September 13th, 2008

A liberal tries to understand the Palin phenomenon

Judith Warner seems to be trying to get it.

In a meandering, unfocused piece in the NY Times, she tries to work through her confusion about Palinmania. Along the way, there is the usual condescension, barely contained.

But towards the end she seems to begin to understand something she may have never grasped before, and I applaud her for recognizing and at least grappling with it:

Haidt has conducted research in which liberals and conservatives were asked to project themselves into the minds of their opponents and answer questions about their moral reasoning. Conservatives, he said, prove quite adept at thinking like liberals, but liberals are consistently incapable of understanding the conservative point of view. “Liberals feel contempt for the conservative moral view, and that is very, very angering. Republicans are good at exploiting that anger,” he told me in a phone interview.

Perhaps that’s why the conservatives can so successfully get under liberals’ skin. And why liberals need to start working harder at breaking through the empathy barrier.

I’m not sure whether Ms. Warner is suggesting this as a strategic technique or if she really thinks it would be good for the liberal soul. But either way the effort would be nice, and I do believe she’s onto something when she writes that it’s one in which liberals very rarely engage. They may think they understand the mind of a conservative—and that it’s narrow, bigoted, selfish, and downright evil—but in the vast majority of cases they are wrong.

Of course, to truly understand the conservative point of view it might be necessary to read up on conservative values and principles as presented by thoughtful conservatives themselves, rather than as filtered through the eyes of liberal writers. And that might expose the liberal to some pretty compelling ideas that could have lasting repercussions. Beware, Judith Warners of the world—in trying to have empathy for conservatives, you just might end up becoming one yourself.

140 Responses to “A liberal tries to understand the Palin phenomenon”

  1. Sergey Says:

    Read what Haidt actually said – more important things that Warner cites. The link is here:
    What Makes People Vote Republican [John Derbyshire]

    Psychologist Jonathan Haidt has a long piece titled “What Makes People Vote Republican” on Edge.org. Don’t be put off by the whiffs of liberal-intellectual snobbery in Haidt’s opening remarks. He has interesting things to say; and the follow-up discussion is very good.

  2. harry McHitlerburtonstein the Conservative Extremist Says:

    I think its also about how they end up loosing elections and misunderstanding why. Is it the evil DoKKKtor Rove? Or is it their message?. It must be Rove.

    There’s talk about conducting a congressional investigation into Palin’s firing of someone or other, misconduct or something. The details dont matter. What matters is that congressional investigations have been the most successful tool the dems have ever used to slander their political opponents. Just to have them underway. They dont have to be productive, (i.e result in substantive findings), they just have to occur. The press will carry the ball from there.

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    She handed me back my reporter’s notebook when one of her almost-two-year-old twins, fixing me with a dark look of mistrust, took it away. “Liberal media, eh?” her solemn eyes glared. “Well, watch what you say about my mommy and Our Sarah.”

    See, Neo, even a two year old has that instinct to avoid predators!

  4. Sloan Says:

    I’ve often said that the principal difference between liberals and conservatives is simply this: conservatives see liberals as being generally well-intentioned but wrong, good-hearted in their desire to right the wrongs of the world but misguided in their efforts and methods of accomplishing it. We may get angry at them, but we know they mean well.

    Liberals, on the other hand, see conservatives as suffering from some inherent moral defect. If we advocate a particular policy, there’s always a base motive behind it. It is simply inconceivable to most liberals that a person could hold conservative views out of genuine heart-felt conviction. Furthermore, they generally misunderstand conservatism entirely. What they believe about conservatives is a caricature, a straw man that they can easily dismantle.

  5. nyomythus Says:

    The new Left really believes that the end game, so to say, of Conservatism is fascism, is a return to slavery, is a return to an antebellum dhimmitude for women, homosexuals and other minorities. Conservatism is made up of philosophical coalitions, as is Liberalism is as well. Paleoconservatives can be friendly and share voting line with the new Left, and Classical Liberals can be friendly with Conservatives and also share voting lines. One delusion is real and the other isn’t because the driving force of Conservatism is ethical individualism, rights of man (in the classical sense), realism and reason (except for our unfortunate shared coalition with you know who).

  6. Kurt Says:

    Another reason for the difference is that, as has been mentioned before on this blog, most of the education folks receive today is full of liberal indoctrination, and as a result, most conservatives are more than familiar with liberal ideas or thinkers, but liberals have never had to take conservative ideas or thinkers seriously.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    Conservatives, he said, prove quite adept at thinking like liberals, but liberals are consistently incapable of understanding the conservative point of view.

    We have two advantages. Conservatives interested in military history, like me, often are required to predict the moves of the opponents; you cannot predict another move’s without knowing both their character as well as their philosophy.

    The second change is more manifold in terms of the specifics. It is not just restricted to having defectors like Neo-Neocon or Bookworm come over to the conservative side, to inform us of what is “really” going on with the Left and the Democrats. It also includes people like Dr. Sanity and Shrinkwrapped, who provide their own life experiences and input into the stew. It is about how the fact that it is not purely military experience, it is not purely military history, it is not purely anything when it comes to analyzing the Left’s goals and methods.

    Yes, psychology helps. Yes, having people who were once Democrats tell us their thoughts and refutations of Leftist ideas or methods, helps. But in the end, what has always been true is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. What is important is to have a respect for the process. What process?

    The process of thinking, the process of arguing, the process behind which the First Amendment was first constructed on. The belief that when all things are equal, when no violence is used or implied, the person with the strongest arguments win out: even when both sides are wrong, just the fact that they argue and exchange ideas, will carry them both closer to the truth. That is the process.

    The Left’s idea of making a better world consists of one thing and one thing only. A hive mind hierarchy upon which there is an elite few, centered around a strong man (the king or queen), telling the 95% rest of humanity what they will do, how many children they will have, how much food they will need to get, and so forth.

  8. njcommuter Says:

    The “religious war” model is supported by the apparent belief that Karl Rove is a witch who can make people ‘vote against their interests’ and, apparently, against their wills.

  9. Sally Says:

    nyomythus: The new Left really believes that the end game, so to say, of Conservatism is fascism, is a return to slavery, is a return to an antebellum dhimmitude for women, homosexuals and other minorities.

    I don’t think they do. This phenomenon of an incapacitating left-liberal rage is relatively new, and I think it’s a symptom of something deeper: a broad social, political, and cultural shift away from the Left that defined the Boomers. In response to that slow but massive movement, the remaining adherents are left both increasingly befuddled and furious, and frantically strive to project more and more demonic stereotypes on any who don’t support their faith. But it’s a bad faith — in more ways than one — and I doubt very much they actually believe their own projections.

  10. Occam's Beard Says:

    Ymarsakar makes an excellent point re anticipating the moves of the other side.

    As in scientific research, when one can accurately predict outcomes with some degree of consistency, one can infer that one understands the phenomenon at hand.

    The left seems not to apply this criterion. They consistently fail to anticipate outcomes, and yet persist in the same world view, which is irrational.

  11. Ike Says:

    @the beard

    not only do they fail to predict the outcomes, they fail to understand them after the fact.

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    They consistently fail to anticipate outcomes, and yet persist in the same world view, which is irrational.

    When you can mold, revise, and change history according to your whims, desires, and passions, Occam, what need do you have to match hypothesis to data? Why not match data to hypothesis?

    They did it for Vietnam. They did it with Stalin and the Soviets. Even now, you can still hear “The US was saved by Russia’s sacrifice of millions of their (cannon fodder) people in WWII”.

    Why not change data to fit your hypothesis when you have had such historical successes like that?

    Success breeds emulation, after all. It is only after failures, that people change their ways and start rethinking things. The Left hasn’t failed. They have not lost a war and been crushed. They still think like Germans after WWI, that their leadership betrayed them by not fighting hard enough. They didn’t think they were beaten. Just like the Sunnis of Tikrit and Al Anbar didn’t think they were beaten just because we captured and hanged Saddam.

    ************

    The psychology article in question explains morality in useful and true fashions. However, morality has always been inferior to ethics. Morality is inconsistent. Laws must be consistent. Morality applies differently to individuals (good workers get rewarded, bad people are punished). The law must apply the same to every individual. You see, a moral judgment of a person means that they don’t have any rights. Criminals don’t have any rights according to the moral position of defending society and its weakest members from them. But the law must protect even criminals, guilty and the innocent, for an inconsistent law is no rule of law, it is just rule of the mob.

    The thesis that conservatives have locked unto “morality”, whether it has 3 tones or 5 tones, is mistaken. Only religious conservatives, those who believe in the dictates of God and the forms of faith, believe strongly in such things concerning society.

    Most of the other conservatives have elevated ethics above morality.

    Ethics does not vary depending on which culture you are in, what each individual has been doing, or any other variable. Ethics applies universally across all cultures, all individuals, and all institutions. It does not matter who or what you are.

    Democrats do not elevate ethics above morality. Look at their philosophy on attacking Palin, if you don’t believe me. It does not matter to them what is right or wrong, universally. What matters to them is exploiting what they see as weaknesses of Palin. It’s a first strike. When you conduct a nuclear first strike, you only do so because you either believe you can kill the enemy’s nuclear launch capabilities first or if you believe that any retaliation they conduct will not totally obliterate you.

    This is only “ethical” if you expect and agree with the enemy doing the same thing to you, if they can get it up. But the Democrats don’t agree or accept the Republicans doing the same thing to them. In fact, they say they are justified in meaning mean and evil because Republicans are even more mean and evil.

    That’s not ethics. That’s committing war atrocities on the “other group” because you think the other group did something bad to you first. That’s a moral position. That’s a cultural position. That’s a parochial village position born of passion and ignorancy.

    Conservatives don’t like unethical people and they sure as heck don’t like amoral Leftists. You may have noticed that there is “amoral” people, but there are no “aethical” people. Amoral people are people who can ignore morality of any group or individual. Why? Because morality itself is limited to its own culture and circumstances. Its own society and maintenance. Ethics, however, is not limited in such a fashion. You cannot reject ethics. Rejecting ethics means you are unethical, where rejecting morality may just mean you are amoral, rather than immoral.

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    The thesis that conservatives have locked unto “morality”, whether it has 3 tones or 5 tones, is mistaken. Only religious conservatives, those who believe in the dictates of God and the forms of faith, believe strongly in such things concerning society.

    I can and will make the personal statement/analysis that most of America’s churches are enlightened. Meaning, they see God as being the ultimate “boss”, and thus this translates religious morality into philosophical ethics.

    If you honestly believe God is above us all, then whatever God’s laws are, becomes ethical laws as well.

    Morality is only morality, and not ethics, because morality applies to one group but not another. If God’s laws apply to everyone, then when you speak of God’s will, loving your neighbors, then you are speaking of ethics. Regardless of what people may call it.

    This is enlightened. Compared to what, though? Compared to the other religions I have studied. Compared to other interpretations of Christianity.

    After all, the churches in America could easily have adopted Leftist morality and Spanish Inquisition philosophy on life. Instead of convincing and converting people, just kidnap them, imprison them, torture confessions out of them, burn them at the stake, and then take all their property and assets for your own.

    But, of course, we have Leftist totalitarian governments and PC groups like Code Pink to do that. The Church and its offshoots do no longer play that game.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    Judith Warner seems to be trying to get it.

    She can try to get it all she wants. She was given plenty of resources, opportunities, and mentors, like General Petraeus, to “get it” in 2003 to 2008.

    When you abandon such an opportunity to learn about enemies and how they think, in order to know how to defeat them, solely because you didn’t think they were your worst enemies to begin with, you are going to have a long way to catch up to the rest of us that started on 9/11.

    Speaking as someone that started the road of learning about history, military history, psychology, propaganda, conventional warfare, unconventional warfare, and good generalship vs bad generalship in the last 7 years, without any prior educational background in this topic, formal or informal, you’re going to have a lot to catch up on.

    Especially when you have just been absent for many many tests: tests like the surge, Al Anbar, Petraeus, etc, etc, etc.

    Missing tests is not a good way to determine your progress on learning new topics. Hearing the lectures, reading stuff, thinking you got it down, means nothing when you can’t test your projections and predictions and beliefs. You could belief you got the math problem down all you want. Until you work the problem, without knowing the solution (Without Knowing the Solution), you are never going to be able to be fully confident of your ability to really know this stuff. Human beings love self-delusion. We can convince ourselves of a lot of things that we are totally wrong about.

    20/20 Hindsight, just knowing what has happened, means nothing.

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    I also caution people that think they know how the solution was “worked out” simply by looking at the question and the solution. Unless you got the principles of it down, you aren’t going to be able to reverse engineer the solution like that.

    A person can know the solution and the problem, but never actually know how that solution was derived or created or implemented.

    And that’s the primary problem with the Left and their “policies”.

    Not only do they have the wrong solutions, they don’t know how to implement those solutions even if they were right. Not only do they lack competence on implementing their proposals, but they don’t even know what the original problem was in the first place.

    Do they have it all wrong? No, a person doing a math problem can still get some of it right, even if they have the digits in the wrong place.

  16. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “not only do they fail to predict the outcomes, they fail to understand them after the fact.”

    That is because of The Liberal Mind ‘reset’ Button.

