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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Reply To Critic: Professor Barash Calls Me A Liar And Reveals A Lot About Himself

Like several local media outlets, the Seattle Times recently ran a story about the treatment of one of its hometown academics who was profiled in my book, The Professors. Like most local papers the Times also tilted its report heavily in favor the professor I had criticized. To make its defense of the indefensible plausible, the Times suppressed the heart of the case I had made both in the book and in my interview with its reporter. The academic under scrutiny is David Barash, Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington and co-author of a standard textbook used in “Peace Studies” courses. In the Times’ account Professor Barash laughed at the idea that he should be included in my book and so, in effect, did the Times itself. Without any information other than that provided by the Times I probably would be laughing too.
But with this information the story looks very different indeed. The first point I made both in the book and in my interview – not mentioned by the Times -- was that as a trained animal psychologist Barash was academically unqualified to write an academic text on the complex issues of geopolitics and in particular the social, cultural, and economic causes of war and peace. In other words, Barash’s co-authored text was not a scholarly work and should not be presented as such to students. It was, therefore, a perfect example of the widespread intellectual corruption in the university that The Professors was written to expose.
Academics like Barash make $100,000 plus per year for 6-9 hours work per week in the classroom; they have four month paid vacations and lifetime jobs. The minimal workload for professors is justified by the need to do research. But an animal psychologist is not qualified to do research in the field of war and peace. The granting of tenure, on the other hand, is premised on the fact that professors are credentialed as experts in a field and the very fact of their expertise means that laymen are not qualified to judge their work. That is why they require the protection of academic tenure. But if professors are going to pontificate as amateurs in areas where everyone is his own expert, why should they have any more protection than radio talk show hosts or politicians? In other words, Barash’s textbook and the academic courses based on it are a species of academic consumer fraud, and we should have the same attitude towards them as we do towards Enron officials or members of other institutions who violate procedures and laws. That was my point – entirely unreported by the Seattle Times.
I also argued that Barash’s book is an advocacy tract and therefore even if its author were academically qualified to write it, which he is not, it is not a proper book to be assigned as the basic textbook in an academic course. In other words, this is a form of indoctrination, not education. A piece of this latter point did manage to find its way into the Times account.
In the Times article, the reporter also gave Barash a platform for doing some professorial slandering of me. “Barash, a biologist by training, has taught at the UW for 33 years. As well as Peace Studies, he teaches animal behavior and evolutionary psychology. He said he felt honored to be mentioned alongside notable academics like Noam Chomsky, Paul Ehrlich, Michael Eric Dyson and Howard Zinn….Barash said his profile in the book is full of misrepresentations and inaccuracies. For instance, it claims he blames the Cuban missile crisis on the psychology of President Kennedy — when in fact his book mentions many factors, including the Soviet Union’s missile buildup. It’s just a lie. He either didn’t read the book or look it up,’ Barash said. ‘The whole thing is just a cartoon.’”
Even without the actual facts in front of one, it is obvious that this comment comes from the “Bush lied, people died,” school of political correctness. Apparently for radicals like Barish it is not possible for a conservative to miss a sentence or paragraph in a 570-page book, which is not organized in any chronological or narrative fashion. Instead, the conservative must be lying (because that’s what conservatives do, since no rational or morally decent human being could hold conservative views).
In fact, Barash and his co-author do attribute the Cuban Missile Crisis to Kennedy bravado, as the passage from his text that I actually quoted in The Professors shows. However, the Soviet missile buildup in Cuba is also mentioned in Barash’s book in a paragraph about the crisis, which is separated by a hundred pages from the one I quoted – which is why I missed it. On the one hand, then, Barash is right that I did miss that second passage. On the other, this passage only reinforces the comments I made about Barash’s text. In discussing the emplacement missiles (in a sentence or two), Barash and his co-author minimize its significance as a factor in the crisis in order to 1) present the confrontation from the perspective of the Soviet dictatorship and 2) adopt a stance of moral equivalence that will discredit the policies and position of the United States.
In this second account of the Cuban Missile Crisis in Barash’s text, it is derisively labeled “A Game of ‘Chicken’.” Barash and his co-author explain the meaning of this term by referring students to the James Dean film Rebel Without A Cause in which two teenagers drive cars off a cliff to meet a dare. In this theater of the absurd, the American president appears as an insecure adolescent who having been humiliated by the Soviets the previous year, compensates by “playing chicken” with the Soviet dictatorship over the emplacement of missiles.
The emplacement of the missiles by the dictator Nikita Khrushchev was an act that serious historians have regarded as a reckless provocation. In fact, the Soviets themselves described it as such when they removed Khrushchev some years later. But Barash and his co-author regard the emplacement of missiles as perfectly reasonable. They explain: “The most dramatic example of nuclear chicken occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the Soviet Union attempted to install medium-range nuclear missiles in Cuba, hoping to deter the United States from invading Cuba, and to ‘balance’ the American deployment of nuclear tipped missiles in Turkey (bordering the former Soviet Union) and Great Britain.” This, explanation, of course, is word for word the Soviet propaganda line of the time.
Contrary to Barash and the Kremlin propagandists, the emplacement of U.S. missiles in Turkey and Great Britain was not provocative but defensive. They were put in those locations because the Soviet Union was an aggressive dictatorship that had killed between 20 and 40 million of its own people and because the Red Army was occupying Eastern Europe and was poised to overrun Western Europe. The Red Army had previously conducted an incursion into Iran. (None of this is mentioned in the Barash text). The missiles America put in Europe and Turkey were designed to deter a Soviet invasion because the Red Army had a million plus troop advantage over the West along the Iron Curtain. To compensate for the manpower deficit the United States deployed nuclear missiles. (All this is absent too from the Barash text.) By contrast, the emplacement of missiles in Cuba actually did upset the balance of power and was an aggressive design to do so. That’s why the Soviet Union put the missiles in Cuba secretly and why the Soviet ambassador lied to Kennedy and denied the missiles were being put in place.
So how misleading is my account in The Professors of Barash’s treatment of the Cuban Missile Crisis? Here is what The Professors says about his text: “Throughout Peace and Conflict Studies, the authors justify Communist policies and actions and put those of America and Western democracies in a negative light. This one-sided tilting to America’s totalitarian enemies is evident in its treatment of the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example.”
Barash’s book has no listing for the Red Army, falsely claims that there was no civil war in Russia associated with the revolution (there was and it killed millions), mentions “Stalinism” only as a pretext used by the United States to justify its own military build up (and without letting students know what Stalinism was) provides no critical apparatus that would introduce students to a view that did not consist of pathetic apologetics for communism, begins its chapter on “Poverty as a Cause of War” by recapping the Marxist view of the world and following it with nothing that would contradict it. It is a book so atrocious in its distortion of history in favor of the “progressive” worldview that it compares the coldly calculated Tianamen Square massacre of peacefully demonstrating civilians by the soldiers and tanks of the Chinese police state to the killing of four students by Ohio national guardsmen who panicked under assault by rock-throwing radicals at Kent State.
If there is a liar in this room, it is most assuredly not me.

