Friday, November 08, 2019

Conservatives Are Happier, More Generous Than Liberals

Another study confirms that leftists are the angry, unhappy, and stingy ones.

Lefty author and radio personality Garrison Keillor captured the popular view (at least according to Hollywood and the media) of the differences between liberals and conservatives, claiming, “Liberalism is the politics of kindness,” standing for “tolerance, magnanimity, community spirit, [and] the defense of the weak against the powerful.”

Conservatives, Keillor claims on the other hand, are people who “stand for tax cuts, and further tax cuts, annual tax cuts,” and then they “use their refund to buy a gun and an attack dog” to keep people away who are not like them.

Or, as Obama put it, these are the people who are “bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”

As it turns out, that is the exact opposite of the truth.

Last year, the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal published the findings of a study by University of Southern California researcher David Newman. He analyzed the happiness of 50,000 people from 16 countries over a 40-year period.

What Newman’s team discovered is that conservatives are consistently and significantly happier than their liberal counterparts, and the more conservative a person is, the happier they are. Social conservatives are even happier than just fiscal conservatives, and both are much happier than liberals. Why? Because “there is some unique aspect of political conservatism that provides people with meaning and purpose in life.”

This was true for conservatives “at all reporting periods (global, daily, and momentary).” In other words, conservatives tend to be happy as a general rule, and not just when things are going well for them. That is extremely significant. It means their happiness is related to who they are inside, rather than being a reaction to their circumstances.

Of study participants, 52% of conservatives were “completely satisfied” with their family lives, compared to just 41% of liberals and moderates. Conservatives were also significantly more likely to believe marriage is “essential in creating and maintaining strong families,” and overwhelmingly more likely to be married (62% vs. 39%).

Considering the vast data on how marriage greatly increases overall happiness and well-being, economic stability, improved physical and mental health, and life expectancy, this is a game-changer.

In 2012, the Journal of Research in Personality analyzed four studies on happiness, and found “conservatives expressed greater personal agency (e.g., personal control, responsibility), more positive outlook (e.g., optimism, self-worth), more transcendent moral beliefs (e.g., greater religiosity, greater moral clarity, less tolerance of transgressions), and a generalized belief in fairness, and these differences accounted for the happiness gap.”

In the U.S., where leftists gravitate toward the Democrat Party and conservatives to the Republican Party, these mindsets and ideologies are clearly manifest in their messaging. As one writer put it, “Republicans … preach the message of limited government, responsibility and self-reliance, while Democrats … preach a message of victimhood and entitlement. … The former is empowering and the latter is debilitating, tending only to provoke feelings of resentment, anger, and helplessness.”

This supports the findings of a Pew Research Center study showing that Republicans maintain higher levels of happiness across all income levels, so it’s not just those evil, rich Republicans swimming in their pools of cash who are happy.

Additionally, conservative Republicans are nearly twice as likely to be “very happy” as liberal Democrats (47% to 28%), and regular church attenders were nearly twice as likely to be very happy as those who rarely or never attend.

Conservative, Christian Republicans are also far more generous than their liberal Democrat counterparts, regardless of income level. And for those who think religious conservatives only donate to charity to get the tax write-off (which makes no sense because you don’t get a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes), religious conservatives also donate more of their time (which could be spent making more money) to charity than liberal Democrats. In the 2012 election, 17 of the most generous states voted for Mitt Romney, while 15 of the least charitable 17 went for Barack Obama.

If you are a liberal Democrat, these findings probably offend you. You may think this is “fake news” and recall the widely broadcasted study that supposedly found Republicans have more psychopathic traits than Democrats. Numerous liberals/Democrats pointed to the study as proof that conservatism and religiosity are manifestations of mental illness.

Yet while this study’s findings were headline news when the report was issued, the retraction a short time later was barely mentioned. Go figure.

After being called out, researchers were forced to admit they screwed up the calculations, and the results were just the opposite of what they claimed: “The descriptive and preliminary analyses portion of the manuscript was exactly reversed.” In other words, the data showed that it was liberals, not conservatives, who were most likely to be associated with psychoticism.

Of course, common sense and personal observation will confirm this. It is not conservative, Christian Republicans who are rioting and assaulting those who disagree with them, or fire-bombing cars, smashing store windows, and showing up at private homes and threatening families and terrifying children. That would be “progressive” Democrats, who feel their violence is justified by their morally superior cause.

So if you find yourself unhappy, aimless, and without purpose, there is an easy fix — don a MAGA hat and head to church!



Retired Army Officer Remembers Lt. Col. Vindman as Partisan Democrat Who Ridiculed America

Vindman is all the Donks have got in support of their Ukraine theory

A retired Army officer who worked with Democrat “star witness” Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman in Grafenwoher, Germany, claims Vindman “really talked up” President Barack Obama and ridiculed America and Americans in front of Russian military officers.

In an eye-opening thread on Twitter last week, retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Jim Hickman said that he “verbally reprimanded” Vindman after he heard some of his derisive remarks for himself. “Do not let the uniform fool you,” Hickman wrote. “He is a political activist in uniform.”

Hickman’s former boss at the Joint Multinational Simulation Center in Grafenwoehr has since gone on the record to corroborate his story.

Hickman, 52, says he’s a disabled wounded warrior who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who received numerous medals, including the Purple Heart.

The retired officer said that Vindman, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Ukraine, made fun of the United States to the point that it made other soldiers “uncomfortable.” For example, Hickman told American Greatness that he heard Vindman call Americans “rednecks” —a word that needed to be translated for the Russians. He said they all had a big laugh at America’s expense.

Vindman’s former boss, NSC Senior Director for European Affairs Tim Morrison, threw cold water on Vindman’s claims in his own testimony later in the week, saying he didn’t have concerns that “anything illegal was discussed” in the phone call.  Morrison also testified that Ukrainian officials were not even aware that military funding had been delayed by the Trump Administration until late August 2019, more than a month after the Trump-Zelensky call.

Thomas Lasch, Hickman’s boss at the time, corroborated his story on Twitter.

Lasch vouched for Hickman in a second tweet: “Everyone on this thread should know that Jim Hickman’s patriotism and honesty is unparalleled. He is one of my personal heroes.” He added: “This is not about Trump! This is about an officer [LTC Vindman] that is disloyal to the United States of America.”



Lefty Pundits to Democratic Presidential Field: 'You're Losers!'

What is it that lefty pundits can see that Democratic presidential candidates -- with all their highly-paid teams of election experts -- can't?

How to win an election, apparently.

Over on the far left, New York magazine's Jonathan Chait writes that the latest battleground states poll shows that Democrats are living "in a fantasy world." Chait starts off praising the Democratic 2018 House contenders for wading "into hostile territory" to flip 40 House districts, using a "formula centered on narrowing their target profile by avoiding controversial positions, and focusing obsessively on Republican weaknesses." Party affiliation aside, Chait is right -- that's how you flip seats, Dem or Rep. But he worries, where I'd be jubilant, that the "Democratic presidential field has largely abandoned that model." Chait goes on:

"A new batch of swing state polls from the New York Times ought to deliver a bracing shock to Democrats. The polls find that, in six swing states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona — Trump is highly competitive. He trails Joe Biden there by the narrowest of margins, and leads Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Normally, it is a mistake to overreact to the findings of a single poll. In general, an outlier result should only marginally nudge our preexisting understanding of where public opinion stands. This case is different."

Indeed. As Chait is forced to conclude, "if you’ve been relying on national polls for your picture of the race, you’re probably living in la-la land."

Meanwhile, a bit less left of Chait, Jay Caruso looked at the same polls and came to a similar conclusion. Writing for the UK's Independent, Caruso argues that "Democrats are over-correcting for 2020 — and they can't beat Trump that way."

Caruso notes that Obama-to-Trump voters who threw the Rust Belt to Trump in 2016 "may not want to go all in with Sanders’ or Warren's big spending plans, which include Medicare-for-All." He adds, "While PA, MI, and WI are no longer the manufacturing powerhouses they were 40 or 50 years ago, they still employ a decent number of union workers who have great healthcare benefits through their employers."

Not that I'm getting cocky about Trump's chances next November or anything, but I didn't need a fancy New York Times poll to tell me that the Dem field had moved too far to the left. All I needed to see was a show of hands.




