Thursday, June 04, 2015

Gross hypocrisy and Leftist bias in Wikipedia: Altemeyer

I put up some information on the Wikipedia page for Bob Altemeyer.  Altemeyer is a particularly witless Leftist psychologist who made large and derogatory claims  about conservatives that he later had to retract.  But there was nothing on his Wikipedia page about that retraction.  So I put up a brief account of that.  What I put up was wholly scholarly and fully referenced -- just what Wikipedia says it wants.  But criticism of Leftists is not allowed of course, so my contribution was deleted after only a few days.

I imagine that they will find some quibble to justify their deletion of my entry but I am pretty sure that the outcome would have been different had  I praised brainless Bob.  Anyway, after a couple of run-ins with them,  I have no confidence in being able to navigate my way onto Wikipedia again -- so I am putting up below what I originally submitted to Wikipedia.  Altemeyer is an unusual name so a Google search on that name should still find my comments, whether the Wikipedians like it or not:

A major problem with Altemeyer's work is revealed when we find that his RWA measuring instrument identifies the Communists of the old Soviet Union as right-wing.  But if they are right-wing who is left wing? His confusion arises from his apparent  definition of conservatism as "opposed to change".  That definition is however politically naive.  Conservatives from Burke onward have never been opposed to change as such but rather opposed to changes desired and enacted by Leftists.  The current Left/Right polarity is between conservatives who want less government control and Leftists who want more of that.  Altemeyer seems to be unaware of that so his work has no current political relevance.

In detail: The decline and fall of Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe enabled use of his RWA scale there. Studies in the East such as those by Altemeyer & Kamenshikov (1991), McFarland, Ageyev and Abalakina-Paap (1992) and Hamilton, Sanders & McKearney (1995) showed that high RWA scores were associated with support for Communism!! So an alleged "Rightist" scale went from being non-political to being a measure of Leftism! If you took it at face-value, it showed Communists were Rightists!

After that, Altemeyer more or less gave up his original claim and engaged in a bit of historical revisionism. He said (Altemeyer, 1996, p. 218) that when he "began talking about right-wing authoritarianism, I was (brazenly) inventing a new sense, a social psychological sense that denotes submission to the perceived established authorities in one's life". It is true that he did originally define what he was measuring in something like that way (in detail, he defined it as a combination of three elements: submissiveness to established authority, adherence to social conventions and general aggressiveness) but what was new, unusual or "brazen" about such a conceptualization defies imagination. The concept of submission to established authority was, for instance, part of the old Adorno et al (1950) work. What WAS brazen was Altemeyer's claim that what he was measuring was characteristic of the political Right. But it is precisely the "Right-wing" claim that he now seems to have dropped and the RWA scale is now said to measure simply submission to authority. See:

Adorno,T.W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J. & Sanford, R.N. (1950). The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper.

Altemeyer, R. (1996). The Authoritarian Specter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Altemeyer, R. & Kamenshikov, A. (1991) Impressions of American and Soviet behaviour: RWA changes in a mirror. South African J. Psychology 21, 255-260.

Hamilton, V. L., Sanders, J., & McKearney, S. J. (1995). Orientations toward authority in an authoritarian state: Moscow in 1990. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 356-365

McFarland, S. G., Ageyev, V. S., & Abalakina-Paap, M. A. (1992). Authoritarianism in the former Soviet Union. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 1004-1010


An Obama Crime Wave Spreads Across America

Fueled by this president's anti-police policies and race-baiting rhetoric, thugs are attacking cops and terrorizing major cities. Horrible violence is breaking out all over. We are witnessing a national crime wave.

Law enforcement expects to see an escalation in criminal activity over the summer. Already we've seen a disturbing trend in May, including:

* The deadliest month Baltimore has seen in more than 15 years, with almost 30 shootings and nine deaths just over the holiday weekend. That makes well over 100 murders this year, compared with 71 at this time last year, the fastest the city has reached 100 homicides since 2007.

* Any time Baltimore officers respond to calls on the city's west side, scene of the Freddie Gray riots, as many as 50 people threaten them, Police Chief Anthony Batts says. "We have to send out multiple units just to do basic police work," he said. "It makes it very difficult to follow up on violence that takes place there."

* In Melbourne, Fla., likewise, police have reported mobs surrounding and striking cops trying to handcuff suspects in two separate cases in the past two weeks.

* A similar spike in violence was reported in Chicago, where 12 people were killed and at least 44 — including a 4-year-old girl — wounded in mostly gang-related shootings over the Memorial Day weekend.

* In Manhattan, 16 people have been murdered this year, a 45% jump over the same period last year, while the number of shooting victims nearly doubled, from 33 to 61. That doesn't include a rash of Central Park muggings, subway assaults and vandalism.

* In the nation's capital, the so-called "D.C. Mansion Murders" have gripped the city, which is suffering a similar surge in homicides.

V In Omaha, Neb., a white female police officer was shot and killed by a black gang member as she tried to serve him a felony arrest warrant.

* A New Orleans housing authority cop, also white, was gunned down as he sat in his patrol car — the first on-duty death in the department's history.

* In Rio Rancho, N.M., another white police officer was gunned down after pulling over a gang member during a traffic stop — the first officer shot and killed in the line of duty in the department's 34-year history.

Victims can blame the crime surge on politicians who give criminals "space" to break the law. Who order cops to stop "stop and frisks." Who tie their hands while giving thugs license to loot and kill.



