Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another potshot at conservative IQ

This won't detain us long. It's an abstract of an article by former Yugoslav psychologist Lazar Stankov. Considering its poor quality and dogmatic conclusion, it is rather a surprise that it got published in Intelligence (37, 2009, 294–304), which is a respectable academic journal.
Conservatism and cognitive ability


Conservatism and cognitive ability are negatively correlated. The evidence is based on 1254 community college students and 1600 foreign students seeking entry to United States' universities. At the individual level of analysis, conservatism scores correlate negatively with SAT, Vocabulary, and Analogy test scores. At the national level of analysis, conservatism scores correlate negatively with measures of education (e.g., gross enrollment at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels) and performance on mathematics and reading assessments from the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) project. They also correlate with components of the Failed States Index and several other measures of economic and political development of nations. Conservatism scores have higher correlations with economic and political measures than estimated IQ scores.

The "sample" is of course laughable and provides no basis for generalizing to any known population. Its representativeness is unknown. If the findings suggest any inferences at all, they may tell us that only dumb conservatives need to go to community colleges but even some smart Leftists need to, perhaps because they were less conscientious during their high school studies.


Al Jazeera Op-Ed Compares Glenn Beck to Al Qaeda Terrorist Over Norway Massacre‏

Al Jazeera accusing someone of being a terrorist while they encourage kids to become suicide bombers, amazing

Remember when conservatives were blamed for the massive shooting in Arizona in January? Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin were among the scapegoats. And while the U.S. media hasn’t yet pointed the finger at popular American conservatives, one outlet has just published an op-ed piece doing just that. Which outlet? The White House’s favorite foreign news source, Al Jazeera.

The op-ed, posted on Al Jazeera’s website on Sunday, is the work of Ahmed Moor. The outlet calls him “a Palestinian-American freelance journalist based in Cairo“ who ”was born in the Gaza Strip, Palestine.” What it doesn’t say, but what is clear in the piece, is that he’s not a fan of Glenn Beck.

He opens his article by decrying “right-wing propaganda“ and ”reactionary bigotry:”
The Norwegian terrorist who murdered more than ninety innocent civilians – many of whom were teenagers – did not act alone. Or rather, he acted within a cultural and political context that legitimises his fearful and hate-infested worldview. It is now clear that Anders Behring Breivik was exposed to large amounts of right-wing propaganda. This tragedy underlines the urgency with which normal people around the world must combat fundamentalist nationalists and chauvinists wherever they may be. But it also demonstrates the extent to which reactionary bigotry has infected mainstream thought.

What kind of “right-wing propaganda?“ How about ”right-wing zealots” like Glenn Beck who, according to Moor, is comparable to American-born Al Qaeda operative Anwar Al-Awlaki:
[...] But the combatants are not Islam and the West. Instead, the war is between the normal, sane people of the world and the right-wing zealots who see doom, destruction, hellfire and God’s Will at every turn.

Anders Behring Breivik, Mohammed Atta and Baruch Goldstein are all cut from the same rotten cloth. Anwar Al-Awlaki and Glenn Beck – the peddlers of the faith – all share the same core afflictions.

These men are insecure, violently inclined, and illiberal. The outside world scares them. They hate homosexuals and strong women. For them, difference is a source of insecurity. Their values are militarism, conformism, chauvinism and jingoism. Worst of all they seek to pressure us into compliance while they work frantically to destroy themselves – and the rest of us with them.

The accusation that Beck is somehow responsible for the Norway attacks is laughable. Beck has never expressed a hate toward homosexuals or women, and certainly doesn’t advocate violence (one of his greatest heros is Ghandi). He regularly calls for peace and even held a non-political event in Washington, D.C. last year to encourage people to find God.

So how absurd is the charge? Well, even Al Jazeera made sure to keep some distance from the claim. At the bottom of its op-ed (as with all its op-eds), the outlet posted the following message: "The views expressed in this article are the author‘s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy".

But could this be a veiled attack on Beck for his support for Israel? Beck has been an ardent support of Israel’s right to exist in the face of pressure from Palestinians who accuse the country of “occupation.” That has made him a regular target.

Considering Moor is originally from the Gaza Strip — one of the hotly-contested territories in Israel — is this a chance to demonize Beck ahead of his upcoming Restoring Courage event in the Holy Land?

In 2010, Moor regularly penned anti-Israel op-eds for the Huffington Post, including “Israel Cannot be Both Jewish and Democratic” and “Zionism Is Not Judaism.”