UKRAINE PROSECUTOR FIRED: Ukraine to fire Kostiantyn Kulyk, the prosecutor at center of Biden gas-company controversy (National Review)

"IT WAS WRONG AND IMPROPER": AOC settles lawsuit after blocking critic on Twitter — yet continues to block prominent conservative women (The Washington Times)

MAGA: Washington Nationals' Kurt Suzuki, Ryan Zimmerman show support for Trump during World Series White House visit (The Daily Caller)

TRADE NEGOTIATIONS: China presses Trump for more tariff rollbacks in "phase one" trade deal (Reuters)

BULL MARKET: Dow hits record as stock-market rally extends into fifth week (Associated Press)

UNITED WE STAND: Mitch McConnell says Senate trial "would not lead to a removal" of Trump if held today (USA Today)

NO SANCTUARY: Tucson voters overwhelmingly reject sanctuary-city measure (Fox News)

EXPANDED OPERATION: Trump OKs wider Syria oil mission, raising legal questions (Associated Press)

BACKFIRE: New Zealand's gun confiscation shaping up to be a massive failure (Bearing Arms)

POLICY: It's time for the U.S. to wage war on Mexican drug cartels (The Federalist)

THE PROBE THAT NEVER ENDS: First batch of Mueller-probe interview notes involving Rick Gates, Steve Bannon, and Michael Cohen have been released (The Daily Caller

JUDICIAL ACTIVISM: Obama-appointed judge blocks healthcare rule for immigrants (The Daily Caller)

PUBLIC DEFIANCE: Iran announces new nuke-deal violations during commemoration of 1979 U.S. embassy seizure (Fox News)

SEPARATING WHEAT FROM CHAFF: Thousands of migrants sent back to Mexico under Trump policy have given up their asylum claims (Fox News)

POLICY: How the Left is weaponizing cancel culture to politicize children's books (The Federalist)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here


Thursday, November 07, 2019

The diseased Leftist mind

Like all other human beings, the modern liberal reveals his true character, including his madness, in what he values and devalues, in what he articulates with passion. Of special interest, however, are the many values about which the modern liberal mind is not passionate: his agenda does not insist that the individual is the ultimate economic, social and political unit; it does not idealize individual liberty and the structure of law and order essential to it; it does not defend the basic rights of property and contract; it does not aspire to ideals of authentic autonomy and mutuality; it does not preach an ethic of self-reliance and self-determination; it does not praise courage, forbearance or resilience; it does not celebrate the ethics of consent or the blessings of voluntary cooperation. It does not advocate moral rectitude or understand the critical role of morality in human relating. The liberal agenda does not comprehend an identity of competence, appreciate its importance, or analyze the developmental conditions and social institutions that promote its achievement. The liberal agenda does not understand or recognize personal sovereignty or impose strict limits on coercion by the state. It does not celebrate the genuine altruism of private charity. It does not learn history's lessons on the evils of collectivism.

What the liberal mind is passionate about is a world filled with pity, sorrow, neediness, misfortune, poverty, suspicion, mistrust, anger, exploitation, discrimination, victimization, alienation and injustice. Those who occupy this world are "workers," "minorities," "the little guy," "women," and the "unemployed." They are poor, weak, sick, wronged, cheated, oppressed, disenfranchised, exploited and victimized. They bear no responsibility for their problems. None of their agonies are attributable to faults or failings of their own: not to poor choices, bad habits, faulty judgment, wishful thinking, lack of ambition, low frustration tolerance, mental illness or defects in character. None of the victims' plight is caused by failure to plan for the future or learn from experience. Instead, the "root causes" of all this pain lie in faulty social conditions: poverty, disease, war, ignorance, unemployment, racial prejudice, ethnic and gender discrimination, modern technology, capitalism, globalization and imperialism. In the radical liberal mind, this suffering is inflicted on the innocent by various predators and persecutors: "Big Business," "Big Corporations," "greedy capitalists," U.S. Imperialists," "the oppressors," "the rich," "the wealthy," "the powerful" and "the selfish."

The liberal cure for this endless malaise is a very large authoritarian government that regulates and manages society through a cradle to grave agenda of redistributive caretaking. It is a government everywhere doing everything for everyone. The liberal motto is "In Government We Trust." To rescue the people from their troubled lives, the agenda recommends denial of personal responsibility, encourages self-pity and other-pity, fosters government dependency, promotes sexual indulgence, rationalizes violence, excuses financial obligation, justifies theft, ignores rudeness, prescribes complaining and blaming, denigrates marriage and the family, legalizes all abortion, defies religious and social tradition, declares inequality unjust, and rebels against the duties of citizenship. Through multiple entitlements to unearned goods, services and social status, the liberal politician promises to ensure everyone's material welfare, provide for everyone's healthcare, protect everyone's self-esteem, correct everyone's social and political disadvantage, educate every citizen, and eliminate all class distinctions.

With liberal intellectuals sharing the glory, the liberal politician is the hero in this melodrama. He takes credit for providing his constituents with whatever they want or need even though he has not produced by his own effort any of the goods, services or status transferred to them but has instead taken them from others by force.

It should be apparent by now that these social policies and the passions that drive them contradict all that is rational in human relating, and they are therefore irrational in themselves. But the faulty conceptions that lie behind these passions cannot be viewed as mere cognitive slippage. The degree of modern liberalism's irrationality far exceeds any misunderstanding that can be attributed to faulty fact gathering or logical error. Indeed, under careful scrutiny, liberalism's distortions of the normal ability to reason can only be understood as the product of psychopathology. So extravagant are the patterns of thinking, emoting, behaving and relating that characterize the liberal mind that its relentless protests and demands become understandable only as disorders of the psyche. The modern liberal mind, its distorted perceptions and its destructive agenda are the product of disturbed personalities.

As is the case in all personality disturbance, defects of this type represent serious failures in development processes. The nature of these failures is detailed below. Among their consequences are the liberal mind's relentless efforts to misrepresent human nature and to deny certain indispensable requirements for human relating. In his efforts to construct a grand collectivist utopia-to live what Jacques Barzun has called "the unconditioned life" in which "everybody should be safe and at ease in a hundred ways"-the radical liberal attempts to actualize in the real world an idealized fiction that will mitigate all hardship and heal all wounds. (Barzun 2000). He acts out this fiction, essentially a Marxist morality play, in various theaters of human relatedness, most often on the world's economic, social and political stages. But the play repeatedly folds. Over the course of the Twentieth Century, the radical liberal's attempts to create a brave new socialist world have invariably failed. At the dawn of the Twenty-first Century his attempts continue to fail in the stagnant economies, moral decay and social turmoil now widespread in Europe. An increasingly bankrupt welfare society is putting the U.S. on track for the same fate if liberalism is not cured there. Because the liberal agenda's principles violate the rules of ordered liberty, his most determined efforts to realize its visionary fantasies must inevitably fall short. Yet, despite all the evidence against it, the modern liberal mind believes his agenda is good social science. It is, in fact, bad science fiction. He persists in this agenda despite its madness.


The above was written in 2006 by Dr. Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr.,a forensic psychiatrist.  It still makes a strong case today


Amy Klobuchar for sanity

A Leftist view

If Democrats want to win, and most do, they should give the senator from Minnesota a look

If you were among the 8m people who watched this month’s Democratic primary debate in Ohio, you might think Democrats are chiefly concerned about health care or foreign policy. To hear Joe Biden, you might even suppose taxes on people “clipping coupons in the stockmarket” is something their voters care about. But you would be wrong. Poll after poll suggests most Democrats are overridingly concerned to defeat Donald Trump. And they are willing to select whichever primary candidate they think likeliest to do that. While this has given rise to an arcane debate on the left about whether “electability” is even a thing (left-wingers, who win few elections, say it is not), Democratic voters might consider that one of their primary candidates already has a history of pegging back Mr Trump’s electoral gains. That is Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota—whom Lexington recently joined aboard her shiny new “Amy for America” bus in eastern Iowa.

