Friday, February 09, 2018

When kindness made a hate-filled Leftist think again

But she still can see no good in Trump

I went to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and I arrived home feeling heartbroken. It was the last way I expected to feel.

I had spent the morning sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with my 16-year-old daughter, Katherine, whose silent tears on election night in 2016 had marked the beginning of this national nightmare for me. She had insisted we drive from Charlotte to D.C. this year so that we could "protest in front of the president’s house." We heard all of the inspiring speakers; we relished the creativity of the posters and slogans. Being among so many like-minded people was comforting. I heard one woman say, "I love being here today. It makes me feel less alone."

I wanted to be with people who shared my anger. Because I have been so angry about Donald Trump this past year. I have been angry at my country for electing this man, angry at my neighbors who support him, angry at the wealthy who sacrificed our country and its goodness for tax breaks, angry at the coal miners who believed his promises.

My fury has been bottomless. I drink my morning coffee from a cup that says, "I hate to wake up when Donald Trump is President." The constancy of my outrage has been exhausting, yet I have not yet found a way to quell it — nearly each day has brought a new reason to stoke the fire. But a day with my daughter, communing with the angry and the aggrieved, seemed a good way to try.

After the march, Katherine and I hit the road in the late afternoon, feeling good; we had done our part to express our outrage. We were about 90 minutes south of D.C. when I heard a terrible popping sound. I assumed I had blown a tire and headed toward the nearest exit. The popping was followed by screeching — were we now driving on metal? Luckily, there was a gas station right off the exit.

Before I could do anything but park my gray Prius, a man rushed over. "I heard you coming down that road," he said. Before I could say much he started surveying the situation. He didn’t so much offer to help us as get right to work.

It turned out that I hadn’t blown a tire; a huge piece of plastic under the front bumper had come loose, causing the screeching as it scraped along the road. After determining that he couldn’t cut the plastic off, he ran over to his car to grab some zip ties so that he could secure the piece back in place.

He did all of this so quickly that I didn’t have time to grab the prominent RESIST sticker on the side of my car, which suddenly felt needlessly alienating. As this man lay on the ground under my car with his miracle zip ties, I asked if he thought they would hold for four more hours of driving.

"Just ask any redneck like me what you can do with zip ties — well, zip ties and duct tape. You can solve almost any car problem. You’ll get home safe," he said, turning to his teenage son standing nearby. "You can say that again," his son agreed.

The whole interaction lasted 10 minutes, tops. Katherine and I made it home safely.

Our encounter changed the day for me. While I tried to dive back into my liberal podcast, my mind kept being pulled back to the gas station. I couldn’t stop thinking about the man who called himself a "redneck" who came to our rescue. I sized him up as a Trump voter, just as he likely drew inferences from my Prius and RESIST sticker. But for a moment, we were just two people and the exchange was kindness (his) and gratitude (mine).

As I drove home, I felt the full extent to which Trump has actually diminished my own desire to be kind. He is keeping me so outraged that I hold ill will toward others on a daily basis. Trump is not just ruining our nation, he is ruining me. By the end of the drive, I felt heartbroken.

When my husband and I first moved to Charlotte eight years ago, I liked to tell people that our neighborhood represented the best impulses of America. In our little two-block craftsman-home development, we had people of every political persuasion from liberal to moderate Republican to tea party, and we all got along. We held porch parties in the summer and a progressive dinner at Christmas. We put being a cohesive neighborhood above politics.

But this year, I realize, I retreated from my porch. Trump’s cruelty and mendacity demand outrage and the most vigorous resistance a nation can muster. Yet the experience with the man at the side of the road felt humbling. It reminded me that we are all just people trying to get home safe. It felt like a sign, that maybe if we treat one another with the kindness and gratitude that is so absent from our president and his policies, putting our most loving selves forward, this moment can transform into something more bearable? I want to come away from the march with that simple lesson, but it begs this question: How do we hold onto the fire fueling our resistance to the cruelty Trump unleashes, but also embrace the world with love? I wish I knew.



We have to Limit Spending, not taxes

Walter E. Williams

Some people have called for a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution as a means of reining in a big-spending Congress. That's a misguided vision, for the simple reason that in any real economic sense, as opposed to an accounting sense, the federal budget is always balanced. The value of what we produced in 2017 — our gross domestic product — totaled about $19 trillion. If the Congress spent $4 trillion of the $19 trillion that we produced, unless you believe in Santa Claus, you know that Congress must force us to spend $4 trillion less privately.

Taxing us is one way that Congress can do that. But federal revenue estimates for 2017 are about $3.5 trillion, leaving an accounting deficit of about $500 billion. So taxes are not enough to cover Congress' spending. Another way Congress can get us to spend less privately is to enter the bond market. It can borrow. Borrowing forces us to spend less privately, and it drives up interest rates and crowds out private investment. Finally, the most dishonest way to get us to spend less is to inflate our currency. Higher prices for goods and services reduce our real spending.

The bottom line is the federal budget is always balanced in any real economic sense. For those enamored of a balanced budget amendment, think about the following. Would we have greater personal liberty under a balanced federal budget with Congress spending $4 trillion and taxing us $4 trillion, or would we be freer under an unbalanced federal budget with Congress spending $2 trillion and taxing us $1 trillion? I'd prefer the unbalanced budget. The true measure of government's impact on our lives is government spending, not government taxing.

Tax revenue is not our problem. The federal government has collected nearly 20 percent of the nation's gross domestic product almost every year since 1960. Federal spending has exceeded 20 percent of the GDP for most of that period. Because federal spending is the problem, that's where our focus should be. Cutting spending is politically challenging. Every spending constituency sees what it gets from government as vital, whether it be Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid recipients or farmers, poor people, educators or the military. It's easy for members of Congress to say yes to these spending constituencies, because whether it's Democrats or Republicans in control, they don't face a hard and fast bottom line.

The nation needs a constitutional amendment that limits congressional spending to a fixed fraction, say 20 percent, of the GDP. It might stipulate that the limit could be exceeded only if the president declared a state of emergency and two-thirds of both houses of Congress voted to approve the spending. By the way, the Founding Fathers would be horrified by today's congressional spending. From 1787 to the 1920s, except in wartime, federal government spending never exceeded 4 percent of our GDP.

