Tuesday, October 28, 2014
A silly little Leftist lady tries to "psychologize" conservatives
One does not expect much in the way of profundity from the crusading Australian Leftist organ, "New Matilda", but a rather long diatribe just up there is particularly feeble. Author Lissa Johnson starts out claiming that conservatives are psychopaths but gives neither reasoning nor evidence that could lead to that conclusion. She particularly targets Tony Abbott, Australia's conservative Prime Minister.
So what psychopathic characteristics does Mr Abbott show? Is he, for instance, extremely self centred? Seeing Mr Abbott has for many years taken substantial time out to work hands-on in Aboriginal communities, creating and upgrading facilities for the use of the community's people, that accusation has to earn a resounding "Not Guilty" verdict. I know of no Leftist who has shown anything like Mr Abbott's personal committment to Aboriginal welfare. It is because of that committment that the reviled Prof. Spurr called Abbott an "Abo lover".
So what about the various other attributes of the psychopath? Ms Johnson is a clinical psychologist so she should know them well. Which of those does she find among conservatives? She does not say. She offers no evidence for her assertion. What she does do is however amusing. She offers a survey of the psychological literature on the psychology of conservatism. And her survey is a broadly accurate one. But nowhere in that literature are conservatives accused of psychopathy! Her own literature survey refutes her opening assertion! The evidence that Leftists are pychopathic is however abundant.
So let us look at the psychology literature Ms Johnson believes in. The big problem with it is that it is almost entirely written by Leftists -- with all the lack of ethics and objectivity that one expects from that. The author in that literature most favoured by Ms Johnson is the amusing John Jost, senior author of a paper that purported to be a meta-analysis of the literature on the psychology of conservatism, and which claimed, inter alia, that Stalin, Khrushchev and Castro were conservatives!
And one of his co-authors was the anti-scientist Frank Sulloway, who tried to use litigation to suppress publication of a research report that contested one of his theories. Leftist attempts to suppress speech that they disagree with are notorious (See TONGUE-TIED) but Sulloway stands out even in that company.
And suppressing contrary evidence was Jost's bag too. His article purported to be a meta-analysis and should, as such, have offered a comprehensive view of the relevant literature. It did not. It omitted about half of the relevant research. Which half? The half that disagreed with his foreordained conclusions, of course! Any hope of finding truth in the writings of Prof. Jost and his ilk is therefore highly likely to be disappointed.
And even if one conceded every claim about conservatives made by Leftist psychologists, the gruel is thin. They have such a lot of trouble finding something wrong with conservatives that they confine themselves almost entirely to cognitive style variables. And such variables can be seen in a variety of lights. Even Jost ended up admitting that. For instance, one of the earliest accusations hurled at conservatives was that they are "intolerant of ambiguity". But that can equally be parsed as showing that conservatives seek order. And seeking order in natural phenomena is precisely what real scientists do. The idea that such a cognitive style is in any way aberrant is simply ludicrous.
I in fact have had many papers published in the academic literature on cognitive style research and repeatedly found that the measuring instuments used fell far short of accepted psychometric standards. So even the literature that Jost & Co. reviewed was inadequate to support their conclusions. My most recent article in that genre is here
And I would be remiss if I did not take some note of two more of Ms Johnson's academic inspirations: Altemeyer's RWA research and the SDO scale associated with Jim Sidanius. Both are fairly hilarious pieces of work, as I show here in the case of SDO and most recently here in the case of Altemeyer.
The unfortunate Ms Johnson is simply credulous. But Leftists believe what they want to believe anyway, and damn the evidence
The modern-day Left dislike patriotism
By TANVEER AHMED (An Australian psychiatrist of Bangladeshi origin)
“IT is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during God Save the King than of stealing from a poor box.” So wrote George Orwell. His sentiments could scarcely be more applicable in modern Australia.
On patriotism, as with other national characteristics and policy strategies, Australia sits between individualist, nationalist America and collectivist, patriotically reluctant Europe.
Recent stormy debate over a T-shirt bearing an Australian flag and the slogan ‘Love it — or leave’ illustrates how difficult it is for Australian progressives to embrace outward displays of patriotism, lest they be stained by, or confused with, chest-beating hypermasculinity or perceived exclusion of minority groups.
Patriotism is a dirty word. Indeed, hip-hop artist Matt Colwell not only labelled the Australian flag “racist” on the ABC’s Q&A, he said later: “The way those people have used the flag has so tarnished the flag for me personally that it stands for a sort of swastika symbol in my mind.”
American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt writes in The Righteous Mind that conservatives have a broader matrix of moral worlds than progressives, who are skewed towards caring for the weak and distributing wealth. He compiled a catalogue of six fundamental ideas that commonly undergird moral systems: care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority and sanctity.
When psychologists talk about authority, loyalty and sanctity, those who identify with the Left spurn these ideas as the seeds of racism, sexism and homophobia.
Two world wars left a deep scar on the European psyche, especially on the notion of nationalism, which was seen as causing the rise of fascist Italy and Germany.
This ambivalence spawned a belief that countries such as Britain should be a culturally blank canvas; that patriotism is an old fashioned trapping of empire and countries such as Britain could be shaped afresh with new cultures living side by side in unity.
While we may lack the imperial guilt, there can be little doubt this view is apparent in Australia, perhaps even more so given our relative youth and more malleable historical and cultural foundations.
Orwell made a clear distinction between nationalism and patriotism.
He qualified nationalism as “the worst enemy of peace”, the belief one’s country was superior to others while patriotism was an attachment to and admiration of a nation’s way of life and “of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally”.
While Islamic terrorism is attractive to a very small proportion of the population, it highlights a weakness of liberal democracies in their lukewarm, sometimes conflicted promotion of a collective identity.
The gap for Islamists is filled by the fierce transnational identity that the Islamic notion of the ummah can build, a piety so strong they are prepared to sacrifice their lives. Macabre, evil and disgusting the actions may be, but the intensity of belief is in stark contrast to the relative apathy of mild-mannered secular atheists.
French philosopher Michel Onfray said in an interview last year on the topic of the decline of the West: “Who is ready to die for the values of the West or the values of the Enlightenment?”
Onfray questions the will of Westerners to fight for anything, believing we have been numbed by consumerism in a secular age that creates no attachment to God and country.
The strong patriotism of the US that integrates its extremely diverse population so successfully may explain why so few American-Muslims, as a proportion of the population, have gone to fight in Syria, compared with many thousands from Europe. The several hundred estimated to have travelled from Australia, as a percentage of our Muslim population, are many multiples greater than in America.
While an Australian republic is traditionally derided in conservative circles, there is a direct correlation with Tony Abbott’s Team Australia rhetoric and the intensification of patriotism a republic is likely to promote. It holds promise as a key plank in fostering a greater collective identity.
Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane championed a greater patriotism for the Left in his 2009 book Reclaiming Patriotism: Nation-Building for Australian Progressives. The reaction to a harmless T-shirt promoting love of country suggests the task has a considerable way to go.
Bureaucrat Accountability 101: Retire Early
Why get fired when you can retire? Lest you think the Veterans Affairs scandal resolved itself and corruption fled of its own accord, it didn’t. What did flee, however, are VA employees involved in the scandal. The evaded the pink slip by retiring. How convenient.
The latest case in point is Susan Taylor, a former deputy chief procurement officer and one of four VA officials “proposed for removal” due to unprofessional conduct. But removed she wasn’t. You see, when Congress passed that VA reform bill over the summer, theoretically making it easier to fire or demote senior executives for “poor performance and misconduct,” VA bureaucrats were none too pleased with the idea of accountability for employees. So the agency created another process to give advance notice to employees who may be fired. Those so notified have five days to retire or otherwise leave of their own accord instead of being fired.
Naturally, faced with getting canned or retiring with full benefits, it’s a no-brainer. So, when advised she had been “proposed for removal,” Taylor instead wrote a letter, stating, “[A]fter 29 years of federal service, I have decided to resign and retire, effective Oct. 14th.” How proactive of her.
But she’s not the only one evading accountability, and this isn't a problem limited to the VA. Remember Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal? She opted for a cushy retirement, too.
This problem is widespread. The government is so incapable of firing people that it’s just putting them on paid leave, in some cases for several years. According to a 62-page report published this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), taxpayers forked out more than $700 million to fund paid leave for some 57,000 federal employees -- just for fiscal years 2011-2013. Of these, 53,000 were on paid leave for one to three months, 4,018 for three months to one year and 263 for one to three years. Who needs unemployment benefits when you can find a job with the government and get paid to do nothing?
Here’s the clincher: Some of these employees were on paid leave because they were being investigated for alleged misconduct or criminal acts. Nothing like getting paid to stay home ... while under investigation ... for three years. Nice "work" if you can get it. What’s worse (if that's possible) is that in some cases agencies couldn’t even give a reason the employees received the amount of paid leave they did.
It’s ridiculous, really. Because the government has a seeming inability to fire anyone, we the taxpayers keep paying their salaries. As James Sherk, Heritage Foundation Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics, recently testified before Congress, “Managers who wish to fire problematic employees, whether because of misconduct or poor performance, must go through draining and time-consuming procedures that take about a year and a half. Consequently the federal government very rarely fires its employees, even when their performance or conduct justifies it. In fiscal year (FY) 2013 the federal government terminated the employment of just 0.26 percent of its tenured workforce for performance or misconduct -- a rate one-fifth that of monthly private-sector layoffs.”
So because of the government’s unparalleled ineptitude and inbred aversion to accountability, incompetent and perhaps even criminal employees avoid firing, collect a paycheck while doing nothing, or write nice retirement letters.
But please don’t claim a smidgeon of corruption. No, not one smidgeon.
Top Ten List of America's Stupidity
Of course we look like idiots .... because we are
Number 10 Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 per plate Obama campaign fund-raising event.
Number 9 Only in America ...could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General and roughly 20% of the federal workforce is black while only 14% of the population is black 40+% of all federal entitlements goes to black Americans - 3X the rate that go to whites, 5X the rate that go to Hispanics!
Number 8 Only in America ...could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (the head of the Treasury Department) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.
Number 7 Only in America ...can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.
Number 6 Only in America...would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege, while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just 'magically' become American citizens (probably should be number one).
Number 5 Only in America ....could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as EXTREMISTS.
Number 4 Only in America ...could you need to present a driver's license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.
Number 3 Only in America ...could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. Oil company(Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).
Number 2 Only in America... could you collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year - for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.
And Number 1 Only in America...could the rich people- who pay 86% of all income taxes - be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't pay any income taxes at all.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
Posted by JR at 1:35 AM