Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Leftist projection and inability to learn
The concept of "authoritarianism" as an explanation for conservatism has been like catnip to Leftist psychologists. They cannot leave it alone. It first arose among a group of Jewish Marxists in the late 1940s and was published in a 1950 book called "The authoritaian personality" under the lead authorship of a prominent Marxist theoretician, Theodor Wiesengrund, who usually used as his surname the stage name of his Spanish dancer mother -- Adorno.
The theory underlying it failed in all sorts of ways so it fell out of favour after the '60s, though it still got an occasional mention. For more on the Adorno work see here
In the first half of his first book in 1981, "Bob" Altemeyer gave a comprehensive summary of the problems with the Adorno theory and submitted that it had to be discarded. He then went on to put forward a slightly different theory and measuring instrument of his own that rebooted the concept of authoritarianism as an explanation of conservative thinking.
That theory and its accompanying measuring instrument (the RWA scale) also soon ran aground, however. Altemeyer himself admitted that scores on the RWA scale were just about as high among Leftist voters as Rightist voters -- which rather ruined it as an explanation of conservatism. The death knell came when it was revealed that the highest scorers on the RWA scale were in fact former Russian Communists! Right wing Communists?? For more on Altemeyer's confusions see here. Or more concisely here
So the RWA scale lost most of its interest after that, though it is still cautiously used on some occasions -- e.g here.
But, as I mentioned yesterday, Leftist psychologists did not give up. A group of them including Karen Stenner, Stanley Feldman, Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler revived the old ideas and invented a new questionnaire to measure the concept. And reading their "new" theory is like a trip back into the 1940's. Conservatives are still said to be sad souls who live in a state of constant and unreasonable fear.
The amusing thing is that there is some reality behind their theory. The key word is "unreasonable". How much fear is "unreasonable"? Is all fear "unreasonable"? Obviously not. Fear is an important survival mechanism. We would all be eaten by lions etc. without it. And conservatives do fear the probable results of the hare-brained schemes put forward by Leftists. Conservatives are nothing if not cautious but to the superficial thinkers of the Left, that caution seems like fear. So from a conservative viewpoint Leftists are not fearful enough. They do not fear the "unforeseen" and adverse side effects that invariably accompany any implementation of their schemes.
So, despite the laughable psychometric characteristics of their new measuring instrument, which I set out yesterday, they have in fact achieved some grasp of reality. They have just not grasped that caution can be a good thing and have not thought deeply enough about the distinction, if any, between caution and fear. So all their writings amount to little more than an adverse value judgment of things that are in fact probably desirable.
So why all the mental muddle from them? Why does the old "authoritarianism" catnip keep them coming back to that dubious concept? Why have they not learnt from its past failures? Easy: It's all Freudian projection. They see their own faults in conservatives. The people who REALLY ARE authoritarian are Leftists themselves. Communist regimes are ALWAYS authoritarian and in democracies the constant advocates of more and more government control over everything are the Left. The Left are the big government advocates, not conservatives. What could be more authoritarian than Obama's aim to "fundamentally transform" America? It is the Left who trust in big brother while conservatives just want to be left alone.
But somehow Leftist psychologists are blind to all that. They appear to know nothing about the currents of day-to-day politics. They are the sad souls who are so out of touch with reality as to be pitiable.
UPDATE: Much fun. I sent a heads-up email to the four recent writers I mentioned above (Karen Stenner, Stanley Feldman, Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler) -- and I was copied in to the resultant emails between them. And two of them said the same thing: How amusing it was to be described as Jewish Marxists. I of course said no such thing. I referred only to Adorno and his associates as Jewish Marxists -- since Adorno was a prominent Marxist theoretician and his book was sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. The AJC in fact hold the copyright to the book. So I had an encounter with typical Leftist dishonesty
So what we have is a classic example of Freudian avoidance/denial. The authors above could not handle anything actually in the article so invented something not in the article to comment about. It is such a classical example of a defence mechanism that it could well be used as a classroom example in a clinical course.
The same defence is behind the constant Leftist attempts to shut conservatives up. Leftists just cannot handle the facts that conservatives constantly put to them so need to shut them out. Leftists really are a sad lot. It must be very uncomfortable to be so needy.
Obama Administration and UN Announce Global Police Force to Fight ‘Extremism’ In U.S.
A Fascist takeover? A new group of Brownshirts? So far it is just some sort of communication network with no police powers of its own. But the cities in the network DO have police powers so armed enforcement of its policies is still a lively possibility
On Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced at the United Nations that her office would be working in several American cities to form what she called the Strong Cities Network (SCN), a law enforcement initiative that would encompass the globe.
This amounts to nothing less than the overriding of American laws, up to and including the United States Constitution, in favor of United Nations laws that would henceforth be implemented in the United States itself – without any consultation of Congress at all.
The United Nations is a sharia-compliant world body, and Obama, speaking there just days ago, insisted that “violent extremism” is not exclusive to Islam (which it is). Obama is redefining jihad terror to include everyone but the jihadists. So will the UN, driven largely by the sharia-enforcing Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the pro-Islamic post-American President Obama, use a “global police force” to crush counter-jihad forces?
After all, with Obama knowingly aiding al-Qaeda forces in Syria, how likely is it that he will use his “global police force” against actual Islamic jihadists? I suspect that instead, this global police force will be used to impose the blasphemy laws under the sharia (Islamic law), and to silence all criticism of Islam for the President who proclaimed that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
So if the local and municipal effort to counter the euphemistic and disingenuous “violent extremism” is inadequate and hasn’t developed “systematic efforts are in place to share experiences, pool resources and build a community of cities to inspire local action on a global scale,” the feds – and the UN – have to step in. Thus the groundwork is being laid for federal and international interference down to the local level. “The Strong Cities Network,” Lynch declared, “will serve as a vital tool to strengthen capacity-building and improve collaboration” – i.e., local dependence on federal and international authorities.
