Sunday, January 26, 2014

Please Take Me off Your List of Hate

Mrs Instapundit sends off a fiery reply below to the latest attempt to "psychologize" conservatives.  Leftists have been doing that at least since 1950 and the amusing thing is that most of what the Leftists write is transparent projection:  They accuse conservatives of what are their own faults  -- hate, authoritarianism etc.  So it is no wonder that their attempts to substantiate their accusations through actual psychological research eventually come to naught.  Background here and here.

The "polarized mind" concept below is just the latest version of a very old accusation.  On previous occasions it has been referred to by Leftists as "intolerance of ambiguity", "rigity" "dogmatism" and lack of "openness".  When you know how closed off from evidence Leftists are, you can see why they project that on to conservatives.  Background here  -- JR.

So I received this press release about a newly released book by psychologist Kirk J. Schneider Ph.D:


    Lorna Garano


    A Psychologist Diagnoses the Tea Party-and other extremists threatening our world. In “The Polarized Mind: Why It’s Killing Us and What We Can Do about It,” Kirk J. Schneider Ph.D., calls for a new and deeper psychological understanding of our greatest political and social conflicts and those who drive them.

    It’s easy for liberals to snicker at the misspelled signs and misplaced anger of the Tea Party, but psychologist Kirk J. Schneider says that we dismiss or diminish groups like this at our own peril. Schneider, the author of THE POLARIZED MIND: WHY IT’S KILLING US AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT (University Professor Press, 2013, paperback), has done an exhaustive study of extremist movements throughout history and he says it’s time for us to look more seriously at what he calls “the polarized mind.” In “The Polarized Mind: Why It’s Killing Us and What We Can Do about It,” Kirk J. Schneider Ph.D., calls for a new and deeper psychological understanding of our greatest political and social conflicts and those who drive them.

    “You can see gradations of the ‘polarized mind’ at work in virtually all destructive political movements from Nazi Germany to Maoist China to our very own Tea Party. In fact, it is the pervasive malady of the 20 and 21st Centuries,” says Schneider.

    How does the Tea Party fit in? Many among its ranks have seen their lives profoundly upended by economic, social, and political trends beyond their control. They tend to be middle class people who are mired in debt and have seen a sharp decline in their living standard due to the shift to a service-industry economy. They often face stiff competition for low-wage jobs and when they land them they may be confined to dull, meaningless work day after day. They resent any government help for people who are even less fortunate and train their anger on those who are the least responsible for their plight. And it’s not just an empty wallet that drives them. It’s also a sense of social dislocation. “I think many in this movement are embittered over the increasing complexity of contemporary life. They look at the 9/11 attack-which once would have seemed unthinkable-the decrease in church attendance in many places, the loss of two-parent households, gender equality, the lack of simple ‘good guy’ and ‘bad guy’ presentations of the U.S. vs. the rest of the world, and they feel profound existential anxiety-as if the ground beneath them is giving way,” says Schneider.

    Although you won’t find “polarized mind” in any official diagnostic manual, for Schneider it’s crucial that the psychological community and the world at large rethink our ideas about mental illness if we are to understand the forces at play in the world. “When we think of mental illness, we think of a discrete and politically powerless group of people who have received a diagnosis, but if you look at the key criteria for diagnoses it’s abundantly clear that they describe vast swaths of the population, not a marginalized group,” says Schneider. Look, for example, at some of the traits of narcissistic personality disorder or psychopathy: A callous disregard for the feelings of others, the reckless disregard for the safety of others, a sense of entitlement, arrogance, a grandiose sense of self-importance. These traits are readily seen in the Tea Party and other extremist groups.

    “No one can or should deny the historical forces that have shaped movements like the Tea Party, but to overlook or dismiss the psychological factors that are linked to them is to have less than a full understanding of what makes extremism tick-and how we can defuse it,” says Schneider. Recognizing the polarized mind when we see it is the first step.

Here is the reply I sent back to Lorna Garano:

"How DARE YOU send me this trash associating law abiding American citizens with Nazi Germany and Maoist China. I am a psychologist who has sympathy for my fellow Americans who are so “extremist” that they believe in lower taxes and the Second Amendment. Horrors!

What is “killing us” are polarized minds like Kirk J. Schneider Ph.D who is so narrow-minded that he thinks those who have different political beliefs than himself are the enemy and seeks to assign them with a “diagnosis.” What is truly extremist and scary to those of a more conservative or libertarian persuasion is that so many psychologists such as the one below are such political hacks for the Democratic Party. Please take me off your list of hate.

Helen Smith, PhD"



Democrats' Demonizing Validates Conservative Critique of Big Government

Does anyone else wonder what has become of all the calls for "civility"? Because it seems as though prominent Democrat politicians are engaging in an orgy of downright-creepy, vituperative name-calling. Creepy? Yes. Because it's chilling that they have the power to act this way -- and get away with it.

The President suggested that many of those who now disapprove of him do so because they are racists.

Attorney General Eric Holder doubled down on his assertion that, when it comes to matters of race, America is a "nation of cowards."

Senator Chuck Schumer characterized Tea Partiers as bigots and antisemites.