During the early '80s, I was a member of the National Tax Limitation Committee. Our distinguished blue-ribbon drafting committee included its founder, Lew Uhler, plus notables such as Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, Paul McCracken, Bill Niskanen, Craig Stubblebine, Robert Bork, Aaron Wildavsky, Robert Nisbet and Robert Carleson. The U.S. Senate passed our proposed balanced budget/spending limitation amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Aug. 4, 1982, by a bipartisan vote of 69-31, surpassing the two-thirds requirement by two votes. In the House of Representatives, the amendment was approved by a bipartisan majority (236-187), but it did not meet the two-thirds vote required by Article 5 of the Constitution. The amendment can be found in Milton and Rose Friedman's "Tyranny of the Status Quo" or the appendix of their "Free to Choose."



Pseudo-Christians Promote Open Borders And A Gender Neutral God

The governing body of the Episcopalian Diocese of Washington, D.C., approved measures to adopt gender neutral pronouns for God, embrace transgenderism, and a push for open borders.

The 123rd Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Church in D.C. passed a trifecta of resolutions Saturday to replace all gendered pronouns referring to God with gender neutral pronouns, oppose laws against illegal immigration, and open traditionally gender restricted congregational roles and facilities, like bathrooms, to transgender individuals. The convention, held at the Washington National Cathedral, passed the resolutions within an hour, according to The Institute On Religion & Democracy.

The resolutions, entitled “On Becoming a Sanctuary Diocese: Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants,” “On the Gendered Language for God,” and “On Inclusion of Transgender People,” garnered support from Rev. Kimberly Lucas, who sponsored all three, and Rev. Alex Dyer, who proposed two of the resolutions. Lucas serves as rector of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in D.C. and Dyer serves as rector of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Parish in D.C., both of which have suffered a massive decline in member participation within the last decade, according to parochial reports.

Dyer also garnered attention for installing banners around construction fences depicting Jesus face-palming with sarcastic quips like “The President said what?” and the tagline “a progressive church for a progressive city.”

The D.C. diocese resolved, in their “Sacred Welcome To Immigrants,” to “oppose the policies of the incumbent Executive Branch that target undocumented immigrants for deportation while also placing undue restrictions on refugees seeking safe haven in the U.S.” Those who drafted the resolution said they intended it as a message of solidarity to illegal immigrants within the diocese.

The diocese also agreed, via the gendered language resolution, to replace all references to the Father and the Son in the Book of Common Prayer with gender neutral pronouns, a move which some theologians decry as undermining the theology of the Trinity, that is one of the central tenets of Christianity. The resolution’s authors argued, in contrast, that “our current gender roles shape and limit our understanding of God.”

Rev. Linda R. Calkins, a diocesan delegate and proponent of the resolution, also urged the diocese to consider adopting the “The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation,” that removes all gender specific pronouns for God from scripture.

Calkins attempted to justify her position by arguing that El Shaddai, one of the Hebrew names for God in the Old Testament, really means “God with breasts.” The actual meaning of El Shaddai is widely debated among biblical scholars, as the most popular interpretation is “God Almighty,” though other historical translations come out to “God the Destroyer,” “God of the Mountain,” or “The God who is sufficient.” Scholars adhering to the “breasts” translation actually interpret the name as a depiction of God giving blessings of nourishment and fertility, rather than literally ascribing feminine qualities to God.

Parishes within the diocese will also “remove all obstacles to full participation in congregational life by making all gender-specific facilities and activities fully accessible, regardless of gender identity and expression,” according to the resolution on embracing transgender individuals. Those who wrote and proposed the resolution asserted that gender definitions had become fluid in modern society and that, rather than adhere to a biblical view of God’s intended natural order for creation, the church needed to adapt to the whims of culture.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL 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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, February 08, 2018

Trump: Nancy Pelosi Is 'Our Secret Weapon'

In remarks at the Sheffer Corporation in Blue Ash, Ohio, Monday, President Trump criticized House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), calling her the Republicans' "secret weapon."

"Nancy Pelosi -- what she's doing to this country -- and she's gone so far left, and Schumer's gone so far left -- I look forward to running against them," Trump said, referring to both the midterm election in November and the presidential election in 2020.

Trump urged his audience to "start thinking about '18. Start thinking about November." He said Pelosi and her fellow Democrats want to raise taxes on Americans while depriving the military of funding. Then he mentioned the bonuses and rising family incomes created, he said, by the Republican tax cut legislation.

So Nancy Pelosi, again, said, 'That's crumbs.' Well, she's a rich woman who lives in a big, beautiful house in California who wants to give all of your money away, and she talked about crumbs.

And I really think her statement about crumbs -- because you're getting thousands and thousands of dollars, and you're getting it every year. So I think her statement, 'crumbs,' will be equivalent -- and I said this the other day for the first time. When I first heard the word 'deplorable,' I thought it was a bad thing. But I had no idea it was not going to be good for our opponent.

It was not good, because, about two days after she (Hillary Clinton) said it, I go to a rally, and everyone's wearing shirts: 'I am a deplorable.' 'We're all deplorables.' I said, what's going on with the word 'deplorable,' Rob?"

You know, we had that, right? It just went pretty wild. It was not a good day for her, and I think this is not a good day for Nancy Pelosi. She's our secret weapon.

The crowd laughed, and Trump continued:

"No, she's our secret -- I just hope they don't change her. There are a lot of people that want to run her out. She's -- she's really out there, and I'm supposed to make a deal with her."

Pelosi is insisting on an immediate immigration deal that gives legal status to dreamers, while deferring any action on chain migration or the diversity visa lottery. President Trump insists that any dreamer deal include three other elements -- border security, including a wall; and an end to chain migration and the diversity visa lottery.



Remembering the Great Communicator on His Birthday

In his 1989 farewell address to the American people, President Ronald Reagan corrected the simplistic notion that he was simply a great communicator by saying: “I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things,” gathered from “our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in principles that have guided us for two centuries.”

But Reagan was, in fact, a superb orator—one of the most inspiring in American politics, at ease with a formal address to Congress or to the British Parliament, a “fireside chat” with the American people from the Oval Office or a blunt challenge to a foreign adversary.

As we celebrate his birthday this week, I offer some of the “secrets” about his public speaking I have discovered during my decades of writing about our 40th president.

In “Speaking My Mind,” a collection of his speeches, the president readily admitted he had honed his speaking ability while in Hollywood making movies and later as host of the TV program “GE Theater.” He was aware that his political success was due, in part, to his ability to give a good speech based on two things: “to be honest” in what you are saying, and “to be in touch with [your] audience.”

