Sunday, August 07, 2016
The contented versus the discontented people
I have been looking at the differences between the Left and the Right of politics since 1968, when I submitted my Master's dissertation on that subject. And my aim has been to understand WHY Leftists behave like SoBs so much of the time. How is it that implementing Leftist policies always results in harm and destruction of some sort, if not mass murder?
So my interest has been not only in Leftist claims and policies but also in their underlying psychology. I think, in fact, that it is only at the psychological level that Leftism can be understood. And, in that, I find myself in a degree of agreement with Leftist psychologists. Leftists never stop offering accounts of the psychology of conservatives, adverse accounts, of course. It is one of the more popular fields of research in psychology. So Leftists are most emphatic that you need to delve into the psychological realm to understand politics. In any argument on the facts they will be defeated by conservatives so impugning the motives of their opponent is essentially all that they have left.
I am VERY familiar with the Leftist claims in that regard. Most of my 200+ academic journal articles were devoted to showing that the research they relied on in support of their claims was flawed, often hilariously so.
But there was one redeeming feature in their research. In purporting to decribe conservatives they usually were quite clearly describing themselves! An accusation that they never seem able to let go of, despite much contrary evidence, is that conservatives are "authoritarian". Yet what could be more authoritarian than wanting to "fundamentally transform" America? (In Mr Obama's words -- words which elicited an enormous cheer from his Leftist audience).
So to find out what is true of Leftists, a good first approximation is to look at what they say about conservatives. They do Freudian projection on a grand scale. Real self-insight is beyond them. Their motivations are so dismal that they can't afford to acknowledge what they really are. They can only project it onto others.
But before you study a thing you have to define it and that can be tricky. Conservatives themselves offer many different accounts of what is meant by conservatism and its opposite. The different accounts usually have a lot in common but none seem to me to strike at the heart of the Right/Left divide.
So I want to offer what is my simplest yet definition of the difference between the two camps. I propose that the Left/Right divide consists of the discontented versus the contented people. But the difference is a difference between characteristic mood rather than an invariable divide. All the surveys show that conservatives are happier than Leftists but that does not mean that they are ALWAYS happy. That would be absurd. And Trump supporters are clearly not content with the present Left-dominated state of politics, with its pervasive strictures of political correctness greatly limiting what everyone can say and do.
So conservatives have a DISPOSITION, presumably with genetic roots, to be happy and contented, whereas Leftists can't help finding things to be discontented about. One must rather pity them.
Exactly WHAT Leftists get discontented about will obviously vary. There seem to be few things they are contented with and some of their discontents are quite amazing. At the moment, for instance, they want to tear down most of America's electricity infrastructure in the name of the absurd global warming theory, a theory that is in constant divergence from reality.
So, basically, Leftists are discontented with EVERYTHING and, in consequence, want to tear down as much of the existing state of affairs as they can. The harm and destruction that flows from their policies is INTENDED.
One of the more nauseous discontents among Leftists is discontent with their personal fame and prestige. They have a very high opinion of themselves and are greatly grieved that the world at large does not have a similar opinion of them. So they lash out in all sorts of ways. Academics are particularly prone to that. They have in fact by their employment reached a small degree of personal distinction but are quite burned up that many business people get paid far more than they do.
So they lash out at society by promulgating fanciful theories about the evils of the world that will get them taken seriously at least by other Leftists. They gain distinction by being seen by some as heroic critics of a world in vast need of reform and reorientation.
The global warming theory is a good example of that. It's intellectual underpinnings are pure speculation but it has succeeded in creating great disruption. And it continues to be taken seriously because a relatively small clique of scientists continue to proclaim it energetically. The famous "97%" paper by John Cook in fact shows, if you read it carefully, that only one third of climate scientists voice support for the theory.
So, because of their miserable psychological state, Leftists have great potential to do harm and we should never forget that, regardless of what face they put on it, their AIM is to do harm, harm that will usually affect us all in one way or another. Their claims of "compassion" are no more than necessary camouflage for their destructive intentions.
Picture gallery update
Every now and I put up a collection of recent pictures on my blog that I liked best. You can access the collection for the first half of this year here or here. There's even a glamor pic included!
WTF is Google up to?
Google run the blogspot facility that hosts this blog. And they always seem to be working on "improvements" to it. The improvements are however so detrimental to this humble blogger that I have to wonder if they are trying to chase content providers such as myself away.
The first big decrement to the service came about two years ago when some blogdspot sites were connected to an html interpreting program that REFUSED to allow more than one paragraph to be indented or italicized. You can go into the resulting html and alter it back to what you wanted but that is pesky. The odd thing is that the restriction applies only to some blogs. About half of my blogs are affected.
The next goof was quite recent. They made all their blogs accessible over a https (protected) connection. That's fine but for some reason most images I find are apparently incompatible with https. So every time I put up an image, I get a red warning that I have to click off. More wasted time.