Governor Andrew Cuomo insisted that those who hold mainstream conservative principles are so extreme that they have no place in the state of New York.  New York City mayor Bill de Blasio agreed with him.

There are two points to all of this worth making.

First, such character assassination is not a mark of a party that has confidence in its own ideas -- or its own standing with the American public. It is the mark of a party that realizes just how unpopular its stewardship and its ideology has become. That's why it must desperately seek to marginalize those who disagree; if the ideas were as unpopular or as extreme as Democrats would like for Americans to believe, name-calling would be unnecessary and marginalization would happen on its own.

Second, the tactic itself emphasizes just how out-of-control government -- and those who run it -- have become, thus implicitly reinforcing the validity of the conservative critique. I noted that the IRS harassment of conservatives (and even the Christie administration's bridge controversy) both reflect a profound lack of respect on the part of the governing elites for regular American citizens. So does this government-official-led name-calling and demonizing.

Sure, Americans have a history of robust political debate between parties -- and between American citizens. But there's something wrong when any group of government leaders engage in an organized effort to deride and demonize a group of ordinary American citizens (much less have the ability and willingness to follow up the demonization with government harassment of dissenters). Keep in mind that those they attack are not people who are "enemies of the state," dedicated to overthrowing the government or terrorizing its population. These are people who simply disagree with ideological assumptions of the (Democrat) ruling class about the policies that will most benefit America and its people.

Truly, any time Democrats start with the name-calling, it falls on everyone of good-will -- Democrat or Republican, liberal or moderate or conservative -- to point out that it is unbecoming in a nation where the people are supposed to be the masters -- not the targets or the servants -- of the government and its leaders. And start trying to right the power imbalance between the people and the government so that no government leader, of either party, will be arrogant enough to try to get away with this in the future.



Obama’s income equality push is a dangerous path

By Rick Manning

You can’t turn on a talking head program these days without someone decrying income inequality.  The talking points are everywhere, even reaching the Sundance Film Festival where some of the nation’s one percenters decried the disparity.

Congressional Democrats, desperate for something to talk about besides their failing Obamacare law, are urgently trying to change the subject to increasing unemployment insurance and minimum wage.  All under their campaign umbrella messaging that income inequality is bad.

Yet it is income inequality that has been at the heart of the very capitalist system that helped a vast majority of people rise out of poverty.

Does anyone seriously believe that someone who spent a decade studying and going through privation to become a brain surgeon should get paid the same as someone who is a 7-11 clerk?  Obviously not.  While few have chosen to go through the arduous process of learning the intricacies of brain surgery, virtually anyone who is willing to show up to work on time can be an entry level order taker.

Yet, somehow, those on the left argue that income inequality is a bad thing.  The consequence of this argument is that the brain surgeon income should be capped and reduced through higher taxes, while the wage of the low-skill order taker should be raised under the illusion of “income inequality.”

No one is going to feel sorry for guys like Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, and that is not the point.

The point is that Bill Gates did not start out as one of the wealthiest men in the world, he started out as an upper-middle class kid with a love for computers, whose moxey and toughness took him to the top of the economic food chain.  This is a journey that any American can take if they have the smarts and willingness to risk everything to compete and win in brutal economic competition.

If income inequality did not exist, what incentive would there be for inventing and perfecting the personal computer, cell phone or even to work long hours in the hopes of a promotion, when you really would prefer to go home?

And while this may seem extreme, the ultimate statement of the supposed income equality that Obama and his minions promote is Marx’s “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”  These twelve words serve as a perfect embodiment of the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality — this dangerous push for equal outcomes — permeates post-modern American culture.

Marx’s words have also served as the excuse for the murder of 80 million Chinese by Mao, and the slaughter of another 30 million or so in Russia by Lenin and Stalin.

Powerful words, that once they take root, allow any act to be justified in the pursuit of “income equality.”

Government is ultimately the power to coerce.  The power to force people to pay taxes, follow rules and regulations and do what those in charge dictate under the threat of imprisonment or worse.

As Mao himself wrote, “all power derives from the end of a gun” meaning that ultimately the threat of violence and the perceived willingness to use it against the people, is a government’s only real tool to enforce its will.

Now we have wealthy actors and news readers mouthing the income inequality lines written by their big government intellectual masters, without even recognizing that the pursuit of income equality is actually the greatest evil in the world.

Income equality is an evil that plays the seductive class warfare card which historically has led to guillotines and pogroms — little more than pretext to dictatorship clothed in high-minded sounding rhetoric.

And while I am confident that President Obama’s handlers envision his upcoming State of the Union speech with the John Lennon song “Imagine” playing in the background, the problem is that the underlying goal of government enforced income equality is to steal from those who create wealth and redistribute that wealth to those who are politically favored.

Even John Lennon figured out that his utopian imagination was a failure, as he fled to the United States to avoid living under similar confiscatory tax policies that existed in Great Britain at the time.

Of course, it doesn’t take a 90 percent tax rate epiphany to figure this out, as any seven year old who attends Sunday School could answer why the income inequality plea is both wrong and doomed.  Just ask them about the Eighth of the Ten Commandment which plainly states, “thou shall not steal.”

How hard is that to understand?



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