Saturday, January 02, 2010
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL WHO COME BY HERE!
My New Year's eve was very quiet -- which is how I like it. Anne came over and cooked us some excellent roast pork for dinner; We listened to Scottish music; We opened a bottle of Veuve Clicquot NV to toast the new year. And at 66 I still seem to have a fair bit of life left in me so expect to be blogging on for some years yet. I am gradually going deaf and blind but you can't keep a good blogger down!
Power promotes hypocrisy, study finds
The research below concerns non-political behaviour but the authors endeavour to suggest that Republicans are examples of the hypocrisy concerned. To me, however, it sounds much more like a picture of Democrat legislators and Greenie activists
2009 may well be remembered for its scandal-ridden headlines, from admissions of extramarital affairs by governors and senators, to corporate executives flying private jets while cutting employee benefits, and most recently, to a mysterious early morning car crash in Florida. The past year has been marked by a series of moral transgressions by powerful figures in political, business and celebrity circles.
A new study explores why powerful people many of whom take a moral high ground don't practice what they preach. Researchers sought to determine whether power inspires hypocrisy, the tendency to hold high standards for others while performing morally suspect behaviors oneself. The research found that power makes people stricter in moral judgment of others while going easier on themselves.
The research was conducted by Joris Lammers and Diederik A. Stapel of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and by Adam Galinsky of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. The article is to appear in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science.
"This research is especially relevant to the biggest scandals of 2009, as we look back on how private behavior often contradicted the public stance of particular individuals in power," said Galinsky. "For instance, we saw some politicians use public funds for private benefits while calling for smaller government, or have extramarital affairs while advocating family values. Similarly, we witnessed CEOs of major financial institutions accepting executive bonuses while simultaneously asking for government bailout money."
"According to our research, power and influence can cause a severe disconnect between public judgment and private behavior, and as a result, the powerful are stricter in their judgment of others while being more lenient toward their own actions," he continued.
To simulate an experience of power, the researchers assigned roles of high-power and low-power positions to a group of study participants. Some were assigned the role of prime minister and others civil servant. The participants were then presented with moral dilemmas related to breaking traffic rules, declaring taxes, and returning a stolen bike.
Through a series of five experiments, the researchers examined the impact of power on moral hypocrisy. For example, in one experiment the "powerful" participants condemned the cheating of others while cheating more themselves. High-power participants also tended to condemn overreporting of travel expenses. But, when given a chance to cheat on a dice game to win lottery tickets (played alone in a private cubicle), the powerful people reported winning a higher amount of lottery tickets than did low-power participants.
Three additional experiments further examined the degree to which powerful people accept their own moral transgressions versus those committed by others. In all cases, those assigned to high-power roles showed significant hypocrisy by more strictly judging others for speeding, dodging taxes and keeping a stolen bike, while finding it more acceptable to engage in these behaviors themselves, the researchers said.
Galinsky said hypocrisy has its greatest impact among people who are legitimately powerful. In contrast, a fifth experiment found that people who don't feel personally entitled to their power are actually harder on themselves than they are on others, a phenomenon the researchers dubbed "hypercrisy." The tendency to be harder on the self than on others also characterized the powerless in multiple studies.
"Ultimately, patterns of hypocrisy and hypercrisy perpetuate social inequality. The powerful impose rules and restraints on others while disregarding these restraints for themselves, whereas the powerless collaborate in reproducing social inequality because they don't feel the same entitlement," Galinsky concluded.
Who Will Be Responsible for the American Dead?
by David Horowitz
Two Guantanamo terrorists released in November were behind the Christmas Day attack in Detroit. Our security agencies ignored their own security measures and their own intelligence — including warnings from the terrorist’s father that his son was involved with terrorists.
The chief of our Department of Homeland Security is preoccupied with covering her ass, and conferring citizenship rights on enemy combatants. Instead of throwing the enemy in the darkest possible dungeon and extracting information on the next terrorist attack, both she and her president are referring to him as an “alleged” bomber and helping him to lawyer up because after all he’s only a criminal who deserves the presumption of innocence and every other right accorded to citizens of this country who might be interested in protecting it.
The answer to the question posed above is that liberals will be responsible when the next bomber actually succeeds in killing Americans. Liberals have fought the very idea that we are at war (and should use security measures appropriate in wartime) although our enemies have declared war on us. Liberals have fought to close the Guantanamo Bay holding center and to release its terrorists back onto the battlefield.
