Friday, October 28, 2011

Conservatives ARE more squeamish than liberals: Study finds right-wingers are more easily disgusted

This is a good confirmation of Haidt's research about the greater moral complexity of conservatives and shows why Leftists are unmoved by such things as abortion and Communist mass-murder. They really are emotionally deficient. Like psychopaths, their only real emotion is hate

How easy do you find it to look at revolting images such as a man eating worms? If the answer is 'difficult', it might offer an insight into your politics.

Scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln showed 50 volunteers a series of 38 disgusting images - including one of a man eating worms (the actual image is pictured, right).

Others included an incredibly emaciated body, a bloody wound and an open sore with maggots in it, as well as human excrement floating in a toilet.

The researchers then measured the electrical 'disgust' response in the skin of their 50 volunteers. When people are disgusted, their reaction causes a measurable change in the electrical conductivity in their skin. It's a 'disgust' response that cannot lie.

They found, as they had predicted, that people who expressed strong conservative political views had a far stronger disgust response. People who were repulsed by the images were particularly likely to disapprove of gay marriage.

The researchers accept that people of all political hues are unlikely to accept their ideas - people like to imagine their political views are rational, rather than physical.

But they pointed out that it's far more likely that the disgust response could influence a person's politics than the other way round.

The researchers wrote, 'Individuals with marked involuntary responses to disgusting images, such as of a man eating a large mouthful of writhing worms, are more likely to self-identify as conservative and, especially, to oppose gay marriage than are individuals with more muted physiological responses to the same images.'

Sex-related issues appeared to be most strongly influenced by the 'disgust' response - a primitive instinct designed to protect people from disease.

The researchers suggest that basic, physical responses might be closely tied to our politics. Interestingly, that suggests that politics could be influenced far more strongly by genetic factors than previously believed. [That is already well-confirmed]

'Mounting evidence points to the relevance of subconscious factors in political decision-making situations,' wrote the researchers.


In the evolutionary scheme of things, disgust about homosexuality and incest obviously has survival value as both are detrimental to reproduction. As Haidt has shown, conservatives have the full set of emotional responses; Leftists do not


Romney's brainless threat to China

Jeff Jacoby points out that China benefits all Americans, but particularly the poor. He might also have added that it is utter lunacy to deliberately attack such a large and important country as China

IN HIS 2010 BOOK No Apology, Mitt Romney has a lot to say about China, much of it unfavorable. He writes of Beijing's "brutal repression and incarceration of dissidents." He decries the brazenness of Chinese enterprise, with its "rampant theft of intellectual property from Western businesses." He warns that China's "aggressive pursuit" of cyber-warfare capabilities has made it "the most active cyber-combatant in the world." He details the ominous Chinese military buildup in combat aircraft, submarines, and ballistic missiles. He laments the communist government's willingness to shield the odious regimes in Iran and Sudan from international sanction.

Nevertheless, Romney's criticism of China has its limits. Nowhere in his book does he characterize China as a hostile trade foe, or condemn its currency policies as "cheating," or call for the imposition of protectionist tariffs.

Yet on the presidential campaign trail these days, the former Massachusetts governor routinely slams the Chinese government, vowing that on "Day One" as president he'll designate China a "currency manipulator" and impose tariffs on Chinese exports to the United States. "We've allowed China to just walk all over us," Romney fumed during an interview with Sean Hannity the other day. He dismisses concerns about starting a trade war with America's largest foreign creditor. The only "alternative to confronting China," he wrote this month, "is allowing the Chinese to take by trade surrender what we fear to lose in a trade war."

Whipping up resentment against foreign trading partners is a time-honored way for candidates of both parties to score cheap political points. Romney's China-bashing today is reminiscent of the Japan-bashing that candidates like Pat Buchanan and Dick Gephardt sought to ride to the White House a generation ago. What makes this candidate's protectionist rabble-rousing so disappointing is that he knows perfectly well how superficial and spurious it is.

The vehement line of attack Romney keeps up against China today is absent from the manifesto he published last year. In No Apology, Romney emphasized protectionism's self-destructiveness. "US companies faced with … less costly products from overseas have to make one of two choices," he wrote. One is to improve their own technology and productivity; the other is to "argue for protection, hold on as long as possible, and slowly watch their market share wane." Far from endorsing vigorous presidential action against foreign competitors, he faulted George W. Bush and Barack Obama for yielding to protectionist special pleading. The Obama administration's punitive tariffs on Chinese tires may have been "good politics," Romney declared, "but it is decidedly bad for the nation and our workers. Protectionism stifles productivity."

It may be true, as Romney and others claim, that China artificially undervalues its currency, thereby making Chinese goods less expensive to import than they otherwise would be. It's easy to understand why some manufacturers might not happy about that, but for US consumers generally China's policy is a blessing. "By keeping the value of its currency low, Beijing enables Americans to stretch our dollars farther," economist Donald Boudreaux remarks. "This results in significant improvements in living standards" -- especially for poor and working-class Americans. Does Romney really think that's a bad thing?

And does he really believe it's in the US interest to hold the threat of new tariffs over the heads of Chinese manufacturers? Romney's "Day One" threat to slap higher duties on Chinese imports is just another way of saying that if China doesn't force Americans to pay more for made-in-China products, Washington will. Tariffs are taxes, and they will do more than hurt millions of American shoppers for no good reason. They will also penalize innumerable businesses that rely on imported goods and materials, and the myriad of employees, managers, and shareholders whose economic welfare is linked to those businesses' success.