--David Horowitz


Anonymous said...

Thank you David Horowitz for standing up America! Is this country so blind to what these professors and their writings that college & universities presidents allow these professors to continue to degrade America and its honor? What can I do to help? Tony K in NC

6:49 PM  
Anonymous said...

I took Barash's class, and read his book. You clearly didn't bother doing much more than skimming. I'm a conservative, but that doesn't blind me to what you and others are doing.
If you've got a problem with liberal teachers, instead of trying to muzzle them, why not try to get some more conservative teachers in schools? You're basically conceding that they're better than you are, and instead of trying to make the system work for you, you undercut it. You're whining about this, trying to score points off people, and that's pretty lame. Barash respected me even though I'm very conservative (and vocal), and I got a 4.0 in the course because he grades fairly and isn't some dangerous radical. Go after some actual problems, or get a job.

9:47 PM  
Snapple said...

Dear Mr. Horowitz,

I don't know too much about you, so forgive the ignorance of my questions.

I read that you were in the Black Panthers until your friend was murdered. That changed you.

When you were in the Panthers, were you friends with Ward Churchill? Does he hate you because you "defected" so to speak?

I read an article that claimed that Karl Rove reads your books. I wonder if Ward Churchill is jealous of you because of that.

Powerful people may read your books but not his.

I will be reading your blog and checking out your book.

I hope you will answer my questions. Thanks

10:10 AM  
Mycos said...

I note that, of all the professions there are to choose from, the radical right likes to attack university professors and journalists in particular. I also note that, of all the "jobs" on earth that are likely to educate one to the real facts behind current events around the world, it is these two that surely place at the top of the list. It is also fact that they do tend to lean to the left, something from which can be drawn the folowing logical inference; that the more one knows about the reality and truth beind people and world events, the more one come around to seeing things from a leftists perspective. In other words, the smarter, the more well read and the more "worldly" one becomes, the more likely you are to either be or become a leftist. Given this fact, one that the right is constantly affirming with their endless whining about it, I am at a complete loss as to why you and others like you are so proud of being a member of the less worldly, uninformed class? Is it some kind of right-wing "pity-party" where others with the same intellectual handicap can all get together without fear of rejection? Because it sure sounds an awful lot like the reaction children might have at not being chosen for the right team. In any case, I'm extremely curious about this. Why else would anyone act like they're proud to be in the "slow" class?

So...could you answer at least this one question Mr. Horowitz? Why do you and others like you trumpet your stupidity?

2:30 PM  
Heywood Jablowmi said...

I suppose the reason that people like Horowitz do these things is because they can't get academic jobs. He says that professors are unqualified to do some of the things that they do. Following that same line of logic, one could say that Horowitz has no business talking about the problems with education because he doesn't have a PhD in Education and doesn't know what he is talking about.

11:29 PM  
Maxwell Hoffman said...

