Thursday, July 24, 2003


For those who have broadband or a lot of patience, there is a link to the whole article here in the form of a huge PDF.

For a start, let me translate the jargon: That conservatives have “motivated social cognition” means that conservatives only see what they want to see. That is really rich coming from the Left when we consider how huge numbers of Western Leftists refused for decades to give any heed to all the reports of the horrors of Stalin’s Russia. THEY undoubtedly had huge talent for seeing only what they wanted to see.

Probably the biggest failing of the article is its historical naivety. Because the authors appear to know nothing of the history of conservative political thought, they accept the old Leftist stereotype that conservatism is essentially opposition to change. That conservatives have historically seen themselves as being primarily champions of individual rights and opponents of big government, they give no heed to at all. One has to surmise that none of the authors has ever even talked to a conservative. If they had, they would have discovered quick-smart that there is HEAPS about the society in which we live that conservatives would like to change. Leftists and Rightist undoubtedy want different changes, but both would want to see lots of changes nonetheless. Attitude to change is simply a red-herring drawn across the trail by Leftists. It has NOTHING to do with who is a conservative today.

This ignorance and naivety on the part of the authors does however lead them into some hilarious pitfalls. Even they have to acknowledge that Communist countries have been ferocious enemies of change in their own societies. So what do they conclude from that? Do they think that they might have got it wrong in seeing opposition to change as so central? No way! They rigidly cling on to their stereotype. So rigid are they in their thinking about the matter that they are forced to conclude that Stalin and Castro are conservatives! If Stalin and Castro are not Leftists, black might as well be white! So they go on to say that the Soviets and their ilk are essentially the same as Reagan, Limbaugh and their ilk. People at opposite ends of the ideological spectum are all the same according to these galoots! No wonder the Wall St Journal thought that the whole article might be a spoof rather than an attempt at a serious study!

That their own cognition is motivated to ignore things that do not suit them is seen in their bland assertion that the old Marxist work by Adorno that they heavily rely on has withstood the test of time despite the huge number of criticisms that have been made of it. HOW and WHY it has withstood the test of time they do not spell out. They certainly make no attempt to show what is wrong with all those criticisms. They seem to believe that we should just take their word for it. Very authoritarian!

But perhaps the best indication of how “motivated” their own cognitions are is the fact that they cite only two of the more than one hundred articles I have had published on the subject. I am clearly one of the major authors (if not THE major author in terms of number of articles in print) in the field that they purport to survey, but they ignore 98% of what I have to say. That sure is a fine way to come to a balanced and scientifically reputable conclusion, don’t you think? With selective reading as severe as that, you could prove anything about anything.


No comments: