Tuesday, November 08, 2016
The strange way Leftist psychologists measure conservatism
Leftist psychologists have long worked with a concept of conservatism that is very different from what conservatives actually think. Their idea of conservatism is a caricature. Their oldest caricature is that conservatives are opposed to change. Tell that to Trump and his supporters! All the conservatives I know have a whole list of things they would like changed in the world about them.
So where did that strange definition come from? Easy. Conservatives oppose LEFTIST changes. Leftists are all about change and are very authoritarian about it. Note Mr Obama's aim to "fundamentally transform" America. If that's not authoritarian, what would be? So the changes that conservatives oppose are Leftist attempts to boss them around. Mr Trump articulates that.
It's an extreme demonstration of Leftist closed-mindedness that they can conceive of no other explanation for opposition to their policies than a general opposition to change. The reasons conservatives give for opposing Leftist changes -- e.g. "That has already been tried and it failed" -- are simply not heard or not believed by Leftists. To them there is no rational reason for opposition to the changes they want. So opposition to change generally has to be the explanation for what conservatives do and say.
And an inadequate understanding of conservatism leads to dead-ends all the time. Robert Altemeyer's recent work on "Right-wing authoritarianism" was based on a definition of conservatism as opposition to change and his set of questions ("scale") designed to detect conservatism ended up not detecting it at all. High scorers on his scale were roughly as likely to be Democrats as Republicans when it came to voting. Just to rub that in: The highest scorers on his scale were actually Russian Communists! Altemeyer put a lot of work into his efforts to measure conservatism but ended up with an abject failure on his hands. Conservatism is nothing like what he thought it was.
There is actually a larger tradition among psychologists about what conservatives think -- a tradition that goes beyond opposition to change. Conservatives are also said to have a large body of extreme thoughts about all sorts of things. Some examples:
* Patriotism and loyalty to one's country are more important than one's intellectual convictions and should have precedence over them.
* Treason and murder should be punishable by death.
* The English-speaking countries have reached a higher state of civilization than any other country in the world and as a consequence have a culture which is superior to any other.
* In taking part in any form of world organization, this country should make certain that none of its independence and power is lost.
* Certain religious sects whose beliefs do not permit them to salute the flag should either be forced to conform or else be abolished.
* When the dictator Mussolini made Italy's trains run on time, that at least was an important thing to achieve.
Statements such as the above do draw on tendencies in conservative thought but are expressed in an extreme and aggressive way. But conservatives are generally rather moderate people so would disagree with such statements. The first statement could be reworded to attract conservative agreement as:
* Patriotism and loyalty to one's country is important
The last statement would be most likely to attract conservative agreement as:
* "I have never heard of Mussolini"
And so on. So in their haste to demonize conservatism, Leftists create a set of "conservative" statements that conservatives don't actually agree with! No wonder then, that agreement with such statements does not correlate with voting conservative.
So the research into conservatism that Leftist psychologists do is not actually about real-life conservatism at all. They waste their time. They fail to do what they aim to do. They know nothing about conservatism.
So how come that they keep up such foolish behaviour? Easy. Leftists rarely talk to conservatives. They get their ideas about conservatism from one another. They live in a little intellectual bubble that is hermetically sealed against the big bad world outside, with all its inconvenient facts.
Dem donor compares Republican blacks to Nazis
Project Veritas Action released another undercover video Wednesday, and this one may be the most difficult to stomach yet. In the footage, prominent Democratic donor Benjamin Barber compares Republican African-Americans to Nazis at a fundraiser in New York City for North Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Deborah Ross (language warning):
“Have you heard of the Sonderkommandos? Jewish guards who helped murder Jews in the camps. So there were even Jews that were helping the Nazis murder Jews! So blacks who are helping the other side are seriously fucked in the head,” Barber said. “They’re only helping the enemy who will destroy them. Maybe they think ‘if I help them we’ll get along okay; somehow I’ll save my race by working with the murderers.’”
Project Veritas Action shared the video with some black Republican voters. Needless to say they were shocked and disappointed:
“I think that Deborah Ross has shown her true colors,” said Bishop Wooden, another black Republican in North Carolina. “If this is not a, if that…what you just showed me is not racism and condescending and basically calling blacks stupid and ignorant and saying that we are voting against our own self-interest if we support any republican [sic]. I am appalled. I am in incensed. Deborah Ross should be called to task for something like that.”
