Friday, January 19, 2007


Psychology Today has just put out a big article on the psychology of politics. It purports to explain why people hew to the Left or the Right.

It bases its conclusions, however, on research that has no scholarly worth whatsoever. The two main pieces of research it relies on to support the differentiations it proposes are by Jost et al and Block et al. Both pieces of research are within my area of academic specialization so the gaping flaws in both are more evident to me than they might be to others. I have previously pointed out how intellectually discreditable both studies are. See here and here. I was actually one of the authors whose research the Jost et al. article purported to summarize!

Jost et al. showed vividly the usual Leftist talent for ignoring large bodies of evidence that did not suit their preconceptions. Their article must in fact rate as one of the most dishonest meta-analyses ever reported. They were very clearly guilty of "motivated cognition" -- exactly what they accused conservatives of. Leftist projection and leftist denial do usually go hand in hand.

Michelle Malkin and Jim Lindgren note the absurd "sampling" in the Block study. It seems unlikely that there were any actual conservatives among the individuals studied! That is not the first time Leftist psychologists have perpetrated such an absurdity in their mendacious claims to "explain" conservatism, however. See, for instance, here.

Given the very dubious basis of the generalizations offered in the Psychology Today article, the generalizations offered by the article should detain no-one. Whether any of the statements made are true is simply unknown.

Sadly, many in the blogosphere have assumed that there is some respectable evidential basis for the article. Cinnamon Stillwell and Fausta sum up some of the blogospheric reactions.

For an account of the psychology of conservatism based on the actual history of conservatism, see here



The good old Leftist "Denial" tactic. And he does his denial in a Jewish-owned newspaper -- but the NYT is Leftist long before it is Jewish. And self-hating Jews are a familiar phenomenon. Excerpt from Soccer Dad below

James Traub profiled Abe Foxman in this week's NY Times magazine in piece titled Does Abe Foxman Have an Anti-Anti-Semite Problem?.

Assuming a mocking and dismissive tone toward his subject, Traub paints Foxman as a petty autocrat who's looking for antisemites under every bed. If one sentence sums up Traub's opinion of Foxman it's:
The A.D.L., for all its myriad activities, is a one-man Sanhedrin doling out opprobrium or absolution for those who speak ill of Israel or the Jews.

In contrast, Foxman's critics and opponents are described in complimentary terms. Tony Judt is "highly regarded"; J. J. Goldberg, is the editor of a "leading" American Jewish weekly; Mearsheimer and Walt are "distinguished figures."

Aside from the snide tone pervading the article, it's filled with mistakes and omissions. One of Traub's themes is that antisemitism is no longer problem. The need for the ADL is therefore diminished if not gone therefore:
The A.D.L.'s world became increasingly binary - "good for the Jews," "bad for the Jews."
with Foxman becoming sole arbiter and - shock of shocks - moving to the right.

To dispove the notion that antisemitism is a problem Traub writes:
And yet a Pew Global Attitudes Poll in 2004 found that anti-Semitism had declined in much of the West and was lowest in the United States. A Pew poll last year found American support for Israel as strong now as at any time in the last 13 years.
According to the FBI's uniform crimes statistics for 2005 there were 900 hate crimes classified as anti-Jewish and 3200 hate crimes classified as anti-Black. Given that there are roughly 7 times as many Blacks as Jews, that means that Jews suffer hate crimes at nearly twice the rate as Blacks in the United States according to the most recent statistics.

And while anti-semitism has clearly not disappeared in the United States, it is mild compared to the rest of the world. Three years ago a survey in Europe chose Israel as the biggest threat to world peace. And let's not forget the Durban conference on racism. There is plenty of antisemitism still around and citing two Pew polls doesn't refute that.

Traub like any good liberal finds fault with Foxman for making common cause with evangelical Christians while being cool to Black leaders and ignoring the great alliance between Jews and Blacks. While it is true that at one point Foxman did foster evangelical support for Israel, that seemed to come to an end in 2005. And as far as the black-Jewish alliance it's folly to blame it on Foxman for moving right and away from civil rights. In recent years, the civil rights movement has made common cause with the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan. All have shown varying degrees of antipathy to Jews.....

Though Foxman is not above criticism, the viciousness with which Traub goes after Foxman is astounding. Given the sloppiness of his reporting, it's fair to ask whether it is Traub who has a problem. With semites.



No connection? "Unemployment [in Britain] has fallen to the lowest level since last spring but wage increases have remained muted, official figures showed today."

Britain resists EU attack on democracy: "Britain is aiming to scupper German plans to revive the European constitution in a direct assault on the main project of the EU presidency of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor. Such a campaign, if successful, would free Tony Blair's successor from his promise to hold a referendum on the document... The British Government is keen to avoid holding a referendum on the constitution, despite Mr Blair's pledge three years ago to do so. Under the German timetable a referendum would coincide with the next general election and cause problems for Mr Blair's successor. .. A senior British official told The Times that the Government will argue that the EU is working well within its existing treaties and does not need a constitution nor a fresh round of referendums... The British position is at loggerheads with Mrs Merkel's dream of restoring the bulk of the rejected document, including sections that would create a European foreign minister and end the British veto in home affairs and justice policy."



"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) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason -- Details here and here

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