Liberals have fought to deny us the basic security techniques — harsh interrogation measures, military tribunals, terrorist profiling (which would focus scarce security resources on Muslims and not on the hundreds of millions of ordinary citizens who are traveling to do business and visit families, including for example, elderly Christians confined to wheelchairs whose prophet preached love rather than war.)
Liberals have advocated and pursued a diplomacy of apology and appeasement whose effect is to encourage our adversaries to have contempt for us and to deny support to the brave dissenters in the Muslim world who are struggling for their freedom. And liberals have conducted a relentless propaganda campaign designed to portray their own country as an unprincipled aggressor whose immediate consequence is to weaken its efforts to defend itself.
We expect this from the anti-American left. But we are getting it from the liberal “center” from the likes of Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, the late Senator Kennedy, institutions like the New York Times, and pundits ranging from Chris Matthews and Andrew Sullivan who should know better to Joshua Micah Marshall and Joe Klein who have lent cover and support to the neo-Communist America haters of the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Our country is about to pay a terrible price for the orgy of liberal derangement that made the Bush administration rather than Saddam Hussein the culprit in the Iraq war and whose collective effort over the last seven years has been to dig the graves of the innocent American victims of the next terrorist attacks.
Death of liberalism is near, and its harbinger is not a conservative onslaught, nor a new Contract With America. Its demise is being signaled by activities in a small town in Oregon, noteworthy only for a rambunctious annual Shakespearean Festival. Ashland, Oregon, as all things west of the Cascade Range in Oregon, is a refuge for all things liberal, but Ashland finds itself in a liberal conundrum that portends bad things for left leaning granola crunchers. More on Ashland later.
American liberalism initially manifested itself with the emergence of suffrage drives, with Wilson’s pandering for the League of Nations, and with the relaxing of mores during the twenties. Morals were plied with the consumption of prohibited beverages and further trod upon by the liberating sense of rebellion that came with doing so.
Such exuberance was quickly snuffed out by the harsh realities of the Great Depression, Nazism, the bleak existence most families found themselves in, and the eventual national commitment to a two front war. There was scant time available for dalliances with anything that wasn’t practical and immediate. Concepts and ideas outside of the very real and necessary were left to those in the colleges of America and Europe or to professional philosophers and theorists. The esoteric took a backseat to the real.
Then, after a relatively brief period of peace, America elected a young Senator from the uber-liberal state of Massachusetts, and liberalism was once again uncorked. Fermented by years of being bottled up by the necessities imposed by the outside world, liberalism was unleashed full tilt into a generation excited by the charisma of a core of liberal politicos who enthralled them. Eager to escape their depression educated parents and their parents’ puritanical concepts in child rearing; this generation accelerated past the standard bearers and never looked back. Chicago 1968.
Based on the reasonable concepts of equal civil rights (although it took Republicans to actually get civil rights legislation passed in the sixties; over objections of many Democrats), women’s rights, taking care of the poor and protecting the weak, liberal thought was embraceable by many who felt blessed in those heady times. The original concepts of egalitarianism were soon consumed by an unstoppable tornado that evolved from the anti-war movement and its associated rebellion against all restraints; parental, moral, and governmental.
Soon liberal thought pushed well past the novel concepts of civil rights, sexual equality, and governmental support of the poor, to free love, sexual freedom, feminism, abortion rights, and exaggerated forms of freedom of expression, including; burning the flag, urinating and defecating on religious symbols, vulgarity in art and music, tolerance of all manner and combination of sexual encounters, right to self-euthanize, and the consumption of all manner of mind bending drugs, among others.
The acceleration of liberal thought through its lighting fast evolutionary period makes expansion of our universe look like a pedal car at a NASCAR race, and since it has raced along for fifty years at maximum rpm and it will soon burn out like a piston in a lean running engine. Liberalism is now best defined by its extremists. Much like Spinal Tap, liberals are not content to have the volume up to 10; they have a need to continually go to 11, and beyond. No idea is off the table. No idea is too extreme. Just keep turning the volume knob to the right, 12, 13, maybe. Bose eat your heart out.
Which brings us back to Ashland, Oregon. Ashland is proud of its liberalness and in particular its tolerance for nudity. Liberals support this form of self-expression as harmless and victimless. Yet now Ashland finds itself having to rethink its policies. Not because there are too many cute women walking the streets of Ashland sans fashion, but because such open policies invite the extremists. And even in Liberal-ville, full male nudity is enough to change the mind of many self-expression proponents; especially those raising children.