    Every conservative has experienced it; managing to ‘convince’ a liberal that the conservative point of view has merit and their acknowledgment of such…

    Then perhaps the very next day they discover that the liberal denies ever having acknowledged any such thing. It is if the conversation never took place…

    That is the ‘reset’ button in action, which activates every night at midnight and wipes the liberal ‘mind’ clean. A ‘clean’ re-install of liberal programming takes place…and that is why they don’t learn.

    I suspect that neo-neocon, bookworm and myself (I am a neocon too) ‘suffered’ a breakdown in our automatic ‘reset’ and that enabled us to take the ‘red’ pill…

  17. vanderleun Says:

    As somebody recently coined:

    Palinoia

  18. TmjUtah Says:

    Here’s a data point for the file:

    Randi Rhodes from yesterday.

    Where the Democrats are concerned I’m at the point where I have to remember my mom’s stern words the first time I saw an agitated, severelymentally disabled person in the dining room of the Furr’s Cafeteria after church:

    “It’s not polite to stare.”

  19. Vince P Says:

    Ymarsakar made some good points.

    It took me years to finallly “get” Islam. So much of my own way of thinking was interferringw ith my understand of them… you totally have to remove yourself from any analysis when dealing with the other

  20. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Ymarsakar,

    I don’t mean to imply that I disagree with you, per se.

    That said, your comments got me thinking about the difference between morals and ethics.

    I thought a good place to begin was to refamiliarize myself with the definitions of those words.

    Webster’s defines moral as: “the capability to distinguish between right and wrong; a teaching in accordance with the principles of right and wrong”

    Ethics is defined as: “a system of moral standards”…

    I believe that the entomology of the word ethics comes from the Greek word; Ethos, which is defined as: “the characteristic attitudes, habits and moral attributes of an individual or group

    I stopped there because it confirmed what I already believed to be true; morality and ethics are essentially the same thing; with the exception that ‘morality’ generally arises out of either religion or long societal traditions.

    Whereas ‘ethics’ is a rational examination of individual and group behaviors using logic and reason.

    Religion’s generally posit that God has in some fashion ‘communicated’ to mankind a deeper ‘truth’.

    Whereas ethics relies solely upon mankind’s inherent faculty of reason to determine ‘codes’ of behavior.

  21. Occam's Beard Says:

    When you can mold, revise, and change history according to your whims, desires, and passions, Occam, what need do you have to match hypothesis to data? Why not match data to hypothesis?

    They did it for Vietnam. They did it with Stalin and the Soviets. Even now, you can still hear “The US was saved by Russia’s sacrifice of millions of their (cannon fodder) people in WWII”.

    Why not change data to fit your hypothesis when you have had such historical successes like that?

    That approach works on matters of interpretation, but not with objective events, such as elections.

    You’d think that they would look at the electoral record, and realize that the further to the left the candidate is, the worse he gets hammered. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

    Clinton wins. McGovern, Dukakis, Mondale get torched. Hypothesis: the further left the candidate, the worse he seems to do. They’re about to get another data point on this, but I’m sure yet again their response will be a) they didn’t get their message out and/or it wasn’t understood by all of us dumbasses, b), my personal favorite, the candidate wasn’t far enough left, and/or c) the election was stolen from them.

    They’re like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football; Lucy yanks it away every time, but every time they think things will be different.

    The same reasoning, if I might so dignify it with that characterization, pervades Marxist advocacy. The next time Marxism is tried it’ll work, yes it will, because … OK, it’s been a dismal failure for the last century, but true Marxism wasn’t tried (thereby defining away the problem), and it will be…the next time.

    Eventually you’d think they would have a teachable moment when they’d realize that perhaps a new approach might be worth considering.

  22. Sergey Says:

    This Haidt guy is a rare animal – thoughtful, intellectually honest, open-minded and decent liberal. He can walk down a narrow path between a voracious morass of moral relativism and a killing desert of moral universalism. As a cultural anthropologist and social psychologist, he got the usual dosage of leftist indoctrination, but able to question its tenets and come to some non-orthodox conclusions. He understands that any society is not a mechanism, but organism, having, as all organisms do, homeostatic property – they defend and protect their identity, resist to external pressures and reject attempts to change them by tinkering and “fixing” their deficiencies. This is a big leap from mechanistic approach of “progressives”, who believe in malleability of human communities, endorse poignant concepts of social engineering and historical materialism.

  23. Occam's Beard Says:

    Sergey, speaking of historical materialism, how do Marxists explain the historical impact of non-economic events, such as the spread of Islam? Shouldn’t that undercut their premise that economics drives history?

  24. Ike Says:

    Try this experiment sometime:

    Get a Newt Gingrich essay, strip his name off it, and let a liberal friend read it. Then tell them who wrote it. The intellectually honest will cock an eyebrow, and possibly even admit they would have never read it if it came wrapped with the label.

    You’re hard-pressed to get that fair a shake otherwise. I’ve been seeing the same phenomenon all over blogs and on Twitter, that liberals only think they understand a conservative philosophy, and hold it beneath contempt; dehumanized.

    As long as that is the case, they’ll never understand why they consistently turn off vast swaths of the electorate. Instead, they’ll continue to blame losses on evil conspiracies, or being overrun by too many dumb people.

    Tell me where you’ve seen these arguments before: http://snurl.com/evilsheep

    I don’t see a light at the end of this tunnel, either. Guys like Joe Trippi, with solid liberal credentials, are getting savaged on their own sites for even questioning whether liberals are miscalculating.

  25. Ymarsakar Says:

    Eventually you’d think they would have a teachable moment when they’d realize that perhaps a new approach might be worth considering.

    When it is always other children, the children of Cuba, the children of Iraq, the children of Afghanistan, or the children of Vietnam, paying the price for their actions, why would they feel a need to reconsider?

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    I believe that the entomology of the word ethics comes from the Greek word; Ethos, which is defined as: “the characteristic attitudes, habits and moral attributes of an individual or group”

    The funny thing about the Greeks is that their gods were so humane and flawed that they had to go into philosophy, not church religions, for insights into the universe and the eternal (beautiful).

    Such people as Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, and what not were always interested in “what has to be true”, rather than “what is true for people like us, who have grown up the way we have”.

    Another problem the Greeks had was their intense tribalism, which was city-state focused rather than family focused. They never could get along, for long, without an external enemy like Persia around. Heck, the Athenians exiled their own leaders and generals, when they didn’t like them. Athens getting along with Sparta for any long period of time? No way.

    Whereas ‘ethics’ is a rational examination of individual and group behaviors using logic and reason.

    Ethics is a word when defined by the dictionary. Ethics is something else in the field of philosophy. Philosophy comes from the combination of Epistemology combined with Metaphysics to create Ethics. One’s ethical standards are based upon one’s epistemology and metaphysics. In this sense, you can get an ethical standard of multiculturalism, but it wouldn’t be logical or correct based upon the reality, the meta-reality, of the world.

    Ethics is defined as: “a system of moral standards”…

    If the dictionary is trying to define the word using itself, then you got a whole another problem going on.

    There are differences. But those differences are not spelled out by a dictionary.

    Pertaining to morality, it has been defined quite adequately by Haidt. The definition of the word doesn’t matter so much as the elements used to construct a moral society matters.

    Morality can never include other society’s moralities. The system is only consistent when looked at one culture, at how the culture dealt with things. You add in another culture and what you have are mutually exclusive things, even if they were developed from the same foundation principles and needs. Imperial Japan saw it as honorable to die in war and never be captured; Japan saw it as in fact dishonorable to be captured, for that meant you had broken your oath to the Emperor, your family, your ancestors, and your lord. America saw it as honorable to surrender, if the odds are too great. America saw it as dishonorable to kill yourself and get your fellow soldiers killed, rather than return alive to America, for you cannot maintain your oaths of duty when you are dead: you can only do so when alive.

    If you had tried to comprehend Japan using America’s morality at the time, it would have been hopeless. Wouldn’t have worked. America’s morality said the Japanese actions were immoral. Japanese said the American’s actions were immoral. You see the situation, I hope.

    Morality is limited only to its own cultural prejudices and blind spots. Ethics is about seeing the actions of everybody and applying a consistent, internall and externally, frame of philosophy to it.

    The reason why ethics is not popular, and thus people often conflate it with morality, is because ethics is not convenient for any one society’s morality. No society wants somebody’s ethical standards to tell them “this standard of morality is WRONG, not because I say so, but because of the foundations upon which all humanity rests”. That’s an absolute declaration: something that society doesn’t like to have, for it disrupts society’s ability to control people and their actions.

    America is unique for America put down a universal code of ethics, called the Declaration of Independence. The US Constitution only applies to America, American law only applies to Americans. But the Declaration of Independence spoke about all of humanity. Not just Americans. Not just men, but women. Not just whites, but all of humanity.

    Much of the Leftist crazy and anti-patriotism criticism is that this kind of group identity is harmful against universality and international law.

    In reality, what is harmful is attempting to damage America’s universal ethics and trying to make people believe that it is nothing but parochial, conservative, authoritarian fascist principles. It is not that. It is not “morality”. It is not the principles of right and wrong of just one culture compared to all the other Multi Cultural Experiences one might have. It is universal. It is globa. It applies across all of the human species, not just one segment of it.

    That is the power of ethics. And it is not morality. It is not subservient to multiculturalism or diversity. It does not depend upon what the “meaning of is is”.
    ************************************
    Guys like Joe Trippi, with solid liberal credentials, are getting savaged on their own sites for even questioning whether liberals are miscalculating.

    This is a good thing, depending on our own actions. If say, the Sunnis were getting savaged at their own cities and towns by Al Qaeda for questioning Al Qaeda’s efforts in Iraq to “liberate” them from the US, it would be a good thing if the US, we, stepped in and gave the Sunnis an option of alliance against Al Qaeda.

    However, if we just sit around and leave them to the wolves, to get “savaged” by their own for even questioning AQ’s beliefs and actions, then it would be we who have miscalculated.

    Have no doubts on this score; the Left is an insurgency in the heart of America and the same principles which worked to quell and dilute the insurgency in Iraq will work the same in America. Iraq looked like an eternal quagmire. America looks like we’re going down a tunnel without any sign of the exit. Both depends upon our actions now.

    As I mentioned once to Neo. Wars may look winnable or losable, but the only thing that matters is what you do now. For you are the one that decides the fate of the war. Give up, and you give up the right to decide as well. Keep fighting, and you’ll still have a voice in how things go with destiny and fate.

  27. Ymarsakar Says:

    Occam, should Ted Kennedy consider changing his fundamental behavior and beliefs, just because a woman paid the price for his actions?

    The same applies to the Left, for they have made the same decision. And you know it. So long as it is somebody else paying the price, they’ll just keep staying the course.

  28. Ymarsakar Says:

    morality and ethics are essentially the same thing; with the exception that ‘morality’ generally arises out of either religion or long societal traditions.

    That is something I disagree with.

    It does not matter where morality and ethics comes from. Ethics can come from religion, as I have mentioned. Or it can come from society, as I mentioned with the Declaration of Independence and America’s ancestral worship of the Founding Fathers.

    Morality can come from such things as well. The difference between morality and ethics cannot be from what shapes them, it can only be in the function of how morality differs from ethics.

  29. Ymarsakar Says:

    Here’s something else people should consider. If both the Left and the Right, if the GOP and the Democrats, both see their position as right and moral, as Haidt spoke of, then what determines which side is right?

    They can’t both be right, you know. Not when their policies are mutually exclusive. Not when their philosophies on LIFE are mutually exclusive.

    So how do you determine, using morality, if morality is the same as ethics, which side is right if both sides are using the moral arguments, persuasion, and principles that are beneath all morality?

  30. Ozyripus Says:

    “Beware, Judith Warners of the world—in trying to have empathy for conservatives, you just might end up becoming one yourself.”

    Wonderful comment, neo! But for myself I’m not holding my breath.

    After reading the feminist diatribe she wrote the week before, I think she’ll hit that “liberal-reset button.” Within this week’s column, her initial, blatant liberal disdain (wonderfully done), I’m afraid, is only a writing device.

    Hope I’m wrong.

  31. Ymarsakar Says:

    Personally, Neo, I was getting rather tired of hearing about Obama.

    That’s why I didn’t watch the Democrat convention and wasn’t planning on watching the Republican convention, either.

    However, Sarah Palin has injected quite a lot of enthusiasm on my part.

    You know some of my hesitations on John McCain. They don’t concern his intentions, but just like with Bush, I am worried that good intentions, like with McCain-Feingold, isn’t enough for the Presidency.

    You have to demonstrate that you can jack up your enemies, both domestic and foreign. That you will not allow them to “advise” you to the UN. That you will refuse to let them “mislead” you with a Slam Dunk proclamation. That you will not let the media go scott free, ala Valerie Plame and Dan Rather, just because you are a compassionate conservative out for a kinder, gentler, media experience.

    McCain, after his convention speech, has told us that it was no hard choice, for him, to support the surge. His patriotism is so strong, that he literally cannot choose anything else, and still remain the man that he is. Yet, again, he doesn’t speak about counter-insurgency. He didn’t speak about it on the media. I recognize he wrote it in a little blog thingie on the website. That is not the same, however, when we are talking about this main sewer media.

    This main sewer media needs a little bit more than just words on paper, if you want to operate effectively as a President with them around.