James Carville Loses It, Says House GOP and the KGB Are in Cahoots
Since the GOP was the chief opponent of Russian ambition in thre Soviet period, to say that they are now pro-Russian is strange indeed
When you're insisting that MSNBC is too right-wing, you know you've lost your mind. James Carville argued that his interviewer was defending James Comey and the House Republicans, who he says are behind this investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. He also alleged that the KGB is hijacking our election. Is it sad to see a once political mastermind become this insane?
SOURCE. (Video at link)
Another campaign ends, and my wishes didn't come true
by Jeff Jacoby
"THE MOST dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself," wrote H. L. Mencken. "Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable."
That was in 1922. If the Sage of Baltimore thought the political class during the Age of Harding was "dishonest, insane, and intolerable," God only knows how he would have characterized the Era of Trump and Clinton, or what he would have made of the ghastly presidential campaign of 2016. About the only good thing to be said for it is that it ends on Tuesday, and that one of the two worst presidential candidates in American history will go down to defeat. The other, alas, will go to the White House.
There's no denying that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have been uniquely odious nominees. But in too many ways to count, they have also been depressingly typical examples of American politicians in the modern era. When it came to shallowness, insincerity, and hypocrisy, the 2016 presidential hopefuls (along with most of the contenders who faced off during the interminable primary season) were just more of the same — the latest batch of pettifogging jacklegs greedy for authority, and prepared to debase themselves and the American democratic system by any means necessary to achieve it.
So here we are, on the cusp of another Election Day, dreading the national hangover to follow. If you're like me, you may find yourself wondering why campaigns for the highest office in the land invariably play out at the lowest common denominator.
Just once, I wish I could hear presidential candidates set aside the pandering, and tell voters that there are some problems the government has no business trying to fix.
Just once, I wish candidates could acknowledge candidly that yes, they have changed their position on a slew of issues over the years, and yes, the new position has always been the one polls show to be more popular.
Just once, I wish candidates in a debate would refuse to answer a question posed by the moderator, on the grounds that it raises a subject far too complicated to be answered in two minutes.
Just once, I wish the candidates would remind voters that it's not the president's job to wipe their noses, and that people who make dumb personal choices shouldn't expect Washington to relieve them of the consequences.
Just once, I wish candidates would decline to "approve this message," and would repudiate campaign ads that traffic in the defamation and distortion of an opponent's record.
Just once, I wish candidates would stop bragging about the laws "they" passed, and would point out instead that no bills get passed without the cooperation of scores, or even hundreds, of lawmakers.
Just once, I wish candidates would make a point of reading John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage — or Federalist No. 51 — or Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men — or Abraham Lincoln's 1865 inaugural address — and then deliver a speech explaining what they learned from it, and how it shapes their political understanding.
Just once, I wish candidates would make it clear that merely because they strongly oppose something, that doesn't mean it should be illegal — and that merely because there's some innovation they would passionately support, that's doesn't mean it ought to be mandatory.
Just once, I wish candidates would show that they understand that a course of action can be unwise, undesirable, and unpopular, yet still be perfectly constitutional.
Just once, I wish candidates, while touting their plan to do X or Y, would have the humility to concede that it might not work as envisioned.
Just once, I wish candidates would fairly and respectfully summarize an opponent's position before proceeding to dispute or criticize it.
Just once, I wish candidates would demonstrate that they've given serious thought to some of the tensions built into America's civic culture — such as equality vs. liberty, or individual liberty vs. the common good — and are able to discuss them with more depth than bumper-sticker sloganeering.
Just once, I wish candidates would admit that elected officials and government regulators are as flawed as any other human beings, and as prone to blunders and temptations as people who work in the private sector.
"If experience teaches us anything at all," wrote H.L. Mencken "it teaches us this: that a good politician, under democracy, is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar."
Just once, I wish candidates would spend less time crowing about what they'll do on Day 1 — which is usually of little more than symbolic importance — and would instead spend more time outlining what they'll do prepare themselves before Day 1.
Just once, I wish candidates would emphasize that it is nearly always more important to block bad bills than to pass good bills.
Just once, I wish candidates would place as great a premium on maintaining their personal decency as they do on achieving political victory — that they would be intent, in other words, not merely on winning, but on deserving to win.
Ah, well. Somewhere, I suppose, the shade of Mencken is smirking at the naiveté of my wish list. "If experience teaches us anything at all," the old cynic wrote long ago, "it teaches us this: that a good politician, under democracy, is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar."
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about immigrants
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Posted by JR at 1:51 AM