The president emphasized that it was not just “my rhetoric or delivery” that carried him into the White House but that his speeches contained basic truths that the average American instinctively recognized, like the necessity of preserving individual freedom. “What I said simply made sense to the [man] on the street,” he said.

In his early career as a radio broadcaster in Iowa, he discovered a basic rule that he followed all his life: “Talk to your audience, not over their heads or through them. Don’t try to talk in a special language of broadcasting or even of politics, just use normal everyday words.”

On the eve of his election as president, when a reporter asked Reagan what he thought other Americans saw in him, he replied: “Would you laugh if I told you that I think maybe, they see themselves and that I’m one of them.” And he added: “I’ve never been able to detach myself or think that I, somehow, am apart from them.”

Like a popular singer who happily sings a favorite song for his audience, Reagan was a “big believer” in stump speeches because, he explained, your message eventually “will sink into the collective consciousness” of the people. “If you have something you believe in deeply,” he said, “it’s worth repeating time and again until you achieve it. You also get better at delivering it.”

That proved to be the case for his famous “A Time for Choosing” TV address in support of Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., which he had been delivering throughout California in the fall of 1964.

The choice before the people in the presidential campaign, Reagan said, was simple: “Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

Has anyone ever presented a more concise argument against the progressive paradigm?

Reagan also addressed and rejected the liberal argument that “we have to choose between a left or right.” “There is no such thing as left or right,” he said. “There’s only an up or down, up to man’s age-old dream of individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.”

Is it any wonder that after hearing Reagan speak, voters flooded the Goldwater campaign headquarters with telegrams, letters, and checks totaling $1 million and urgently requesting copies of the Reagan address to replay in their towns and communities?

Here is another “secret” of the Great Communicator. Before his Oval Office talks, an aide would bring the president a glass of water wrapped in a small towel. Why wrapped? Because the water was warm—almost hot—calculated to relax his vocal chords. He had adopted this procedure on the advice of a Hollywood friend who knew something about the voice—Frank Sinatra.

And where did the quotations, aphorisms, and excerpts that Reagan used so effectively come from?

While some were provided by his speechwriters, most of them came from a private collection of 4×6 note cards personally written by the president. Presidential aides had long heard about the notes collection, but not until the spring of 2010 were the notes found by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library staff in a cardboard box marked only “RR’s desk.”

We are indebted to historian and Reagan biographer Douglas Brinkley for arranging and publishing them as “The Notes: Ronald Reagan’s Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom.”

Taken from books, magazines, speeches, and even poems, the notes reflect Reagan’s firm faith and perennial optimism about work, marriage, and family. There are classic one-liners like “Flattery is what makes husbands out of bachelors” and “Money may not buy you friends, but it will help you to stay in contact with your children.”

There is historical wisdom like Winston Churchill’s observation that “when great forces are on the move in the world we learn we are spirits not animals. There is something going on in time and space and beyond time and space which whether we like it or not spells duty.”

There are quotes from surprising sources like the 19th-century French free-market economist Frederic Bastiat, who wrote: “People are beginning to realize that the apparatus of government is costly. But what they do not know is that the burden falls inevitably on them.”

And quotes from likely sources like the revolutionary American pamphleteer Thomas Paine who wrote, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

And there is the Scottish ballad which Reagan quoted to his grieving campaign staff in 1976 after he narrowly lost the Republican presidential nomination to Gerald Ford: “I am hurt but I am not slain. I’ll lay me down and bleed a while and then I’ll rise and fight again.”

That’s exactly what he did four years later when he won the GOP presidential nomination and then the presidency, commencing upon eight years in the White House, which some historians have described as the “age of Reagan.”

As Reagan made clear, a good speech must be truthful. It must not pander to the emotions. It must take into account the audience’s mood and guide their passions and imagination, while using the words of the common man.

A great speech must be concerned with great things—first principles such as liberty, justice, and equality, principles that have shaped America from the very beginning, and still do today.

Here, then, are some of the secrets of the Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan, whose eloquent voice is not stilled but remains available to us any day and hour through YouTube and other social media.



An interesting experiment

People don't like minorities near them

What I tried to do was change social geography and see how that changed people’s behaviors. We sent two Spanish-speakers to Grafton and other places that are very white and asked them to stand in randomly selected train stations and speak Spanish for a few minutes every day. What we wanted to know was how people reacted to a change in social geography, and whether that affected the way they thought about politics.

We surveyed people waiting for the train, who were largely upper class, liberal, and white, before and after the experiment, about their politics and attitudes on immigration.

What we found was that people who were exposed to these two Spanish-speakers — who weren’t doing anything unusual, just speaking Spanish, spending a few minutes on the train station every day — changed their attitudes toward immigration. They became sharply exclusionary, and they said they wanted to keep immigrants out of the country. The experiment was completely random, nothing else changed, and it was the mere presence of these other people, this change in social geography, that changed their attitudes about politics.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL 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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Even psychologists are now beginning to notice Leftist authoritarianism

With Antifa and many students marching in the footsteps of Hitler's brownshirts, it had become hard not to notice.After the summary and abstract below I add a few notes designed to recontextualize the article below

New research provides evidence that left-wing authoritarian attitudes exist in the United States. The preliminary findings, published in the scientific journal Political Psychology, suggest liberals could be just as likely to be authoritarians as conservatives.

“Political ideology in general is one of the most important and predictive variables in human psychology,” said study author Lucian Gideon Conway, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Montana.

“I became interested in left-wing authoritarianism in particular because some people have said it isn’t a very real or likely phenomenon — and yet I know people I would describe as left-wing authoritarians. So I was curious to figure that out.”

Conway and his colleagues developed a measure of left-wing authoritarianism, which was adapted from the right-wing authoritarianism scale developed by psychologist Bob Altemeyer.

The RWA scale asks participants how much they agree with statements such as: “It’s always better to trust the judgment of the proper authorities in government and religion than to listen to the noisy rabble-rousers in our society who are trying to create doubts in people’s minds” and “Our country desperately needs a mighty leader who will do what has to be done to destroy the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us.”

The new LWA scale, on the other hand, asks questions such as: “It’s always better to trust the judgment of the proper authorities in science with respect to issues like global warming and evolution than to listen to the noisy rabble-rousers in our society who are trying to create doubts in people’s minds” and “Our country desperately needs a mighty leader who will do what has to be done to destroy the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us.”

Both scales were tested on a group of 475 undergraduates at the University of Montana and a group of 305 U.S. adults who were recruited online from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

The researchers found that left-wing authoritarianism was associated with liberal views, dogmatism, and prejudice among both samples of participants, suggesting it is a valid concept.

“Our data suggest that average Americans on the political left are just as likely to be dogmatic authoritarians as those on the political right. And those left-wing authoritarians can be just as prejudiced, dogmatic, and extremist as right-wing authoritarians,” Conway told PsyPost.


Finding the Loch Ness Monster: Left-Wing Authoritarianism in the United States

Lucian Gideon Conway III et al.


Although past research suggests authoritarianism may be a uniquely right-wing phenomenon, the present two studies tested the hypothesis that authoritarianism exists in both right-wing and left-wing contexts in essentially equal degrees. Across two studies, university (n = 475) and Mechanical Turk (n = 298) participants completed either the RWA (right-wing authoritarianism) scale or a newly developed (and parallel) LWA (left-wing authoritarianism) scale. Participants further completed measurements of ideology and three domain-specific scales: prejudice, dogmatism, and attitude strength. Findings from both studies lend support to an authoritarianism symmetry hypothesis: Significant positive correlations emerged between LWA and measurements of liberalism, prejudice, dogmatism, and attitude strength. These results largely paralleled those correlating RWA with identical conservative-focused measurements, and an overall effect-size measurement showed LWA was similarly related to those constructs (compared to RWA) in both Study 1 and Study 2. Taken together, these studies provide evidence that LWA may be a viable construct in ordinary U.S. samples.


COMMENT: This article was written from within the tight bubble of leftist political psychology so it is unusual only in that context.

Readers of history or observers of contemporary politics would know that ALL Leftism is authoritarian. Barack Obama was the chosen delegate of the Democratic party so when in his first campaign he said to wild cheers from his supporters that his aim was to "fundamentally transform" America he was presenting an ideology that was just about as authoritarian as you could get. And Leftism in general is about imposed change.

And in the French revolution and the Communist regimes of the 20th century we saw how brutally Leftists impose change when they get their hands of the levers of power. Fortunately, Congress was too big a block on change for Mr Obama to accomplish much of his aims.

But let us temporarily abandon reality and dive into the bubble of Leftist thinking about political psychology.

Leftist political psychology principally originated to meet a desperate need of the American Left immediately after the defeat of Hitler. Hitler had become a huge embarrassment. Anybody who knew well the Americam "Progressive" politics of the 1930's would be aware Hitler's ideas and what was preached by Americam "Progressives" were basically the same -- including the antisemitism and the eugenics. Hitler just applied German thoroughness to 1930s socialism.

But Hitler was now the great political failure so there was a desperate need to prevent any connections with him and his ideas. You could abandon some of your policies that you shared with hin -- such as eugenics -- but other policies -- such as hostility to business and a desire to control it -- were too basic to let go.

So where was a way out of that dilemma? One way out was to adopt the Communist claim that Hitler was "Rightist". And the Marxists were partly right about that. Hitler was less disruptive to the existing order than the Communists in Russia were so he was clearly to the right of Communism, but Leftist otherwise. But that in fact made him MORE like the American Progressives than less so that was not much of a solution.

But help was at hand. Some mostly German academics led by prominent Marxist theoretician, Theodor Wiesengrund (AKA Adorno) had a solution. They would use the methods of psychological research to show that it was really conservatives, not Leftists who threatened America with authoritarian rule. Reality could be flipped on its head and conservatives could be presented as the true heirs of Hitler.

One would have thought that such an absurdly counter-factual proposition would be laughed to death but the opposite happened. The whole American Left celebrated the revelation with gladsome hearts. They built an intellectual bubble wherein only conservatives could be authoritarian. And they never strayed from that bubble. The highpoint of that folly was probably when Robert Altemeyer claimed that he couldn't find a single Authoritarian Leftist in the whole of Canada! So you can see what brave skeptics Conway and his co-authors above are. It will be interesting to see if he has any influence.

Just a methodological note to conclude: Conway et al. used as their measure of authoritarianism the ludicrous Altemeyer RWA scale. That scale allegedly measures Right-wing authoritarianism. But the highest scores found on it were from Russian Communists. But if Communists are Right-swing, we would seem to be in a state of definitional collapse. If Communists are Right-wing, who are the Leftists? The RWA scale clearly does not measure what it claims to measure.

Altemeyer himself has backed down in response to that revelation and defined his RWA scale as measuring "submission to the perceived established authorities in one's life". It now measures neither authoritarianism nor anything Right wing! Looking at its items, I would say that it just measures political hostility but who knows what it measures, if anything?

In his future research Conway should clearly pay much more attention to the validity of the instruments he uses. As it stands, I doubt that he has proved anything

My academic publications on authoritarianism are here.  A comment on Altemeyer's more recent capers is here


Britain fumes as Trump tweets insults about National Health Service crisis

America's health system gives pretty poor treatment to the poor.  Britain's health system gives poor treatment to most people.  But Brits still love their NHS because it is "free".  They overlook the dangerously long waits for treatment that they often have to suffer.  The truth is the NHS is at breaking point due in part to a population/immigration crisis. It hasn't got enough hospitals, doctors or facilities to cope.

HE MIGHT as well have insulted the Queen. Brits are fuming after Donald Trump slammed a beloved national institution.

JUST when the “special relationship” seemed to be back on track, President Trump has sparked a wave of anger in the UK over insulting a national point of pride; the healthcare system.

The US leader set his sights on Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) on Monday, tweeting that “thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working”.

The comment sparked a huge backlash from Brits over the accuracy of the claims — particularly as the march he referred to was designed to demand more funding for the NHS following a decade of austerity measures.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “I may disagree with claims made on that march but not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28m people have no cover” in reference to the Republican goal of repealing and replacing Obamacare.

“NHS may have challenges but I’m proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage — where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance.”

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn simply tweeted: “Wrong. People were marching because we love our NHS and hate what the Tories are doing to it. Healthcare is a human right.”

Broadcaster Piers Morgan, who recently extracted an almost-apology from Trump for retweeting anti-Muslim videos shared by nationalist group Britain First, also called him out, writing “the US healthcare system is a sick joke & the envy of no-one.”

Others were not so diplomatic, calling the President an “absolute plank” and saying US-style policies are what has caused the chaos this winter that has seen operations cancelled due to beds being full in some places.

The NHS is widely seen as a point of national pride in the UK despite its funding problems and pressures, even included in the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL 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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Rebuttal to a conservative critique of Peterson

Stop press: Facebook has just blocked Peterson from posting

David Marcus below makes some criticisms that I should probably leave for Peterson himself to answer but Peterson is a very busy man so maybe it might be useful for me to say a few words on the matter. 

Where Marcus is tendentious is that he is quite uncritical of the common Leftist claim that American blacks have been damaged by their history of slavery.  It allegedly takes away from blacks any responsibility for any disadvantage they may have and demonizes "whitey".

The claim has often been systematically debunked over the years so I will make only some desultory remarks about it.  The basic claim is that blacks have been demoralized and cowed by their history. They lack the will to fight an oppressive system.  But there is a large psychological research literature on self esteem and all the studies of black self-esteem show it to be very high.  They are TOO self-confident if anything.  They are NOT psychologically oppressed.

At this point I could perhaps mention that I myself am descended from two people who were transported across the ocean chained up in the holds of rickety wooden ships. They were convicts transported from Britain to help found the colony that later became Australia.  They were used as slave labour to do the work of setting up the new colony.  So are their descendents crippled psychologically by their origins?  Far from it.  To have convict ancestry these days in Australia is in fact rather prestigious.  Claims about damage passed down from how our ancestors were treated are founded on speculation rather than real life.

Secondly, blacks were in many ways better off in the near aftermath of slavery than they are now.  In the 19th and early 20th centuries, most black children grew up in mother & father families and the husband had a job that supported them.  That is not remotely so now.  So if slavery created irresponsible and feckless attitudes, they were not transmitted.   The psychological chain between slavery and now was broken long ago.

Thirdly, when do we allow changed circumstances to have any effect?  Affirmative action has been around for decades now has made blacks privileged rather than discriminated against.  Should that not have lifted them up?  There is little sign of it.  So that too undermines discrimination as a cause of black disadvantage. 

And fourthly, we have to live in the world we have got. And in that world just about all have the opportunity to make of ourselves what we can.  The key to economic and social success is undoubtedly education and education to High School standard is provided for all.  If you wreck your educational chances by being disruptive or dropping out, you will have a very low-quality life regardless of your skin colour.

But black schools are dreck, someone might say.  They are.  You are not going to get much of an education if you do just about anything rather than sit and listen to the teacher.  As it happens, the children of Chinese migrants often go to the same schools.  They learn and do well.  They think their schools are dreck too but they just keep their heads down and study their books.

So you do largely create your own privilege.  There is of course some unearned privilege.  Inheriting a lot of money can open many doors.  But such privilege may be a lot less than it seems. The heirs of John D. Rockefeller have not all had happy lives despite the vast riches that John D. left when he died.

And the silliest claim of inborn privilege is "white privilege".  Tell that to the white guy in the trailer park who has trouble with paying his utility bills and has to put up with feral neighbors close by.  Where is his privilege? Whites who seem privileged will mostly be that way because they seized the privilege of working hard first at their studies and then at a productive job.

And let me point out that white privilege is a Nazi concept. It is as race-obsessed as Hitler was.  Hitler thought that there was an unfairly privileged race in Germany, the Jews. They  sat at the top of every pyramid in Germany.  They were not only prominent in politics but were also the bankers, businessmen, professionals and artists.  That seemed wrong to Hitler, just as white privilege seems wrong to American Leftists.  Hitler did not at all consider that prominent Jews earned their privilege by spending a long time in the educational system and then  working hard subsequently. So racial theories of privilege are clearly evil, whether it is Jews or whites who are the hate-object.

But what about white privilege in encounters with the cops?  The privilege is great but it is again earned.  I have had several encounters with traffic police during which I was calm, polite  and co-operative. On all occasions the politeness was returned and I was shortly thereafter back on my way. Most whites are like that. 

With blacks, however, it can be very different.  Blacks often abuse the police, may fight or shoot at the police and make strenuous efforts to evade arrest, including running from the police.  Police don't like that. Their very safety is at risk.  So they approach blacks on hairtrigger alert. They would be mad to do otherwise.  And in those circumstances some possibly innocent move by a black can be misinterpreted and the trigger will be pulled -- killing a possibly innocent man. That is inherited privilege too -- negative privilege. 

And I can't see any cure for it.  Police have to be expert at judging risks but even so they will sometimes get it wrong.  And, with the help of Mr Obama, black attitudes to the police seem to have worsened rather than improved in recent times.  There is no way that is going to end well.

Dr. Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has been gaining celebrity. He first emerged in refusing to accept his university’s dictate to use transgendered students’ preferred pronouns and a broader fight against Canadian legislation to demand such usage. Since then, in a series of wildly popular YouTube videos ranging from studies of the Bible to anti-postmodernist lectures, his star has risen. This year, his book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” came out and is selling well.

Towards the end of a recent lecture, Peterson tackled the issue of white privilege. The 10-minute segment went viral, praised by many as refutation of the idea that white privilege even exists. Frankly, it was not his best work. It’s a bit sloppy on the concept itself, and utterly failed to take into account the broad context of racial issues that led to the idea in the first place.

It’s useful to look at what Peterson gets wrong here, and what he gets right. He is venturing into very dangerous territory with a cavalier attitude, and this could undermine the important counter-cultural ideas he is using to challenge, not just the academy, but our culture at large.

What Jordan Peterson Gets Wrong

Peterson’s main argument against white privilege is that race is but one of many possibly infinite differentials in human beings that may accrue benefits. He cites attractiveness and intelligence as two examples that could give individuals unearned advantages. But in the American context (Peterson is Canadian) these are somewhat strange comparisons. This is because ugly, dumb people were not subjected to centuries of slavery and a further century of debilitating Jim Crow laws.

History doesn’t begin in 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, or in 2009 when Barack Obama became president. While smarts and looks are unfair gifts of natural selection, the advantages of being white in America are a manmade phenomenon based on centuries of bigotry and irrational bias. To compare these things is facile and badly misses the point.

Peterson makes things worse with a bizarre analogy between American and Chinese culture. He claims that white privilege is really “majority privilege.” Tackling the classic examples of white people being more represented in media and education, less suspected of potential theft in stores, and having freer options in housing, among others, he says:

Is that white privilege, or is that, like majority privilege? Is the same true if you go to China, you’re Chinese, is the same true if you’re Chinese? Is it majority privilege, and if its majority privilege, isn’t that just part of living within your culture? So let’s say you live in your culture, you’re privileged in that culture, well obviously. That’s what the culture is for. That’s what it’s for. Why would you bother building the d-mn thing if it didn’t accrue benefits to you? Well, you might say one of the consequences is that it accrues fewer benefits to those who aren’t in the culture. Yeah, but you can’t immediately associate that with race.

In the United States of America we can absolutely, without question, associate that with race. This is because black people have been here since well before the American founding. There is no American culture that doesn’t involve black people. They were not interlopers in some society built by whites. They literally built the White House. They picked the cotton and tobacco, they were the unpaid economic engine that made America great, and they were infamously mistreated for centuries. It is a cringe-worthy moment, and one can’t help but feel that Peterson hasn’t thought it the whole way through.

What He Gets Right

Although he doesn’t quite manage to say it, what Peterson is rightfully rejecting is not the idea that white people in America have privilege. In fact, above he confirms it. He is arguing that, as a pedagogical tool, this fact is extremely limited and potentially dangerous. He is rejecting the idea that white people today have a reason to feel guilty about their skin color, and the idea that accepting such guilt will lead to some kind of good end.

Furthermore, he rightfully criticizes the lack of serious scholarship surrounding privilege theory. It is a concept almost always backed up anecdotally and rarely subjected to serious empirical investigation. When it is, the evidence of bias is often sketchy at best. But once we admit, as Peterson does, that white people do accrue unearned advantages, either by science or storytelling we have a responsibility to examine this and try to make sure that people are not subject to denigrating treatment based on their skin color.

We Need Peterson to Be Careful

Peterson is an enormously important, even vital voice in an academic, governmental, and media environment that often seeks to crush dissenting voices. In his book, “The War Against Free Speech,” he says the following about his refusal to be compelled to use certain pronouns: “Many of the doctrines that underlie the legislation that I’ve been objecting to share structural similarities with the Marxist ideas that drove Soviet Communism. The thing I object to the most was the insistence that people use these made up words like ‘xe’ and ‘xer’ that are the construction of authoritarians. There isn’t a hope in h-ll that I’m going to use their language, because I know where that leads.”

This is a message that needs to be heard. And it is important to understand that Peterson is not trying to convince postmodern progressives to change their ways, a task Sisyphus would look at and say, “Boy, I’m glad I don’t have to do that.” His targeted audience is different. Part of it is people who simply shrug at things like compelled speech and wonder why it’s their business. He does a great job of explaining why it is their business and why it is a threat.

Another important target of Peterson’s program is disaffected young men. These are men who feel beaten down by the world and women’s success, the attacks on masculinity. Who feel they are being told their very instincts are toxic. These men are prime targets for the alt-right, the men’s rights movement, and a whole host of antisocial behaviors, because what’s the difference anyway? He tells these young men that they can be men, but that means more than expressing their anger, it means taking responsibility, being productive. Getting in the game.

In trying to reach these young men, Peterson has appeared with some questionable figures. Eyebrows were raised when he was interviewed by the controversial, alleged alt-rightist Stefan Molyneux, for example. If you want to help sinners, you have to go where the sin is, but there is a danger here. Peterson is poised to hit the mainstream, something that would accrue a lot of benefits for those who believe in a freer society. These kinds of appearances and awkward attacks on privilege theory put such mainstream acceptance in jeopardy.

Welcome to the big leagues, Dr. Peterson. The balls are going to come at you fast and hard. You have to judiciously pick and choose which you swing at.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL 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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, February 05, 2018

The Coup Against America

The memo has been released, now it's time to release everything

The Democrats and the media spent a week lying to the American people about the "memo."

The memo was full of "classified information" and releasing" it would expose "our spying methods." By "our," they didn't mean American spying methods. They meant Obama's spying methods.

A former White House Ethics Lawyer claimed that the Nunes memo would undermine "national security." On MSNBC, Senator Chris Van Hollen threatened that if the memo is released, the FBI and DOJ "will refuse to share information with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees."

Senator Cory Booker howled that releasing the memo was "treasonous" and might be "revealing sources and methods" and even "endangering fellow Americans in the intelligence community."

The memo isn't treasonous. It reveals a treasonous effort by the Democrats to use our intelligence agencies to rig an election and overturn the will of the voters.

The media spent a week lying to Americans about the dangers of the memo because it didn't want them to find out what was inside. Today, the media and Dems switched from claiming that the memo was full of "classified information" that might get CIA agents killed to insisting that it was a dud and didn't matter. Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.

On Thursday, the narrative was that the memo would devastate our national security and no one should ever be allowed to read it. By Friday, the new narrative was that the memo tells us nothing important and we shouldn't even bother reading it. The lies change, but suppressing the memo remains the goal.

There is no legitimately classified information in the Nunes memo. But it does endanger a number of "Americans" in the "intelligence community" who colluded with the Clinton campaign against America.

It endangers former FBI Director Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the current FBI General Counsel Dana Boente who had previously served as the Acting Attorney General. These men and women had allegedly signed FISA applications that were at best misleading and at worst badly tainted.

The Clinton campaign had enlisted figures in the FBI and the DOJ to manipulate an election. The coup against America operated as a "state within a state" inside the United States government.

"The political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials," the memo informs us. But they did not reveal on the FISA application that their core evidence came from the Clinton campaign. Sources were certainly being protected. But they were Clinton sources.

The memo reveals that without the Steele dossier there would have been no eavesdropping on Carter Page, the Trump associate targeted in this particular case. "Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information." But the FISA application neglected to mention that its primary source had been paid by the Clinton campaign, was unverified and would continue to be unverified.

FBI Director Comey testified that he had told President Trump that the dossier was "unverified." Yet the "unverified" piece of opposition research was used as the basis for a FISA application.

As Rep. Jim Jordan noted, "FBI takes 'salacious and unverified' dossier to secret court to get secret warrant to spy on a fellow American, and FBI doesn't tell the court that the DNC/Clinton campaign paid for that dossier. And they did that FOUR times."

"There's been no evidence of a corrupt evidence to obtain warrants against people in the Trump campaign," Rep. Adam Schiff insisted. That's why he tried to block the release of the evidence.