And the very latest is that if I re-edit a post after I have first put it up, the system puts up TWO copies of the revised post. So again I have to waste time clicking the unwanted copy off. Crazy. If anybody knows how I can evade these idiocies, I would be most grateful to hear of it
Queen Elizabeth I
Agrguably the greatest of the Tudor monarchs, Elizabeth was a very wise woman. She was even fairly libertarian for her times. There are therefore quite a few collections of her wise sayings on the net. Frustratingly, one of her better sayings does not apprear anywhere. She on one occasion wrote to the King of Spain, who was very tyrannical towards anybody who questioned the Catholic religion. Elizabeth herself practiced tolerance towards Catholics even though she was a Protestant monarch. So she wrote to the king what my memory records as: "Why cannot your majesty let your subjects go to hell in their own way?"
I would like to get the exact wording and the date of the letter. So again, I would be much obliged if anybody readring this could enlarge on the matter.
For some reason, I seem to have become a rather popular author on quora.com. I get about a dozen requests for comment per day. I basically don't have the time to answer most of the questions so when I do answer, my answers tend to be extremely brief. The interesting thing, however, is how dumb most of the questions are. Really basic stuff about politics and history seems to be unknown to lots of people. You can see here the questions I have answered, some of which are very basic. But bear in mind that the REALLY dumb questions I have not bothered with. Life is too short.
3 Ways to Talk About Conservatism With a Liberal
As the mantra of “Don’t discuss politics or religion” repeats like a drumbeat in your head, you settle on “How about that game?”
Your desperate search for the safest question to ask a colleague as you wait for the morning coffee to brew is understandable. But you can find a way.
If conservatives refrain from engaging in the narrative, we let the media and politicians (ahem, President Barack Obama) paint us as crazy people who cling to “guns or religion.”
That’s where this column comes in —a place to help you talk to the people in your life (think neighbors, co-workers, family, friends) about conservative issues. Trust me, it’s possible.
While I will explore a wide variety of relevant topics in the weeks to come, I’d like to start with something basic and broad: the term “conservative.”
If you look at The Heritage Foundation’s definition, you find that conservatism is five pillars: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.
So, there’s your answer, right? Just memorize and repeat when someone wants to know why you are conservative.
Wrong. There is no faster way to kill a conversation than to categorize your perspective like it’s a to-do list. When talking about any issue, you have to connect with the other person’s interests. And that starts by being a good listener.
If you find your colleague doesn’t give much insight into her ideology, ask questions. Find out what makes her tick by starting a conversation about her day at work or what’s going on in the news. It’s amazing how much you learn when you ask a question and then … stop talking.
Once you gain insight into what issues someone cares about, the real work begins. You now have a blueprint for how to approach the conversation in a way that resonates with him or her, not you.
For example, if you find that your colleague talks about how expensive it is to run her side business, the free enterprise pillar is a good area to explore. Now, you’re off to the races. Here are a few strategies that work well:
1. Common Ground
Don’t underestimate the power of establishing common ground. Doing so makes you seem reasonable and can go a long way in diffusing any tension or unwillingness to hear you out. If you’re in agreement with someone on the goal, like his business succeeding, he is more likely to stick around and listen to your solution.
Don’t underestimate the power of relatable examples, which can help people visualize your point. Often, the conservative principles we talk about can seem very abstract. Examples put issues into context, especially when you can illustrate a point using a reference from their daily lives. For instance, if you want to promote free enterprise, talk about all the regulations their business currently faces and how there would be significantly fewer if free enterprise was more valued by our lawmakers.
Finally, you have to use the right words. Don’t even think about using the term “free enterprise.” Instead, steal a page from the liberals’ playbook: use emotion to push an agenda. Own words like “fair” or “choice,” and statements like “you know better than a bureaucrat in D.C.” Using emotional language will set you up for success.
Before you think that attempting a conversation is hopeless because “you don’t know how liberal my co-workers are,” keep in mind that people will listen if you talk about issues that matter to them. If done well, it’s possible they won’t recognize that you are approaching the conversation from a conservative perspective.
Take millennials. You may think it’s hopeless to talk to that generation about free enterprise since so many view themselves as socialists. But when millennials are starting more businesses than the baby-boomer generation there’s reason to question their dedication to socialism (Do they really know what socialism is?) and an opportunity to use their entrepreneurism as a gateway to talking about free enterprise.
So, talk to a liberal today. Employ the strategies we just discussed and see if you can have a meaningful conversation about conservatism on her terms. Identify her interests, choose one of the five pillars that align with her interests, and use examples.
No pressure, but you may be the only conservative that tries to challenge her world view. And if we are going to preserve the American dream, it’s going to take all of us doing our part by first talking to the people we know.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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)
Posted by JR at 12:28 AM