Brisk, diminutive, with a line in self-deprecating humour—and another in comfortable cardigans and shoes—the 59-year-old politician offered herself to the small crowds of Midwesterners awaiting her as one of their own. The title of her autobiography—“The Senator Next Door” —“might have been written for Iowa!” she joshes in Cedar Rapids. She can see Iowa from her front porch in Minneapolis, she says in Sigourney, a flyspeck of coffee and antique shops amid vast acres of corn country.

She can see Canada from it, too, she adds, in a quick pop at Sarah Palin, between listing her centre-left policies. Ms Klobuchar is for making Medicare more available but not free for all. She is for expanding access to public college, but not free four-year degrees. She is for banning assault weapons but not forcibly buying back the millions in private hands. Midwesterners like their politics unthreatening, realistic and with a touch of humour to smooth over areas of disagreement, she believes. The facts back her up. Some of the Democrats’ biggest gains in last year’s mid-terms were made in the Midwest by pragmatic candidates who argued, as she does, that “to be progressive you have to make progress”. She also has a record of outperforming her party in Minnesota by wooing independents and moderate Republicans. Last year she won reelection by 24 points in a state Hillary Clinton won by two.

That was one of the most stunning results of the 2016 election. Minnesota last went for a Republican presidential candidate in 1972. That Mr Trump came so close to breaching such a strong section of the erstwhile Democratic “blue wall” encapsulated his strategy of sweeping up ageing white Midwesterners. It gave him narrow wins in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (which is Midwestern in part), and will again be his likeliest route to victory next year. If he can hang on to even one of those states, or crack Minnesota, he will probably win re-election. If he loses them, he probably won’t. Trump-averse Democrats should therefore ask themselves this question: Who can win the Midwest? And if they do they will find Ms Klobuchar—who would beat Mr Trump in Minnesota by 17 points, according to the latest polling—ready with a half-decent joke. “We’re going to build a blue wall around those states and make Donald Trump pay for it!”

Then why is she not doing better in the polls? The Economist’s aggregate puts her on only 2%. She points to the early stage of the race, the congested field and greater name-recognition for the front-runners. A pithier response would be: Mr Biden. The former vice-president has dominated the primary’s moderate lane despite his familiar shortcomings as a campaigner and more recent doubts about his mental acuity. Having decided he would be likeliest to beat Trump, his supporters have been forgiving. Yet Mr Biden’s seat-blocking candidacy has made it hard for lesser-known though perhaps more compelling moderates to get attention. It persuaded Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio not to enter the race, has put paid to Governor Steve Bullock of Montana and pushed Senator Kamala Harris further to the left than she otherwise might have gone. Given Mr Biden’s weakness, true left-wingers such as Elizabeth Warren have meanwhile had a free run at framing the debate.

Yet Mr Biden may now be in trouble. Ms Warren has overhauled him, his fundraising is in crisis and the likeliest-looking moderate alternatives—Ms Klobuchar and another Midwesterner, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of Indiana—have some momentum. After both piled into Ms Warren in Ohio, they were rewarded with a gusher of donations that might previously have gone to Mr Biden.

Minnesota nice enough

Mr Buttigieg appears better placed to take advantage; he is brilliant, a fresh face and has a big lead on Ms Klobuchar in fundraising and a smaller one in the polls. Yet for risk-averse Democrats he has two potential handicaps. He has never won an election outside South Bend. He also has hardly any support from African-Americans —and as an openly gay man dogged by poor race relations in his home city, he may struggle to woo them.

Ms Klobuchar is also imperfect. Her charisma is more apparent in Sigourney than on the national stage. And she has a reputation for being not terribly “Minnesota nice” to her staffers. Yet that should not matter against Mr Trump—a one-man Democratic turnout machine with the highest staff turnover of any modern president. And Ms Klobuchar has three strengths. She has an electoral record to scare Mr Trump. She appears relatively inoffensive to left-wingers, while hewing as close to the centre as her party’s leftward drift allows. (Her platform, which includes a promise of a $15 minimum wage, is notably to the left of Mrs Clinton’s.)

In straightforward Midwestern style, she also seems to know who she is—unlike Mr Buttigieg, Ms Harris and even Ms Warren, all of whom can seem torn between leftist idealism and reality. “I’m a dose of sanity,” she says. “If you’re tired of the noise and the nonsense, tired of the extremes, you’ve got a home with me.” Anxious Democrats might yet consider that to be good enough.



We need a superhero to fix America's problems

The mess is great

We are failing to see a cancer in America that's metastasizing and threatens us all.  Those on the right of the political spectrum recognize and yearn for a cure, while others on the left embrace with their distorted vision a socialistic goal they believe will ensure the betterment of society.  This philosophical chasm has resulted in a dangerous paralysis.

From a conservative viewpoint, this division prevents any chance of eradication of the root cause of a growing societal threat.  It's the cancer found in most of our major cities, especially those with Democrat mayors and sanctuary declarations.  The symptoms are clear: disrespect for the rule of law, disdain for law enforcement, no moral obligation of residents to play by the rules, and the increasing entitlement mentality for free stuff.  This cancer is eating away at our nation.

While America proudly clings to its technological advancements, there's little to be proud of when it comes to the social ills plaguing our large metropolitan areas — homelessness, substandard housing, crime, racial strife, disenchantment with our political system, and lack of hope that the future will be better, to name a few.  Who's to blame?  One might start with the mayors of Detroit decades ago who practiced broad-daylight graft and corruption, stealing from residents of all colors.

One might also surmise that this pattern for theft has been the playbook for today's officeholders, especially Democrats, who rule large cities for their own greed without regard for the welfare of their citizenry or fear of legal retribution.  Making unachievable campaign promises, denigrating the character of political opponents, and doing little to improve the urban quality of life have worked well for the Left while filling the coffers of those in charge.  San Francisco, a primary example of a once beautiful, safe city that attracts thousands of tourists each year, has become a symbolic outhouse overrun by homeless, drug-addicted dropouts.  And all of this in the backyard of the speaker of the House of Representatives, who believes that fabricating impeachment charges against President Trump far exceeds the importance of enhancing the lives of her own constituents.

How will this blight, not only for the Bay Area, but for other cities as well, get resolved?  It won't until the voters in these cities understand how the incumbent politicians are leading residents astray.  The difficulty is finding a way to counter the political machines and force them from office.  Term limits, if enacted, would help, but the very people impacted are the ones who must initiate the change of congressional terms.  The chances are slim.  It's similar to the old adage of hiring the fox to guard the henhouse.  The chickens will suffer identical consequences to what many helpless, cowering electorates are currently experiencing when rotely pulling the voting machine lever every two years.

The country's only salvation from ruin may be in the timely discovery of a cure for political myopia.  Unfortunately, it will be impossible for this cure to be technology-based.  It's going to take a political superhero.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Liberals Beyond Stupid

Read the excerpt from an article by Ray Kraft below.  It sets out well a problem that conservatives constantly encounter:  Why are Leftists so unreachable by reason? You can point out holes in their arguments but they are unmoved.  And some of their claims are entirely out of touch with reality. "All men are equal", being the prime example of that.  And they can change positions on a dime -- as Mr. Obama did: In the Senate he was against gay marriage. As president he was for it.

I think I can explain why they are like that.  Freud understood. Sometimes people NEED false beliefs to make them happy with themselves and with life.  Not everyone can face reality head-on. The use of mind-altering dugs is proof of that.  Even in prehistoric times they brewed beer.  Men have always needed to blunt the harsh impact of reality.  Some of us can come down from delusions and finally face the real world and others can do that only partially or not at all.

And the Leftist has a particularly strong need that he has to cope with.  He is a born-angry person; Born-miserable; Born unhappy. And the happiness research is very clear:  You are largely born with your level of happiness/unhappiness. Some things can lift you up and some things can drag you down but it is transient.  You soon revert to your chronic level of unhappiness.

The Leftist could take anger management classes or prayerfully approach the wisdom of Christ but he does not do that.  He does what Freud called displacement.  He explains his anger as caused by something outside himself  -- as caused by "injustice", for instance.  But the world is awash with injustice.  Just the fact that 50% of the population is of below average IQ is a huge injustice. So conservatives just accept that while doing what little they realistically can do to ameliorate problems.

But the Leftist does not want to solve any problem.  He wants to mentally bathe and luxuriate in problems.  Even if some problem is solved, there will always be more problems.  He needs injustices to explain to himself why he is so angry.  So he sees himself as living in a world of evil, conniving people.  "I'm not mad. There really are lots of bad people out there" is his message to himself.

And as Freud pointed out, such false beliefs tend to be deeply entrenched. The defensive person cannot afford to let go of his false beliefs.  Lose too much of his protective belief system and he will have to face his own unfortunate nature head-on.  He would have to face the reality that there are no sufficient grounds for his unhappiness.

So, in a word, the Leftist NEEDS his angry beliefs.  He cannot afford to let go of them.  Compared to his needs, logic and reason is a very weak force

I am coming to suspect that liberalism may be a genetic defect, or at least a congenital defect, because in the correspondence I get froms libs I observe that most of them are completely unable to grasp even the most rudimentary concepts of logic and reason, and also completely unable to grasp the idea that they are not grasping the most rudimentary concepts of logic and reason.

I am not sure that it is merely beyond their will, I am coming to suspect it is beyond their ability.

Those who are able to think more or less rationally and logically tend to become conservative and Republican, while those who are unable to think more or less rationally and logically tend to become liberal and Democrat.

Which makes the Democratic party (as it is today) by definition the party of illogic and unreason, the party of emotionalism rampant.

This may have something to do with the fact that Logic, as a subject, is no longer taught in most schools.

The libs who are not thinking coherently always think (or feel) that they are thinking coherently, no matter how clearly and cogently one points out that they are not. They are apparently unable to recognize (much less understand, or analyze) the inconsistencies and non sequiturs in their own thinking -

For instance, if one points out that the observed one degree of global atmospheric warming over the last century (per the IPCC report) is hardly conclusive proof of catastrophic runaway global warming, and probably within the margin of measuring error (!) the response is Yes! There is Global Warming! Didn't you see Al Gore's movie?! . . . so there really is Global Warming, Toto, I guess, even if we can't actually see it.

Yes, some glaciers are melting, but the fact that glaciers have been melting for the last ten or fifteen thousand years since the beginning of the end of the last ice age is an uncomprehended, or incomprehensible, idea, that cannot possibly have any relevance at all to the faith and doctrine of Global Warming!



Anglosphere governance is the Gold Standard


Assuming Britain finally manages to edge its way out of the EU, it will look for other affiliations. The obvious one is with the core Anglosphere of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. At first sight, this looks like a model driven by mere nostalgia. Not so: the governance of the Anglosphere is the best in the world, in terms of assuring the happiness and prosperity of its citizens. Thus, a loosely associated Anglosphere can serve as a global model.

The concept of global association of the Anglosphere countries was first postulated by James C. Bennett in his 2004 book “The Anglosphere Challenge.” At that time it appeared quixotic. Britain was locked into an ever closer European Union with countries clearly outside the Anglosphere, the United States was becoming increasingly ethnically diverse and moving away from its founding model, while Canada, Australia and New Zealand were surely too small and insignificant to be more than bit-players in the future world. Overall, the world was becoming increasingly globalist, economically and politically, so nation states seemed anachronisms as modern communications bound the world together in an ever-improving, increasingly democratic whole.

For both positive and negative reasons, the Anglosphere has become more real, and should be taken seriously. The seemingly inevitable process of democratic globalization has gone into reverse. The dream of global government came closer and was revealed to be an authoritarian nightmare. The EU has shown itself both economically feeble and increasingly reminiscent of the centrally planned economies of pre-1991 Eastern Europe. China, far from becoming more democratic as it became richer, has become more authoritarian and an increasing threat to the interests of its neighbors and the world.

On the other hand, the Anglosphere has become more real, not less. Canada and Australia have grown rapidly in population, so they are no longer mere appendages of the largest Anglosphere members, but weighty participants in their own right. The United States, having flirted with Wilsonian attempts to dominate the world and globalist attempts to immerse itself in supranational governance, has reasserted its independence and its unique national personality. Britain, much to everybody’s surprise, has voted to leave the European Union and, if it indeed emerges, can reclaim its place as a substantial mid-range world power with a unique policy approach. In a hostile and dangerous world, the Anglosphere countries will increasingly be drawn to work together, as they already do in intelligence collection through the Five Eyes system.

For several reasons, the Anglosphere countries represent a “Gold Standard” in global governance. Most important, all the Anglosphere countries except New Zealand operate “first past the post” (FPTP) electoral systems, in which the winner in each constituency needs only a plurality of votes. The United States also operates such a system on a state-by-state basis for its Presidential elections. New Zealand operated its electoral system on this basis until 1996, when it switched to a mixture of FPTP and proportional representation.

The effect of FPTP is to suppress the representation of minor parties, preventing the legislature from becoming fissiparous. Accordingly, nearly all governments in an FPTP system are formed through decisions of the electorate, and not by horse-trading between political groups after the election has ended.

Contrast this with proportional representation systems as used in most continental European countries. Here, there are several major parties, and governments are formed by negotiation between the parties to put together a majority after the election has ended. This has two effects. First, shifts in public opinion have almost no impact on the composition of governments; a group can have a very good election, increasing its representation substantially, and still be left out of government if other parties combine against it. Second, new parties with views outside the mainstream are often ostracized by traditional parties, with “grand coalitions” being formed to exclude them even when they gain a substantial percentage of the vote.

Thus, voters with policy priorities not represented among centrist governing parties are essentially disfranchised, leading to their further alienation. Apart from being undemocratic, this is highly dangerous; it was the principal mechanism by which the Nazi party took power in Germany in 1930-33. In FPTP countries, one or other of the main parties has every incentive to pick up an issue on which a substantial part of the electorate feels strongly and act upon it, as evidenced by the election of President Trump in 2016 on the issues of opposing heavy low-skill immigration and opposing globalization.

As countries grow larger (or amalgamate into larger units) the need for FPTP becomes greater. New Zealand, with a population of only 4.8 million and only 120 members of its House of Representatives, can rest assured that its elected representatives will be sufficiently close to the electorate and to each other that political changes can be accommodated, even with a partly proportional system (the populist nationalist New Zealand First party holds the balance of power and has in the past allied with both major parties).

Conversely the European Union, with a population of 512 million in 28 countries, 751 MEPs and no effective union-wide political parties, is an extreme case of a proportional representation system in which the same centrist parties are always in power by coalition with each other, voters’ opinion is completely ignored, and MEPs elected by populist voters are determinedly shunned by the groups that run the parliament. It is thus a wholly undemocratic and very dangerous government system, leading in practice to rule by a self-selecting cadre of unelected anti-democratic bureaucrats. George Soros’ Open Society in Eastern Europe has attempted to reproduce the governance of the EU rather than of the Anglosphere; it is thus the enemy of true openness and democracy.

It is not surprising that Anglosphere political systems are more representative, less dangerous and more economically successful; they all descend from the systems put in place by the immensely successful generation of statesmen that contained William Pitt the younger, the 2nd Earl of Liverpool and the U.S. Founding Fathers. That generation of statesmen were repelled by the violence and irrationality of the French Revolution, so established systems in their own countries that allowed the maximum freedom while discouraging violent upheaval. Through their intelligent, benign governance, they also gave full rein to the emerging forces of industrialization that were in the long run to enrich their people beyond all imagination.

Even before 1789, the British and U.S. systems had shown themselves more flexible than that of France, for example. In the late 17th century, both Britain and France were believers in Thomas Mun’s theory that successful statesmen try to accumulate “treasure” by exporting more than they import. However, the French application of this principle, by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, involved import substitution, making the French economy uncompetitive, while the British version involved colonization and developing addictive export crops of sugar and tobacco, which could be taxed to produce revenue. Then in the years to 1720 France followed the Keynesian madman John Law into dumping its people’s savings into notes of a bankrupt bank, while the British restricted themselves to stock market speculation, a less damaging activity when it went wrong.

Outside Europe, there have been a few examples of fine governance that did not follow European models. Song dynasty China, for example, was undoubtedly the world’s best run society of the 11th and 12th Centuries, with a mandarinate selected on merit through open examinations. While that society did not lend itself to entrepreneurship or technological innovation, it was by far the most satisfactory home for ordinary people before the Renaissance, including Greece and Rome. Alas, it succumbed to Mongol conquest, and subsequent iterations of Chinese governance have been greatly inferior, more tyrannical and even less capable of dealing with innovation. China’s current regime, while economically fairly successful (though nowhere near as successful as it claims) is hopelessly repressive and a major threat both to its people’s liberty and that of its neighbors.