It's socialism, not deodorant, that starves the poor

by Jeff Jacoby

WHAT THIS country needs, says Bernie Sanders, is less deodorant.

The 73-year-old senator from Vermont, now running for the Democratic presidential nomination, told CNBC's John Harwood in an interview on Tuesday that because American consumers can choose from so many brands of personal-care products, kids are going to bed with empty bellies.

Will this deodorant aisle be history when Bernie Sanders is president?

"You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country," Sanders lamented. He didn't explain exactly how the profusion of toiletries and athletic footwear leads to childhood hunger, but for the only self-described socialist in Congress, it is no doubt a matter of faith that the abundance of capitalism must generate poverty and undernourishment.

In the real world, the opposite is true: Hunger and deprivation are rarest where markets and trade are freest. Food in America couldn't possibly be more plentiful; no one starves because too many economic resources are being channeled into marketing Old Spice instead of oatmeal. But in the socialist delusion, centralized control is always preferable to voluntary enterprise. Better that government czars should decide what is produced, and impose their plan from above. After all, when buyers and sellers are left free to choose for themselves, grocery and department store aisles fill up with "too many" goods that consumers desire to buy. And that's not the worst of it: In the process of fulfilling those desires, some capitalists may be getting wealthy.

Sanders's suggestion that more kids would eat if only deodorant came in fewer varieties was roundly mocked. Wherever his collectivist ideology has been enforced, however, the consequences — shortages, rationing, bare shelves, long lines, grinding austerity — are anything but funny.

Unlike John F. Kennedy, who argued that a rising tide lifts all boats, socialist true believers care far less about growing the economy than about decreasing the gap between rich and poor. "If the changes that you envision ... were to result in a more equitable distribution of income but less economic growth," Sanders was asked in the CNBC interview, "is that trade-off worth making?" Yes, he said at once. "The whole size of the economy and the GDP doesn't matter if people continue to work longer hours for low wages.... You can't just continue growth for the sake of growth in a world in which we are struggling with climate change and all kinds of environmental problems."

How easy it is to pooh-pooh "growth for the sake of growth" when you're an American politician who makes a good salary and never has to worry about where his next meal will come from. But for the world's destitute — for those who struggle daily just to hold body and soul together — economic growth spells salvation. Sanders has spent decades railing against the rich and bewailing the plight of the poor. Yet for lifting hungry and needy people out of poverty, no force on earth comes close to the growth fueled by free markets and trade.

On Wednesday, one day after Sanders kicked off his White House campaign, the United Nations reported that hunger still afflicts about 795 million people around the globe, or about one out of every nine human beings. As great a challenge as that is, it represents an amazing decrease in the number of undernourished people over the past 25 years. Even though the world's population has grown by 1.9 billion since 1990, there are 216 million fewer men, women, and children threatened by hunger today than there were then. For the first time, we can realistically envision the end of starvation as a global scourge.

Thanks to advances in agricultural science — especially the famous "Green Revolution" for which the American biologist Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize — it is possible to grow enough food to feed a world with 7 billion people. But it takes the dynamism and productivity of markets, and the prosperity ignited by trade, to make that food available and affordable to the great majority of the human family.

Perhaps Sanders doesn't grasp that, but the UN agency most concerned with feeding the hungry does.

"Economic growth is necessary for alleviating poverty and reducing hunger and malnutrition," emphasizes the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the new hunger report. "Countries that become richer are less susceptible to food insecurity."

Blasting greedy billionaires and sneering at the multiplicity of deodorant brands "when children are hungry" appeals to a slice of the electorate. But populist rhetoric from a "humorless aging hippie peacenik Socialist" (as Sanders was once described in a New York Times Magazine profile) doesn't fill empty food bowls. Market economies do.

"Markets that function well are important for promoting food security and nutrition," the UN report says. "Markets ... ensure food availability."

From China to Tanzania, from North Korea to the Soviet Union, socialism over the past century condemned countless children — and their parents — to hunger, malnutrition, and famine. Deodorant never hurt a soul.



Federal land management bureaucrats warned

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) told two federal land officials, “I come bearing good news. I think if your employees keep up the arrogance, keep denying access to the land then very soon we’ll be able to dramatically cut your employees back and start turning those powers over to the states.”

Gohmert’s comments came during a Joint Legislative Hearing "To protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, and for other purposes” in late May.

Deputy Director of Operations for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Steve Ellis and Deputy Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Leslie Weldon testified at the hearing and heard complaints about denial of access onto National Forest Service and BLM land from sportsmen and law enforcement.

“Today, I wanted to take advantage of your presence here by letting you know things I’ve been hearing,” Gohmert said. “About the arrogance of people on U.S. Forest Service land and (Dept. of) Interior land – national forests - even from law enforcement, they say it’s just gotten tougher and tougher to deal with arrogant people on the national forests. Not getting access when they need it, not working with local law enforcement. And that’s been really helpful to me.”

“Some of us have been pushing for a while- let’s just dramatically cut back the U.S. Forest Service, the BLM, the Department of Interior and let each state manage the federal land within it’s boundaries.”

Gohmert later added, “I guess maybe from your standpoint it might be seen as a warning, from my standpoint it’s really good news that the arrogance of both of your employees are ultimately going to allow us to get the next president, Republican or Democrat, to end up eventually signing legislation that lets our states  - they’ll do a much better job at managing your land then your departments have been doing.”



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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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)


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