Norwegian Killer Admired Obama

In its online edition, British left-leaning newspaper The Guardian has released an article which maintains that the Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik was in communication with the British anti-Islamic group known as the English Defence League (EDL). The article states that Breivik:
“boasted online about his discussions with the far right English Defence League and other anti-Islamic European organisations.”
His claims had appeared on various Scandinavian online forums, including a Norwegian forum called “Nordisk” which is described by the Guardian as “a site frequented by neo-Nazis, far right radicals and Islamophobes since 2009.” The Guardian continues:
‘Breivik had talked admiringly about conversations he had had with unnamed English Defence League members and the organisation Stop the Islamification of Europe over the success of provocative street actions leading to violence.
"I have on some occasions had discussions with SIOE and EDL and recommended them to use certain strategies," he wrote two years ago.
"The tactics of the EDL are now to 'lure' an overreaction from the Jihad Youth/Extreme-Marxists, something they have succeeded in doing several times already." Contacted about the allegation by email by last night the EDL had not answered.’
Another website on which Breivik published his opinions is Document.no, an anti-Islamic Norwegian website which has published all of the comments made by Breivik. He posted on this site as “Anders Behring.” These posts can be accessed in a “Bing” translation.
Behring/Breivik states there, on September 14, 2009:
The pan-European/US environment around Robert Spencer, Fjordman, Atlas, Analekta + 50 other EU/US bloggers (and Facebook groups) is the epicenteret of political analysis and has been there a few years...
... the EDL PROVIDED/how to create outlines SIOE [for how] such an organization will look like. We can develop the f example SIOE or create a new one. The EDL PROVIDED have been Temple and racists are working hard to get rid of this (all individuals included racist/discriminatory speech is now thrown out).”
The support that Breivik had for anti-Islamist websites may cause some embarrassment to websites that do not consider themselves to have connections to neo-Nazis. The “Atlas” mentioned above is the website Atlas Shrugs, run by Pamela Geller.
The left-leaning former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, explores this further on his blog, where he makes a suggestion that:
Anders Behring Breivik posted links to the Atlas Shrugs website of the Tea Party’s Pamela Geller. Here you can see him under the name of Anders Behring (his middle name) posting links to Geller’s “Atlas Shrugs” site. That cache page is bing translated from Norwegian.
Here is a video of Pamela Geller addressing the Tennessee Tea Party convention. This is a list of links I just copied off her Atlas shrugs website to a stream of virulent anti Norwegian-Muslim articles Geller has been publishing.....”
The suggestion that Murray appears to be making is that Pamela Geller’s criticism of Norway’s political outlook (exemplified by Jens Stoltenberg and this Labor Party) has influenced Breivik’s political views. It is only a small step to therefore imply that she influenced Breivik’s killing rampage.
This line of argument is dangerous and misguided, and also smacks of poor journalism. The Guardian is similarly keen to suggest that Breivik’s mindset which led to murder have been created by “others” who uphold views they do not like. The EDL and other groups can not be said to have influenced Breivik to become a murderer, unless he himself had expressly stated in some document that this was the case.
To take this argument to its logical conclusion, one could equally state that the economic philosopher John Stuart Mill was responsible for Breivik’s rampage of murder and mayhem. After all, the only comment that Breivik had made on his Tweet account, posted on July 17th, only five days before the murders, reads:
 “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests.”
This is a slightly altered quotation from John Stuart Mill, where the original statement referred to 99, rather than 100,000:
“To think that because those who wield power in society wield in the end that of government, therefore it is of no use to attempt to influence the constitution of the government by acting on opinion, is to forget that opinion is itself one of the greatest active social forces. One person with a belief is a social power equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.”
It is dispiriting to find elements of the media and blogosphere attempting to suggest that Breivik’s interests in certain anti-Islamist groups may have influenced his metamorphosis into a mass-murdering terrorist. If there is a pattern to such abuse of logic, it could be suggested that J.D. Salinger, creator of the character Holden Caulfield with whom killer Mark Chapman identified, was responsible for the murder of John Lennon. Similarly, it could be suggested that as the 1931 movie King Kong was apparently Hitler’s favorite movie, it had some bearing on Nazi militaristic and genocidal outcomes.
While the left-leaning media is promoting this prurient “guilt by association” barely 24 hours after the victims’ bodies have gone cold, it should also be pointed out that Breivik also admired Obama.
The anti-Islamic website Islam versus Europe contains more quotes from Breivik’s postings on the Document.no website, including the following:
“I completely agree that Obama is a brilliant retoriker [rhetorician] and communicator, one of the best we've seen over the past 30 years.”
It is not the role of any journalists to attempt to “define” the mindset of a mass-killer by trying to score political points against groups and people they dislike.
After all, why are these same outlets not also highlighting Breivik’s admiration for President Obama?


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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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