Lefties or allies of Lefties like heywood jablowmi just love to dismiss anything David Horowitz has to say on a radical Leftie who praises Communism in power of the academia and makes a personal attack on him.

Typical tactic.

5:43 PM  
Cropper said...

"quote: deranged loony leftist"

"you and others like you trumpet your stupidity?"

Thanx for providing such a great description of yourself.

5:48 PM  
haley said...

Wow're so smart. You demonstrate the same logic and intellectual arrogance that the communist used to try to subdue the plebes, or was it to make life better for them. The whole leftist/communist worldview has proven time and again to be a dead-end. One as smart as you surelty must be able to see that? I guess maybe liberalism must be a mental disorder.

11:16 AM  
Mycos said...

You merely make my point by insulting an argument without addressing a single point or advancing any of your own.

Here's your chance to show us "commies" (????) up by letting off a few rounds of your superior intellectual firepower. Please tell us why professors and journalists tend to lean to the left of the political spectrum? What could it be about life, science and the cultures of the world that first-hand knowledge and/or years of studying it tends to make one see things with a more "leftist" perspective?

5:41 PM  
Dax20798 said...

Mycos, why do you put question marks after "communists"? After all, you run some blog about "fascism in America". Any idiot knows that America is not "fascist", except I guess clueless Canadians like yourself.
I guess most professors/journalists are liberal b/c liberalism/leftism offers quick fix solutions to social and economic problems. The fact that these solutions never work out as planned doesn't seem to matter too much to them. Since the 1960s and Johnson's "Great Society" programs, poverty has not been significantly decreased in the US; instead there is a lingering and violent underclass of fatherless black children (something that barely existed before the Great Society programs were enacted; in fact poverty among Blacks was decreasing rapidly before such programs were put info effect). Many intellectuals were Communist fellow travelers (and remain so today) in the early 20th century. Are you suggesting they were right in their views, Mycos?

9:59 AM  
Mycos said...

"I guess most professors/journalists are liberal b/c liberalism/leftism offers quick fix solutions to social and economic problems."

At least the left speaks to solutions to the problems. The right denies there even is a problem, or that all problems can be solved by lowering taxes or passing a law against it. How much more simple-minded can you get than that?

And to say that poverty among blacks was better off before the civil rights movements shows the depth of your ignorance regarding social ills. Might I suggest that before the sixties, right wing "crackers" simply had no idea that such problems existed? That it was a case of out of sight, out of mind...the guiding principle behind most right-wing thought to this day? You will find no statistics to match that absurdity of a statement. I'm amazed that someone could even form the thought, nevertheless actually put it into print.

As for different varieties of communism (Marxism/Leninist, Trotskyites, etc.) among intellectuals being an acceptable view of how to bring peace and prosperity to the world during much of the last century, of course it true. Who else other than the people who read books and so have heard of them and their ideas? In any case, equality (the essential underpinning of all communist thought), has actually been a guiding principle of mankind for much longer than that ( Christ for instance) and will always be so. The principle is loudly declared as a good and righteous ideal throughout the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. You got a problem with that?

12:49 PM  
Anonymous said...

"If you've got a problem with liberal teachers, instead of trying to muzzle them, why not try to get some more conservative teachers in schools?"

That is the problem -not being able to get conservatives in the schools because of the dominant leftist demagogues that run them.

"You're basically conceding that they're better than you are, and instead of trying to make the system work for you, you undercut it."

No - he's pointing out the fallacies to hopefully open up eyes and gather support.

"You're whining about this, trying to score points off people, and that's pretty lame."

You actually sound whiny and lame!

Go after some actual problems, or get a job.

Duh! I believe he does.

4:27 AM  
Anonymous said...


Let me first ask both my conservative and liberal friends to avoid namecalling, as it does little to advance any argument.

That said, let me address some of your points.

One additional aspect about acedemia and the media that often goes unnoticed is that in both these arenas a person can maintain a belief in a bad idea without paying a significant price for it. They tend to be insulated from potential side-effects of those ideas. A professor or a reporter can decide, for example, that the minimum wage should be raised to $20 per hour. To them, this is just a thought experiment; if the minimum wage is actually raised, they will feel no reprecussions if they are wrong (or at least the repercussions they feel will be delayed and indirect). When presented with data showing that similar measures in the past have had negative effects, they can easily dismiss this data as inconclusive or biased, and maintain their original opinion.

A business man and his minimum-wage workers, on the other hand, do not have that luxury. Raise the minimum wage and the business man, conscious of the bottom line, is immediately faced with higher labor costs, and may have to decide to replace some of his now more-expensive labor with capital (buying an automatic dishwasher instead of continuing to employ a person to wash dishes, for example). The minimum wage worker feels it also, as he may lose his job, or have his hours cut. Unlike the professor and reporter, the businessman and the minimum wage worker immediately and directly face the effects of these ideas.

Another area that naturally insulates their employees from the effects of potentially bad ideas are non-profit organizations. Since they are not-for-profit, they do not pay a real price for being inefficient. If a charity becomes more inefficient, it just ends up giving less money to the needy. No one that works at the charity is financially affected. As with the other examples, non-profit organizations employ a high percentage of liberals. Certainly, this may be a coincidence, however we should also entertain the possibility that it is not.

Your comments also talked about Socialism, and that topic works to further my point. Socialism is a wonderful theory...on paper. However, every single time it's been tried it's been an utter failure. (Slight applications have been slight failures, complete applications have been complete failures.) Consider that, of all the famous people singing the praises of Cuba, or Communist China, or the former Soviet Union, not one of them actually has gone to live in any of these places. There are people in these regimes trying to escape every day. Meanwhile, there are no "boat people" desperatly trying to get FROM Florida TO Cuba. In both directions, people are "voting with their feet" - they prefer Capitalism over Socialism - even the people who praise Socialism are voting this way.

Again, Socialism is a great theory, on paper, for professors or news reporters to discuss and adore in their Ivory Towers, insulated from the negative effects, so they're safe to ignore facts from history that prove their theory wrong.

A conservative looks at this and asks, "How many times to we have to try an idea and have it fail before we conclude it's just a bad idea?"

This is why I think it's incorrect to jump to the conclusion that it's just a coincidence that liberals gravitate towards professions where they are insulated from the effects of bad ideas.

One final point: You also mentioned that there is no data to show that Blacks were better off economically before the Civil Rights movement. Actually, there is data to show that the economic situation of Blacks was improving steadily before the Civil Rights movement, but after the movement started that improvement almost stopped. To see this data, get a copy of "Civil Rights : Rhetoric or Reality" by Thomas Sowell.

I warn you, however, if you are comfortable in your current beliefs and do not want to challenge them, then don't read this book. Thomas Sowell is an EXCELLENT author. He is a conservative African-american professor of Economics, so he is emmiently qualified to discuss this subject. Everything he writes is clear and straight-forward. EVERY fact he references is footnoted so you can check the source. I highly recommend anything he writes. However, if a person has strong liberal beliefs, and does not want facts raised to challenge those beliefs, then this book is not for them.

Best of Luck,

6:25 PM  
Mycos said...

Unfortunately your book neither interests me nor should it. Think. He says the lot of the Black Man has gotten worse since the sixties. Guess what. f you belong to the lower or middle class, your lot has gotten worse too. IOW, your learned professor is doing precisely what I strongly suspect Horowitz is doing as well; and that's selling junk to greater fools than themselves so that they can keep their butts out of the aforementioned class.

You may ask, why would they pick the right instead of the left to pull this charade on? If I have to tell you, I will(even though it's obvious). The right is predictable. Their world is full of scary foreigners with strange and thereby threatening (to a conservative) ways, or homegrown devils (homo's, liberals, commies, etc.) trying to steal America's soul by teaching a more complex version of creation than the Bibles. In short, a very childish view of the world. Now ask yourself, what kind of an audience is easier to write to? The complex and abstracted world of the intellectual....or children?

Take care,
Gary Williams

1:15 AM  
Mycos said...

Oh dear. That eternal bane of the left....having a conscience...compels me to come back and right some of your more dangerous misconceptions.

"One additional aspect about acedemia and the media that often goes unnoticed is that in both these arenas a person can maintain a belief in a bad idea without paying a significant price for it."

Almost by definition there are few other proffessions in the world that are more subject to public scrutiny than a journalist. Otoh, about the only scrutiny a businessman is under is from his shareholders to turn a profit. Cutting corners is virtually assured, thus the outrage when someone suggests that they be regulated by an independant entity. A professors entire career depends on getting things exactly right. Higher knowledge is always subject to being rewritten when new facts surface. Those who don't learn and change their views are subject to ridicule, scorn, and dismissal.
Now: The Websters definition of a conservative: a : tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions.

Hmmm. Do you think there might be something about this tendency to maintain a position despite new facts that has a bearing on why conservative professors are often held in contempt by those people who believe in facts as they are, not the way they are personally comfortable with them?

"They tend to be insulated from potential side-effects of those ideas. A professor or a reporter can decide, for example, that the minimum wage should be raised to $20 per hour."

You are confusing a columnist or pundit with a journalist. They are supposed to report only what they saw and heard. If they write what others want themn to write, as was the case with Judith Miller, they get what they have coming to them.

"To them, this is just a thought experiment; if the minimum wage is actually raised, they will feel no reprecussions if they are wrong (or at least the repercussions they feel will be delayed and indirect). When presented with data showing that similar measures in the past have had negative effects, they can easily dismiss this data as inconclusive or biased, and maintain their original opinion."

Now your confusing them with politicians.

"A business man and his minimum-wage workers, on the other hand, do not have that luxury. Raise the minimum wage and the business man, conscious of the bottom line, is immediately faced with higher labor costs,"

Ahhh.. the old inflation shell game. As inflaton lowers the workers take-home pay, the businessman can either raise the price of his product so he can pay the same real wage to his workers, or he can keep paying them the same and pocket the rest. Anything else is BS'ing whoever will listen to it.

" If a charity becomes more inefficient, it just ends up giving less money to the needy. No one that works at the charity is financially affected. As with the other examples, non-profit organizations employ a high percentage of liberals. Certainly, this may be a coincidence, however we should also entertain the possibility that it is not.

My God man! You apparently are a real conservative! You have no idea that charities are first about helping other people, efficiency and money a distant second! You thought it was all about having a a job didn't you!!!?? Wow! The idea that some people are physically made ill and hurt inside when made to watch others get blown up or starve to death.... is an alien thing to you, isn't it?

I'll bet you have no idea why it would be hypocritical to call yourself a Christian either. Simply stunning!

It's called empathy. Look it up. While your there, look up what they call someone with a complete lack of empathy. No, it's not "conservative".
Phychopath is the word you've been looking for your whole life.

Be clear about this because it will cause a great many things to suddenly make sense to you. Socialism and Communism are not equivelent ideas. Stalin killed socialists, socialist killed communists. All they share in common is a belief that people who have more than they need should share. But sharing with strangers? That's horrible enough that it makes no difference then to you isn't it?

It must be horrible to be so cold. No wonder you need to fill your heads with all that "were number One" BS. You aren't you know. Your military and gross national product alone. All other indicators of health, wealth and education are down the list. Many wayyy down.

So try reality. And no, your president can't make it reality just by saying he can, even if you close your eyes tight and wish really, really hard!

7:11 AM  
Anonymous said...

BTW. I have shown David that he is politiczing acedemia with his "Bill of Right". He has conceded this, but declared that because I am not a professor myself, I cannot claim his money.

Really! It as sure a thing as are Davids intentions noble and good.

The New Rovian Left

1:01 AM  
Anonymous said...


First let me address some factual mistakes in your response. Then I'll show how your reply actually serves to prove my points.

Factual Mistakes:

(1) Your reply indicated, "He (Sowell) says the lot of the Black Man has gotten worse since the sixties. Guess what. If you belong to the lower or middle class, your lot has gotten worse too."

This is simply contradicted by the facts. Consider the following information (found at ):


Most of America's "poor" live in material conditions that would be judged as comfortable or well-off just a few generations ago. Today, the expenditures per person of the lowest-income one-fifth (or quintile) of households equal those of the median American household in the early 1970s, after adjusting for inflation.1

The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

* Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
* Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
* Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
* The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
* Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.
* Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
* Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
* Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.

As a group, America's poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels. Most poor children today are, in fact, supernourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier that the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.


This is simply not a description of someone whos "lot has gotten worse".

Another mistake your reply makes is incorrectly assuming that if someone starts in a particular class, that they tend to stay there. In reality, the vast majority of the lower class is made up of students or other young people who have yet to establish their earning potential. These same people, after they gain experience, gain in salary and rise out of the lower class. As Sowell points out, "An absolute majority of those Americans who were in the bottom 20 percent in income in 1975 were in the top 20 percent at some point in the next 16 years....None of this is unique to the United States. A study of eleven European countries found similar patterns." ("Basic Economics", Thomas Sowell, P. 145, quoted from the "1995 Annual Report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas", p. 8, 22, and "Poor Stastics: Getting the Facts Right About Poverty in Australia", Peter Saunders, p. 5). So, if someone was in the lower class 30 years ago, then they're most likely in the middle or upper class now.

(2) Your reply stated, "Almost by definition there are few other professions in the world that are more subject to public scrutiny than a journalist."

Only if one believes the fox can effectively guard the henhouse. Journalists speak with megaphones; their readers can only speak back with whispers. This is why Mark Twain said, “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” Until the Internet came along, jounalists had a monopoly on the ability to speak to the masses, and generally avoided criticizing each other out of "professional courtesy" borne out of a fear of slinging mud at another journalist who could sling it back just as effectively. There were no natural checks-and-balances.

(3) Your reply stated, "...about the only scrutiny a businessman is under is from his shareholders to turn a profit." Again, incorrect. A businessman is scrutinized each and every time someone decides whether to buy his product or not. If he is not providing value to the public, he stops turning a profit and goes out of business. This is very clear, very direct feedback.

One may argue that journalists have the same feedback. Not exactly. The product produced by a newspaper is not really the paper itself, but rather the readership it can offer to advertisers as a market to view their ads. A newspaper makes far more income from it's advertisers than from it's readers. Certainly if readership declines, then advertising pricing may decline as well, but this connection is less direct and more subject to arbitrariness (how much should an ad cost? How much business does it actually generate for the advertiser?). These points generalize to other forms of media as well.

(4) Your reply stated, "A professors entire career depends on getting things exactly right." Not really. A professors entire career depends on the esteem of his collegues, which is not exactly the same thing as being 100% right. Clearly he probably can't publish things that are blatantly wrong (although there are several examples of people purposly submitting papers that were hogwash which ended up getting published in journals). If a professor's collegues prefer he doesn't "rock the boat" by producing theories that are contrary to theirs, then that's more important to his career than being 100% right. Then there's the subject of tenure. Unless he/she does something unethical, a professor with tenure can basically do what they want and not lose their job. Finally, professors are paid to produce theories and research that is interesting. Whether those theories actually work in the real world is secondary. In Industry, the idea that academic theories often don't pan out in then real world is a proverb.

Now, here's how much of your reply actually serves to prove my point:

(A) I indicated that liberals gravitate to academia and the media because, "When presented with data showing that similar measures in the past have had negative effects, they can easily dismiss this data as inconclusive or biased, and maintain their original opinion."

Then, when I recommended a book with facts that disprove your point, you did exactly that: Your response was, "Unfortunately your book neither interests me nor should it." Then you continue to dismiss the data as inclusive and/or biased, and then maintain your original opinion. This is exactly the pattern I described.

(B) When criticizing conservative authors, your reply stated, "Now ask yourself, what kind of an audience is easier to write to? The complex and abstracted world of the intellectual....or children?"

It is well-known that the young tend to be more liberal, and the older more conservative. By the analogy your reply provides, it would be easier to write to (and fool) the younger, liberal audience.

(C) Your reply stated, "Do you think there might be something about this tendency to maintain a position despite new facts that has a bearing on why conservative professors are often held in contempt by those people who believe in facts as they are, not the way they are personally comfortable with them?"

Notice that your reply did not provide any facts that can be traced back to a source and verified (except for the dictionary definition of the term "conservative"). In essence, it did not present me with any new facts - only opinions. On the other hand, when I offered you facts, you weren't interested, and in fact declared that you should not be interested in them. Which person in this discussion - the conservative or the liberal - was presenting documented facts, vs. which was simply dismissing facts out-of-hand without offering any facts of his own? Which behavior most closely fits the description of someone who does not want to address the facts as they are, and prefers to focus on things as they would like them to be? Offer me some data, not just some unsubstantiated opinions.

(D) You stated, "My God man! You apparently are a real conservative! You have no idea that charities are first about helping other people, efficiency and money a distant second!"

Your response highlights some key differences between liberals and conservatives, and they're not in the direction you might think. There are three key points related to this topic that liberals simply do not grasp:

* Charities are not simply about helping some people, but rather about helping as many needy people as possible.
* Resources are not infinite; they are limited.
* Charities must actually do some good, not just have good intentions.

Combine the first two points - wanting to maximize the benefit we can provide with the limited resources available - and you begin to understand why efficiency is important. The third point brings in the concept of effectiveness. If a charity isn't really doing any good, what's the point? Charities that are extremely ineffecient and/or ineffective must be either improved, or replaced - not doing so is ignoring the needs of all the people that charity fails to reach.

As an caring person, what is more important to you, making yourself feel good because you think you're helping, or actually helping? If the data shows that one of your personal pet theories isn't working, would you be willing to discard your theory and update your approach?

All the above is closely related to the fact that conservatives want to spend their own money to help people, while liberals want to spend other peoples' money to help people. The data at is an example showing that conservatives are more charitable than liberals. It clearly shows that conservatives (a) genuinely care about other people, and (b) are more willing to spend their own money to help other people. On the other hand, liberals prefer to raise taxes, effectively spending other people money, to fund social programs.

Now, I know you really want to believe that conservatives are evil, that we really don't care about other people, and we'd as soon as spit on them as help them. However, as much as you'd like this to be true, it simply isn't.

Remember: It has to be more about actually having a positive effect, not about just feeling good about oneself for trying.

(E) Your reply includes some general criticism of (I assume) the US, one of which is we're way down the list in terms of education. This is no surprise; our educational system is a state-run union-dominated monopoly where 90% of the people working there are liberals. Allowing competition would improve both efficiency and quality. Individual schools would have to discard educational approaches that don't work and replace the with methods that do, otherwise that school would go out of business. As I said, schools are a place where the people working there are insulated from paying a price if their ideas are wrong. You pointing out that the US is way down in education just helps prove my point.

Finally, near the end of your reply, you also make a whole host of stereotypical assumptions about me as a conservative, even though earlier in your reply you imply that conservatives are the ones who work in stereotypes (indicating conservatives think foreigners are "scarry", homos are "homegrown devils", etc.). Then your reply concludes with a host of personal attacks and insults. This doesn't become you. You seem like a very intelligent person. I'm sure you'd agree that it would be better to keep the discussion on a factual level.

Here's my challenge to you:
* If you want to refute one of my points, present me with data that refutes it.
* Avoid working with stereotypical assertions unless you have data to prove them.
* Avoid insults unless you feel you've lost the factual debate.


5:43 PM  
Mycos said...

