Sunday, September 09, 2007

"Truthers" and worldview defense

I had a bit of a laugh recently about the "worldview defense" research of Pyszczynski and friends. I could see no good evidence for his claim that conservative views arise out of a need to defend a worldview.

The evidence Prof. P. offers for his claims concerns attitudes. What students say about their views is the foundation of his theory. I replied by pointing out (among other things) that proper general population survey research into conservative attitudes does not reveal the correlations to be expected from Prof. P.'s theory.

There is however abroad these days one very strange set of attitudes: The attitudes of the "truthers" -- people who believe that the dumb but strangely clever George Bush conspired with the neocons, the Jews and various others to blow up the twin towers on 9/11. Apparently the twin towers were deliberately detonated by GWB rather than being knocked out by bin Laden's henchmen flying hijacked airliners. Some of the claims of the truthers have a superficial plausibility but all have often been debunked (e.g. here).

The interesting thing about truther theory is that, for all its vast implausibility, it is widely believed. According to a general population poll carried out by Zogby 42.6% of Democrat voters believe some version of it versus 19.2% of Republican voters. Nearly half of Left-leaning voters say they believe in a total absurdity!

So why do they do that? A simple answer: It is BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome). Bush is so hated by many on the Left that they cannot accept any evidence that might support his policies. Their worldview requires that Bush be (as they often say) akin to Hitler and the embodiment of all evil. That he might have had reasonable grounds for his overthrow of two aggressive Islamic regimes (in Afghansistan and Iraq) just cannot be accepted. Rather than accept that it is preferable to believe a total absurdity.

So if that is not worldview defense I would like to know what would be. It is worldview defense carried to the extent of an extreme mental pathology. So, as I have often previously remarked, Leftists are great projectors -- they attribute to others things that are really true of themselves. So to find out what is true of them, just listen to what they say about conservatives. Prof. P. was so alive to the phenomenon of worldview defense precisely because it fills the heads of many of his fellow Leftists -- and maybe even his own head.


Left-wing cant and the indefensible

There's a special sort of piece that appears only in The Guardian (or The New York Times) that deserves to be recognised as a journalistic genre in its own right. They masquerade as balanced and judicious profiles of individuals. But in fact they are vigorous defences, or at least pleas in mitigation, for people who cannot be allowed to be seen as guilty of any great sin because they're On The Left.

We had two this weekend. We discovered last week that the playwright Arthur Miller, who abandoned his disabled son after the child was born because he was, in Miller's words, "a mongoloid", avoided all contact with the child until they met, to the playwright's surprise, at a meeting where Miller was championing a better deal for disabled people. This sort of behaviour is beyond satire. To seek applause for your stance on behalf of suffering in general, while being so indifferent to the fate of individual suffering, is the quintessence of canting left-wingery. But for The Guardian Miller was as much the victim as anyone.

But their treatment of Miller was positively caustic besides their lionising of one of Britain's most shameless intellectual apologists for evil. A fawning tribute to the Eric Hobsbawm, 90, made light of his championing of Soviet communism and his support for Stalin, the gulag and totalitarian tyranny. I'm happy to leave the old devil in peace to enjoy his dotage. But can we at least be spared any more laying of garlands at the feet of this man who supported mass murder?




Keeping the voices alive: "In short, the land line telephone business faces very serious problems across the board. This paper strives to convey two messages. First, traditional land line telephone service transmitted over copper and coaxial cable -- the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) -- faces serious peril and could well disappear in the medium- to long-term, at least for residential use. Second, if we wish to maintain universal land line telephone service in the United States, we must leave new voice telecom technologies -- VoIP and Device-Based Telephony -- as lightly regulated as possible."

Credit crunch, character crisis: "The global financial markets' August upheavals have generated endless commentaries on the reasons for their liquidity problems. The identified culprits range from American subprime mortgage-lenders, to securities-rating agencies, to central banks. Characteristic of these analyses is a tendency to study the crisis in strictly economic terms. Phrases such as 'overexposure to high-risk investments,' 'suspension of withdrawals from funds invested in illiquid credit securities,' and 'margin-calls forcing hedge funds to liquidate good assets' dominate the discussion."

The Joooos again? "Colonies of honeybees (an invasive exotic species) have been dying off in the last year. Some ideological environmentalists--the Sierra Club--attempted to blame biotech crops as the cause. However, as I pointed out, even the research the Sierra Club cited indicated that biotech crops were unlikely to be the cause for colony collapse disorder. Today, Science is publishing a fascinating metagenomic study which strongly suggests that a new viral infection is killing off bees, specifically, Israeli acute paralysis virus".

Leftists condone infanticide: "Although I can see no meaningful difference between killing a child in the womb and killing a child in the cradle, I have grown used to the idea that some people do not consider the former to be infanticide. The decision to legalize pre-birth infanticide was made before I was born. I have never known a world in which killing a baby in the womb was actually called by its proper name. As long as I can remember, it's always been called "choice." Still, I thought that everyone could agree that killing a child after birth was murder. I thought that everyone knew that every child has human rights. I was wrong. If you've heard of partial birth abortion, get used to post-birth abortion. Around the world, the same excuses that have been used to kill the unborn are now be used to kill children who have already been born. Holland recently passed a law legalizing "baby euthanasia," according to a March 2006 article in the The Times in the United Kingdom. If a child is born sick, her parents can choose to kill her."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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