Even Anglosphere countries have seen their political systems degraded since their apogee in 1800-25. The German invention of socialism was avoided in the United States (until now) but badly affected the other Anglosphere countries, making their economies far more sluggish than they needed to be, and working against the small government with light, transparent regulation that epitomizes the Anglosphere tradition. In the United States, Democrats, Whigs, Republicans and Progressives replaced the wholly admirable Federalists. In Britain, the Whigs forced through their gerrymandering 1832 Reform Act after which the Tories, heirs to the finest traditions of government, engaged in pre-emptive surrender to the left for the next 150 years, until Margaret Thatcher brought at least a temporary halt to the decline.

Thus, the traditions of Anglosphere government are now not so clearly superior as they might be. Nevertheless, non-Anglosphere countries such as India that have adopted an Anglosphere political structure have seen some success in recent years as they have developed two viable political parties that can alternate in power and around which political forces can gather. It is however still unclear whether this healthy political structure can overcome India’s “permit raj” bureaucracy that is EU-like in its density and opacity. Counterexamples like Argentina, with one dominant party of the left and perpetual economic decline, will also encourage their neighbors to move in an Anglospheric direction.

Now Brexit offers Britain an opportunity to work with other countries of similar political traditions. Federation is not an option — Britain has seen enough of the disadvantages of that in the last 46 years and will not want to repeat them. But a loose trade and political backscratching agreement, which allows each of the parties to gain benefits from the capabilities of the others, is an attractive way forward. The eventual structure will not be an Empire, but if carefully designed it can gain for all parties concerned many of the advantages and few of the disadvantages of that much-maligned entity.




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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here


Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Belief in magic thrives in the modern world

"California," argues Victor Davis Hanson, is "becoming pre-modern" despite ballooning government solutions. Like fictional pre-modern societies, it is becoming a two-tier society; a landscape of fantastical castles amid a sea of peasants. It is as if the technologically sophisticated components of the Golden State were creating its shadow of poor, homeless, drug-addicted and unskilled populations.

Huge global wealth in high-tech, finance, trade and academia poured into the coastal corridor, creating a new nobility with unprecedented riches. Unfortunately, the new aristocracy adopted mindsets antithetical to the general welfare of Californians living outside their coastal enclaves. The nobodies have struggled to buy high-priced , pay exorbitant power bills and deal with shoddy infrastructure -- all of which resulted from the policies of the distant somebodies.

Yet in some respects, not only California but the whole global world is morphing into a similar two-tier arrangement. This may be driven by something called knowledge inequality. The processes by which a society produced its goods and governed itself were once common knowledge to a large percentage of the population. But they are not now.

Relative technological simplicity and cultural homogeneity made knowledge equality easier. This, in turn, facilitated rational governance. At the time of the American Revolution, the knowledge of what was possible and affordable was within the grasp even of a farmer or workman. However today -- and California may be an extreme example -- society is reliant on processes only a tiny few understand. Under these circumstances public policy and even economics become recondite.

Annie Lowrey of The Atlantic writes that "California is becoming unlivable" and suggests solving the wildfire/electricity outage problem by banning development. "One solution ... is to build more dense housing in urban areas ... California isn’t doing enough to discourage building in fire-prone areas." Yet regulation is what caused the problem in the first place.

The bulk of wildfire destruction in California happens in the Wildlife Urban Interface (WUI) ... Although much of the WUI is naturally vulnerable to fire, human behavior is primarily to blame for the destruction. People start more than nine in 10 fires ... If building in the WUI is so dangerous, why do it? In part because building new housing is so very difficult in many urban regions in California, due to opposition from existing homeowners and strict building codes.

Is California Becoming Premodern?

Knowledge inequality makes "magical" solutions inevitable because an ever-smaller fraction of the public know how things work or are paid for. Healthcare woes? Medicare for All. Housing crisis? Make affordable housing a "right." Students choking under loans? Write it off. Graduates without literacy or numeracy? Teach Woke Math.

Fix the wildfires by tightly regulating development sounds like a solution. Following Arthur C. Clarke's famous adage that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," many things are now solved by linguistic legerdemain. Ever since, Apollo politicians have been invoking associative magic as political spells:

"Nothing is impossible in this age of miracles. If we can put a man on the Moon, we surely are capable of seeing that our temporary surplus agricultural products are placed in many hungry stomachs of the world.” ...

Nixon’s Democratic opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, used the phrase in his standard stump speech: “If we can put a man on the Moon, certainly we can afford to put man on his feet on Earth.”

Sending a spacecraft to the lunar surface and solving homelessness might be different problems, but with a few similes and metaphors, they can be "magically" connected and thus solved. Associative magic is especially strong in Bernie Sanders, who uses it to solve housing. "This is the richest country in the history of the world. No one in America should be homeless." With it, he can set salaries. "In the richest country in the world, our teachers should be the best-paid, not among the worst-paid." The same magic can pay for healthcare: "In the richest country in the world, it is obscene that millions of people are pushed into poverty and insolvency because they had the bad luck of getting sick and needing to see a doctor."

There's no objection to magic because many people, especially in or from the Third World, are surrounded by found marvels like cell phones, machine learning, GPS, CRISPR therapies, etc. They are used to things that simply work -- though none but the sages know how. Immigrants can be forgiven for thinking, as they wander in their misery through the technological wonders of California, why the magi have simply not waved their wands and created the same level of comfort for them. In a world of magic, what's one more spell, because that's all it takes, right? It must be because -- and the politicians never tire of telling them -- the wizards are selfish and holding back.

The difference between science and magic, noted Chaz Orzell, is that in the world of sorcery some people are born with amazing powers. Wealth does not come from the application of truths external to humanity but rather from birth powers, celebrity, or beauty.

The primary distinction between these magic systems and science is that magic relies on inborn talent in a way that science doesn't-- science and the products thereof will work for anyone, but only certain special people are able to do magic ... magic ... is fundamentally not amenable to scientific investigation-- something not bound by easily discoverable rules.

In such a world the solution to every problem is redistribution. To effect this political parties ceaselessly put up magical people as candidates whose powers derive from certain associative properties. Nobody runs anymore on the strength of competence but because they are gay, lesbian, disabled, a person of color, or imbued with some other property. Only with this talisman can they approach the tower of capitalism to demand more of who abides within.

In 1926 the French sociologist Lucien Levy-Bruhl wrote: "The primitive mind does not differentiate the supernatural from reality, but rather uses 'mystical participation' to manipulate the world. According to Levy-Bruhl, moreover, the primitive mind doesn't address contradictions." Except for the wizards we are, most of us, primitives now.

In an ironic sort of way, the more technologically advanced a society becomes the more medieval and superstitious its governance can become. Then we will truly become pre-modern, supplanting nuclear power plants with windmills and electricity with candles. Perhaps the biggest problem of the 21st century will not be income, but knowledge inequality.



California’s Disastrous State Illustrates Limits of Progressivism

Victor Davis Hanson

More than 2 million Californians recently were left without power after the state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric—which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year—preemptively shut down transmission lines in fear that they might spark fires during periods of high autumn winds.

Consumers blame the state for not cleaning up dead trees and brush, along with the utility companies for not updating their ossified equipment. The power companies in turn fault the state for so overregulating utilities that they had no resources to modernize their grids.

Californians know that having tens of thousands of homeless in their major cities is untenable. In some places, municipal sidewalks have become open sewers of garbage, used needles, rodents, and infectious diseases.

Yet no one dares question progressive orthodoxy by enforcing drug and vagrancy laws, moving the homeless out of cities to suburban or rural facilities, or increasing the number of mental hospitals.

Taxpayers in California, whose basket of sales, gasoline, and income taxes is the highest in the nation, quietly seethe while immobile on antiquated freeways that are crowded, dangerous, and under nonstop makeshift repair.

Gas prices of $4 to $5 a gallon—the result of high taxes, hyper-regulation, and green mandates—add insult to the injury of stalled commuters. Gas tax increases ostensibly intended to fund freeway expansion and repair continue to be diverted to the state’s failing high-speed rail project.

Residents shrug that the state’s public schools are among the weakest in the nation, often ranking in the bottom quadrant in standardized test scores. Elites publicly oppose charter schools, but often put their own kids in private academies.

Californians know that to venture into a typical municipal emergency room is to descend into a modern Dante’s Inferno. Medical facilities are overcrowded. They can be as unpleasant as they are bankrupting to the vanishing middle class that must face exorbitant charges to bring in an injured or sick child.

No one would dare to connect the crumbling infrastructure, poor schools, and failing public health care with the non-enforcement of immigration laws, which has led to a massive influx of undocumented immigrants from the poorest regions of the world, who often arrive without fluency in English or a high school education.

Stores are occasionally hit by swarming looters. Such Wild West criminals know how to keep their thefts under $950, ensuring that such “misdemeanors” do not warrant police attention. California’s permissive laws have decriminalized thefts and break-ins. The result is that San Francisco now has the highest property crime rate per capita in the nation.

Has California become premodern?

Millions of fed-up middle-class taxpayers have fled the state. Their presence as a stabilizing influence is sorely missed. About one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients live in California. Millions of poor newcomers require enormously expensive state health, housing, education, legal, and law enforcement services.

California is now a one-party state. Democrats have supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature. Only seven of the state’s 53 congressional seats are held by Republicans. The result is that there is no credible check on a mostly coastal majority.

Huge global wealth in high-tech, finance, trade, and academia poured into the coastal corridor, creating a new nobility with unprecedented riches. Unfortunately, the new aristocracy adopted mindsets antithetical to the general welfare of Californians living outside their coastal enclaves.

The nobodies have struggled to buy high-priced gas, pay exorbitant power bills, and deal with shoddy infrastructure—all of which resulted from the policies of the distant somebodies.

California’s three most powerful politicians—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Gov. Gavin Newsom—are all multimillionaires. Their lives, homes, and privileges bear no resemblance to those of other Californians living with the consequences of their misguided policies and agendas.

The state’s elite took revolving-door entries and exits for granted. They assumed that California was so naturally rich, beautiful, and well endowed that there would always be thousands of newcomers who would queue up for the weather, the shore, the mountains, and the hip culture.

Yet California is nearing the logical limits of progressive adventurism in policy and politics.

Residents carefully plan long highway trips as if they were ancient explorers charting dangerous routes. Tourists warily enter downtown Los Angeles or San Francisco as if visiting a politically unstable nation.

Insatiable state tax collectors and agencies are viewed by the public as if they were corrupt officials of Third World countries seeking bribes. Californians flip their switches unsure of whether the lights will go on. Many are careful about what they say, terrified of progressive thought police who seem more worried about critics than criminals.

Our resolute ancestors took a century to turn a wilderness into California. Our irresolute generation in just a decade or two has been turning California into a wilderness.



U.S. economic growth continues, recession pundits proven wrong again

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement reacting to the latest GDP numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showing a 1.9 percent inflation-adjusted increase in economic growth in the third quarter of 2019:

“The Recessionistas have been proven wrong yet again as the economy continues to sustainably grow in the third quarter by 1.9 percent. While this growth rate is not spectacular, it’s not horrible either and in view of the perpetually wrong economic pundits’ gloom and doom prognostications, it should be viewed as a repudiation of those who attempted to talk down the Trump economy.

“Fewer Americans are unemployed right now than at any time since 2000, and the unemployment rate is lower than at any time in the past 50 years. Americans are working, wages are on the rise, and the only people unhappy are the Never Trumpers and those with Trump derangement syndrome who are perpetually mad.”




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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here


Monday, November 04, 2019

Media-Democrat Tantrum a Fear Response

In 1776, 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing that their actions would be viewed as treason by the prevailing power.

Fast-forward a mere 240 years. A group of corrupt and craven people gathered in secret to once again consider radical actions.  But, unlike the Declaration's signers, they were the prevailing power and intended to remain so, fully confident in their complete control of government, the media, the Judiciary, academia, entertainment, and nearly every form of cultural power.

They feared no consequences.  It was simply inconceivable to them that with so many hands on the scales, they could possibly lose an election.

And then they did.  All of their treasonous misdeeds that were supposed to not only be covered up, but rewarded by the queen of corruption were suddenly a real vulnerability.  They weren't just shattered by the election loss.  They were genuinely afraid.

But they weren't defenseless.  They had lost the presidency and did not control Congress, but they still controlled the other pillars of power.  So they doubled down on lawlessness and planned a coup under the most ridiculous pretenses, knowing that an administration under siege would be much less likely to uncover and expose their villainy.

I believe that the active intervention of Admiral Mike Rogers, the then-director of the National Security Agency, may have prevented its success.

Their efforts certainly delayed any day of reckoning, and the jury is still out on whether that reckoning can still come in this country where the Left has such control of the bureaucracy and media.

But President Donald Trump is a rare politician.  Despite all the churn and seditious efforts, he remained the happy warrior, never losing sight of the importance of uncovering the origins of the coup attempt.  And, in the appointment of William Barr as attorney general, he finally had the right guy, a kindred spirit with the moral courage to ignore the noise and see it through.

That brings us to today. The media-Democrat establishment is increasingly reacting like a cornered feral beast.

The Schiff show secret impeachment hearings, the Nancy Pelosi decision to move forward on impeachment procedures, the media meltdown over President Trump's success in sending Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to justice, and the increasing comical chorus of calls for William Barr to recuse himself can all be understood as a collective Democrat fear response.

They are pushing their poker chips to the center of the table in a last desperate attempt to discredit the real investigation that is proceeding methodically and relentlessly forward: U.S. attorney John Durham's now criminal probe into alleged misconduct at the Justice Department.  The leftist noise is going to only get louder.

It is no coincidence that after this news came out, Adam Schiff amped up his lies, phones in every defense attorney office in Washington lit up like a Christmas tree, and the media screeds became even more of a parody.

It is within this environment that the Washington Post ran one of the most appalling headlines of all time.  How dare President Trump ruthlessly kill an austere religious scholar, and one with such beautiful wire-rimmed glasses?

The full media are in one of the craziest spin cycles on record as they desperately try to drown out any favorable news for the president.  Every shred of positive news damages their desperate discrediting effort.

This is why the media quickly pivoted to gleefully reporting that government bureaucrats and D.C. elitists booed President Trump at the Washington Nationals baseball game shortly after he oversaw the elimination of the world's most wanted terrorist.

Sometimes, it really does feel as if Trump is playing 4-D chess — or perhaps a more apt description would be that his opponents are playing hangman against themselves.

He could not have better scripted a display of out-of-touch Washington anti-American elitism.  A person is known even more by his enemies than by his friends, and Trump has made all the right ones.

It is also within this environment that Nancy Pelosi is moving forward on impeachment procedures.  This is not a step she wanted to take.  Her preference was to bleed this impeachment façade out behind closed doors, where Democrats could slowly drip out hand-selected soundbites between now and the 2020 election.  Pelosi did not want to actually vote on impeachment, when her more vulnerable members would need to go on record.  Even worse, she does not want to send this to the Senate, where she knows there are not the twenty Pierre Delectos she would need.  Democrats would lose control of the narrative.

But the secret tribunal effort is already losing steam, thanks to the Republicans successfully drawing attention to what is going on.

With the I.G. report and investigations looming over their heads like a guillotine blade, Pelosi took the plunge.

The media-Democrat establishment has a limited window to keep public interest in their own false investigation, which they are trying to time to do the most damage to the credibility of the real investigation unfolding.

If Republicans had tried to hold a secret partisan trial of President Barack Obama, swooning reporters would have chained themselves in front of the door and screamed about democracy dying in darkness in their most self-righteous Tom Hanks voices.  Republican villainy would have been the only story on the news until they backed down in shame.

Media bias comes in many forms, but one of the most effective forms is in their ability to frame stories.  There is an entire cottage industry in "Republicans pounce" stories to frame even terrible Democrat news as somehow harmful to Republicans.  But to frame this story the way the media want to frame it, they needed help.