"Avoid working with stereotypical data"? This from a man who gets his stats from Who then goes on to present the poor as being a group of persons from whom you draw home-owners? You then assert that because this relatively /wealthy/ group from whom we should actually be talking about, have cast-off color TVs and air-conditioners, both items that are far, far, far more plentiful and therefor cheap then they were 30 years ago, that they are somehow moving up in life? You simply beggar belief that anyone could possibly be that ignorant of the true nature of the poor of this country. Please do yourself a favour and look at the conditions under which these poll numbers were ascertained. A random stratified sample is certainly not the case. Perhaps they needed a phone to be contacted in the first place, a minor detail that leaves out the vast majority of the poor underclass.
So why don't you just take it to it's natural extension and say that no poor people drove cars 100 years ago, now whole bunches of them do, thereby proving hat they're getting richer! These aren't stats your offering, their misleading and selective isolation of particular data that avoid the whole issue....and you know it.

So. One thing and one thing only. The poor are poorer, and the rich are richer than they were 30, 20,....10 years ago. Period. Even the fed (reluctantly ) admits it. All else is glossing over the fact. So let me suggest..... in the strongest terms possible....that you have your head up your collective ass, and that there is no amount of information that can remove it. You sir, are not only a waste of my time, but of the cyber-space it takes to rebut your foolishness. When one considers the infinite resources available to me, that has to be an extremely low bar under which to have crawled. Please go away.

12:12 AM  
Blake said...

Man... this is sad, David Barash is actually a really good guy and about as harmless as they come. Sure he takes an occasional stab at the right or christian fundementalism, but I've never met a university professor who doesn't.

Unless being skeptical and opinionated is a crime I can't possibly say what would make David Barash dangerous to society. I think the author of this book is really stretching for this one.

10:21 PM  
Mycos said...

There's a sickness enveloping western culture that the world has never seen before. It is particularly acute in America, as it should be, considering it's birth there. It should come as a surprise though, considering the sickness was seen early on and warned about by a president sickened by the realities of war, a reality too faded by this generation to have the effect on them that it should. He told us to beware the military industrial complex, and what he didn't know then was the incestuous relationship forming between corporate media and political/industrial America. I hope it's not too late, even though the horrid, mutated progeny of that sick pairing is now loose among the powerful, being sure to misinform whoever isn't swift or bright enough to filter our media environment with reason and critical analysis.

To be more specific, Madison Avenue ad-agencies and Wall Street execs have used modern, highly sophisticated techniques to sell American parents, their developing children, our schools and now even political pundits and prognosticators on the idea that the function of people as good American parents and patriots... is to work, consume, and protect those things that will allow future generations to do precisely the same thing. They are taught that "success" is calculated in dollars. Self-worth is calculated in terms of ones ability to exert pressure on others, to get ones own way. There are think-tanks deliberately inculcating a belief among those gullible or angry enough to believe such narrowness, that man is a predatory animal; that aggressive self-interest is not only the correct way to interact socially but the only way to behave if one wants to continue succeeding...... for America of course, "America" being the name adopted by this creature for it must hide the deep, vile stench apparent to those who can see it for it's true nature. In fact, whenever one hears the term "wrapped in the flag" you can be certain this disease is somewhere close by, although it's effect on the mind is already very widespread.

For example, "altruism" is now thought of as an affectation of the weak, the political left, the irresponsible.... an American "Achilles Heal" that must be removed if the country is to survive. Sharing wealth is a crime against capitalism, country, and conscience. Greed is what's good. It is considered the very engine that made America what she is today, despite whatever historians (who are mostly "liberals" it'll say when asked) know on the disease of thought at the root of catastrophes like Nazi-ism. To avoid having to explain such uncomfortable truths, we have a deliberate attempts by people to tell not only the sick of today that delusions and completely mistaken beliefs are just as valid, just as acceptable as the overwhelming consensus of scholars, professors, even as valid as actual, empirical evidence. For instance, here we see it the fallacy being frequently reinforced saying that a prof who tells a student that Marx's "Das Kapital" is required reading in his course must be indoctrinating them into Marxism! And this naturally means they are perfectly within their rights to not only to say so, but to teach others students such nonsense, saying that this craziness is merely academic plurality, and that such "plurality of thought" is an intellectually noble thing to strive for! This is the equivalent of teaching children fairy tales as fact even once directly questioned by the child, leading to logic such as dropping a zero from the number system because that's how they counted in Abraham's day; Abraham was a first order prophet, so ......

12:56 AM  
marcus said...

Mycos once again demonstrates with his irrational ranting and hate-filled ad hominem attacks that he has decisively lost the factual debate again. But then again, that happens everytime a conservative debates a leftwinger. The leftie ends up sputtering nasty, hateful, and often racist attacks because they have no facts to refute the points that the conservative has made. At least uses facts to make points, unlike which uses hate-filled invective and complete lies to lead the gullible farther down the path of ignorance.

6:36 AM  
Mycos said...

Once again, I hate to sound like you in that I go "see! They just throw ad homiems", but it really is the typical response of the Right! Go over to Frontpage Magazine. Go over to the Freepers. Take an OBJECTIVE look at who does what.
I made any number of detailed points, obviously none of which you felt uncomfortable answering, thus the "typical ad hominem". That is soooo tired....?!!