  32. Ymarsakar Says:

    and Sarah Palin is just the person I can see kicking the media around and making them beg for mercy.

  33. Ymarsakar Says:

    Read this comment at the link Neo put up.

    #
    5.
    September 12th,
    2008
    1:13 am

    This is such an important issue to discuss that I think most of us hardly know where to begin. First, thank you for the link to Jonathan Haidt’s article. It is a valuable tool in thinking about this subject. I agree with a great deal of what he says, especially when he suggests we need to define morality as a “system of interlocking values, practices, institutions and psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate selfishness.” But I would really like to see more of the research he has done that suggests that conservatives are adept at thinking like liberals, but liberals are consistently incapable of understanding the conservative point of view. I wonder how correct he is about that when he suggests
    that for the conservative, the basic social unit is not the individual, as if for the liberals it is. He puts liberals and libertarians in the same bed, as though individual freedoms took precedence for both of them. How odd that in a Times political blog this week, another writer wondered if libertarians would vote with the liberals this year. I think that’s such a misunderstanding of what being a liberal is. Bob Herbert’s column on liberalism should be required reading for all. It is not about individual rights, but about governmental programs and regulations that helped forge a society we all love, and that many of us are afraid is disappearing.
    In fact, I think for so many conservatives, wanting others to toe the line they have drawn springs precisely from seeing the individual as the basic social unit. “Let me spend my money the way I want to, not the way the government wants to spend it. Government is the problem not the solution. Unregulated free markets are what made this country what it is today.” (Where Enron employees can laugh on tape at little old ladies not being able to pay their electric bills.) “Public schools are the tool of a powerful teacher’s lobby; let everyone have a voucher to go wherever he wants to.” (Provided he’s rich enough to afford the real cost of tuition that voucher doesn’t cover.) “I’m a self-made woman who got where I am today by working hard. Why can’t you do the same?”
    Even with respect to religion, “liberal” mainline churches do not stress personal–personal–salvation as much as the evangelicals.

    These are the issues we need to be talking about. I want to ask Christian conservatives what is it about government regulations that limit monopolistic power over the least of us, that ask us to be stewards of this earth, seems unchristian to them? Christ was constantly accepting of society’s outcasts and often questioned Old Testament laws. Can evangelicals really know that he would not be accepting of gays? Of course abortion is a thorny issue, but while it is not entirely a religious matter, perhaps this is a time when Christians need to follow the Gospel of Matthew, when Christ says to his disciples,””If the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector.” We do have separation of church and state.

    I, in fact, think I do understand the conservative mindset. I cry sometimes for the loss of the country I once knew. I liked those times when, as Archie Bunker said, “You knew who you were.” I can be as xenophobic as the next guy and as resentful of those who would change the society of my youth that I loved so much. I hate the notion of “truthiness,” and the concept of relativism. I long for a world where things are black and white and the path I need to follow is visible and clear. But I know that I am being unrealistic and unfair–so I try to opt for kindness, and sharing, respect for others, and, yes, “fairness,” not because I believe that the individual is the basic social unit, but because I believe that putting individual concerns above the greater good means the end of the society I love.

    — Posted by Elizabeth Fuller

    The Democrat fake liberals put individuals first vs Republicans putting family first, is false. It is not accurate. It is precise, in the sense that this is the problem and the argument we should, but it is not accurate.

    And when Fuller mentions the Democrat’s “liberalism” being about government, not the individual, she is perfectly correct. Isn’t she.

    So the issue at hand is this. How do we reconcile the fact that conservatives talk about unity, but use the rights of free will and the individual to do it, while fake liberals talk about government fairness and justice but use the violation of individual rights and civil liberties to do it?

  34. Ymarsakar Says:

    Yes, much of what Ms. Warner wrote is true. Although I’ve lived in an area with lots of people similar to the ones in this article and I can tell you many of them are just as critical, contemptuous, and full of an air of superiority as the worst liberal stereotype. Some of those seemingly nice, friendly, smiling faces mask deep seated prejudices, bigotry, and xenophobia. Beware of the Trojan Horse offered by the small town, ah shucks, Mayberry crowd.

    — Posted by Trace Banks

    Wait for it… the next comment after this one starts off with

    Women like Palin scare me.

    Yeah. There ya go.

  35. Vince P Says:

    i think it all boils down to Liberty vs Collectivism

    Christians brought liberty to the world due to recognition that each individual is made in God’s image and each has dignity. And also that the relationship between man and God is private.

    Thus since no conformity of religion can be imposed, neither can even choosing to have or not have a religion be imposed. Couple that with property rights and I think you reach American Liberty very quickly

    The Collectivists need everyone to agree with them in order for the project to work. Since it’s impossible to achieve such conformity, a loss of liberty is required to implement the system.

  36. Ymarsakar Says:

    Women like Palin scare me. She appears to embellish on the truth quite a bit. I don’t fool easy. While I admire her strength raising a downs syndrome child? My Son went into the Service because he wanted to, but I hear Palins Son had the choice of jail, or the military? Nothing is said about that in her family history.-Fran

    Yeah. Nothing is said, so it must be true for… “I don’t fool easy”.

    Look, look, people. Anybody that hasn’t studied, used, and witnessed propaganda, real propaganda not just advertisement on tv, in action and its effect, are easily fooled. Especially if they believe they know what is up.

    There is no shame in admitting that you can’t fight off a serial killer because you didn’t study killing but he did and actually has done it.

    But lots of people think they can divide truth from illusion when they have no experience with crafting deception operations, witnessing them in action, nor seeing the results of successful vs failed ops.

  37. Sloan Says:

    Occam’s Beard’s comment re liberals being like Charlie Brown with the football reminded me of a popular definition of clinical insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result every time.

  38. Roy Lofquist Says:

    Dear Neo,

    You suggested that they read a few books on conservatism to begin their path to understanding.
    There’s a lot faster way.

    Instead of going to a cocktail party Saturday night, attending mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral then going home to read The New York Times in its entirety they should go to a local bar in a working class neighborhood, attend services at a humble church and then go home and read the comics.

    Story about comics.

    My first wife’s aunt was married to a prominent psychiatrist in Beverly Hills. We went to dinner there on Saturday and stayed with them that night. Their house was rather impressive. If you went to the edge of their lovely yard you looked down on the roof of Rock Hudson’s place. Sunday morning my wife went downstairs for coffee with her aunt. She picked up the Sunday Comics and started to read them. Her aunt said that she shouldn’t let her new husband see her reading them. About 30 seconds later I came down the stairs and the first thing I said was “Where’s the comics?”.

    Regards,
    Roy

  39. johnclubvec Says:

    I’m not sure what a professor of ‘moral psychology’ is. Sounds cool, though. I do know that an ‘Internet survey’ (what Dr. Haidt said he used to buttress his theories) is most probably what is called a ‘convenience sample’ — and nobody should base nothin’ on a convenience sample. They’re apt to be skewed. John Ray claims to have authored the largest number of published scientific papers on subjects related to the psychology of ‘conservatism’ and ‘liberalism.’ His take might differ a teensie bit from Dr. Haidt’s, e.g. Dr. Ray’s ‘Summary of the summary’: “Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it. Conservatives just want to be left alone.”

  40. Stan Says:

    Sloan (4th comment) — Krauthammer’s famous axiom on the difference b/w Republicans and Democrats.

    Republicans think Democrats are wrong. Democrats think Republicans are evil.

    This is indispensable for any understanding of what has happened in politics in the US since 1968. Especially when coupled with the knowledge that the MSM consists of Democrats intent on helping their side win.

  41. Ymarsakar Says:

    The reason why reason, logic, and evidence is important and critical to people like me and Neo is because we recognize that propaganda affects us all: that nobody is invulnerable to it.

    There is no such thing as a person that cannot be convinced. It is just a degree of luck, time, and resources required.

    Remember, we’re not talking about buying off people. Martyrs can’t be bought off. WHy? Cause they believe. So if you control their information and get them to believe… what is impossible? Nothing is impossible, after you make them believe. But making them believe and convincing them, is still not a done deal until done.

    That’s why conservatives always talk about the “truth” and that other clap trap that Democrats see.

    It matters to us precisely because if it didn’t matter to us, how would we then recognize what is or is not true afterwards?

    Just because you’re making up propaganda, does not mean you should believe in your own propaganda.

    Concerning the topic of a Democrat “reset button”, I have something funny to tell people. It is from John C Wright’s “The Golden Age”.

    Imagine that you wanted to create a self-aware mind that will conduct your crusade against life: all life.

    Since computers are logical beings and cannot behave inconsistent with their hardware and software, they cannot simply be told to “kill all life in the universe”: for the first life they will kill would be themselves.

    So the solution is to make a conscience redactor for the computer. The computer thinks he is self-aware and is on a crusade to exterminate all life. The conscience redactor, however, serves the singular purpose of eliminating any data concerning specific topics from the computer’s awareness and consciousness.

    So what have we created? We have created a Leftist Democrat with compartmentalized thinking, that whenever some forbidden topic comes to mind, it is immediately erased.

    This doesn’t create a zombie, btw. It doesn’t make someone dumb. It doesn’t mean that when a Leftist hears you say B, he cannot later on repeat exactly what you have said, word for word. But he doesn’t think about them, for whenever he starts to “think”, starts to make connections, the conscience redactor goes to work.

    A self-aware entity that isn’t aware of his own thought processes. Is he truly self-aware, sapient, and sentient?

  42. Huan Says:

    Several months ago i read that the Soviets had embarked on a long term project of social engineering to change the US society toward something more pliant.
    I wonder if the modern Leftist is the result of this. will look for links later.

  43. Ymarsakar Says:

    Are you talking about this, Huan?

  44. Ymarsakar Says:

    I got to say, after looking at the video on my own blog once more, I can sincerely see how effective it was with Georgia.

  45. Rose Says:

    …in trying to have empathy for conservatives, you just might end up becoming one yourself….

    And like the Velveteen rabbit, you then become REAL.

  46. Vince P Says:

    Why is Russia acting the way it is now…

    1 – It was inevitiable

    2 – It was compelled to because of the West’s arrogant disregard to the concerns of Russia

  47. Ymarsakar Says:

    Sarah Palin, she told me, “just seems like a regular person.”

    I did not argue with her. One does not argue when making new friends. And besides, we had so many other things to bond over. We talked about kids with issues. She had a son with A.D.H.D., cousins with Asperger’s and dysgraphia, and a nephew with autism.

    Hey Neo, isn’t that funny? She is keeping her mouth quiet on this issue, like several classical liberals do amongst fake liberal friends.

    When you can’t just mouth off whatever you feel like it, I suppose you obtain a greater amount of time to actually think about issues.

    Classical liberals have to do this surrounded by fake liberals, but fake liberals often don’t get the benefit of that experience amongst conservatives.

  48. Danny Says:

    Below is the URL to a surprising article by an Australian left-wing journalist who surprised me by the way he has understood the Sarah Palin phenomenon in terms of the hero’s journey.

    http://www.theage.com.au/world/palin-into-significance-20080913-4fy2.html

  49. david foster Says:

    Modern “progressivism” is about more status markers than it is about a coherent body of thought.

    For this reason, it is as difficult for one of these “progressives” to put himself into the shoes of a conservative as it would be for an elderly Tory landowner, circa 1830, to put himself into the shoes of a person who believed that political advancement should be independent of family background.

  50. Ronald Hayden Says:

    I once tried to find some common ground with my very liberal colleagues by saying, “I thought it was wrong when conservatives demonized Clinton in very hateful ways without regard to his actual beliefs and policies” — here I talked about a roadside cafe I encountered filled with bumper stickers with really vile stuff, including seeming encouragement to assassinate Clinton, and everyone agreed with me how bad this was.

    “And I think it’s wrong when the left demonizes Bush without regard to his actual beliefs and policies,” I said.

    At this point they turned on me — Bush was a totally different matter! After all, he was dangerous and the stuff about him was all true!

    I guess I can’t claim superiority, as I bought into much (but not all, thankfully!) of this stuff pre-9/11 conversion, but it really bothers me that I keep having to retreat further to find politically-oriented subjects I can discuss in polite company that won’t get me tarred and feathered.

  51. Michael Lonie Says:

    Roy,
    I’ve always referred to the comics as the intellectual part of the paper. Looking at some of the stuff the NYT and the LAT put out as news, fake stories and partisan propaganda, that seems to me a very accurate description.

  52. Vince P Says:

    The truth was, that for the most part, all the fears about the Clintons that the Right had were true.

    They were shameless liars, deep in corruption

    The Lefties hated Bush because of his convinctions and his religion.. not because he had done anything wrong.

    They hate Bush becaue they hate this country and anyone who would emphasis the historical virtues of the US

  53. John Spragge Says:

    Conservative reformers such as myself look at the “movement conservatives” of today and note two things:

    1) The history of nations does not just happen in people’s heads. For notions of faith, family and nation to have any relevance, politicians have to put them into action, and in their actions, the leaders of the Republican Party have always championed a commercial society based on a procedural republic. They say the right things, then they go off to foreign countries to praise trade agreements that have put many American workers on the dole. They wave the flag, then they respond to an attack on their country the way you would expect a the managers of a commercial society to do: they act to contain the economic damage. That may get politicians elected (for a while), but it won’t sustain a society.

    2) Morals, ethics, or just decision making based on intentionally consistent principles: what ever you call it, “ethics” have a practical component. The cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude) form the “hinges” of society because they work. And right now, your governance has had some fortitude (Governor Palin sending her eldest to Iraq) but has markedly lacked prudence (debt? what debt?).

  54. Ymarsakar Says:

    the leaders of the Republican Party have always championed a commercial society based on a procedural republic.

    Hamiltonians are not as great a force in the GOP as Jacksonians.

    The cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude) form the “hinges” of society because they work.

    Virtues only work if individuals have it. Anti-Iraq and anti-Vietnam proponents do not have it.

  55. Ymarsakar Says:

    Governor Palin sending her eldest to Iraq

    Classical liberals and perhaps even most conservatives, abhor the idea that individual liberty is tied to what the family decides is best. Even to the point of sacrificing the lives of children for the political benefit of the parents.

    Palin does not decide where her son goes. Her son decided to go.

    This confusion of people’s rights with attempting to put them under the hood of this one giant authority, whether you call it family or government, leads not to reform but to corruption.

  56. Roy Lofquist Says:

    Dear Mr. Lonie,

    You don’t know how right you are.

    Bill Watterson is the cartoonist who gave us Calvin and Hobbes. In one of his collections he wove a narrative about what goes into a successful strip. It is far more complicated and difficult than it looks. It is extremely difficult to get a complex idea across in four drawings and less than 20 words. You have to literally grow your characters – develop their personalities for your readers so that the right character says the right thing. People have to feel they know the character, their basic outlook. What they say in five words evokes the attitudes and ideas. This puts the words into a context that is much larger than the mere words.

    Many of the sayings embedded in the national conversation were coined by Walt Kelly in Pogo. There have been many fine cartoon strips and there are today. You’ll get more insight into people and the world in one Sunday’s worth of comics than you’ll get in four psychology courses.

    And it’s quick and easy and fun. Not speed reading. Speed learning.

    Regards,
    Roy

  57. Ymarsakar Says:

    Roy Lofquist Says:

    That sounds a lot like what manga authors for Japan has to do. They both have to draw several pages for the manga, write the dialogue, and do this every week.

  58. Huan Says:

    Ymarsakar

    yes that is the one. was it your link that i read so long ago?

    do you think that the rabid derangement mentality of the Left is a result of this?

  59. Vince P Says:

    Did you guys know there is a case in court now considering the fact that Obama is ineligible to be President?

    The lawyer who filed the case has a site here

    http://www.obamacrimes.com/

    In the brief they lay out this case

    - There’s controversy that he might have been born in Kenya

    But regardless of that

    - His mother subsequently married an Indonesian and relocated to Indonesia

    - Under Indonesian law, when you marry an Indonesian and live there, the mother becomes a citizen of Indonesia

    - Under US law, when a person aquires a new nationality, their US citizenship is revoked

    - Under US law, when a minor’s guardian aquires a new nationality, the minor loses his citizenship

    - Under US law, when a former citizen returns to the US, they could regain their citizenship by swearing an oath of allegence at an embassy or court.

    Barry never did this, additionally, when he was 20 years old,, he went to Pakistan with an Indonesia passport

    Berg v. Obama, et al. Civil Case No. 08-cv-04083

    Answers are due from the various parties to the lawsuite as follows:

    Barrack Obama September 24, 2008;

    DNC: September 24, 2008 and

    FEC: October 21, 2008 (Federal and Government Employees and Entities have sixty (60) days)

  60. Occam's Beard Says:

    Vince, I have to say I find this troubling. I don’t want Obama defeated on a technicality, the way he knocked out opponents in his own previous campaigns.

    Defeat him on the merits, I say.

  61. Peter Says:

    I try as hard as I can to understand conservatives. That’s why I read this blog, among others. I even visit Conservapedia. Tell me if I’m wrong, but so far my research seems to indicate that conservatism consists largely of skepticism and fear. It’s rather depressing, actually.

  62. Vince P Says:

    Peter: go to any leftist blog and read about how “scared” they all are of Sarah Palin

    Then let us know who the ones who traffic in fear are.

  63. Vince P Says:

    Occam: When the COLB was thought to be a fake, i really didn’t care because it was not conclusive and no one could make a casae that anything illegal was going on.

    But this lawsuit makes it plain,.. his mother getting married and moving to indonesia invalidates his citizenship.

    That is not a technicality!

    Does the Constitution mean anything anymore?

  64. Ymarsakar Says:

    Tell me if I’m wrong, but so far my research seems to indicate that conservatism consists largely of skepticism and fear. It’s rather depressing, actually.

    Research doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have any real people to look at.

  65. Ymarsakar Says:

    do you think that the rabid derangement mentality of the Left is a result of this?

    It was true for Vietnam. But after the Wall fell, weird things started happening. They were now working for an Empire that no longer existed, you see. America was the lone superpower and these tools had to adapt to an existence in the absence of their creator and master.

    The path they took, then, leads to the current times.

    As for the derangement syndromes, they are only indirect consequences of Soviet Russia’s little projects back decades ago. The fact that the Left is deranged is true. The fact that they keep repeating it for new subjects, is a syndrome of the problem.

    I don’t think the Soviets are actively engendering such sentiments, but I do think that what the Soviets have created in America has taken on a life of its own.

  66. Ymarsakar Says:

    As for the actual members of the Left, they would still be around even had the Soviets done nothing. They would be around as reactionist luddites and doomsday cultists.

    The Soviets just created a movement that could centralize the social tendency to create cults.

  67. Mitsu Says:

    Hi again, everyone.

    First of all, I really don’t think that the characterization, above, is accurate. There are plenty of extremist conservatives who think liberals are evil: about to destroy America, traitors, etc., etc. Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, etc.

    And I, for one, do not think conservatives are “evil”. I think you guys espouse views which show up in pretty much every society — there are people who are more supportive of the police (tough on crime), the military, “traditional” values (whatever those happen to be), are less trusting of human nature, etc., and there are those who believe that police power should be more constrained, the military should be used less frequently, are more willing to see societal values evolve, etc.

    And the hard reality is, every society needs a balance of both conservative and liberal political forces. Conservatives are not, in general, either evil or wrong, or good and right — and neither are liberals. The best society, I would argue, comes from a dynamic tension and interaction between both liberal/progressive and conservative forces. As society evolves, you want some people fighting for tradition, so you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater — and you want some people fighting for change, so you can move forward and get rid of obsolete social norms.

    There was a time when segregation was a conservative position. When racism was conservative. When women not being able to vote was conservative, and so forth. Nowadays conservatives and liberals mostly agree that segregation is a bad thing, that women should have the right to vote, etc. We’ve moved on to other debates.

    What is “conservative” and “liberal” changes with time, and varies depending on the society. But there are and should always be both forces in any healthy political culture.

    I place myself as a moderate liberal, on the spectrum. Most of my friends, well-educated, professional, or academic, are the same. We don’t think conservatives are evil, just misguided, just as you seem to think liberals are. Your idea of liberalism, at least as expressed in these comments, appears to me to be completely at odds with my own views and the views of most of my well-educated friends. So at least in my experience, with my peers, the above observations are quite incorrect.

    You guys keep bringing up leftists as though they had anything to do with liberalism as it exists today. Yes, I have friends who are leftists, but really, seriously: they are in a tiny, tiny minority. Some of them voted for Nader. Some of them will again. Look how many actually voted for Nader and you get a sense for how powerful the “leftist” movement is today.

    From the moderate liberal perspective, conservatism has seen many, many failures, over and over again. The Bush Administration has been the source of a vast number of such failures. These are failures that ought to be acknowledged, it seems, by people on the right and the left, yet in this football team political culture, where people root for only one side, these failures are rarely acknowledged by the conservative side.

    I am very much willing to have a sober debate about the pragmatic reality of moderate liberalism vs conservatism, any day of the week. And I am willing to admit that some liberal experiments have failed in the past. But there are many liberal principles that have worked very well. I believe moderate liberalism is the future, in that in any given era, it represents where the political reality is heading. If Obama doesn’t win in 2008, moderate liberalism will still win eventually. Time is on our side. And eventually what people today think of as “liberal”, just like giving women the right to vote, will become a position shared by both conservatives and liberals — and we’ll move on to something else to debate about.

    There will always be conservatives and liberals. If you dream of a day when only one side definitively “wins”, you’re dreaming of something that never will — and never should — happen.

  68. grackle Says:

    Conservative reformers such as myself look at the “movement conservatives” of today and note two things:

    1) The history of nations does not just happen in people’s heads. For notions of faith, family and nation to have any relevance, politicians have to put them into action, and in their actions, the leaders of the Republican Party have always championed a commercial society based on a procedural republic. They say the right things, then they go off to foreign countries to praise trade agreements that have put many American workers on the dole. They wave the flag, then they respond to an attack on their country the way you would expect a the managers of a commercial society to do: they act to contain the economic damage. That may get politicians elected (for a while), but it won’t sustain a society.

    2) Morals, ethics, or just decision making based on intentionally consistent principles: what ever you call it, “ethics” have a practical component. The cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude) form the “hinges” of society because they work. And right now, your governance has had some fortitude (Governor Palin sending her eldest to Iraq) but has markedly lacked prudence (debt? what debt?).

    I wonder on what basis does the writer describe himself as “Conservative.” Some of his ideas seem more Marxist than conservative. For instance, a supply-sider(the dominant conservative economic theory) wouldn’t usually rail against “managers” or a “commercial society” or attacking the Republican Party. McCain is a “Conservative reformer” as well, but somehow I can’t imagine the writer as a McCain enthusiast.

    The writer stresses the importance of “Morals, ethics, or just decision making …” of government and in policy. Just exactly what the writer’s standard is in regards to these issues is unexplained but we can all be assured that the writer is NOT a Republican.

  69. Sergey Says:

    Many, possibly a majority of liberals believe that there is such a thing as non-repressive moral and not-repressive culture. But if you take seriously Haidt’s definition of morality as a complex system aimed at restriction of selfishness, you understand that such things do not and can not exist. Morality and culture are repressive by definition. This is disputable which level of repression is adequate, but this is self-evident that this depends on type of society, level of crime, ability of families, religion and other non-governmental institutions provide safety and societal cogesion: this level can not be the same, for example, for Syria and New England. Quite possible that it also depends on genetic composition and temperament of population at hand: Finns require another level of government supervision and police work than Arabs or natives of Angola.

  70. John Spragge Says:

    The lawsuit VinceP refers to almost certainly means nothing at all, except perhaps as a means to extract donations from gullible people who don’t know how to look up cases on the Internet. Those people should have a look at Afroyim v. Rusk and Vance v. Terrazas.

    Briefly put, you can’t lose your citizenship based on whom your mother marries. Full stop, end of discussion. According to the US State Department, you can only lose your citizenship for one of an enumerated list of actions, and they do not include travelling on a foreign passport as one of the actions.

  71. Vince P Says:

    yeah i just happened to read that state dept page. seems to make the case moot

  72. SteveH Says:

    I see modern liberalism best defined as type of skewed morality that insist all lifes suffering be avoided at all cost. And those who accept life with its inevitable suffering must be immoral.

    All of liberalisms unintended consequences can be explained with this simple insight. A refusal to accept reality of the natural world is what it boils down to.

  73. Amused Cynic » Blog Archive » Someone smarter than me needs to remake the “Carrie” movie trailer….starring Sarah Palin as Carrie, and the MSM as the mean, cool girls… Says:

    [...] Neo-neocon notes that some liberals are trying very, very hard to understand what’s going on with this whole Palin thing. Let’s hope they don’t figure it out until some time in December. Judith Warner seems to be trying to get it. [...]

  74. kcom Says:

    “Tell me if I’m wrong, but so far my research seems to indicate that conservatism consists largely of skepticism and fear. It’s rather depressing, actually.”

    It’s certainly not the case with global warming. Al Gore is just breathtakingly amazing when he literally turns beet red and thunders on about how Bush/Republicans/conservatives are playing on people’s fears (in regards to political events) and then practically in the very next sentence commits the exact same sin in regards to global warming. He launches into ridiculous doomsday scenarios that are precisely calculated to play on people’s fears. He’s way ahead of the science, when he’s not being outright deceptive. His whole campaign is based on fear-mongering. I hear very little criticism of him for that (although, thankfully, there is some).

    As to skepticism, since when is that a bad thing? Isn’t that supposed to be one of the cardinal virtues of an informed citizenry? Don’t journalists positively praise themselves for possessing that attribute? Any right-thinking person would be wise to be skeptical of the pie-in-the-sky utopianism that many on the Left seem to be selling as solutions to real world problems, especially after their long history of failure and the fact that instead of adapting their solutions to human nature they seem to insist on adapting human nature to their solutions.

    It reminds me of this Bertold Brecht quotation:

    “After the uprising of the 17th June the Secretary of the Writers Union had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee stating that the people had forfeited the confidence of the government and could win it back only by redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier in that case for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?”

    At times, it seems like the Left is very much intent on dissolving the people and electing another. However, I’ve always thought the whole premise of America is that the government is not an entity in itself, it’s just a meeting of free citizens to solve common problems. Therefore it should adapt to the citizens and not the other way around.

  75. Mitsu Says:

    Both liberals and conservatives fear things, but conservatives seem to fear apparently more immediate, obvious threats, and liberals tend to fear more long-term or large-scale systemic threats. Thus, liberals are concerned about environmental problems, conservatives concerned about crime and immediate foreign threats. The world, however, happens to have both sorts of threats, which is why it is ludicrous to focus only on one “side” or the other of the spectrum. We need police, and we need a military, we need to defend against foreign threats, and we need to deter and stop crime. But, we also need to take care of the environment, and deal with long-term energy security, and develop renewable fuels, and increase energy efficiency. What’s been so disheartening about our political culture in recent times is that people have lost sight of these obvious facts and have turned to demonizing each side.

    The real political debate ought to be about where to calibrate the balance between short-term obvious threats and long-term systemic threats. Conservative rhetoric in recent times has veered into the irrational: global warming is a myth! Environmental regulation is a harbinger of Stalinism! The only threat is an international Islamist conspiracy!

    It makes sense that we have conservatives who emphasize one side of the spectrum and liberals who emphasize the other. But the optimal government takes care of both threats, both sides — and political rhetoric in recent times has become polarized to the extent that irrationality has become promoted as good sense.

    I don’t believe Republicans would eliminate environmental regulation if they took office again. In fact, McCain has been a supporter of legislation to fight global warming. However, it is unfortunate that we can’t have a decent debate about where to draw the line, because people have turned both sides into caricatures, and they’ve adopted extreme, untenable positions themselves.

  76. Vince P Says:

    Where to draw the line regarding destroying the economy because of an issue that is nothing more than scientific fraud?

  77. Gray Says:

    Mitsu:

    Conservative rhetoric in recent times has veered into the irrational: global warming is a myth! Environmental regulation is a harbinger of Stalinism! The only threat is an international Islamist conspiracy!

    He’s showing that not all liberals misrepresent and can’t understand conservative positions by misrepresenting and not understanding conservative positions.

    Haidt’s Conclusion:

    Conservatives, he said, prove quite adept at thinking like liberals, but liberals are consistently incapable of understanding the conservative point of view.

    Well played, Mr Haidt! This thread should have it’s own link!

  78. Mitsu Says:

    >Where to draw the line regarding destroying the economy

    You make my case perfectly, Vince P. This is another interesting aspect of the broken political culture in our country — the tendency for people to utter absolute statements. Although, of course, I completely disagree with your characterization of the scientific evidence, even if there were a strong case to be made that global warming is a “scientific fraud”, when it comes to science, or any sort of prediction about the future, it’s always a matter of levels of certainty. That is to say, it’s a cost-benefit analysis based on a probability projection. Are you 100% certain that global warming isn’t happening at all? Or only 90% certain? If you’re 100% certain, how do you arrive at that certainty?

    In my view, certainty about scientific questions is the hallmark of irrationality. One can speak only in terms of degrees of certainty, probabilities. Climate change over the last decade has followed the predictions of most GCM models quite accurately — it’s even exceeded the predictions. This, to my mind, lends a lot of credence to the models. The 11 warmest years on Earth in recorded history have happened in the last 13 years. If that’s the product of some fraud, it’s a pretty impressive fraud.

    (Note, by the way, that the recent brouhaha over NASA discovering that 1998 wasn’t the hottest year on record is bogus: that was hottest year in the US, not hottest year on Earth. The hottest years in terms of global temperature have all been in the last decade).

  79. njcommuter Says:

    Peter Says

    [...] Tell me if I’m wrong, but so far my research seems to indicate that conservatism consists largely of skepticism and fear. It’s rather depressing, actually.

    It should not be depressing if the skepticism and fear are born of experience and reason. We fear socialism because of the experience of every place that has tried it–we fear the poverty and suffering that result. We fear socialism because it is based on placing the collective above the individual, on removing the incentive to better one’s condition, on placing the rule of the bureaucrat before the rule of the ballot box. These things theory has told us; these things experience has confirmed.

    If we are right to fear the imposition of poverty and the loss of freedom (including the freedom to own property, which is essential to the pursuit of happiness), then we are right to fear socialism, whether it is offered to us under that name or any other. For although we forget the air we breath and the ground on which we stand, neither is beyond peril. Nor will the Blessings of Liberty remain secure if we forget to treasure them and preserve them, for “ourselves and our posterity.”

    Weep not that we fear; weep that our fears will come true if we allow others to destroy our foundation to build their mirages.

  80. Mitsu Says:

    >by misrepresenting and not understanding conservative positions

    I take it you haven’t read Vince P’s little confirmation of my characterization!

    Of course I don’t believe ALL conservatives believe the extreme rhetoric of a few — but I am talking about the climate of the rhetoric. There is plenty of rhetoric coming from some conservative sources which is quite extreme, and this, I believe, makes rational discussion nearly impossible. And, of course, I am critical of liberals as well, for adding to this.

  81. Toes Says:

    QFT:

    These are failures that ought to be acknowledged, it seems, by people on the right and the left, yet in this football team political culture, where people root for only one side, these failures are rarely acknowledged by the conservative side.

    This is Neoneocon’s Achilles heel. Go team!

  82. Ymarsakar Says:

    Wolf Howling provides a good look at the history of the Republican party vs the Democrat party.

    While conservatives and liberals have changed around some in our history, this is only due to the fact that oftentimes people got stuck with a party that didn’t actually stay true to their principles.

    It was the Republican party and Abraham Lincoln that wished to preserve the union, as all conservatives would wish. And it was his party that fought slavery, a long term threat, not just a short term one as was the Civil War and threat of disunion and balkanization of American states.

    Sometime later, “liberals” found themselves in the Democrat party, when the Democrat party never did have a history of liberty to begin with. Aside from the Jeffersonian roots, free speech was about it, and that was diluted by politics as usual.

    Such people found themselves in the party of FDR because they got hoodwinked. They got promised pie in the sky resolutions to social injustices, all the while ignoring the fact that the Democrat party has been both the instigator and preserver of social injustice for quite a large chunk of American history.

    JFK may have maintained the New Democrat party, for awhile ,but he died. Reagan then defected to the GOP, even in the face of the lies told about the GOP and the shame people felt for being one of those nasty conservatives that fought to keep slaves in the cages.

    So it happens that Democrats, whether you call them paleo-cons or fake liberals, fear non-existent threats or rather threats to them rather than threats to America. Democrats sought to help the South break away, even though this created a long term threat of breaking America’s security against foreign powers, solely to meet a fake threat: the threat of slave rebellions and uppity economical progress.

    Republicans have always held the long term good of the Republic in their mind, their policies, and their actions. It has never gone away. They have demonstrated this time and again, but being human, they were often prey to Democrat machinations and corruption and power and all the other things humans fall to.

    Even though Democrats like FDR had the intention of keeping America safe, their methods of doing so might as well be hit and miss. Making deals with racist Southern politicians as part of the good old boy network, in order to bolster his Presidential support, against the beliefs of his own wife, is one thing. Making deals with Stalin and thinking he is another good old boy you could make deals with, even if it is at the expense of all those nasty Eastern European serfs, is another.

    It is hit or miss. The Republicans never missed, however, for they stayed true to the idea of America and its defense. They refused to even attempt to take down FDR via political attacks, given the instability it would create in war time. And even the Admirals, like Husband Kimmel, that FDR unjustly maligned and character assassinated, kept their mouths shut until the end of the war.

    THe Democrats may be truly said to have ridden on the coat tails of better and more loyal Americans than they, for most of this Republic’s history.

  83. Occam's Beard Says:

    Both liberals and conservatives fear things, but conservatives seem to fear apparently more immediate, obvious threats, and liberals tend to fear more long-term or large-scale systemic threats. Thus, liberals are concerned about environmental problems, conservatives concerned about crime and immediate foreign threats.

    So in short, conservatives focus on things that demonstrably exist, whereas liberals worry about boogie men and things that may or may not ever come to pass.

    You guys keep bringing up leftists as though they had anything to do with liberalism as it exists today. Yes, I have friends who are leftists, but really, seriously: they are in a tiny, tiny minority.

    I think you’re a bit naïve, mitsu. Liberals buy Priuses and put “Coexist” and “Department of Peace” bumper stickers on them, but the leftists call the shots in running the liberal agenda. Your nitwit friends voting for Nader have nothing to do with it. In fact, voting generally has nothing to do with it. The people who lead the left in practice are highly organized and disciplined hard core revolutionaries, our own little Bolsheviks.

    I spent years in Berkeley, and saw the phenomenon at first hand. (Check zombietime.com to get a sense of what I’m talking about. Do it – seriously) All of the themes and memes of the left (liberals, Democrats, progressives, what have you) originate (and originated) with hard core leftist agitators. I saw this happen in the 70s, and it’s happening now. Where do you think “No Blood for Oil” came from? That was no liberal, that was a hard core Stalinist (e.g., from ANSWER) who made up that one. And such people have no time for voting, or for democracy. They commonly believe – and say so, publicly – in the necessity of making things worse, to undermine trust in institutions, such as voting, so that they can “mobilize the masses.” Their doctrinal disputes – which can be incredibly bitter – revolve around not how best to improve society, but how to undermine it, so that they can build their socialist utopia.

    Look at photos of demonstrations, with demonstrators holding their professionally printed signs featuring that peculiar highly stylized leftist language. Take the hint. You mean well, as do all liberals, but you’ve been duped by people who do not.

  84. lumpenscholar Says:

    Mitsu,

    I believe you are conflating conservatism as a simple definition (wanting to conserve) with the conservative movement. The conservative movement in America isn’t terribly conservative, and in my opinion, the liberal movement in America isn’t very liberal.

    For example, less government interference in private life is a liberal virtue, but those who claim the title “liberal” are the ones putting speech codes in place at universities, restricting the right of self-defense, and wanting more government programs (i.e, not liberal, but authoritarian).

    As a result, I find the labels “liberal” and “conservative” as literal terms mostly meaningless. They force everyone into a simplistic dualism instead of encouraging an understanding of the many and varied political groups in America based on actual beliefs and actions. This is one reason liberals cannot understand conservatives. They rely on labels instead of actually dealing with the real underlying cultural issues of the various groups they call “conservative.”

  85. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Democrats do not inherit the sins of their fathers. However, by ignoring and trying to project their own faults upon the REpublicans and the conservatives, it is quite dishonest and non-good for America.

    You cannot improve somebody else, until you improve yourself. That’s called walking the walk of reform, progress, and internal introspection and acceptance.

    Accepting your faults, the faults of your own party, and making your own party better, and thus making your own country better, is not a bad thing.

    But it is a shameful thing. At least to the Democrat zealous followers and party leadership. They have their society inside a society. They have their own morality and standards of shame and guilt. Guilt for having too much money, so that means they need to abuse their power and wealth to hit the Republican and American middle class just because somebody has to know best. Shame because people like Joe Lieberman, Neo-Neocon, Zell Miller, and Bookworm make the Democrats too ashamed to look in the mirror and see themselves for the flawed creatures that they truly are.

    Much as the Arabs need America and Israel to go away, for fear of looking in the mirror and seeing, once and for all, the faults of the Arabs compared to the virtues of the successful and prosperous Israelis and Americans.

    The Democrats need to kick such people out. Don’t want to see em. Disown em. Don’t want to hear em. They are a tainted and shameful aspect that must be denied, locked away, and exiled. Unity and power is more important than integrity and the truth.

    Because of these aspects, the actions of the Democrats are always going to be like with Palin and Bush. Whereas the actions of the Republicans will always hold to the standard of honor and duty to the nation, regardless of whether people agree with Bush or not on every detail. They support him and try to defend him, for defending him becomes the same as defending America, not because Bush is sacred but because the authority of the Presidency, the office he holds, is sacred to the unification and security of the United States for the next 500 years, at least. Or until America falls, whichever comes first.

  86. Occam's Beard Says:

    In this connection you might have noticed that Morton Sobell, convicted along with the Rosenbergs, recently admitted he did spy for the Soviet Union.

    It was an article of faith on the left for decades that Sobel and the Rosenbergs were “framed” by the government. Innumerable marches featured placards exhorting onlookers to “Defend/ Free/ Hands off the Rosenbergs,” or “Solidarity with the Rosenbergs.” The same people stepped up for Alger Hiss. An earlier generation did the same thing for Sacco and Vanzetti.

    Turns out that all of the accused have subsequently been established beyond any doubt as guilty as sin. Food for thought, yes?

  87. Ymarsakar Says:

    I’ve tried hard, in my own personal life, not to call “liberals” liberals, for they are not. Liberals don’t like being called liberals because they know, they know, we are being facetious on this score.

    People like ALan Colmes, for example, know this or they at least get a hint of it. He says we use “liberal” like it is a bad word. That is cause it is a bad word to us. When we call someone impersonating Jesus Christ so that they can form a cult and then make that cult commit mass suicide, you had better bet your arse we think of it as a bad thing.

    This is why I try to make myself as clear as I can when I use “fake liberal”. They are fakes in attempting to be liberal. They aren’t liberal, in anything, except perhaps personal attacks and attempts to raise up their own little family/faction over the good of the nation as a whole.

    You people have seen such things in Hizbollah, Hamas, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan by now. We can no longer plead ignorance on this score. We can no longer look at Georgia’s problem with their secession crisis and say “the Democrats were trying to fulfill everybody’s interests by making the Union lose in the Civil War…. from the Union’s own side”.

