Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More stupid anti-conservative psychology

The recent book by John Dean (of Watergate fame), called Conservatives Without Conscience has been a great hit on the Leftist blogs. There is for instance a huge and hugely self-satisfied comment string about it here. The comments there that amused me most were the ones by Leftists saying that they had not actually read the book but still thought it was great. Very Leftist. They KNOW what is right: Evidence is irrelevant.

The book says of course that conservatives are psychologically disturbed and "authoritarian" -- an ongoing leftist theme that goes all the way back to a 1950 book which had as its leading author the Marxist theoretican Theodor Wiesengrund (aka Adorno). The Adorno book was written at a time when most Leftists alive could remember themselves espousing doctrines similar to Hitler's (the prewar American Left was heavily into racism, antisemitism, eugenics, nationalism, homophobia etc.) so, nonsensical though it was, the book was eagerly seized on by the Left of the day as a way of attaching Nazism to conservatives rather than to themselves.

The book has long since been discredited (See e.g. here and here) and one of the most comprehensive demolitions of it was by a curious Canadian psychology professor known as "Bob" Altemeyer. Altemeyer (1981) pointed out in great and convincing detail that the research methods and research results available did not support the claims of the book but he still thought that the theory behind the book was pretty right. So he set out on his own large program of research to find support for at least some parts of the theory.

The central pillar of his research was a new inventory of attitudes -- attitudes which he claimed reflected "Right-wing authoritarianism" (RWA). In a quite hilarious piece of bathos, however, he concluded in one of his later books that: "Right wing authoritarians show little preference in general for any political party" (p. 239 of Enemies of Freedom). In other words, the people Altemeyer's questionnaire identified as "Right-wing authoritarians" were in fact as likely to vote for the Canadian Liberals or the U.S. Democrats as they were likely to vote for Conservatives or Republicans! His "Rightists" were, in other words, often Leftists!

Such a stupid body of work as Altemeyer's claims about conservatism would of course long ago have been consigned to the dustbin of history if reason and logic were what motivated the Left but in fact Altemeyer's work is wildly popular among Leftist social scientists and social commentators -- and the John Dean book relies heavily on it. So if you ever do get around to looking at the Dean book, just remember that everything he says is just as likely to be true of Democrat supporters as GOP voters!

For those interested in a more comprehensive demolition of the Dean book, Peter Thomas has written one. See Liberals Without Logic.


Adorno,T.W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J. & Sanford, R.N. (1950). The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper.

Altemeyer, R. (1981). Right-wing authoritarianism. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Altemeyer, R. (1988) Enemies of freedom: Understanding Right-wing authoritarianism. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Why the Leftist conspiracy theorists think the 9/11 events were "staged"

Excerpt from Ace of Spades

The writer of the current conspiracy book gives the game away several times. Here's a telling example:

Why had the FBI failed to put the record straight over the previous four-and-a-half years? One answer is that it suited the heroism legend to keep silent as the Pentagon banged the drum for war in Iraq.

"Heroism legend"? Again, assuming for the purposes of the argument that he's right -- how does this diminish the heroics of the Flight 93 Rebellion whatsoever? In his own mind it diminishes their courage, because he needs physical courage to be denigrated and exposed as futile. His entire worldview depends upon this.

For the rest of us, the planes crashed into the WTC, the Pentagon, and a field in Shaksville, Pensylvania. For the left, the planes crashed into their entire worldview, collapsing it as surely as the Twin Towers were collapsed.

And since then, they've made a determined and relentless effort to substitute in their own preferred narrative, in which the WTC was destroyed in a controlled demolition by the CIA, the Pentagon was simply blown up with an American missile or planted American bombs, and the first soldiers in the Greater War on Terror shouldn't even have bothered, because the Sidewinder missiles were on their way no matter what they did.

What links all these conspiracy theories? The unshakable belief that there is no enemy except the US Government (except, perhaps, for the Mossad), and that heroism, patriotism, and a physical defense of one's country and one's very own life is a doomed venture hardly worth the candle.

Admitting there is an external, implacable, and deadly threat to us strongly implies we need to fight it. But they've decided a priori that fighting is never the correct response.

Ergo, somewhere the syllogism must be flawed. They focus their attention on the premise-- that there is in fact a deadly external threat. That must be demonstrated as incorrect if their preferred conclusion -- pacifism at any price -- is to remain viable.

In their own minds they've rebulit the Towers so they were never destroyed that day, but they now stand on a foundation of magical thinking and a childish retreat into dreamworlds and fantasies.

For some, the choice between adapting one's worldview to the real world or adapting the real world to one's worldview is a fairly easy call.

For more postings, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. (Mirror sites here, here, here, here, here, here and here). Other backups here


"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)

Comments? Email me here (Hotmail address). If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Pages are here or here or here.


No comments: