Thursday, January 29, 2015

Leftists are cold bastards

The psychology of politics was my specialty during my research career and one of the most striking things I noted at that time was the way Leftist psychologists would spin ANYTHING they found in a way detrimental to conservatives.  So I occasionally showed how you could do some reverse spinning and pointed out ways in which the findings were detrimental to liberals.  The sort of data collected by political psychologists tend to be vague enough to make many interpretations equally feasible.  It probably needs to be like that.  Straightforward findings would likely be too uncomfortable to Leftists.

So the research reported below is rather fun.  The authors have definitely had a challenge in spinning the findings their way. From data with VERY contestable meaning they claim to have found that conservatives are "holistic" thinkers and liberals are "analytic" thinkers.  And they have to admit that both styles have their uses.

That amused me immediately.  Who are the great advocates of "holistic" thinking in the world today?  Alternative medicine freaks.  Not a notably conservative group.  So I think alternative interpretations of the findings are clearly called for.

I think a clue lies in the finding that liberals are extreme outliers in the human population.  Conservatives are more normal. Combine that with the finding that liberals are more socially isolated and I think you have a far-reaching conclusion:  liberals are emotionally cold.  Most of humanity values its relationships with others highly.  So do conservatives.  Liberals do not. Family is all in many human sub-groups but from Marx onwards Leftists have always despised the family.  And conservative Christians always stress the importance of family.

That liberals are emotionally cold can be summed up in a famous utterance by Stalin.  "One death is a tragedy.  A million deaths is a statistic."  That the great socialist murderers  -- Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Jong un -- were/are emotionally cold has great explanatory value.  How could they do what they did otherwise?

An abbreviated account of the study below plus the journal abstract

Political conservatives in the United States are somewhat like East Asians in the way they think, categorize and perceive. Liberals in the U.S. could be categorized as extreme Americans in thought, categorization and perception. That is the gist of a new University of Virginia cultural psychology study, published recently in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

"We found in our study that and conservatives think as if they were from completely different cultures - almost as different as East and West," said study leader Thomas Talhelm, a U.Va. doctoral candidate in cultural psychology. "Liberals and conservatives categorize and perceive things differently, just as East Asians and Westerners look differently at the world."

According to Talhelm, political conservatives in the United States, generally, and East Asians, particularly, are intuitive or "holistic" thinkers, while Westerners, generally, and American liberals, in particular, are more analytical thinkers.

The so-called "culture war," he said, is an accurate if dramatic way to state that there are clear cultural differences in the thought processes of liberals and conservatives.

"On psychological tests, Westerners tend to view scenes, explain behavior and categorize objects analytically," Talhelm said. "But the vast majority of people around the world - about 85 percent - more often think intuitively - what psychologists call holistic thought, and we found that's how conservative Americans tend to think."

Holistic thought more often uses intention and the perception of whole objects or situations, rather than breaking them down to their parts - such as having a general feeling about a situation involving intuition or tact.

There is value in both ways of thinking, Talhelm said. Intuitive thinking likely is the "default" style most people are born with, while analytical thinking generally must be learned, usually through training, such as in Western-style school systems.

Psychologists test thought styles by giving study participants a short battery of tests to determine if they are holistic or analytic thinkers.

One such test asks participants to choose two of three items to categorize together, such as a mitten, a scarf, and a hand. Analytic thinkers usually match the scarf and mitten because they belong to the same abstract category - items of winter clothing. Holistic thinkers usually match the mitten and hand because the hand wears a mitten.

He noted that liberals in the West tend to live in urban or suburban areas and often have fairly weak social and community ties, move more often and are less traditionally religious. They are more individualistic than conservatives and very unlike most people in Eastern cultures.

Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to be more connected to their communities and may live in the same areas throughout their lives, maintaining strong social and familial bonds and commitments, and are more traditionally religious. This puts them more in line with the holistic-thinking majority of the world.
Liberals Think More Analytically (More "WEIRD") Than Conservatives

Thomas Talhelm et al.


Henrich, Heine, and Norenzayan summarized cultural differences in psychology and argued that people from one particular culture are outliers: people from societies that are Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD). This study shows that liberals think WEIRDer than conservatives. In five studies with more than 5,000 participants, we found that liberals think more analytically (an element of WEIRD thought) than moderates and conservatives. Study 3 replicates this finding in the very different political culture of China, although it held only for people in more modernized urban centers. These results suggest that liberals and conservatives in the same country think as if they were from different cultures. Studies 4 to 5 show that briefly training people to think analytically causes them to form more liberal opinions, whereas training them to think holistically causes shifts to more conservative opinions.


A personal note: I think that some people drawn to Leftist causes are genuinely compassionate and caring people who are VERY emotional about suffering they see in the world. They let their feelings swamp their thought processes.  But they are too soft to get far in Leftist politics.  It is the machine men like Joseph Stalin who rise to the top.  And Stalin very smartly killed off all the old Bolsheviks, some of whom would seem to have genuinely cared about the welfare of the average worker.

So the Leftist population is probably bi-modal -- comprised of two distinct groups:  the useful fools and the hard men lusting for power.  But no psychological survey would ever show that.  The hard men know the camouflage they need to wear and will present themselves as caring every time.  In my surveys I routinely found Leftists emphatically disclaiming many of the motives -- such as authoritarianism -- that we know to be typical of the Left.  The hard men are skilful liars.