As it happens, the value of China's currency has appreciated by around 30 percent in recent years and is likely to keep climbing. But from an American perspective, it shouldn't matter whether imports from China cost less because Beijing manipulates the yuan, because Chinese manufacturers have access to abundant raw materials, or because of a new technology that turbocharges Chinese productivity. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is the same: lower prices for US consumers. And lower prices aren't something from which Americans need to be rescued by politicians.

"When I see an American company challenged by a foreign competitor," Romney wrote in his book, "I don't look for protectionist policies as an answer to the company's problems." If only that Romney were the one running for president.



Obama Rules, Budget Woes Spur Medicaid Benefit Cuts‏

A medical student checks on a patient in the hallway of the emergency room at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Washington state changed its... View Enlarged Image
Critics who worried ObamaCare would lead to rationing may be seeing their fears realized sooner than they expected. Recently, Washington state changed its Medicaid program so that recipients may only go to the emergency room three times per year for "nonemergency" conditions.

The initiative is expected to save about $72 million over two years. Yet the conditions that are considered nonemergent under the program include chest pains, asthma and abdominal pains.

"Many of the people who exceed the three-visit limit are people with chronic conditions or generalized complaints who are going much more often to the emergency room and are clearly aware that it is not an emergency," said Jim Stevenson, communications director for the Health Care Authority, which oversees Medicaid in Washington. "The hope is to move them into primary care."

State Medicaid recipients can still go to the ER after three visits, but could be charged if it's nonemergent.

Dr. Nathan Schlicher, spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians, worries that "patients who have hit the three-visit limit could be discouraged from going to the emergency room when they have something serious. We're talking about some pretty serious medical conditions."

ACEP has filed a lawsuit to block the three-visit limit.

But the simple fact is that Medicaid is an ever-growing share of state budgets. With budgets strained, governments have sought ways to reduce expenses.

Earlier this year, Washington reduced the rates that Medicaid pays to providers. Thirteen other states have also cut rates: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia.

California cut rates 10%, but that's been suspended pending a legal challenge. The Golden State also limited Medicaid recipients to seven doctors visits per year.

Late last year Arizona stopped letting Medicaid pay for certain transplant surgeries.

Expect more rationing to sicker patients because doing so poses few risks to politicians, one analyst suggests.

"When health care systems are politically controlled, politicians direct resources away from the seriously ill who need expensive advanced medical care, to the healthy voter," said Linda Gorman, a senior fellow at the conservative Independence Institute. "Relatively few voters need advanced care, so catering to the healthy makes political sense."

Since 2009, states have faced new rules that prevent them from reducing their Medicaid eligibility standards. The 2009 stimulus provided short-term cash to shore up Medicaid, but states had to agree to never cut their eligibility levels or risk losing the federal funding. And when ObamaCare fully kicks in, states will have to expand Medicaid to 133% of the federal poverty level.

Also, the congressional deficit "supercommittee" may be looking at ways to cut Medicaid.

So states can't lower eligibility rates and many have cut already-low Medicaid reimbursements. As a result, they increasingly are turning to slashing benefits.

Washington state says it doesn't want Medicaid patients to feel they can't get emergency care.

"If Medicaid clients feel they are having an emergency, they should go to the ER," said Stevenson, adding, "If a patient has a nonemergent condition but the ER physician feels there was a strong reason for it to be an exception to the rule, there is a process in place so it can be challenged."

Schlicher replied, "There is very limited criterion under which physicians can do that. There is no check box that says, 'I think this was this was a reasonable emergency.'"




The euthanasia of the saver: "Given that the Fed’s official policy is to drive all interest rates to near zero, one may conclude that the Fed seeks to impoverish the widows, orphans, retired people, and all other financially untutored people who rely on interest earnings to support themselves in their old age or adversity. Can a crueller official policy be imagined, short of grinding up these unfortunate souls to make pet food or fertilizer?"

The TSA’s gingerbread man: "Yet now the agency’s adding software to protect privacy it swears didn’t need protecting. The software supposedly substitutes a generic figure that resembles a genderless gingerbread-man for the picture of our naked bodies the scanners produced -- pictures the TSA’s 'area director' in Denver, Colorado, admitted 'were graphic, no doubt about it.' Mr. Gingerbread appears on the monitor as a stand-in for all passengers, or so claims the TSA, which lies about everything, all the time; yellow boxes highlight any contraband. If you leave your cell-phone in your hip pocket, Mr. G blushes yellow there."

It’s 100% certain that OWS don’t represent 99%: "The claim ‘we are the 99%’ really represents the renunciation of politics and an embrace of cheap moralising. And what is even more disturbing than the protesters’ claim to represent 99% of people is the credibility given to it by the media."

The real Solyndra scandal: "The unfolding collapse of solar cell maker Solyndra surely reflects poorly on the Obama administration and its drive to build a 'green economy.' That said, many media reports have made both too much and too little of Solyndra. The real scandal is the general propensity of politicians to hand out subsidies to favored interests. Any honest look at the facts reveals plenty of political blame to go around."

Ten years of trading liberty for security: "Today the Patriot Act is hardly controversial. In an era of detentions without trial, assassinations of American citizens without due process, enhanced interrogation techniques, perpetual and expanding wars, unchecked executive surveillance, and federal officials groping and irradiating passengers by the many thousands every day, it even seems a bit quaint, perhaps, to reflect on the Patriot Act, many of whose worst provisions have now become sewn into the unquestioned tapestry of American governance." (10/26/11)

Student loans: "If we were searching for cosmic justice, who should suffer? I guess a lot of people are saying that the students who took out loans should not suffer. For now, let's assume that this is correct. Should the lenders suffer? It's popular to hate banks, but it's hard to see what they did wrong here."


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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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