Monday, September 15, 2008

Jonathan Haidt on voting

Jonathan Haidt is an anti-gun activist who thinks a poodle is his nephew. He is also a distinguished psychologist. Few people will be surprised by that juxtaposition. His orientation is of course Leftist and he accepts some of the convenient myths that Leftist psychologists cling to.

Anybody who has attempted to read German philosophers such as Hegel and Kant will be acutely aware of how long-winded and hard-to-follow many intellectuals are. Haidt is a junior member of that tribe. He is a student of something that is important to conservatives: morality. He has written much on the topic and has recently presented what seems intended as a summary of his findings under the heading: "WHAT MAKES PEOPLE VOTE REPUBLICAN?". It is very long, however, so I thought I might summarize the summary for the convenience of readers here. What he has found is that conservatives are much more complex in their thinking about morality than Leftists are. If he had listened to his fellow Leftists and their constant mantra "There is no such thing as right and wrong" he would have known that already.

He must be credited with getting on board with reality eventually, however: never easy for a Leftist dreamer. So he concludes that people vote for conservative parties because conservative parties give more comprehensive attention to moral issues. Listening to almost any conservative spokesman would have told him that conservatives address moral issues that Leftists ignore or spit upon.

Haidt's own thinking on gun control would seem to be an excellent example of how simplistic and deficient Leftist thinking is on moral issues. Conservatives look at the fact that gun control takes guns out of the hands of law-abiding people but not out of the hands of criminals and see that as a huge problem. Leftists seem to see that as no problem. To conservatives, anybody who ignores that problem seems to have a bit missing in his brain.


Charlie Gibson's Gaffe

By Charles Krauthammer

"At times visibly nervous . . . Ms. Palin most visibly stumbled when she was asked by Mr. Gibson if she agreed with the Bush doctrine. Ms. Palin did not seem to know what he was talking about. Mr. Gibson, sounding like an impatient teacher, informed her that it meant the right of 'anticipatory self-defense.' " -- New York Times, Sept. 12

Informed her? Rubbish. The New York Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong. There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.

He asked Palin, "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?" She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, "In what respect, Charlie?" Sensing his "gotcha" moment, Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, Gibson grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube that the Bush doctrine "is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense." Wrong.

I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, "The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism," I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine.

Then came 9/11, and that notion was immediately superseded by the advent of the war on terror. In his address to the joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11, President Bush declared: "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." This "with us or against us" policy regarding terror -- first deployed against Pakistan when Secretary of State Colin Powell gave President Musharraf that seven-point ultimatum to end support for the Taliban and support our attack on Afghanistan -- became the essence of the Bush doctrine.

Until Iraq. A year later, when the Iraq war was looming, Bush offered his major justification by enunciating a doctrine of preemptive war. This is the one Charlie Gibson thinks is the Bush doctrine.

It's not. It's the third in a series and was superseded by the fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine, the most sweeping formulation of the Bush approach to foreign policy and the one that most clearly and distinctively defines the Bush years: the idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world. It was most dramatically enunciated in Bush's second inaugural address: "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

This declaration of a sweeping, universal American freedom agenda was consciously meant to echo John Kennedy's pledge in his inaugural address that the United States "shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." It draws also from the Truman doctrine of March 1947 and from Wilson's 14 points.

If I were in any public foreign policy debate today, and my adversary were to raise the Bush doctrine, both I and the audience would assume -- unless my interlocutor annotated the reference otherwise -- that he was speaking about the grandly proclaimed (and widely attacked) freedom agenda of the Bush administration. Not the Gibson doctrine of preemption...

Yes, Sarah Palin didn't know what it is. But neither does Charlie Gibson. And at least she didn't pretend to know -- while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, sighing and "sounding like an impatient teacher," as the Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes' reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.




More details here of the way ABC News edited out key parts of the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson. Much of the media really are quite shameless in their bias.

Even the L.A. Times is critical of the Gibson interview

Far Leftist broadcaster Randi Rhodes smears Sarah Palin as a molester of teenage boys -- on zero evidence, of course. How desperate can you get?

Pelosi's Gang Feels the Pressure: "At the recent Democratic convention, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer bragged his party had 75 pick-up opportunities. Or maybe not. Slowly, without much notice, the political landscape has changed. House Republicans are getting traction on issues like energy and reform, and a boost from a newly energized McCain-Palin ticket. An even bigger problem for Democrats is that Nancy Pelosi's liberal governing has put her own vaunted freshmen at risk in their conservative districts. Some Republicans now cautiously predict they might keep losses to the single digits. Some Democrats morosely agree. One big shift is in the way voters are looking at Republicans. The GOP brand may still stink, but has lost at least some of its odor. Republicans have closed the gap in polls that ask whether voters are more likely to go for a generic Republican or a generic Democrat -- and in some cases reversed it. New polls also show a real majority of voters in today's GOP-held districts would prefer to keep a Republican in office."

Blue-collar America is smarter than you may think: "'They treat us like mules,' the guy installing my washer tells me, his eyes narrowing as he wipes his hands. I had just complimented him and his partner on the speed and assurance of their work. He explains that it's rare that customers speak to him this way. I know what he's talking about. My mother was a waitress all her life, in coffee shops and fast-paced chain restaurants. It was hard work, but she liked it, liked 'being among the public,' as she would say. But that work had its sting, too -- the customer who would treat her like a servant or, her biggest complaint, like she was not that bright. There's a lesson here for this political season: the subtle and not-so-subtle insults that blue-collar and service workers endure as part of their working lives. And those insults often have to do with intelligence."


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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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