Remember, the DoJ presser says that the SCN will “address violent extremism in all its forms.” It also says that it will aid initiatives that are working toward “building social cohesion and resilience to violent extremism.” “Building social cohesion” is a euphemism for keeping peace between non-Muslim and Muslim communities – mostly by making sure that non-Muslims don’t complain too loudly about, much less work against, rapidly expanding Muslim populations and the Islamization of their communities.
To dismiss Trump as a bigoted buffoon is a 'YUGE' mistake... he's an elite-bashing hit with the workers
A view of Trump below from a British political guru, Steve Hilton
In all the years I worked for David Cameron, through all the party conferences, press briefings and campaign events, I don’t recall him asking me to put raw steaks on stage, accompanied by bottles of wine branded with his name.
But that bizarre spectacle took place this week in the US Presidential race, as Donald Trump hit back in the most direct possible way at those who had described some of his businesses as flops. With the great showman centre stage, talking about (and pointing to) his Trump Steaks, Trump Wine, Trump Water, Trump Magazine… it was like watching a shopping channel rather than a bid for the most powerful job in the world.
With performances like this you can see why so many people belittle Trump as a ‘joke’, a ‘buffoon’, or a ‘clown’. He’s an easy target for mockery: just watch some of the brilliant YouTube videos of Trump with a posh accent, or a cockney accent, made by the actor and voice artist Peter Serafinowicz.
But simply to dismiss Trump as a reality show entertainer with nothing of consequence to say would be to make a big mistake – sorry, a ‘YUGE’ mistake, as ‘the Donald’ himself would put it.
There were disturbing scenes of violence between Trump supporters and opponents in Chicago on Friday, causing the cancellation of a Trump rally; there’s no doubting he is a divisive figure. But he is also one who makes a real connection.
He is a much more serious, interesting and historically important political figure than his detractors allow. Trump is challenging not just some of the basic tenets of Republican ideas, but those of the Democrats too. The truth is, we live in a world that is run by bankers, bureaucrats and accountants. For decades, they have pushed a technocratic agenda that has been implemented by politicians of both Left and Right.
This agenda favours big business over small, fetishises globalisation, and is relaxed about immigration – regardless of the consequences for working people. As factories close, jobs disappear and wages fall, the response from the elite has been callous and inhuman: ‘This is the world we live in: suck it up and get with the programme.’
Well, people have had enough of being dismissed and patronised by the elite – who, by the way, do very nicely out of this technocratic agenda. Big businesses use their market dominance and unfair access to the levers of power to rip off consumers, exploit workers, and keep entrepreneurial competitors from challenging them. Globalisation is undoubtedly a force for good and has helped poor people in poor countries get richer. But the biggest rewards have gone to the already rich in the wealthiest parts of the world. And uncontrolled immigration gives them cheap labour for their businesses – not to mention an endless supply of nannies, housekeepers and gardeners.
Until Trump, no mainstream US politician had spoken up for working people in these terms. No one had challenged the technocratic agenda of the bankers, the bureaucrats and the accountants. That’s why so many people support Trump; and why he is politically important.
Of course, I understand that Trump’s rhetoric sometimes causes real offence. But he’s not a bigot or a racist or a madman: he’s just a political amateur who says the first thing that comes into his head. After years of slick, calculating, machine politicians, Trump’s rough and ready authenticity has real appeal.
This is not to say that I think he would make a good President, or that I’m supporting him – I’m not. But he has shone a spotlight on some of the biggest defects of American democracy, and his role in bringing about much-needed change could be more significant than that of his patronising and increasingly hysterical critics. That includes the most pernicious issue: money in politics. Britain has no reason to be complacent about corruption, whether it’s the revolving door between Westminster and Whitehall and the boardrooms of big businesses and their shadowy advisory firms; or the way trade union money on the Left or the financial sector on the Right dominate party fundraising.
But what goes on in America makes British corruption look like a picnic. In the US, wealthy individuals and corporations literally buy the political outcomes they want. A recent analysis showed that in a new law designed to regulate the banks, 70 lines out of 85 were actually written by banking giant Citigroup.
The measure was introduced by Congressman Kevin Yoder, who receives more money in campaign donations from the financial sector than any other member of Congress. The United States today is not in any meaningful sense of the word a democracy; it is a donocracy.
Traditionally, it has been Left-wing activists who decry the role of money in politics – although that hasn’t stopped Left-wing candidates such as Hillary Clinton from hoovering up corporate cash. But it’s refreshing – and significant – to see a Republican presidential candidate sound the alarm on America’s corrupt campaign financing system.
From the start of his run for president, Trump has attacked the devastating real world impact of dodgy donations. Why are drug prices so high, costing the American taxpayer billions in subsidies? Because, as Trump points out, the pharmaceutical companies ‘take care of’ the politicians who set the rules.
Why is there so much waste in defence procurement, with billions spent on equipment that military leaders don’t want and can’t use? Because the massive defence contractors, in Trump’s vivid phrase, are ‘bloodsuckers’ on government – along with the oil companies, the health insurance companies and other moneyed interests with an inside track.
When Trump describes traditional, establishment politicians such as Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton as ‘puppets’ who are completely controlled by their donors, it strikes a chord – and, coming from a Republican, could just hasten the end of (or at least the moderation of) this corruption more than any number of worthy pamphlets from left-of-centre pressure groups.
In the end, Trump may not get to put his name on the White House as easily as he has on his buildings around the world – or his steaks, wine and private jet. But he has already made a powerful contribution to the political debate, and we should all be grateful to him for that.
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Posted by JR at 1:25 AM