil. I hope nobody reading this is paying for their kid to study history at a major American university!

Tobacco smoking has now been found to correlate with schizotypal and borderline personality traits Not good! Most jailbirds smoke. Tobacco is the currency in jail. There also appears to be a (negative) relationship between smoking and intelligence. Note that we are talking only about a correlation here, however. It does not mean that ALL smokers are fruitcakes. Reference: Kolliakou, A. & Joseph, S. (2000) "Further evidence that tobacco smoking correlates with schizotypal and borderline personality traits". Personality and Individual Differences, 29 (1), 191-194.

My own latest academic upload is of technical interest only but it is part of my refutation of the still-common Leftist claim that conservatives have "authoritarian" personalities. (They don't -- but they are not as hostile to existing authorities as Leftists are). See here or here.


How nice that all the last-minute Leftist lies about Schwarzenegger failed utterly in their object. As everybody knows, the last Hollywood actor to become Governor of California was Ronald Reagan so let us hope for great things from Arnold too.

Murray Soupcoff has another blast at the rich and righteous -- under the headline: "Lifestyles of the rich and hypocritical"

Left-leaning magazine "The Atlantic" has a surprisingly sensible article on poverty: "Since the mid-1990s, almost everyone has accepted that welfare should be linked to work. Only the most reactionary of liberals want to go back to providing cash as a substitute for employment. The new consensus is a good thing, because it matches a new reality. No feasible amount of cash assistance could solve America's poverty problem, even in principle. The problem has changed. It has become more behavioral than economic."

A good comment here about how most of the media have misrepresented the recent official report about Iraqi WMDs.

One of the most basic principles of natural justice is that we are not responsible for the deeds of other people. Under U.S. "environmental" law that principle no longer exists. You can be jailed for something someone else did while you were home in bed. I'm not kidding! Greenies really are haters of people and their hate is now law in many ways.

Atheist though I am, I rather liked the Pope's recent address to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He comes across as a great Christian pastor and his veiled warning about the Anglican attitude to homosexuality ("new and serious difficulties have arisen on the path to unity") was no less than his duty as guardian of church traditions and teachings.

Amusing that Leftists now want to censor sexy advertisements -- on “feminist” grounds of course. All women are equal too, it seems, so attractive women should be hidden away as much as possible, apparently.

I have just transferred some more of Chris Brand's recent posts here for convenience. He notes some of the brain physiology that correlates with IQ and has a big post on the call for voluntary eugenics in Denmark.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again.


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Wednesday, October 08, 2003


A comment from a reader on the recent affirmative action parody at Southern Methodist University where blacks were offered cheaper cookies: "It doesn't surprise me that SMU shut down that bake sale. I've visited the campus there many times; sitting in on lectures and talking to some of the PoliSci faculty. I almost went there for my degree simply because it is such a prominent school, but realized after the first semester that I wasn't learning anything - I was being indoctrinated. Views from the "right" are NOT tolerated; students expressing conservative viewpoints are openly ridiculed in the classroom by instructors and then pointedly ignored."

Sowell says: "The most dramatic rise of blacks out of poverty occurred before the civil rights movement of the 1960s. That's right -- before. But politicians, activists and the intelligentsia have spread so much propaganda that many Americans, black and white, are unaware of the facts" He also points out that he and many other blacks got their university degrees long BEFORE Affirmative action.

Mike Tremoglie reminds us of an excellent story: "Liberals like to call conservatives racist, sexist and homophobic. What is unusual is for the media to note that liberals often do not abide by their own rules. During Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's confirmation hearings, GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch asked her if a company located in a mostly minority area would be considered guilty of discrimination if it did not employ the same percentage of minorities as were in the general population. Ginsburg replied that it would be. Hatch then informed Ginsburg that her staff was mostly white, although she was an employer in the mostly black city of Washington, D.C. Ginsburg exemplifies liberal hypocrisy. The rules are meant for others, not them. It is perfectly fine for a white liberal judge to allege that a small-business owner is discriminating. But the judge can do the same thing without thinking twice."

Writing in a widely-read academic journal, Wickett, Vernon & Lee (2000) show that cranial capacity (how big your brain is) is a strong predictor of 'g' (general intelligence) and Rushton & Ankney (2000) also show that cranial capacity is lower among blacks. Cranial capacity is not the whole story, of course. As Burns, Nettelbeck & Cooper (2000) and many others show, the speed of the brain's electrical response to stimulation is a major physical factor behind IQ.