But real crisis occurred when a Minnesotan boarded a bus to Oregon in order bring his own brand of nude self-expression to Ashland. Mr. Freedom-of-Expression decided that parading his package in the vicinity of an elementary school was indeed an appropriate form of self-expression, and Ashland was the kind of liberal haven to support it.. Some moms, liberal and otherwise, became concerned. What is a liberal to do?
Now it is liberal v. liberal in Ashland, as the community tries to achieve an impossible balance between reasonable nudity and un-reasonable nudity within the city’s limits. The mayor wants an ordinance, many townies want nudity, the Minnesotan wants a refund on his bus ticket, and parents, many liberals themselves, want to protect their children from free-expression freak-a-zoids who have no restraint.
And therein is the clue, liberalism has accelerated far past its defensible positions on many issues, and in-fighting is the inevitable result. Late term abortions, Government funded abortions, lack of fiscal restraint, the Afghanistan surge, Gitmo, Iraq, as well as nudity in Ashland, are all pitting moderate liberals against the liberal extremists, and the results will be near-term collapse of the liberal movement as we know it.
There will be pockets of liberal thought and liberal resistance, but conservatism is about to enjoy a resurgence as extremists burn out even the most ardent sock wearing, Birkenstock shod, parents in Oregon with their continual assaults on society with their lack of discipline and nouveau-avant-garde liberal stunt-ages, un-cleverly disguised as freedoms-of-expression.
All things reach an acme, for liberal thought it was Election 2008. The reality of implementing liberal ideas in government in 2009 and beyond comes with the revelation that gaining liberal consensus is much more difficult than herding cats and much less likely than taming badgers. Because of the now disparate nature of many core beliefs, liberals simply cannot effectively govern.
Sometimes the brightest star does burn itself out first. With nowhere to go, except past 14, 15, and beyond on the volume knob, liberalism is quickly replacing its once viable compassionate reason with more volume and diametrically opposing ideas; ideological difficulties which are not easy to overcome with lurking massive deficits and growing taxpayer unrest. The liberal movement is quite literally running out of ideological steam after is meteoric run, but now a long period of acrimony and infighting awaits. I only hope conservatives are ready.
Judge says charges against Blackwater guards were a corrupt prosecution: "Criminal charges against five Blackwater security guards accused of fatally shooting 14 people in Baghdad in September 2007 have been dismissed. Judge Ricardo Urbina said prosecutors violated the defendants' rights by using incriminating statements they had made under immunity during a State Department investigation to build their case. “The government used the defendants' compelled statements to guide its charging decisions, to formulate its theory of the case, to develop investigatory leads, and ultimately to obtain the indictment in the case,” Judge Urbina ruled. “In short, the government had utterly failed to prove that it made no impermissible use of the defendants' statment or that such use was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.” The guards had been charged with killing 14 Iraqi civilians and wounding 18 others using gunfire and grenades during an unprovoked attack at a busy Baghdad intersection. They had faced firearms charges, and up to 10 years in jail on each of 14 manslaughter counts. “The explanations offered by the prosecutors and investigators in an attempt to justify their actions... were all too often contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility,” Judge Urbina wrote. Blackwater has insisted its personnel were acting in self-defence, but critics repeatedly have accused the company of a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach." [Leftist enemies of the Iraq war wanted a scalp by hook or by crook]
Pint and mile measures preserved for British businesses: "The pint measure and the mile, have been preserved for British business, under new powers which come into force today. The Government this year negotiated an indefinite exemption from EU laws which would have forced companies to produce separate metric and imperial labels for different markets. Ministers said their "success" in Europe meant that British firms could carry on using imperial units alongside metric measurements. The change also means the UK alone can decide on the future of the pint of beer, cider and milk, the mile on road signs and the troy ounce for precious metals. Lord Drayson, the Science and Innovation minister, said: "As we enter a new decade it's good to know that traditional imperial measurements like the pint and mile will remain. "But importantly this also means that businesses will avoid the unnecessary cost of changing labels. This indefinite exemption leaves these important decisions in our own hands, removing worry and uncertainty from businesses."
GMAC receives third round of bailout funds: "GMAC Financial Services will receive a third round of bailout funds from the U.S. Treasury Department and the government will have a controlling stake in the company, according to a government report Wednesday. The troubled auto and mortgage lender will collect $3.8 billion of additional aid on top of the nearly $13.5 billion already received since December 2008, the Treasury said in a statement Wednesday." [It's no longer a business. It is now a government-run charity]
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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)
Posted by JR at 1:24 AM