So there is a balance to be sought in emotionality.  If you are too emotional in your reactions you are likely to be used as a tool by the hard men. What is needed is moderate emotionality.  And that is what conservsatives seem to have.  They can get emotionally upset about things such as abortion (I do) but they don't allow feelings to ditch their rationality.

I see myself that way.  Abortion horrifies me and triumphs of life (e.g. when the life of a very ill baby is saved) bring tears of joy from me.  But many things that bother other people (e.g. household accidents) get no emotional reaction from me at all.  I just deal with them. I don't sweat the small stuff.  So I am alexithymic about minor things but also sentimental about other things  -- life particularly.  It is a balance that seems to have served me well in living a contented and trouble-free life -- JR


Michelle Obama meets Saudi Arabia's King Salman but opts not to wear headscarf

What a fuss the Left would put up had she been a Republican!  Instead:  Crickets

FOR first lady Michelle Obama, just a few hours in Saudi Arabia were enough to illustrate the stark limitations under which Saudi women live.

Joining President Barack Obama for a condolence visit after the death of the King Abdullah, Mrs Obama stepped off of Air Force One wearing long pants and a long, brightly coloured jacket - but no headscarf.

Under the kingdom's strict dress code for women, Saudi females are required to wear a headscarf and loose, black robes in public. Most women in Saudi Arabia cover their hair and face with a veil known as the niqab.

But covering one's head is not required for foreigners, and some western women choose to forego the headscarf while in Saudi Arabia.

As a delegation of dozens of Saudi officials - all men - greeted the Obamas in Riyadh, some shook hands with Mrs. Obama. Others avoided a handshake but acknowledged the first lady with a nod as they passed by.



Released Illegal Alien Murders Innocent Store Clerk

President Obama has promised that his immigration executive actions aren't `amnesty.' He claims that his actions are nothing but an attempt to refocus manpower towards dealing with real criminals.  Apparently, crossing the border illegally isn't a `real crime.'

The President promises to increase enforcement along the border, but all we've been seeing is more of the same catch-and-release tactics that get Americans killed.

Don't believe me? I'd like to introduce you to Apolinar Altamirano. This 29 year-old illegal alien has been in and out of police custody for years. In 2012, he was arrested and CONVICTED of burglary. He was not deported and was subsequently let out of prison.

He was cited for trespassing at a convenience store on January 9th of this year and was subsequently served with an injunction for harassment a few days later.

If the Obama administration did their job and deported this criminal, as the law requires, they might have saved a life.

Instead, Apolinar Altamirano was released on bond. He promptly returned to the convenience store and allegedly murdered the store clerk over a box of cigarettes.

We hear about this far too often. How the Obama administration catches an illegal alien only to release them and allow them to murder, rape, or assault innocent Americans.

It's become so common that we've been desensitized to it.

The fact of the matter is that our immigration system is designed the way it is for a reason. Inevitably, illegal aliens are going to slip through the cracks. They are going to get in this country because politicians in both parties refuse to actually protect the border.

But eventually, they mess up. Eventually, they get caught speeding, drunk driving, or are arrested on lesser charges. The law says that they must be deported. Obama says the opposite.

Instead of using these lesser arrests as an opportunity to deport these criminal illegal aliens, the administration chooses to release them back into the population.

They had an illegal alien in custody who was CONVICTED of burglary. He was caught, arrested, and given a fair trial where a jury of Americans determined he was guilty.

If an American had committed the crime, they would still be in jail. But in Obama's America, illegal aliens get off.

Enough is enough. Newly elected Senator Joni Ernst put it simply: "We are legislators, the President is not, and we need to stop that executive overreach, and that includes executive amnesty."

Obama's executive amnesty has made it open season for illegal alien murderers, rapists, and violent criminals.

Instead of protecting the country and upholding the constitution - which Obama swore to do - he has opened the floodgates for illegal aliens to pretty much do whatever they want without fear of deportation.

The threshold for getting deported is now ridiculously high. I mean, look at this case. Apolinar Altamirano was caught on videotape murdering a store clerk. He also has a prior conviction.

Yet, Immigration officials are still debating whether he should be deported or not!  This is lunacy! I hardly recognize this country anymore.



The liberal media's pro-abortion bias is out there for all to see

The Annual March for Life, which attracted over 200,000 participants from around the country, marked the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationally.

The response to this massive event from the big three networks?

ABC: 0 minutes
NBC: 0 minutes
CBS: .25 minutes

If these were a few dozen hipsters protesting corporate profits while taking selfies with iPhones, the networks would have wall-to-wall coverage.

But the media cannot be bothered to cover 200,000 pro-lifers who came to Washington in the middle of winter to march for the unborn.

It's shameful. If you're throwing Molotov cocktails at police officers, the media will provide sympathetic coverage to your cause.  If you're standing up for the most vulnerable in our society, the media turn a deaf ear.

With each passing day, the media continue to hemorrhage their credibility.

In response, twenty two leading pro-life organizations joined the Media Research Center to sign a statement chastising the networks for their near blackout of the 2015 March for Life.

Email from MRC


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.

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