Two points in a recent George Will article that I agree with: Pakistan may now be the most dangerous breeding-ground for Islamic terrorists; and French nationalists (whom Will dubiously describes as “Fascists”) are just as anti-American as the French Left, though for different reasons. Chirac is after all a Rightist in French terms. The world-dominance of Anglo-Saxon culture really burns up ALL the French.

The French socialist government passed a law in 1998 reducing everybody’s working hours to 35 hours per week -- but everybody still had to get the same pay as when they worked 40 hours per week, of course! With the usual socialist logic, that was supposed to reduce unemployment. As any economist could have told them, it increased unemployment. France now has an unemployment rate 50% higher than the USA. And the French think that they are so much wiser than Americans!! They are now trying to do a U-turn on the policy.


What Fun! A new study by psychiatrist Robert Spitzer (who helped to have homosexuality removed from the American Psychiatric Association's list of mental illnesses in 1973) says that homosexual gay men and women can be transformed into heterosexuals through psychotherapy. The report is that, of 200 homosexuals and lesbians given the treatment, 78 per cent of males and 95 per cent of females reported a change in their sexuality. Huffing and puffing from the Left now underway!

I liked this headline: “Priest defrocked for gay wedding”

Jeff Jacoby has some good answers to the current attacks on Rush Limbaugh.

The U.S. State Dept. continues to defy belief. As the WSJ points out, it has links to famous American speeches on its site -- including speeches by Jimmy peanut and Mrs Clinton but nothing by the Gipper! I personally remember being deeply moved by the speech I saw President Reagan give on TV immediately after the U.S. first lost a space shuttle and remember thinking how lucky America was to have such a wonderful President at that time who knew how to help heal the wound of such a tragic event. I will never forget that speech.

I mentioned yesterday the body of research by psychologist Alain Van Hiel which purported to show conservatives to be maladjusted in various ways. I was quite kind in my comments about him because I think he has been naive rather than dishonest. If you want to see how easy it is to completely wipe the floor with Leftist psychologists, however, have a look at this demolition of an article written by a psychologist from the People’s Republic of Berkeley. It has been reproduced by several other people on their websites so they too obviously think it is a pretty effective put-down.

I have not been able to contact Jim Lindgren, Prof. of Law at Northwestern University, for ages. Last I heard a few months ago he was off for a fortnight’s vacation in Switzerland. Does anybody know if he is languishing in a Swiss dungeon or something?

My latest academic upload shows that the type of conservatism most psychologists connect with racism is in fact uncorrelated with racism when fairly measured. See here or here.


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Tuesday, October 07, 2003


For over 50 years now the Holy Grail of academic political psychologists has been to find evidence of psychological inadequacy among conservatives. It has been a fool’s errand. All the supposed “proofs” collapse once they are subjected to critical examination (See Ray, 1983, 1988, 1990, 2003a & b; Ray & Najman, 1987). But the effort goes on.

The person leading the charge at the moment is someone I mentioned yesterday -- the Belgian psychologist Alain Van Hiel. He is pouring out articles on the subject at a great rate at the moment. Van Hiel is a bit different from his predecessors, however. Most psychologists simply hand out a bunch of questionnaires to their own students to gather “proof” of their theories. This is so laughable as to show that there is no sincere quest for the truth there. All they are really doing is saying that they KNOW what the truth is and any “evidence” at all will do to demonstrate the correctness of their ideas. Van Hiel, however, does real research. He goes out into the highways and byways for his surveys in addition to surveying his students. So I credit Van Hiel as a sincere seeker after truth.

He is however greatly handicapped by what has gone before him. He does not appear to be a psychometrician so rather than design his own scales (sets of questions), he constantly uses scales devised by his un-serious predecessors. This means that all his hard work has essentially gone for naught. His data is only as good as the scales he uses and those scales are pretty laughable. I have dissected two of the scales concerned in recent days (The Kruglanski “Need for closure” scale and the Sidanius “Social dominance Orientation” scale) so you only have to scroll down this page to see what a nonsense are the sort of scales that the unfortunate Van Hiel has to rely on.

I have written a full academic critique of four of Van Hiel’s recent articles here (or here) for those who want to pursue the topic in greater depth. For his own sake, I hope Van Hiel turns to more fruitful outlets for his energies in the future.

