Thursday, July 20, 2006


A lot of the entries on Wikipedia about psychology display a Leftist bias. So, as a conservative academic psychologist, I should step in and correct that -- right? Well, I HAVE tried but my corrections don't last long. See for instance this entry about a bit of nonsense called the "Right wing Authoritarianism" questionnaire, devised by Bob Altemeyer. I have had a great deal published in the academic literature (e.g here) about this questionnaire (or "scale") so I know it well. It exists as an attempt to show conservatives in a bad light but fails rather hilariously.

Note this statement from the present Wikipedia entry:

RWA is also correlated with political conservatism - not so much at the level of ordinary voters, but with increasing strength as one moves from voters to activists to office holders, and then from lower to higher-level officeholders

After that sentence, I added:

Altemeyer's own statement about this may be worth noting (From p. 239 of "Enemies of Freedom"):

"right-wing authoritarians show little preference in general for any political party".

So the type of conservatism studied by Altemeyer is a rather peculiar subset of it -- one with virtually no everyday political relevance. Like the Adorno F scale which was its ultimate inspiration, the RWA scale would seem to tap a particularly old-fashioned type of conservatism.

You will not find that piece of information there now. What I wrote has been erased completely. I could go on with further examples but what's the point? There is only one point that matters: Don't trust Wikipedia (or "Wackypedia", as I usually call it).



The above is a picture of "socialist sandals" from The Real Cuba

Interesting press release about Afghanistan received from CENTCOM: "Coalition Soldiers have seized an estimated $3 million in opium from an extremist compound July 13 after a Coalition patrol held off more than two dozen fighters until additional firepower arrived. Following the engagement, the Soldiers found five dead extremists, but believe many more were killed. A search of the compound found 70 kilograms of opium paste, a rocket propelled grenade launcher, four rockets, an AK-47 and ammunition, a passport and other documents. "Recovering these weapons and drugs increases the safety and security of Afghans, and reduces the danger posed by criminals and extremists who might use those munitions indiscriminately to cause harm on the Afghan people, Afghan security forces or Coalition forces ," said Col. Thomas Collins, Coalition spokesman. "This engagement also confirms with physical evidence that the extremists are linked to the drug trade in southern Afghanistan."

Strange "terrorism" targets: "It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald's Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified "Beach at End of a Street." But the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, in a report released Tuesday, found that the list was not child's play: all these "unusual or out-of-place" sites "whose criticality is not readily apparent" are inexplicably included in the federal antiterrorism database. The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation. The database is used by the Homeland Security Department to help divvy up the hundreds of millions of dollars in antiterrorism grants each year, including the program announced in May that cut money to New York City and Washington by 40 percent, while significantly increasing spending for cities including Louisville, Ky., and Omaha. "We don't find it embarrassing," said the department's deputy press secretary, Jarrod Agen. "The list is a valuable tool."

The Reagan/Bush comparison: "Conservatives attack Mr. Bush most vehemently on excessive government spending, and there they have a point. He could have been more frugal, despite the exigent circumstances, especially in his first term. But it's also on the spending issue that the Reagan myth--Reagan as the relentless swashbuckler against spending--is most pronounced. He won an estimated $35 billion in spending cuts in 1981, his first year in office. After that, spending soared, so much so that his budget director David Stockman, who found himself on the losing end of spending arguments, wrote a White House memoir with the subtitle, "Why the Reagan Revolution Failed." With Reagan in the White House, spending reached 23.5% of GDP in 1984, the peak year of the military buildup. Under Mr. Bush, the top spending year is 2005 at 20.1% of GDP, though it is expected to rise as high as 20.7% this year, driven upward by Iraq and hurricane relief."

Immigration critics making headway in State houses: "The passage of 11 anti-illegal immigrant measures by a special session of the Colorado Legislature this week is just the latest sign that momentum in the volatile debate is on the side of hard-liners. Earlier this year, immigrant-rights groups were encouraged when the Democratic-controlled Legislature rejected several bills that party leaders characterized as extremist. Spring featured the largest political rallies Colorado had ever seen, as 75,000 immigrants and their supporters marched in front of the state Capitol demanding amnesty. But late Monday, the Colorado Legislature approved a ban on nonemergency state services to adults who fail to prove they are in the country legally, a measure modeled on a broader law that Georgia adopted in April. Democrats here began boasting that their measure was the toughest in the nation.... Polls have shown the population is similarly divided over illegal immigration, but that hard-liners are more motivated. That appears to be borne out in statehouses, where more than 400 anti-illegal immigration measures were proposed this year. The vast majority failed, but at least a dozen states passed bills targeting illegal immigration. Louisiana approved a law stiffening penalties for businesses that hire illegal immigrants. Wyoming barred students in the U.S. illegally from receiving some scholarships, while Missouri denied unemployment benefits to workers who weren't citizens. And states such as Pennsylvania and Maryland are considering benefit cuts modeled on those in Colorado and Georgia, which are the most far-reaching".

Sarkozy: speak English and work harder: "The French Interior Minister has a stark message for his countrymen. The French need to work harder and display less arrogance, if they are to recapture former glories, Nicolas Sarkozy, the Interior Minister, tells his countrymen in a highly personal 281-page book published yesterday. Just as they embark on their long summer break, he has a blunt message for them: the holiday is over. In an account that may make for uncomfortable reading on the beaches, M Sarkozy demands effort, reform and an end to the Gallic habit of delivering lessons to the rest of the world.... Hailing modern Britain as an example, M Sarkozy urges voters to remove their heads from the sand, accept that France is in decline and embrace the market economy as the path to revival."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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