This is why we now have dueling investigations, one a complete façade and the other deadly serious.  There is no secret in how these will be covered by the media.  The fraud impeachment circus will be treated with full gravity and seriousness, while what might be the most important investigation in U.S. history will be treated as political payback.

But this is an investigation that is essential to restoring faith in the republic.  There is so much we already know.  We know that a decorated Soldier, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, was set up in an obscene miscarriage of justice by corrupt and evil FBI agents.  We know that the appointed leadership of nearly every intelligence agency illegally spied on and attempted to remove a duly elected president.

The inconvenient fact for the Left is that a secret group of plotters at the highest level of government, perhaps including the then-president himself, committed some of the most outrageous crimes in U.S. history that threatened to forever destroy constitutional governance.

That decision set in motion the news and drama that we hear today.  And every single media-Democrat resource is being thrown into the fight to prevent and discredit the justice they fear is coming ever closer.



Poll: Most Americans Oppose Reparations for Slavery

Few Americans are in favor of giving reparations to descendants of enslaved black people in the United States, a poll shows, even as the idea has gained momentum among Democratic presidential contenders.

Only 29% of Americans say the government should pay cash reparations, according to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.

But the poll reveals a large divide between Americans of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Most black Americans, 74%, favor reparations, compared with 15% of white Americans. Among Hispanics, 44% favor reparations.

Interestingly, the percentage of whites who support the U.S. government apologizing for slavery is just 35 percent. 77 percent of blacks support an apology.

Younger people are far more likely to support an apology or reparations. 45 percent of those 18-29 think we should pay the descendants of slaves while 60 percent feel the government should apologize.

Those kids are the children of parents who mostly oppose reparations. The radicalization of America's children by schools is now complete. The issue of reparations was a radical, fringe idea 15 years ago. It has been brought into the mainstream by a far-left school curriculum that stresses "social justice" instead of critical thinking.

If they had learned anything about critical thinking, they'd know that the is impossible to quantify and a nightmare to administer. Who gets what? Do African immigrants that have been in the U.S. for a few years get any? And how "black" do you have to be. One quarter? One eighth?

And then there's the question of "justice." Former Clinton aide Stuart Eizanstat, who negotiated a Holocaust settlement, thinks reparations are a bad idea.

But reparations in the form of cash payments for descendants of slaves are not the way to right this grievous wrong. I write this having spent decades of my life negotiating more than $17 billion in reparations for Holocaust survivors. What I learned as chief negotiator for both the U.S. government, across several presidential administrations, and for the Jewish Claims Conference, a group representing Holocaust survivors in compensation negotiations with the post-war German government, is that reparations are complicated, contentious and messy, and work best when the crime was recent and the direct victims are still alive.

Based on my experience, I believe that trying to repay descendants of slaves could end up causing more problems than reparations would seek to solve, and that there are better ways to end racial disparities.

It is likely that reparations will become an important issue in the coming presidential elections as candidates look to get support of black voters by promising the undeliverable. But at bottom, reparations are a massive transfer of wealth, confiscated from the innocent that, as Eizenstat suggests, would cause more problems than they would solve.



Demonizing Police & Trump's Crime Commission

Over the weekend, Biden and Sanders intentionally stoked racial discord and hatred of the police.

Over the weekend, a number of presidential candidates attended the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum at Benedict College, a historically black college in South Carolina.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was asked by one of the attendees, “If I were your daughter, what advice would you give me the next time I am stopped by the police?” Biden responded, “If you were my daughter, you’d be a Caucasian girl and you wouldn’t be pulled over.”

Translation: The police are discriminating against young black people, and they never pull over young white people for speeding, drunk driving, or any other issues.

Not to be outdone, Sen. Bernie Sanders took it to whole other level with this response to the same question: “I would respect what [the police] are doing so that you don’t get shot in the back of the head.”

This is now the difference between a moderate and a radical in the Democrat Party. Both Biden and Sanders are intentionally stoking racial discord and hatred of the police. Biden does it by suggesting that police are discriminating against blacks, while Sanders does it by suggesting that cops are deliberately executing blacks.

Biden and Sanders should be ashamed of themselves. Their disgusting comments come at a time when there is a surge in police suicides.

Again, I must ask independents, reasonable Democrats, and my Never-Trump friends: Exactly how are either of these men and today’s Democrat Party supposed to bring America together?

While leading Democrats were demonizing the police and stoking racial divisions, President Trump on Monday addressed the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago. The president told his audience:

You don’t hear it enough: You do an incredible job … and the people of this country love you… Every day of my presidency, I will be your greatest and most loyal champion.

The president also announced that he was issuing an executive order establishing a commission to examine “some of the systemic challenges that burden law enforcement.” It is the first serious review of the criminal justice system in decades.

Among the many issues the commission will study, I was pleased to see this one: “The need to promote public respect for the law and law enforcement officers.” Perhaps Colin Kaepernick, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders will learn something!

What a striking contrast! Democrats are fanning the flames of racial tension while the president is trying to come up with ideas to make minority communities safer.



A wardog indeed


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here


Sunday, November 03, 2019

Conservative caution

The most distinctive thing about the Left/Right clash in the world today is liberty-loving conservatives versus an authoritarian Left.

Authoritarianism goes to the heart of Leftism.  What Leftists believe and advocate is constantly changing but a belief that they have a right to tell others what to do never changes. They want to make us do things we do not want to do and stop us doing things we would normally do.  The extreme authoritarians of C20 (Stalin, Hitler, Mao) were all extreme socialists and socialists elsewhere are constrained only by what they can get away with. To get their jollies, socialists in a democracy have to invent stories that will convince a large slice of the population that restricting their liberty will do some good. Global warming is a great story of that kind, hence its total resistance to disproof. The black heart of Leftism is a furious hunger for power and domination over other people but authoritarianism is the everyday manifestation of that

So what is the heart of conservatism?  Is it a love of liberty?  Any libertarian will dispute that.  Unlike libertarians, conservatives do permit some infringements on individual liberty -- with taxation being the prime example of that. Taxation is unavoidably authoritarian.  It is ultimately enforced on unwilling people by police and the courts.  So why do conservatives resist the authoritarian initiatives of the Left?  What makes the difference between a good law and a bad law to conservatives?  The difference is obviously one of degree but what is the criterion that guides what is acceptable and what is not?

Throughout history, conservatives have always been seen as more cautious and that is what I see as the deep level of conservatism.  It is caution that limits what laws will be accepted and which will not be.  Leftist laws are deliberately aimed at being destructive in some way -- despite their alleged benefits.  The vast costs imposed by the global warming myth are an example of such destruction.  And it generally takes little for thinking people to foresee the destructive impact of Leftist laws.  So cautious conservatives reject such laws.  Conservative caution leads conservatives to resist initiatives that will destroy their society in various ways. Conservative caution means that conservatives value stability in their world. Stability is safety. If something must be changed, there has to be good evidence that it will be beneficial on the whole.

So we come to an objection to that account.  A reader has written to say that caution is an insufficient explanation for what conservatives do and value.  His email follows. It was written in response to my claim that a cautious disposition was more basic than the Heritage list of conservative principles:

1) "The Heritage Foundation list of of conservative principles would be met with broad agreement by the people who founded the American Republic, yet they were violent revolutionaries. They had radical ideas, not the least of which was that ordinary people should be free to conduct their lives as they saw fit. The vast majority of mankind for the vast majority of human history lived under significant constraints by church and state and most people thought that is the way it should be.

2). In my opinion because America was founded on limited government, private property, rule of law and individual freedom, conservatives often appear seeking to preserve the status quo or go back in time. Yet if America started as an unlimited monarchy I think many people who count themselves as conservatives would be liberals (in the old sense, arguing for more individual liberty) even though that would be disrupting the way things were and are.

3). Voltaire would find a lot to agree with in the list of conservative principles and he was a great disrupter.  The conservative you describe seems more to me like Confucius who lived in a time of social decline and sought to preserve past glories and stability no matter the political content."

My Reply:

1).  I have long maintained something that is anathema to most American conservatives.  I won't go over the whole grounds for it here but it seems clear to me that the war of independence was in most ways a typically Leftist revolution.  You really just have to read the Declaration of Independence to see that.  It starts out with the flowery language that most people know but the body is a series of complaints that the king has inhibited the powers of the colonial legislators. He has limited what they can enact and has on occasions overruled them.