The evidence was unverified opposition research. Its source had been paid by the Clinton campaign. Not only had Steele been indirectly working for the Clinton campaign (when he wasn't being paid by the FBI), but he made no secret of his own political agenda to stop Trump.

"In September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president," the memo informs us.

That's former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr whose wife was being paid by an organization hired by the Clinton campaign to investigate Trump. Ohr then passed along his wife's opposition research to the FBI. The evidence couldn't be any more corrupt than that.

Steele was passionate about Trump "not being president." So were his handlers who ignored his leaks to the media until he "was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations-an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI." His previous meetings, including the one that allegedly generated the Yahoo News article, were ignored.

Tainted investigations are nothing new. Law enforcement is as fallible as any other profession. But the memo reveals a snapshot of just how many top figures colluded in this corrupted and tainted effort.

What drove them to violate professional ethical norms and legal requirements in the FISA applications?

Top DOJ and FBI officials shared Steele's "passion," and that of his ultimate employer, Hillary Clinton, to stop Donald Trump at all costs. And they're still trying to use the Mueller investigation to overturn the election results in a government coup that makes Watergate look like a children's tea party,

Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is already under investigation. He's suspected of trying to sit on the Wiener emails until the election was over. This alleged failed cover-up triggered the Comey letter which hurt Hillary worse than a timely revelation would have. McCabe's wife had financial links to the Clintons.

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was an Obama holdover who had foolishly tried to use the DOJ to go to war with President Trump. Both Yates and Dana Boente were Obama and Holder choices. During the groundless prosecution of the former Republican governor of Virginia, Boente had declared, "No one is above the law." We'll see if that's true with everyone who signed the FISA applications.

If Boente signed false or misleading FISA applications, he should be removed as FBI General Counsel.

The memo is only the first crack in the wall. But it's grounds for an investigation that will expose the abuses that led to eavesdropping on Trump officials. And the motives of those who perpetuated them.

A Washington Post piece suggested that just releasing the memo alone would allow Mueller to charge President Trump with "obstruction of justice." That's how badly they want to get Trump.

A clear and simple fact emerges from the memo.

Top figures in the DOJ and the FBI, some loyal to Obama and Hillary, abused the FISA process in the hopes of influencing or reversing the results of an election by targeting their political opponents. The tool that they used for the job came from the Clinton campaign. Using America's intelligence services to destroy and defeat a political opponent running for president is the worst possible abuse of power and an unprecedented threat to a democratic system of free open elections.

We have been treated to frequent lectures about the independence of the DOJ and the FBI. But our country isn't based around government institutions that are independent of oversight by elected officials. When unelected officials have more power than elected officials, that's tyranny.

A Justice Department that acts as the Praetorian Guard for a political campaign is committing a coup and engaging in treason. The complex ways that the Steele dossier was laundered from the Clinton campaign to a FISA application is evidence of a conspiracy by both the DOJ and the Clinton campaign.

It's time for us to learn about all the FISA abuses, the list of NSA unmasking requests of Trump officials by Obama officials and the eavesdropping on members of Congress. We deserve to know the truth.

The memo has been released. Now it's time to release everything.



A tweet from The Donald

Rasmussen just announced that my approval rating jumped to 49%, a far better number than I had in winning the Election, and higher than certain “sacred cows.” Other Trump polls are way up also. So why does the media refuse to write this? Oh well, someday!


So you thought fish oil was good for you?

The article below reports a meta-analysis so I reproduce the conclusions only

Associations of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement Use With Cardiovascular Disease Risks

Theingi Aung et al

Conclusions and Relevance:  This meta-analysis demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids had no significant association with fatal or nonfatal coronary heart disease or any major vascular events. It provides no support for current recommendations for the use of such supplements in people with a history of coronary heart disease.

JAMA Cardiol. Published online January 31, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2017.5205


Statins:  Another "no benefit" finding

Association of Baseline Statin Use Among Older Adults Without Clinical Cardiovascular Disease in the SPRINT Trial

Marco D. Huesch

JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 22, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.7844


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL 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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, February 04, 2018

Attractive people are more likely to be conservatives -- because they have it 'too easy'?

The basic finding below is a fairly well-established one so I am not going to question it.  It in fact fits in with three other well-established findings. The happiness research shows that your degree of happiness is inborn and largely fixed throughout your life and it also shows that conservatives are reliably happier.  And the third finding is from genetics research and shows that your degree of conservatism is largely inborn. And with the help of political history we can refine the conclusion from happiness research to say that the psychological basis for conservatism is contentment.  Contentment could be regarded as the chronic form of happiness.

So I draw a different but related conclusion from the one below.  I think it fits in best with  existing research to say that attractive people are more content and hence less aggrieved.  It is undoubted that they have an easier time in all sorts of ways so have little to complain about.  And that is the psychological foundation of conservatism: Contentment. 

Leftists on the other hand are characterized by complaint and grievance. They see all sorts of things that are wrong in the world about them and are unhappy about it, sometimes to the point of rage.  And that may be because they have not done well in various ways.  So what we see below is another instance of the generalization that conservatives are the contented people.  It's a great way to be.  And, fortunately it's not only good looking people who are contented. And if you want to be contented but are not, there is a myriad of self-help books which claim to make you more contented

It may be noted that we have here an example of something that every scientist aspires to:  A demonstration that a particular thing is an example of a more general rule.  In this case we see that attractive people are conservative because contented people in general are conservative. There is no need to postulate that attractive people are insensitive, uncaring etc.  We have no evidence of that.

So I think that is the straightforward explanation of the findings below.  But there may be other contributing factors.  It seems to me likely that Leftists on the whole take less care of their appearance, the extreme ones particularly.  Men with scraggly beards and dreadlocks may be quite happy about their appearance but will not generally be seen as attractive. And Leftist women who use little or no  makeup and wear baggy clothes will definitely contrast adversely with a carefully presented conservative lady. So the causal arrow can point backwards, with Leftism leading to unattractiveness. Leftism may be the egg that produces the chicken of unattractiveness.

And it seems likely that there is another influence of that kind.  Who looks more attractive, a person with a happy smile or a person with an angry face?  There is no doubt of the answer to that, is there?  So again, Leftism might lead to ugliness. And that could be permanent or semi permanent.  In the psychological literature on masking behaviour, we do come across examples of a habitual facial expression becoming more or less permanent.  So a face that is often angry may become normally angry, angry-looking regardless of the mood at the time. 