Incidentally, most of the scales devised by Left-leaning political psychologists (see e.g. Ray, 1983 & 1990) are so poorly conceived that they end up showing negligible correlation with vote in the general population -- i.e. supposedly “Rightist” statements are just as often agreed to by people who vote for Leftist political parties as by people who vote for Rightist political parties. How embarrassing! The scales that I devise however, generally work very well -- providing correlations of up to .56 with vote (Ray & Wilson, 1976; Ray, 1984a &b). In other words, the results show that I DO know what the factors are that influence political stance in the general population, whereas the Leftist psychologists do not.

Ray, J.J. (1983). Half of all authoritarians are Left-wing: A reply to Eysenck and Stone. Political Psychology, 4, 139-144.
Ray, J.J. (1984a) Combining demographic and attitude variables to predict vote. Journal of Social Psychology, 122, 145-146.
Ray, J.J. (1984b) Attitude to abortion, attitude to life and conservatism in Australia. Sociology & Social Research 68, 236-246.
Ray, J.J. (1988) Cognitive style as a predictor of authoritarianism, conservatism and racism: A fantasy in many movements. Political Psychology 9, 303-308.
Ray, J.J. (1990) Book Review: Enemies of freedom by R. Altemeyer. Australian Journal of Psychology, 42, 87-111.
Ray, J.J. (2003a) Academic fakers. FrontPage Magazine, 27 August.
Ray, J.J. (2003b) Social dominance orientation: Theory or artifact?
Ray, J.J. & Najman, J.M. (1987) Neoconservatism, mental health and attitude to death. Personality & Individual Differences, 8, 277-279.
Ray, J.J. & Wilson, R.S. (1976) Social conservatism in Australia. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Sociology 12(3), 255-257.


More Leftist "compassion": "Riot police in Rome used batons and teargas to beat back hundreds of anti-globalization protesters at a demonstration on Saturday during a meeting of European Union leaders. Scores of police charged the demonstrators after being hit by stones and bottles as they tried to maintain security at the EU conference where leaders met to discuss the bloc's proposed new constitution. Several demonstrators and two policemen were injured. One elderly man was taken away in an ambulance with a deep gash to his head and blood pouring down his face. Police said they had detained 13 protesters."

Being extremely pro-Indian, I am delighted to see that U.S.-Indian co-operation is forging ahead so rapidly under GWB: "India and the US are set to sign a pathbreaking new agreement on cooperation in high-technology, space launch equipment, civilian nuclear energy and missile defence over the next couple of weeks."

Surprise, Surprise! "The plight of many Afghan women has barely improved in the two years since the ouster of the Taliban regime, with forced marriages, rapes and domestic violence still occurring frequently, Amnesty International said." I guess Afghanistan must be Islamic!

About flaming time! "The State Department said Syria "must cease harboring terrorists and make a clean break from those responsible for planning and directing terrorist action from Syrian soil."

The Wicked one is pretty cynical about obesity.

My latest academic upload here (or here) is an attempt to explain some basic psychometric concepts simply. Not for the general reader.


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Monday, October 06, 2003


One of the authors of the notorious "Berkeley study" of conservative psychology called "Political conservatism as motivated social cognition" was a confused soul (officially called a “Distinguished University Professor”) named Arie Kruglanski. He has for a long time been pushing the line that conservatives have a need for a simplistic view of the world. He calls it "Need for Closure" and says that such needs are a sign of psychological maladjustment or weakness. Many other psychologists agree with him (e.g. Kossowska & Van Hiel, 2003). So let us look at the set of statements that Kruglanski (Kruglanski, Webster & Klem, 1993) uses to detect good or bad mental health. For copyright reasons I cannot reproduce them all but a few excerpts tell the story well enough. Here are some of the allegedly "unhealthy" statements:

I find that a well ordered life with regular hours suits my temperament.
I feel uncomfortable when I don't understand the reason why an event occurred in my life.
I don't like to go into a situation without knowing what I can expect from it.
When I am confused about an important issue, I feel very upset.
I usually make important decisions quickly and confidently
I don't like to be with people who are capable of unexpected actions.
I dislike it when a person's statement could mean many different things
I'd rather know bad news than stay in a state of uncertainty.