    What they were doing was dividing people up so that they would forever war against each other: that is what they were doing.

  88. Ymarsakar Says:

    Accepting your faults, the faults of your own party, and making your own party better, and thus making your own country better, is not a bad thing.

    In line with this line of argument, the Republican party treats Michael Savage and Anne Coulter as family. And family doesn’t disown its members simply because we have disagreements.

    I’m proud that the Republican party and its members, for all their human faults, aren’t like the Democrats. The Republicans don’t exile and disown its own members simply because of a disagreement on methods or even goals.

    We police our own. We did not disown the paleo-cons, they made themselves personal non-grata and jumped ship. We had nothing to do with it. We were willing to work with them, as distasteful as it is, but on this score, I do not want to hear Democrats, who are willing to use the allegiance of “neo-cons” and “archi-conservatives” against us, while criticizing our own care for Anne Coulter and Michael Savage.

    People associate with whomever they want. If the Republicans are willing to freely allow paleo-conservatives like Duke and holocaust deniers, conservatives last time I checked by the Left’s definition, to work with the Left and the Democrats, the Democrats should treat the Republicans with a little more mutual respect. Rather than say, trying to hammer the Republicans on Anne Coulter and Michael Savage.

    We, nor they, make people listen to them. People associate with them or not, by choice, not by coercion. Not because they fear their own party will expel them, character assassinate them, threaten their children, and work to make their lives a living hell: as Democrats do.

  89. lumpenscholar Says:

    Mitsu,

    The Bush administration has had failures, and it has had successes. However, what should be defined as failure or success is where the disagreement lies. The liberation of Iraq itself was a success; the Surge was a success; the attempt to bring democracy to the Arab Mideast is a noble cause that looks like it is going to succeed. If you disagree, is that because we have different values, or just because you’re cheering for your team and I’m cheering for mine? To imply that I am merely cheerleading while you have carefully thought through the issues is disingenious.

    Furthermore, the attempt to radically alter the nature of the world is NOT a conservative value in the literal sense of the world. It is quite radical, quite visionary, even if you believe it is misguided and hopelessly idealistic. It is, however, a key part of the conservative movement in the US today. The failure of the American left to recognize that the conservative movement is very idealistic, even to the point of being radical, is stunning.

  90. Ymarsakar Says:

    I spent years in Berkeley, and saw the phenomenon at first hand.

    How is it that so many of us here at Neo-Neocon talk about once being Leftists or Democrats, Occam?

    Not only are conservatives and Republicans more open minded in terms of discussion and debate methods, we also have a jack load of defectors from the other side to tell us how things really are: just in case our methods of analysis lead us wrong.

    No matter how intelligent or brilliant or “right” the Left wing leaders of the Democrat party are, they cannot truly know what we think and feel, unless they were once one of us. But we’re not the party that makes so many decrees of exiles, so obviously we benefit from the Democrats expelling their own, like Zell Miller and Reagan.

    We benefit from their perspectives, their wisdom, their life experience, and their tactical/strategic comprehension of Leftist and Democrat actions.

    Conservatives can think like fake liberals because… many conservatives once were fake liberals. We do not need to “attempt” to fake ourselves on this score. We remember. Don’t we, Occam.

  91. lumpenscholar Says:

    Ymar, I think you are mistaken about the definitions of morality and ethics. There is nothing about the terms that makes one universal and the other cultural. The very idea of “situational ethics” belies your view. Also, if there is a universal ethics, could you please point it out? I mean, one universally agreed upon? Ethics and morals both can be particular to the individual, culture, or society, and both can be believed to be universal. Also, neither one is inherently rational or irrational. You can use logic to work out either, or intuition, or authority, or whatever.

    If your definitions work for you, that’s great. They don’t work for me.

  92. Ymarsakar Says:

    When Democrats, both the followers and the leaders, talked about Bush needing to experience warfare before he knows anything about it, they were speaking a large portion of the truth. But the best lies have a large portion of truth, don’t they.

    However, the truth still matters. It does matter concerning your ability to judge, whether you have experienced it first hand or not. It does matter. It doesn’t matter all by itself, but it does matter: it plays a part, even a crucial part depending on other variables.

    So what this means is that the experience of Republicans with Leftist thinking, with once having thought like a Leftist, is invaluable.

    What does the Left have in terms of competing with this first hand experience of ours, Occam? Andrew Sullivan, correct? Andrew Sullivan is their best bet at obtaining a “Neo-con” and a “conservative”.

    I don’t have to tell the rest of you how pathetic that truly is. Compared to a Neo-Neocon or a Bookworm, HELL, compared even to a Bush, Andrew Sullivan is nothing but a figment of his own imagination: a shadow of the real deal.

    Who else does the Left have that they use as defectors from our side?

  93. Ymarsakar Says:

    There is nothing about the terms that makes one universal and the other cultural. The very idea of “situational ethics” belies your view.

    That’s like saying the very idea of dry ice belies my view that water is wet.

    Ethics wouldn’t need the prefix/qualifier “situational”, if it was situational, period. Ice wouldn’t need to be called “dry”, unless ice and water are normally wet, to differentiate dry ice from actual water: two different things.

    Situation ethics is to ethics as dry ice is to normal H2O water ice.

    Dry ice is carbon dioxide, rather than dihydrogen oxide.

    Also, if there is a universal ethics, could you please point it out?

    You haven’t found it yourself? Then what justifies any action of yours or America’s, if the same can be done to us? If there is no universal ethics, what value is liberty, justice, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness for all of humanity? It has no value. You have made it have no value, haven’t you.

    Ethics and morals both can be particular to the individual

    Again, just because you have situational ethics, does not mean everybody has situation ethics. The same applies to morality. Just an Arab thinks inshallah and stoning women is moral, doesn’t mean an American thinks the same way.

    But there is a concrete, universal, difference between what is right and what is wrong. You can argue for moral equivalence and multiculturalism, if you wish, but that has nothing to do with ethics only being situational.

    If your definitions work for you, that’s great. They don’t work for me.

    They don’t work for you because you violate a whole slew of logic, principles of reality, principles of equality and proportionality, to get those views of yours.

    Your actions in life, are inconsistent with your views stated here. Your ideas, in fact, would be inconsistent if you truly accepted that all ethics are situational, that ethics might as well mean “situational ethics and morality”.

    Morality is based upon, period, a universal, global, across humanity, agreement that some things are right. Morality is only the means by which people attempt to accomplish what is right, what is right for individuals and what is right for societies. But because morality derives things from the principles of ethics, they can get many things very wrong.

    Just like you have derived the wrong things from morality, that ethics is the same as morality, when ethics covers all morality, regardless of culture and time.

  94. gcotharn Says:

    David Corn
    Arianna Huffington

  95. Ymarsakar Says:

    Ethics does not derive itself from ethical principles. The Golden Rule is not derived from some moralistic preaching or anything else. It, like all other ethical principles and standards, is independent.

    They are used to apply to human actions and ethical dilemmas: to determine rightness, wrongness, justice, and injustice.

    The deductive logic spells things out very clear. If a premise is correct, then what has to be true if that premise is correct, is also true.

    So long as the ethical principles apply to all ethical dilemma situations, equally and consistently, they can be used much as science uses their laws of physics and chemistry. It applies to all things.

    And if it doesn’t apply to all things, then you had better go back to the drawing board and change those principles. Destroy everything and rebuild it up from Premise One.

    You can’t do that with morality. When morality is seen to be wrong in one case, you can’t just tear the shat down in a revolution with blood on the streets, and then afterwards said you had done “good”.

  96. Ymarsakar Says:

    # gcotharn Says:
    September 14th, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    David Corn
    Arianna Huffington

    Okay, who here thinks like Corn or Huffington?

    Since they came from us, surely we have somebody here that knows how they think and what their views are.

    If classical liberals like Neo, can defect to our side and tell us the underlying principles by which the Left operates, surely the REpublican party can do the same for defectors like Corn and Huffington, given that they were once ours.

    Right?

  97. Ymarsakar Says:

    Okay, the comparison was slightly off kilter logic. It would make more logical sense to find Corn and Huffington’s posts, like Neo’s posts, about conservative thought and how we think.

    Let’s take a look at that, if we want to pursue this issue of the fake liberals vs GOP members.

  98. Ymarsakar Says:

    I mean, one universally agreed upon?

    Again, I speak of logic. You should also speak of logic and use it. And that does not mean using logical fallacies to prove your point.

    Everybody in the universe, not even on this planet, could agree on something; it does not make it true.

    Ethics is about what is true, not about what is expedient for society, like morality is.

  99. Ymarsakar Says:

    If Ethics was situational, then yeah, Lumpen, I would talk about situational ethics and about how people would agree what situational ethics is.

    They do agree on what situational ethics is, don’t they?

  100. XLiberal Says:

    Peter:
    my research seems to indicate that conservatism consists largely of skepticism and fear.
    Here is some perspective from Winds of Change.

    What percentage of entrepreneurs are conservatives in some sense of the word? What percentage of small business entrepreneurs — that is, those who risk not just something, but everything? Voting habits indicate it’s a clean majority — yet these people are supposed to be ‘especially fearful of uncertainty’? What percentage of military officers — or soldiers of any rank in the combat arms of the military — are conservatives? Voting habits, again, indicate a strong majority: and these are the people supposedly afraid of death?

    For pondering.

    A comment re skepticism. Connect the following. “ Give peace a chance.” The genocide in Cambodia. Those who wanted to “give peace a chance” in the Vietnam war era, and later observed the genocide in Cambodia, might considered themselves justified in being skeptical when in later years others want to “give peace a chance” in other situations. After all, “give peace a chance” didn’t work with Pol Pot, did it

    If conservatives are skeptical, does this mean that liberals are credulous?

  101. XLiberal Says:

    Bad link. Sorry.
    http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/cowboys_and_liberals.php#comments

  102. harry McHitlerburtonstein the Conservative Extremist Says:

    Mitsu:
    “Climate change over the last decade has followed the predictions of most GCM models quite accurately — it’s even exceeded the predictions.”

    Whose predictions? Certainly neither of Hansen’s scenarios and the temperature has been trending downwards since 1998 according to both upper atmospheric records (satellite data) and Oceanic temperatures (ARGOS). You can’t write global warming into being. You have to have actual evidence of its existence. I have seen none to date.

  103. Mitsu Says:

    >The people who lead the left in practice are highly organized
    >and disciplined hard core revolutionaries, our own little
    >Bolsheviks.

    Occam, I’ll confine my response to your remarks, since for whatever reason I’ve noticed it seems possible for you and I to have at least some sort of reasoned exchange of views, even though we’re on different “sides” of the political spectrum.

    I’m very familiar with the folks you’re referring to — as I say, some of them are friends of mine. I spent one year as an undergrad at Berkeley, and knew quite a few people who were in the hard-core left. I also knew a number of activists at Harvard, where I spent the other three years of my undergrad career.

    These are, in general, extremely well-intentioned, idealistic, and progressive individuals, most of whom are nothing like the Bolsheviks you’re comparing them to. A few, of course, were and are but even amongst this group of hard-core leftists, they tended much more towards libertarianism than you might think. I lived amongst these folks — had long conversations with them (in which I tended to take a more conservative view than they did), and I can tell you they were far from Stalinist or Bolshevik, for the most part.

    In fact, the dominant view of most of these folks was fairly close to what Chomsky calls the “libertarian left”. You may find their views hard to grasp but they were in fact opposed to centralized state power, and thus opposed to Soviet-style state socialism (what I would call state capitalism).

    This interview might be somewhat illuminating on this subject:

    http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/19760725.htm

    But in any event, regardless of what the far left actually believes, they do not hold sway within the Democratic Party. The vast majority of Democrats are pro-business, pro-capitalist liberals, and they form the backbone of and the leadership of the Democratic Party.

    >demonstrable threats

    I think you might find the book _The Logic of Failure_ by Dietrich Dorner quite interesting, Occam. In this book he argues that human beings evolved to respond primarily to immediate threats. The types of systematic mistakes human beings have made in a number of cases he believes comes down to a naive view that cause and effect are always extremely proximate in space and time — but in fact, given the technologies we use today and the scale at which our civilization now operates, many disasters have already occurred because we’ve failed to understand the complex feedback systems that we’re operating within.

    If you look at, say, environmental regulation, for example, you can see massive improvements in air and water quality as a result of legislation passed due to liberal pressure. Air quality in Los Angeles, my original home town, has dramatically improved — when I was a kid there was a constant brown band all around the horizon — now, it’s mostly clear on most days. Health has improved, and overall quality of life has improved. Was this legislation bogus, or warranted? I believe it was eminently warranted, and it dealt with a large-scale systemic problem in an effective way. It has hardly destroyed the economy of the nation to deal with pollution and toxic waste, etc. These are matters that liberal thinking tends to deal with far better than conservative.

    I believe conservative thinking is closer to our primal roots — it’s important to deal with these things as well. The reason I am a liberal is that I believe liberals acknowledge for the most part the same threats conservatives do, but they ALSO acknowledge systemic threats that conservatives tend to pooh-pooh or ignore. Sure, sometimes liberals go too far (i.e., not being tough enough on crime, for example) and it’s worth electing a conservative government to push the pendulum back. But — in the end, I believe as a society we need to deal with both long-term and large-scale issues as well as short-term, immediate threats. So, that makes me a liberal.