Trygve Braatoy's "psychomotor therapy" of the 1940s even claimed that if a mask is worn long enough it becomes the person.  There is some apparent experimental confirmation of that.

Perhaps I can close with a small personal anecdote.  Around 50 years ago, I noted that there was one person prominent in Australian public life who seemed to my judgment to be very good looking. He was David Flint.  He is now 80 but for decades now he has been remarkably and publicly conservative across the board, which is all the more remarkable since he is homosexual. And he still writes well, including praise for Mr Trump. His reaction to Trump's SOTU address:  "The West has at last a great leader who will not only make America great again, he will do that for the West"

Because the internet is less and less comprehensive the further back you go, I could find no pictures of the young Flint.  In the picture below he was in his 40s but it may give you some idea of his early looks.  He has some slight Asian (Indonesian) ancestry which may have something to do with his good skin. 

Scientists know that being attractive influences huge areas in a person's life, including how much they earn and what they enjoy doing in their spare time.

Now, a new study claims that beauty can make a person right-wing.

The research argues that people who are attractive are more likely to be conservative because they are 'blind' to the struggles of those who are less fortunate.

Attractiveness in a person often results in an easier life, which can cause desensitisation towards the need for many left-wing policies, such as financial aid

The study was conducted by Dr Rolfe Daus Peterson, a political scholar from Susquehanna University and Dr Carl Palmar, assistant professor in politics at Illinois State University.

The researchers claim that there is 'good reason to believe that individuals' physical attractiveness may alter their political values and worldviews'.

The scientists said in their study that attractive people have better social skills and are more popular, competent and intelligent due to something known as the 'halo effect' - where an individual's view of other people is altered by bias and stereotypes.

But their beauty also makes them less empathetic towards those who find life a struggle, making them more likely to be conservative.

The authors also noted previous studies have shown good-looking people are treated better than others, achieve higher status and are happier, and so are more likely to see the world as 'just' place.

To come to this finding, the scientists took figures from the 1972, 1974 and 1976 American National Studies surveys that asked those taking part to evaluate the appearance of others.

The survey also looked at participants political beliefs, income, race, gender, and education.

The researchers then compared those results with the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) that looked at the characteristics of over 10,000 high school students who were rated by others on their level of beauty. 

By combining these results, the researchers said they found a link between political alignment and attractiveness.

They found that more attractive people have a 'blind spot' which results in conservatism. This blind spot stops them from seeing the need for government aid and support, which is a staple of the liberal manifesto.

In the study the researchers say: 'Even though this blind spot may not be universally held and physically attractive individuals do not always have easier lives, on average, physically attractive individuals face fewer hurdles navigating the social world.'

The results come almost a year after another study was published.  The study, led by the Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Sweden, looked at the correlation between attractiveness and political belief in candidates.

They found that being better looking made you more likely to earn more, and that richer people are typically more opposed to policies favoured by the left, such as progressive taxes and welfare programmes.

In their paper, published in the Journal of Public Economics, the researchers, led by Niclas Berggren, wrote: 'Politicians on the right look more beautiful in Europe, the United States and Australia.

'Our explanation is that beautiful people earn more, which makes them less inclined to support redistribution.'

Previous studies have found that the more attractive people perceive themselves to be, the lower their preference for egalitarianism – another value associated with the political left.

To assess the link between attractiveness and political values, the researchers showed people pictures of political candidates in Finland, the US and Australia, and asked them to rate them on attractiveness.

The results showed that right-wing politicians were seen as more attractive than left-wingers.



Primary Crisis in America Is Abandonment of Judeo-Christian 
Values, Dismissal of the Bible

Dennis Prager

I have believed all my life that the primary crisis in America and the West is the abandonment of Judeo-Christian values, or, one might say, the dismissal of the Bible.

Virtually everyone on the left thinks America would be better off as a secular nation. And virtually all conservative intellectuals don’t think it matters. How many intellectuals study the Bible and teach it to their children?

And yet, from the time long before the United States became a country until well into the 1950s, the Bible was not only the most widely read book in America—it was the primary vehicle by which each generation passed on morality and wisdom to the next generation.

Since that time, we have gone from a Bible-based society to a Bible-ignorant one—from the Bible being the Greatest Book to the Bible being an irrelevant book.

Ask your college-age child, niece, nephew, or grandchild to identify Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, or the ten plagues. Get ready for some blank stares.

I recently asked some college graduates (none of whom were Jewish) to name the four Gospels. None could.

But what we have today is worse than ignorance of the Bible. It is contempt for it. Just about anyone who quotes the Bible, let alone says it is the source of his or her values, is essentially regarded as a simpleton who is anti-science, anti-intellectual, and sexist.

Our society, one of whose mottos is “In God We Trust,” is becoming as godless as Western Europe—and, consequently, as morally confused and unwise as Europe.

Just as most professors regard most Bible believers as foolish, I have more or less the same view of most college professors in the liberal arts.

When I hear that someone has a Ph.D. in sociology, anthropology, political science, or English, let alone women’s studies or gender studies, I assume that he or she is morally confused and bereft of wisdom. Some are not, of course. But they constitute a small minority.

Whenever teenagers call my radio show or I meet one in person, I can usually identify—almost immediately—the ones who are receiving a religion-based education. They are far more likely to act mature and have more wisdom than their Bible-free peers.

One of our two greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, rarely attended church, but he read the Bible daily. As he said while president, “In regard to this great book, I have but to say, I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given to man.”

Were he able to observe America today, Lincoln would be shocked by many things. But none would shock him as much as the widespread ignorance of and contempt for the Bible.

I have taught the Torah, from the Hebrew original, for 40 years. Of the many things I have been blessed to be able to do—from hosting a national radio show to conducting orchestras—teaching Torah is my favorite.

When asked how it has affected my life, I often note that in my early 20s, when I was working through issues I had with my parents, there was nevertheless not a week during which I did not call them.

And there was one reason for this: I believe that God commanded us to “Honor your father and your mother.”

In my commentary, I point out that while the Torah commands us to love our neighbor, love God, and love strangers, it never commands us to love our parents. It was sophisticated enough to recognize that love of parents may be impossible but showing honor to a parent is a behavioral choice.

In America, there is an epidemic of children who no longer talk to one or both of their parents. In a few cases, this is warranted. But in most cases, adult children are inflicting terrible, unfair pain upon their parents.

This is one of a myriad of examples where believing in a God-based text is transformative.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL 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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)