I would call all of the above statements expressions of normal, healthy, adult attitudes myself. So let's look at what Kruglanski thinks is particularly healthy:

When I go shopping, I have difficulty deciding exactly what it is that I want.
I tend to put off making important decisions until the last possible moment
I would describe myself as indecisive.
My personal space is usually messy and disorganized
I tend to struggle with most decisions

So being a messy, indecisive and disorganized ditherer is healthy! Clearly, capable confident, can-do people are what Kruglanski dislikes and babyish, helpless people are his ideal. I suppose the more babyish we are the easier it is for others to push us around and make our decisions for us -- and Leftists like that. There is another critique pointing out that Kruglanski does not know what he is doing in Neuberg et al. (1997) and my demolition of the Jost et al (2003) study is here.

One point I might also mention here is that Jost, Kruglanski & Co were much enamoured of Glenn Wilson’s 1973 book, The psychology of conservatism. I actually wrote chapter 2 of that book so I know a bit about it. The theory Glenn put forward at that time was that conservatives have a greater fear of uncertainty than Leftists. So one would think that conservatives would be more fearful overall. There is a lot of uncertainty in this world. The EVIDENCE is, however, that conservatives are no more fearful than anybody else. Kruglanski & Co would no doubt argue that the lack of overall fearfulness among conservatives is because conservatives have adopted successful strategies to deal with their fears but isn’t it odd that there is NO SIGN of such greater fear except via the sort of hokum I have pilloried above?

Finally, for a bit of humour, I might mention some findings of that very hard-working Belgian psychologist Alain Van Hiel. He recently joined with a Polish colleague to test the Kruglanski scale in both Belgium and Poland (Kossowsk & Van Hiel, 2003). He found that “Need for closure” was RIGHTIST in one country and LEFTIST in the other! As Robert Burns said: “The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley!”

I can’t help it: I’ve got to mention another amusing Van Hiel finding (Van Hiel, Kossowska & Mervielde, 2000). Because he is such a hard worker, Van Hiel went the trouble of testing out a Kruglanski-type theory on a group of people who were actually interested in politics. He used a scale of “Openness to ideas” and expected that Rightists would be less open to ideas but it turned out that it was the LEFTISTS who were closed-minded! Embarrassing!

Jost, J.T., Glaser, J., Kruglanski, A.W., & Sulloway, F.J. (2003). Political conservatism as motivated social cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 129(3), 339-375.
Kossowska, M. & Van Hiel, A. (2003) The Relationship Between Need for Closure and Conservative Beliefs in Western and Eastern Europe. Political Psychology 24 (3) 501.
Kruglanski, A.W., Webster, D.M., & Klem, A. (1993). Motivated resistance and openness in the presence or absence of prior information. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 23-35
Neuberg, S.L., West, S.G., Judice, T.N., & Thompson, M.M. (1997). On dimensionality, discriminant validity, and the role of psychometric analyses in personality theory and measurement: Reply to Kruglanski et al.'s (1997) defense of the Need for Closure Scale. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 1017-1029.
Van Hiel, A., Kossowska, M. & Mervielde, I. (2000) The relationship between Openness to Experience and political ideology. Personality and Individual Differences 28 (4), 741-751


There is an article here which traces the lack of happiness in modern society to a set of generally Leftist values that have become prevalent nowadays: "Radical individualism is familiar in contemporary values. "Do your own thing", "Seek you own bliss", "Challenge authority", "If it feels good, do it", "Shun conformity", "Don't force your values on others", "Assert your personal rights", "Protect your privacy", "Cut taxes and raise executive pay" (personal income takes priority over the common good), "To love others, first love yourself", "Listen to your own heart", "Prefer solo spirituality to communal religion", "Be self-sufficient", "Expect others likewise to believe in themselves and to make it on their own_": such slogans define the heart of social individualism" The authors present a lot of evidence that we are now less happy than we used to be but I myself suspect that a lot of it is just a matter of higher expectations these days. You can live in Bangladesh and be as happy as a clam if your expectations are low. It does appear that conservatives are happier, though.

I have just transferred some more of Chris Brand's recent posts here for convenience. He says that minorities are now OVER-represented on British TV.

The Wicked one says that poverty in the Western world is mostly mythical.

For my latest academic upload, I have made my recent critical observations on social dominance orientation into a short article. See here or here.


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Sunday, October 05, 2003


I posted yesterday a swingeing critique of the Social Dominance Orientation theory that is at present being used in academic psychology to discredit conservatives. The joint author and principal protagonist of the theory (a generally pleasant guy whom I happen to know) has replied to my critique. I have posted his reply here.