The revolutionaries wanted the King's powers for themselves and they had to tell a good story to get that. The colonial grandees had to tell a story good enough to get ordinary Americans to take up arms on their behalf.  They did that by convincing people that they would give the ordinary man more rights than the King did.  Not everyone was convinced.  New York, for instance, was almost wholly against the revolutionaries.  But the  revolutionary promises were lapped up by enough people to win the day.  Lenin, Hitler and Mao also came to power via great promises to their people

The difference between the American revolutionaries and the European socialists was that the Americans were led by grandees who already had their own well-established parliaments and legal systems so, rather than wanting to upend everything, they just wanted to remove constraints on their existing powers and authority. Which they did. So there is a sense in which the American revolution was a conservative revolution -- in that it reinforced the existing American power structure rather than overturning it.  There was substantial stability in the arrangements before and after the war.

The revolutionaries did in fact claim that their revolution was a conservative one -- in that the list of rights and privileges that they offered did have substantial continuity with traditional English liberties as understood by Burke and others.  They claimed that the King was not respecting those liberties and they, the revolutionaries, were restoring those liberties

And note that the Mayflower founders were communists.  They based their communism on religion rather than politics but they were such fanatical communists that a third of them had to starve before they reverted to traditional ways. So the thinking they left to their successors was heavily laden with Leftist suspicion of the status quo and belief in their own righteousness.

So it is no surprise that the American revolutionaries were typical Leftists in many ways.  That the high-flown radical  principles that brought them to power have since become widely admired does not detract from their origin as war propaganda.

So my reply to point 1 is to agree that the revolutionaries were neither cautious nor conservative.  The conservatives, mostly from New York, were defeated in that war.

2).  The second point above is undoubtedly correct.  Conservatives have never felt unable to resist restrictions on their liberty.  Having other people in power over you is dangerous and it is perfectly cautious to want to reduce dangers.

3). It flows from point 2 that conservatism is not necessarily passive.  It can be active and strong in defence of its liberties.  And indeed it needs to be.  Leftist energies never seem to tire so conservatives have to act constantly to resist that.  Stability needs to be continually fought for.

Readers who are interested in continuing the discussion about  the Leftist influence throughout American history will find a serial discussion of that here, here and here, including some substantial disagreements with me.


Polls Suggest Impeachment Will Help Trump Reelection in Swing States

Democrats took a tremendous gamble by formally voting for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Thursday. While polls suggest Americans support the inquiry, the general public is divided on whether or not Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Those in key swing states are more likely to oppose impeachment and removal, suggesting that the impeachment battle may help Trump's reelection in 2020.

"We’ve known for a long time that everybody in California and New York want Trump to be impeached, they’ve wanted that since the day he came into office," an anonymous Trump campaign official told The Hill. "But in these states where the election is really going to be fought, we’re seeing that voters oppose impeachment, and there’s an intensity to that opposition."

Indeed, a New York Times/Siena College poll released Wednesday showed that voters in six key swing states oppose impeaching and removing President Trump, 52 percent to 44 percent.

Most voters in Arizona (52 percent to 45 percent), Florida (53 percent to 42 percent), Michigan (51 percent to 42 percent), North Carolina (53 percent to 43 percent), Pennsylvania (52 percent to 45 percent), and Wisconsin (51 percent to 45 percent) say they oppose Congress's potential removal of Trump from office.

Most voters in those states also support the impeachment inquiry, however — though by smaller margins.

Other polling found that even the inquiry is unpopular in some swing states. Last week, a Marquette University Law School survey of Wisconsin found 49 percent of voters oppose the inquiry while 46 percent support it. Most voters (51 percent) also opposed removing Trump from office, while 44 percent supported it. Independents proved colder to impeachment and to the inquiry, with only 33 percent supporting Trump's removal and 35 percent supporting the Congressional investigation.

Trump won Wisconsin by a mere 23,000 votes — out of roughly 3 million. Late-breaking undecided voters went his way on Election Day.

In New Hampshire, a state Hillary Clinton won by fewer than 3,000 votes — out of roughly 700,000 — impeachment is similarly unpopular. Most voters oppose removing Trump (51 percent to 42 percent), according to a CNN-University of New Hampshire poll.

Respondents also oppose impeachment and removal in Arizona, a state Trump won by 3.6 percent but which Democrats have targeted for pick-up. Fifty percent of Arizona residents oppose "impeaching Donald Trump," while 44 percent support it, according to a recent Emerson College poll.

Impeachment is a two-step process, and no president in U.S. history has been impeached and removed by Congress. The House of Representatives opens the process, with a bare majority of representatives required to impeach a president, opening the case up for a trial in the U.S. Senate. Only the Senate can remove the president, and that requires a two-thirds majority — extremely unlikely with the current Republican majority.

Polling on the issue can center on three separate issues: whether the House should open the impeachment inquiry; whether the House should vote to impeach Trump; and whether the Senate should vote to remove him.

Sadly, due to America's stark partisan divide on the president, many Democrats and liberals have long wanted to remove Trump and were merely seeking an excuse to do so.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was correct when she said, "Impeachment is a very serious matter. If it happens it has to be a bipartisan initiative." On Thursday, not a single Republican voted for the impeachment inquiry, while two Democrats voted against it.

As The New York Times's Nate Cohn reported, different polls have come to different conclusions about the nationwide sentiment on removing Trump from office. Trump criticized a Fox News poll showing 51 percent supporting removal and only 43 percent opposing it, while a Wall Street Journal survey found 49 percent opposed to removal and 43 percent supporting it.

Cohn drew attention to the group of swing-state voters who support the inquiry but oppose removing Trump. This 7 percent of voters skew younger (33 percent are 18 to 34) and independent (nearly half). A majority of them (51 percent) said Trump's conduct is typical of most politicians — and indeed, Senate Democrats also pressured Ukraine to investigate their political opponent, Trump himself. Cohn noted that these voters "hold a jaded view of politics that would tend to minimize the seriousness of the allegations against him."

Because Democrats have called for Trump's impeachment since shortly after his inauguration, a jaded view of this latest push is warranted.

While Trump may be tainted with scandal if the House votes to impeach him, he will also be able to decry the blatantly partisan nature of the push to remove him from office. The Senate is extremely unlikely to remove him, and the impeachment charade may actually help the president in the swing states he needs to win for reelection.

This impeachment battle could backfire on the Democrats, badly.




BOLTON SUMMONED: Former national security advisor John Bolton summoned to testify in House impeachment inquiry (Associated Press)

"WEAPONIZED IMPEACHMENT": Nancy Pelosi targeted in ethics complaint filed by 40 conservative groups (Fox News)

MYSTERY SOLVED: "The co-chairman of a Turkish-American advocacy group with close ties to Ankara contributed $1,500 last month to the campaign for Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is under fire this week over votes she cast supporting Turkish government positions." (The Daily Caller)

NO MORE ADS: Twitter bans political ads ahead of 2020 election (Associated Press)

MIND-BOGGLING: Police blew up an innocent man's house in search of an armed shoplifter. Too bad, court rules. (The Washington Post)

JOB GROWTH PREVAILS: October job creation comes in at 128,000, easily topping estimates even with GM auto strike (CNBC)

COUNTERING THE NARRATIVE: Latest impeachment witness contradicts Alexander Vindman's claim that key details were left out of Ukraine call transcript (National Review)

"I HAVE BEEN TREATED VERY BADLY": Trump makes Florida his primary residence, but says New York will "have a special place in my heart" (Fox News)

PLAYING WITH FIRE: Trump admin again gives Iran green light to conduct sensitive nuclear work (The Washington Free Beacon)

NUCLEAR OVERTURES: North Korea launches missile test, prompting escalation fears (U.S. News & World Report)

AID BLOCKED: U.S. withholding $105 million in security aid for Lebanon (Reuters)

POLICY: States can use funny math on Medicaid expansion economic claims (The Heartland Institute)

BETO BEATEN:  "Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke has announced he is ending his presidential campaign. “Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully,” O’Rourke wrote (Medium)


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.

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