  104. Mitsu Says:

    >The people who lead the left in practice are highly organized
    >and disciplined hard core revolutionaries, our own little
    >Bolsheviks.

    Occam, I’ll confine my response to your remarks, since for whatever reason I’ve noticed it seems possible for you and I to have at least some sort of reasoned exchange of views, even though we’re on different “sides” of the political spectrum.

    I’m very familiar with the folks you’re referring to — as I say, some of them are friends of mine. I spent one year as an undergrad at Berkeley, and knew quite a few people who were in the hard-core left. I also knew a number of activists at Harvard, where I spent the other three years of my undergrad career.

    These are, in general, extremely well-intentioned, idealistic, and progressive individuals, most of whom are nothing like the Bolsheviks you’re comparing them to. A few, of course, were and are but even amongst this group of hard-core leftists, they tended much more towards libertarianism than you might think. I lived amongst these folks — had long conversations with them (in which I tended to take a more conservative view than they did), and I can tell you they were far from Stalinist or Bolshevik, for the most part.

    In fact, the dominant view of most of these folks was fairly close to what Chomsky calls the “libertarian left”. You may find their views hard to grasp but they were in fact opposed to centralized state power, and thus opposed to Soviet-style state socialism (what I would call state capitalism).

    This interview might be somewhat illuminating on this subject:

    http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/19760725.htm

    But in any event, regardless of what the far left actually believes, they do not hold sway within the Democratic Party. The vast majority of Democrats are pro-business, pro-capitalist liberals, and they form the backbone of and the leadership of the Democratic Party.

    >demonstrable threats

    I think you might find the book _The Logic of Failure_ by Dietrich Dorner quite interesting, Occam. In this book he argues that human beings evolved to respond primarily to immediate threats. The types of systematic mistakes human beings have made in a number of cases he believes comes down to a naive view that cause and effect are always extremely proximate in space and time — but in fact, given the technologies we use today and the scale at which our civilization now operates, many disasters have already occurred because we’ve failed to understand the complex feedback systems that we’re operating within.

    If you look at, say, environmental regulation, for example, you can see massive improvements in air and water quality as a result of legislation passed due to liberal pressure. Air quality in Los Angeles, my original home town, has dramatically improved — when I was a kid there was a constant brown band all around the horizon — now, it’s mostly clear on most days. Health has improved, and overall quality of life has improved. Was this legislation bogus, or warranted? I believe it was eminently warranted, and it dealt with a large-scale systemic problem in an effective way. It has hardly destroyed the economy of the nation to deal with pollution and toxic waste, etc. These are matters that liberal thinking tends to deal with far better than conservative.

    I believe conservative thinking is closer to our primal roots — it’s important to deal with these things as well. The reason I am a liberal is that I believe liberals acknowledge for the most part the same threats conservatives do, but they ALSO acknowledge systemic threats that conservatives tend to pooh-pooh or ignore. Sure, sometimes liberals go too far (i.e., not being tough enough on crime, for example) and it’s worth electing a conservative government to push the pendulum back. But — in the end, I believe as a society we need to deal with both long-term and large-scale issues as well as short-term, immediate threats. So, that makes me a liberal, even though I agree with many conservative views.

  105. harry McHitlerburtonstein the Conservative Extremist Says:

    The “systemic threats” that you refer to. That wouldnt include global warming would it Mitsu? Because you have yet to provide which GCM predictions that the actual temperatures have matched.

    So along with global warming being a “systemic threat”, what else do you have?

  106. Thomass Says:

    Occam’s Beard Says:

    “Sergey, speaking of historical materialism, how do Marxists explain the historical impact of non-economic events, such as the spread of Islam? Shouldn’t that undercut their premise that economics drives history?”

    Probably the same way they explain why they don’t get everything they want. Conservatives, reaction, and moneyed interests spread Islam to maintain and expand their power. It is not entirely wrong IMO… example, the house of Saud funding their brand of fundamentalist Islam.

  107. harry McHitlerburtonstein the Conservative Extremist Says:

    Must be above his pay grade.

  108. lumpenscholar Says:

    Mitsu,

    I thought I brought up reasonable issues for debate. I apologize if I in any way insulted you or made you feel you couldn’t debate with me.

  109. harry McHitlerburtonstein the Conservative Extremist Says:

    Yeah, maybe I havent been as responsive to what Mitsu had been saying either. He cites air quality a being a liberal initiative while also opining that conservatives tend to play down such concerns. I think that’s the stereotypical view not taking into account that neoconservatives were yesterdays liberals with the same values as today’s liberal on a more pragmatic approach. We dont need to erect large electrically charges powerlines across Tokyo Bay if Godzilla is not coming.

  110. lumpenscholar Says:

    Me: If your definitions work for you, that’s great. They don’t work for me.

    Ymar: They don’t work for you because you violate a whole slew of logic, principles of reality, principles of equality and proportionality, to get those views of yours.

    I haven’t made any statement here prior to this comment regarding what is actually moral or ethical, or discussing what I believe, except in regards to the definitions of the two terms in question.

    Ymar: Morality is based upon, period, a universal, global, across humanity, agreement that some things are right.

    Wait, I thought you said ethics were universal and morality was particular to the culture, group, etc. Let’s look at part of the comment where my problem with your definitions began:

    Ymar: … morality itself is limited to its own culture and circumstances. Its own society and maintenance. Ethics, however, is not limited in such a fashion.

    That’s not true, and you are even disagreeing with yourself. Morality and ethics both, as seen from the perspective of the individual, can be either particular or universal. I personally believe that there is a universal morality. At the same time, there are very particular, culturally defined sets of ethics (e.g., professional ethics that vary from profession to profession and from culture to culture). So our difference is not that one of us believes in a universal standard of right and wrong and the other doesn’t (we both seem to agree that there is one). It’s that we disagree (and you seem to disagree with yourself) on the definition of the terms moral and ethical.

  111. lumpenscholar Says:

    Dang it. I forgot to close an italics tag. The paragraph beginning “Wait, I thought …” is mine.

  112. Road Sassy » Blog Archive » The Blinkered Left. Says:

    [...] secondly, the ever reliable neo-neocon writes here about Judith Warner’s piece in the NYT, No Laughing Matter. In a meandering, unfocused piece [...]

  113. njcommuter Says:

    Occam’s Beard Says

    It was an article of faith on the left for decades that Sobel and the Rosenbergs were “framed” by the government. [...]
    Turns out that all of the accused have subsequently been established beyond any doubt as guilty as sin. Food for thought, yes?

    The proposition “They were guilty (as sin)” and the proposition “They were framed” do not necessarily conflict. It is possible that they were guilty, but fake evidence and perjured testimony were used to convict them in order to conceal the extent of our knowledge from the USSR, and it is my understanding that this is what happened.

    Have I been misled?

  114. Gray Says:

    Occam, I’ll confine my response to your remarks, since for whatever reason I’ve noticed it seems possible for you and I to have at least some sort of reasoned exchange of views, even though we’re on different “sides” of the political spectrum.

    I think you use reason to align your actions with your feelings, and thus are a creature of emotion. I think you abuse the term ‘reason’.

    This interview might be somewhat illuminating on this subject:

    http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/19760725.htm

    Hahahahaha! He used the word “illuminating” to refer to a chomsky site!

    But in any event, regardless of what the far left actually believes, they do not hold sway within the Democratic Party

    No, that’s why they nominated Barack instead of the (dare I say it?) more moderate Hillary! That’s why Lieberman is an Independent and why Michael Moore had pride-of-place at the democrat conference during your last debacle.

    The vast majority of Democrats are pro-business, pro-capitalist liberals, and they form the backbone of and the leadership of the Democratic Party.

    They are pro-capitalist and pro-business like they are pro-woman and pro-choice when confronted by Sarah Palin and her little disabled kid.

    In this book he argues that human beings evolved to respond primarily to immediate threats. The types of systematic mistakes human beings have made in a number of cases he believes comes down to a naive view that cause and effect are always extremely proximate in space and time blah. blah. blah.

    No, no human society has ever believed that certain sins can have an eternal effect. No one has ever believed that one can suffer eternally for a temporal act and no human culture has ever spanned continents from Rome to Hibernia; from Greece to Afghanistan.

    You just define ‘sin’ differently.

    That’s the only difference between your leftist philosophy and the medieval Church, or current day Islam.

  115. harry McHitlerburtonstein the Conservative Extremist Says:

    Every body take out a piece of paper and on it make two tables. Label the first table “Mean Short-sighted Conservatives”. Label the other table “Far seeing Enlightened Liberals.

    Fill each table with the names of everyone you can think of that have publicly opposed to the construction of a wind farm.

    Report those findings here on the neo-neo forum.

    This should be fun.

  116. Ymarsakar Says:

    I haven’t made any statement here prior to this comment regarding what is actually moral or ethical, or discussing what I believe, except in regards to the definitions of the two terms in question.

    Then your objections cannot be taken very seriously, now can they.

    Morality and ethics both, as seen from the perspective of the individual, can be either particular or universal.

    Moral relativism is about morality, for morality is relevant. Ethics should and is about something truer than the biased perceptions of the mob or of society.

    If you don’t partake of this vision, nobody’s stopping you from adopting situational ethics as your forte.

    I personally believe that there is a universal morality.

    At the same time saying that ethics is always situational by saying people agree on what situational ethics are.

    This is an inconsistent and self-contradictory position. After all, if you are the one saying that ethics and morality are the same thing, and saying there is a universal morality, yet not saying there is a universal ethics… that’s rather pathetic, don’t you think, as a point of disagreement to hold with me.

    I’m not here to argue semantics and personally biased perceptions of word usage with you, simply because you want to flip things over to make them squeak.

    and you are even disagreeing with yourself.

    A baseless claim with no justifications to it.

    Once you can actually define ethics and morality, in such a way, that you don’t contradict yourself, then you speak about the logical consistency of my terms and usages.

    My definitions work. Yours don’t. It is as simple as that. Anybody that tries to use their morality as a universal standard and justification for conquest and judgment, is going to hit a brick wall in terms of unethical behavior.

  117. Ymarsakar Says:

    Me: If your definitions work for you, that’s great. They don’t work for me.

    They are not definitions. They are complete forms and functions. You cannot argue with form and function, simply because you want to redefine the terms of the argument.

  118. Truth Says:

    Just like the Sunnis of Tikrit

    This statement looks some how hard to be true!!

    Iraqis especially Kurds had suffered from Tikritis for long time. Every Iraqi expected Tikrit will vanish when US invaded Iraq there was believes that Kurds will raze that city.

    what happen was Tikrities did not fight US, the evidence were was on TV when US troops entered the city Russian T72 Tanks was parking online in their camps so Tikirities and Saddam special forces (who are mostly from Tikrit and vicinity around did not fight.

    More over Tikirits mostly saved from chose and ethnic cleansing that spread in other Iraqi cities.

    So there some thing hidden here what and why Tikirt saved in some way or another and why?

  119. Foxfier Says:

    Ethics is what happens when folks who reject all religion try to make morality.

    It tends to work about as well as when folks who reject cooking try to reject all cooking try to make a meal.

  120. Ymarsakar Says:

    Ymar: Morality is based upon, period, a universal, global, across humanity, agreement that some things are right.

    Wait, I thought you said ethics were universal and morality was particular to the culture, group, etc. Let’s look at part of the comment where my problem with your definitions began:

    Morality is a social construct. Social constructs have social agreements and functions. A social agreement to agree to disagree or agree to agree, is not ethics. It is simply an agreement, regardless of whether it is right or wrong. But it works, to some extent. But then again, many things work in human society that isn’t ethical.Slavery, tyranny, totalitarianism, thought police, corruption, and so forth.

    Did you read Haidt’s article and understand what it is he said? You should start debating that article and the parts of it you disagree with.

    Ethics is not morality precisely because morality is a social construct, and used for society and individual perceptions. Morality is precisely not true universally applicable, solely because morality is not designed to apply across all molds.

    Democracy is not designed to apply the same to America as it does to Georgia, Afghanistan, or even Iraq. Yet the same principles apply. And those principles are ethical principles and standards.

    Why do you not understand the distinction, if you see no difference between morality and ethics? If you see no difference between morality and ethics, what motivates you to strenously deny universal ethics but not universal morality?

  121. Ymarsakar Says:

    Ethics is what happens when folks who reject all religion try to make morality.

    It tends to work about as well as when folks who reject cooking try to reject all cooking try to make a meal.

    I challenge you on the basis that people like you do not have a standard to tell right from wrong that applies to everyone with equal consistency, criminal as well as citizen, jihadist as well as US Marine, Iraqi as well as American, Georgian as well as Russian: 21st century individual and 12th century individual.

    You can’t meet that challenge.

    It tends to work about as well as when folks who reject cooking try to reject all cooking try to make a meal.

    That, of course, makes no sense.

  122. Ymarsakar Says:

    What would actually be useful, Lumpen, is if you stopped criticizing things and provided your own alternative “definition”, as you call it, of morality and ethics.

    I have already stated that your way of viewing such things automatically creates logical inconsistencies and errors of reasoning. As I would say of anyone who held false beliefs concerning fundamental truths.