It seems to amount to a large climbdown. He does not answer my point that he is not measuring personality at all and he does not answer my point that the relationship between racism and scores on his scale is artifactual (built-in). He has now reduced his claim to saying that he is just finding out whether different allegedly conservative beliefs do go together. If that is what he is doing, he is doing a remarkably poor job of it. I showed 30 years ago that conservative beliefs in economic and social areas are very poorly correlated yet he COMBINES beliefs from these two areas in his scale! He is not only assuming what he has to prove but his assumption is demonstrably wrong! A bit breathtaking!

And his claim that the theory is independent of the means used to test it is pretty desperate too. Psychologists normally rely on "operational" definitions -- i.e. they define the concept they use BY the means they use to measure it.

Incidentally, I HAVE measured social dominance by way of a personality scale and have several times found that it is unrelated to overall Left/Right orientation. See here and here


Further to the "October surprise" --- last-minute allegations about Schwarzenegger's "abuses" of women -- this story by Susan Salisbury was posted on conservativenet:

“After my own personal experience with the Democratic slander machine, I don't believe anything they say a week before such an important election.

My personal experience? Years ago I worked as a special assistant to an EEOC commissioner at the same time that Clarence Thomas was the Chairman. Several years later, when he was nominated for the Supreme court I got a call from a liberal former acquaintance claiming that she had been told by a mutual friend that I had been harassed by Thomas but was too ashamed to admit it.

I corrected her immediately, telling her I didn't particularly like him, but he had never been anything but proper and appropriate with me. The strongest obscenity I ever heard him utter was a very rare "damn". He was always polite.

The liberal acquaintance persisted. If only I would tell the press he molested me, she explained, I could change history. I could save the women of this country from having to seek back alley abortions -- This attempt to persuade me to tell lies about Clarence Thomas in order to achieve a political goal went on until, tired of denying false suggestions, I finally said to her, Carla, I am a Republican now, I am not going to lie for the Democrats. When Carla knew me earlier, I was a liberal democrat, perhaps the reason that I was targeted for this call.

On reflection, I doubt that I was the only woman who worked with Thomas to receive such a call. I wonder how many women who worked with Arnold have been getting calls in the last four weeks.”


I liked this headline: Arnold knocks Arianna off her broomstick

Miranda Devine on Lomborg: "Of course, common sense is Lomborg's failing. It is precisely because he cites statistics, writes logically and avoids ideological fervour that he has been attacked and pilloried by eco-fundamentalists and fellow travellers around the world. He scares them."

Now THERE'S a judge we could use: "An Indian High Court judge has banned weekday public meetings and rallies in Calcutta after he was delayed by one. Judge Amitava Lala was two hours late for work after his car was caught up in a traffic jam caused by a political meeting. He issued the order, asking police to ensure no such rallies are held in the city of 12 million people between 8am and 8pm."

This US Army blogger from Iraq has some good comments about Australians: "The Aussies are bigger numbers than the rest...and they are some of my favorites .... their weapons are straight out of the future... a big difference from the M-16 which hasn't really changed much looks-wise in the last 30 of the coolest features about the Aussie weapon is the clear magazine... you can see exactly how much ammo you have left..."

I have just transferred some more of Chris Brand's recent posts here for convenience. His post about the suicide that is convulsing U.K. politics at the moment mentions something nobody else wants to believe but I think he has hit the nail on the head.

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I look at conservatism on social issues and what it correlates with. Leftists never tire of claiming that conservatism is the outcome of an unhappy childhood but whenever the matter is directly examined, it generally turns out that conservatives had happier childhoods. A related finding to that in this survey was that there was a SLIGHT tendency for Leftism to be associated with dissatisfaction with one's family. I also showed that conservatives tended to practice what they preach: They are more cautious and risk-averse in their personal lives as well as being more cautious in their social attitudes. Another interesting finding was that upwardly mobile people tended to be slightly more radical on social issues -- in other words, people who have been doing well for themselves tend to reject cautious attitudes -- "Limousine liberals"? An amusing finding from the study was that, despite their alleged passion for “equality”, Leftists were as personally ambitious as anybody else. The simplistic Leftist notion that conservatism is just “rejection of change” was also thoroughly undermined by the results of the study.


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