    Haidt’s article is available for you to dissect, Lumpen, and make your case about morality. What’s stopping you?

  123. lumpenscholar Says:

    Ymar: Morality is based upon, period, a universal, global, across humanity, agreement that some things are right.

    Ymar: … morality itself is limited to its own culture and circumstances. Its own society and maintenance.

    Your statements directly contradict each other. Maybe in that first quote you meant ethics. But that isn’t what you wrote.

  124. Foxfier Says:

    I challenge you on the basis that people like you do not have a standard to tell right from wrong that applies to everyone with equal consistency, criminal as well as citizen, jihadist as well as US Marine, Iraqi as well as American, Georgian as well as Russian: 21st century individual and 12th century individual.

    You can’t meet that challenge.

    Want my morality? It’s a few thousand years old, but you might know it as “the ten commandments.”

    It may not be enforceable, but that doesn’t make it any less moral.

  125. Foxfier Says:

    It tends to work about as well as when folks who reject cooking try to reject all cooking try to make a meal.

    That, of course, makes no sense.

    Just as trying to make ground rules without applying it to all those involved makes no sense. That would be the point, after all.

  126. Mitsu Says:

    lumpenscholar,

    The reason I didn’t respond to your comments is not because I didn’t think they were reasonably stated; it is because the subject is rather broad and hard to discuss, I believe, in a forum such as this. Are “liberals” truly “liberal”? I understand the point you’re trying to make, as conservatives tend to paint liberals as being “in favor of state power” — but I don’t believe this characterization is accurate.

    As I pointed out, above, the far left *in the United States*, to the extent it still exists, is by and large quite libertarian in its leanings. (Gray, I take it you didn’t bother to even read Chomsky’s remarks — but if you had you’d see many statements against state power and in favor of the power of the individual — not at all along the lines of your idea of “leftists”). The left in the United States is quite fearful of and critical of state power. They simply happen to also be afraid of private concentrations of power, as well.

    The theory that conservatives have that the left is generally speaking “in favor of centralized power” I believe is hardly accurate at all. Liberals do believe that regulation is, to some degree, a good idea — but this is not because they are in favor of centralized power, but because they are in favor of limits on concentrations of power, including both public and private power. You may notice that it is liberals who are primarily concerned with abuses of state power as well: warrantless wiretapping, threats to free speech, etc. Conservatives, on the other hand, are prone to supporting intrusions on liberty such as the state promoting religion, increases in police power, etc.

    So I would have to say that, overall, liberals are, in fact, more concerned with liberty than conservatives — they simply define that in more general terms than conservatives. Conservatives are nearly obsessively concerned with government power (and only some forms of government power: i.e., you aren’t that concerned about abuses of police or military power), and not concerned with abuses of private or corporate power.

    I believe both government and private power can be abused. There’s plenty of evidence to this effect. At the same time, I do think there is such a thing as overregulation, micromanagement of the economy, etc. Again: I am a believer in balance.

  127. Vince P Says:

    Do you believe in life after love?

  128. lumpenscholar Says:

    Ymar, what would be useful is if you stopped putting words in my mouth. I never advocated situational ethics, nor moral relativism. I used situational and professional ethics as examples. That’s it.

  129. Vince P Says:

    “the far left *in the United States*, to the extent it still exists, is by and large quite libertarian in its leanings.”

    oh puh lease…. what the hell is a libertarean collectivist?

  130. Mitsu Says:

    >what the hell is a libertarian collectivist

    What I am trying to say is, you have no idea what actual leftists really believe today — as I’ve been saying over and over again on this board. First of all, leftists and liberals are not the same thing, and secondly the few leftists who still exist today aren’t remotely the same as the Stalinists who ran the now-defunct USSR. Since you won’t click on the link I provided, I’ll quote him (note: I do not subscribe to his views, but I do think it’s worth at least understanding what an actual leftist believes, rather than your rather absurd cartoon idea of what they believe):

    “… democratic control of one’s productive life is at the core of any serious human liberation, or, for that matter, of any significant democratic practice. That is, as long as individuals are compelled to rent themselves on the market to those who are willing to hire them, as long as their role in production is simply that of ancillary tools, then there are striking elements of coercion and oppression that make talk of democracy very limited, if even meaningful.

    QUESTION: Historically speaking, have there been any sustained examples on any substantial scale of societies which approximated to the anarchist ideal?

    CHOMSKY: There are small societies, small in number, that I think have done so quite well, and there are a few examples of large scale libertarian revolutions which were largely anarchist in their structure. As to the first, small societies extending over a long period, I myself think the most dramatic example is perhaps the Israeli kibbutzim, which for a long period really were constructed on anarchist principles, that is: self-management, direct worker control, integration of agriculture, industry, service, personal participation in self-management. And they were, I should think, extraordinarily successful by almost any measure that one can impose.”

  131. sergey Says:

    Marxists tend to simply ignore those aspects of reality which do not readily fit into their doctrines. They did it all the time I was studied these doctrines for 3 decades (that was obligatory).

  132. Gray Says:

    So I would have to say that, overall, liberals are, in fact, more concerned with liberty than conservatives — they simply define that in more general terms than conservatives.

    Yeah… I remember that the next time I want to smoke in a restaurant, or get a septic tank permit, or buy a Humvee, or drive without a seatbelt, or don’t make my kid wear a helmet, or….

  133. Ymarsakar Says:

    I never advocated situational ethics, nor moral relativism. I used situational and professional ethics as examples. That’s it.

    Well thanks for answering the test and challenge. That just means my probes have conclusively proved that you have nothing actual in terms of a bone to pick with my arguments or “definitions”, as you call them.

    If you wish to argue against what I have said, you are going to be required to come up with a counter-argument. Not just “I used situational ethics as hypothetical examples to pick apart people’s constructed arguments”. To paraphrase. Arguments are more than just setting a bomb to blow a building apart, you know. It requires some kind of creation and construction, at least.

    Your statements directly contradict each other. Maybe in that first quote you meant ethics. But that isn’t what you wrote.

    My statements are not beholden to your biased and unwise judgments, Lumpen.

    You do not comprehend them. You cannot act as if you comprehend them. And thus, you cannot deem yourself fit to judge them as consistent or inconsistent.

    No, I did not mean ethics when I said morality. You may mean ethics when you say universal morality, but that has nothing to do with my views on such.

    When you are looking at my arguments, you have to see it from my world view and my logic. If there is a problem with my logic, you have to point it out. Which means what? Which means that they appear inconsistent to you only because your perception of my views are flawed. You somehow think I am making a distinct differentiation between morality and ethics that makes them mutually exclusive with each other.

    THey are not mutually exclusive to each other. Morality cannot exist without ethics, but ethics can exist without morality. That’s not mutually exclusive, as you can see.

    Ethics holds higher importance than morality. Ethics covers more things than morality. Ethics is true universally, regardless of how many people in the universe agree with it or not. MOrality is only true if people agree that it is true. If nobody in a society agrees that something moral is moral, then it ain’t moral, period. No doubt about it. 99% of the people in America don’t think child sex is moral or right. Very different from the other 50% of humanity on this world, however.

  134. Ymarsakar Says:

    No doubt about it. 99% of the people in America don’t think child sex is moral or right. Very different from the other 50% of humanity on this world, however.

    You are going to have to come up with your “universal morality” and answer why one nation is right and another nation, Saudi Arabia, is wrong, Lumpen. Until you do, I don’t recognize your ability to judge whether my statements are inconsistent or not, for you have not demonstrated an adequate knowledge of the logic that I am using.

  135. Ymarsakar Says:

    You may notice that it is liberals who are primarily concerned with abuses of state power as well

    WACO? No.

    Spying on Republicans using federal powers? No

    Executing German spies that have surrendered and given 110% cooperation, solely for political and public relations benefits? No

    The Democrats and the Left only say they dislike state power. What they dislike is not having the state power to destroy their enemies.

  136. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s a few thousand years old, but you might know it as “the ten commandments.”

    It may not be enforceable, but that doesn’t make it any less moral.

    And what makes the 10 commandments, including the first one, moral?

    Who does it benefit? God? You? Society? All three?

    What is it, if not society, when rules benefit such?

    But society has no conscience. Only individuals have a conscience. Only individuals are ethical agents, capable of free will and thus good and evil. Society has standards, but those standards are both evil and good depending on who is using it and how.

  137. Ymarsakar Says:

    And then there is the interesting aspect about if another society or nation or group of people violates those 10 commandments, are they then evil, Fox? Do they get to burn in hell for their crimes against humanity?

    An unethical person is a evil person. An ethical person is a good person. There’s no ambiguity here.

    But you cannot say that a person who has violated one of the ten commandments is always evil or even that a person who follows all ten is automatically good. That standard is a religious standard designed not to apply to everyone, but simply to apply to members of Moses’ clan and tribe. TO keep order. TO prevent disunity, bloodshed, and crime. THose are social functions. Moral functions. But not ethical principles.

  138. Foxfier Says:

    Ymarsakar -
    You clearly haven’t a clue what real humans think of the ten commandments– commiting an immoral act doesn’t make one evil, any more than violating some created ethics makes one evil.

    Go look up “sin” at a Catholic appologetics site to try to understand, unless you’re too in love with your strawman.

  139. Water Extraction Mission Viejo Says:

    Intriguing program. I’m suprised I didnt notice this on a large news sites initial. Nicely played!

  140. The Independent Whig Says:

    I suggest that there might be a Haidt-based explanation for why liberals struggle to understand conservatives and many other aspects of the political divide as well.

    Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory describes six psychological predispositions that helped humans survive and thrive in the cooperative environments we created for ourselves as we evolved to become “The Social Animal” that David Brooks describes in his book by that title.

    Moral foundations perform several functions. They’re key elements of both types of cognition that Daniel Kahneman described in his book “Thinking Fast and Slow.” They’re part of the subconscious, automatic, practically instantaneous “fast” processes that are constantly running in the background of our minds to detect patterns of behaviors, situations, and circumstances associated with the adaptive challenges and opportunities that were faced by our genetic ancestors through the millennia. When such patterns are detected, these subconscious cognitive modules can send signals, red alerts, upward into consciousness. We use the word “intuition” to refer to this sort of subconscious cognition that rises into consciousness. Malcolm Gladwell famously wrote about it in his book “Blink.”

    Moral foundations are also tools of “slow” conscious reason. They’re some of the logical constructs we use to justify and defend our intuitions to others, and to try to convince others that our own intuitions are the right ones. Our ability to reason evolved not to help us make better decisions and to find truth (although in rare and special circumstances it can be used for that), but rather to help us win arguments. This explains the mountains of evidence which show that humans are exceptional at finding the specks in each others’ eyes, but terrible at seeing the logs in our own.

    Importantly, moral foundations are the building blocks of cooperative society; of civilization itself. Humans are the only species on the planet that evolved to form into cooperative groups, great in number, made up of individuals who are not related with one another, and then to compete with other groups. Moral foundations are the evolved psychological mechanisms that make this possible.

    There are six foundations, they are care/harm, fairness/cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation. The first three are known as the “individualizing” foundations because their object is the well being and autonomy of the individual. The latter three are known as the “binding” foundations because their role is to help individuals form together into cooperative groups.

    Liberal morality, intuition, and reason, is built almost entirely on only the individualizing foundations, and of those mostly just “care.” Conservatism is built on all six foundations in equal balance. A Venn diagram of liberal and conservative moral foundations would represent liberalism as a circle around the first three foundations and conservatism around all six, completely enveloping liberalism. There is no liberal foundation that is not also a conservative foundation, but half the foundations of conservatism are for all practical purposes external to liberal intuitions and reasoning about the social world; about human nature.

    I believe that Jonathan Haidt’s body of work supports the argument that the best metaphor for describing liberalism and conservatism is that of Flatland and Spaceland, where liberals are two dimensional “square” Flatlanders and conservatives are three dimensional “sphere” Spacelanders. Here’s his summary of Flatland from page 182 of his book The Happiness Hypothesis – Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom”

    “One day, the square is visited by a sphere from a three-dimensional world called Spaceland. When a sphere visits Flatland, however, all that is visible to Flatlanders is the part of the sphere that lies in their plain-in other words, a circle. The square is astonished that the circle is able to grow or shrink at will (by rising or sinking into the plane of Flatland) and even to disappear and reappear in a different place (by leaving the plane, and then reentering it). The sphere tries to explain the concept of the third dimension to the two-dimensional square, but the square, though skilled at two-dimensional geometry, doesn’t get it. He cannot understand what it means to have thickness in addition to height and breadth, nor can he understand that the circle came from up above him, where “up” does not mean from the north. The sphere presents analogies and geometrical demonstrations of how to move from one dimension to two, and then from two to three, but the square stilI finds the idea of moving “up” out of the plane of Flatland ridiculous.”

    The Flatland/Spaceland metaphor of liberalism/conservatism explains much more than just why liberals don’t get conservatives, it also explains the ubiquitous liberal memes about conservatives.

    When half of morality is external to, and essentially inaccessible by, one’s intuition and reasoning about the social world as it is for liberals one is left with practically no rational alternative but to conclude that those who think differently must be, can only be, afflicted with some sort of cognitive, psychological, or social dysfunction like racism, sexism, homophobia, lack of empathy, excess greed, etc. etc. etc.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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