You know what? I just spent 4 hours over at FPM, listening to them tell us that the discovery of some pre-91 (don't say how pre-91. Could be WW1 knowing the desperation of the right these days) "degraded" mustard shells that suddenly PROVE that Bush was right all along!!!
Yet at the same time, they are all completely mystified why Bush isn't making more of this discovery than he has. It hasn't occurred to these idiots that it's not news! It's propaganda. Blatant..obvious...propaganda. Lies of such as base nature that... should they talk loudly about it, try to jazz it up some.... they'll be called out for the liars that they are and always have been. So they let it crawl around on it's belly at the far-right sites where lies and facts are regarded as equally valid, depending on whether they serve your own purpose. "Truth" seems to have value as something to be valued above all else. It is just another detail to be manipulated...... That is a sickness of the mind! That is one step from a the borderline flight into fantasy. Facts matter! Go with them at all times. You must! That's life! That's truth. That's what life, God, religion, secular harmony,....that's what really matters. That really is what will set us free. Just believe that one thing from me. Please. Nothing else. Just that. I beg of you.

Just stop it. You were lied to! Face it. Don't bring more shame on yourself and your families nevertheless more hate on America with your blind stupidity. This isn't negotiable anymore. You are wrong. Bush lied. Cheney is lying. Gonzalez is trying to justify their criminality. This administration is a historic one withouit doubt. But for all the wrong reasons. It is clear that Nixon will look like a Mother thereasa when the whole truth hits the papers, the facts of which many of us have been trying desperately to tell you of. You have no idea how blind you are to not see the depth of the deception that has been perpetrated on America by this rogue group.

No. I take it back. Not blind...nobody is that stupid or blind. This is clearly a case of cognitive dissonance on a mass scale. Rove has made a refinement to "the bigger the lie..." maxim, one that only a genius of dirty who stood in the shadow of Nixon...and brags about it!.... is capable of perpetrating.

You will regret these conversations. I will hold you all to them, come the day of reckoning. Be sure of it.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous said...


Is there any kind of evidence that could convince you that Bush didn't lie about WMDs in Iraq? (Example: What if they were to find 20 tons of Sarin gas, circa 2000?)


6:24 PM  
Mycos said...

Yes. Evidence of WMD's would quickly change my view of that matter alone. MY mind wants truth, not friends or bosom buddies with similar ideas.
On these issues, a fact is a fact, and it must be integrated into the rest of the facts.

Now. You seem rather specific about this Sarin. Why? Because Melanie "war-whore" Morgan says some fictional general told her his secrets, this while she was holed up in her 7th floor room for the entire trip, only to later say she was cruising the quiet streets like a tough broad without fear? Ask her about the infamous lobby Scene wherein she roared the Amazon battle cry, "Guards? There's no guards going with us here? Then I'm not leaving this "F'ing" lobby until I see guards everywhere!" I remind you she was well inside the Green Zone...

Now I go to right-wing websites regularly, trying to see if they're on to something real this time. Still no luck.
How about you try mine. Heres a small sample from a paper called AMERICAN REALISM VERSUS AMERICAN IMPERIALISM
From the Journal "World Politics" John Hopkins University. If you read the whole article, you will be among the most up-to-date, world-savvy people over at FPM, etc. This is leading intellectual level stuff...and you will also see why intellectuals are among the first targets of dictators. Horowitz is attempting to veil precisely such a goal with his BS.
(go up the hierarchy of this site for hundreds more sample articles; ones you'd normally have to pay for.

The general course of international politics since the end of the cold
war and, more recently, the foreign policy undertaken by the United
States since the September 11, 2001, attacks verge on the inexplicable
to American realists. They find they cannot easily account for the continuing
and so far unchallenged unipolar dominion over international
politics wielded by the United States. Realists have argued at great
length that nations invariably seek to attain enough military power to
allow them to contend with potential rivals, yet over the past decade no
nation, nor even any bloc of nations, has even tried to match American
military predominance.4 Realists have been even more puzzled by the
recent foreign policies of the current Bush administration. Indeed,
America’s most prominent realists—now happy to engage in normative
policy advocacy—have been sharply and publicly critical of U.S. foreign
policy.5 Realists favour a stable world in which every state rationally
seeks security for itself. This, however, does not appear to be the objective
of the Bush administration: in both word and deed, the United
States has demonstrated a clear willingness to pursue goals well beyond
that of basic national security and has done so with apparent disregard
for the insecurities of its adversaries. It has exhibited few qualms about
alienating large nations and/or traditional allies like France, Canada,
and Indonesia and has waged a protracted and expensive war in Iraq for
reasons that do not seem even remotely related to the pursuit of national
survival. The nation, in other words, is doing things that most realists
would argue no rational great power would do.

What, then, has happened to the great realist consensus of the cold
war? As Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., has pointed out, the foundations of
U.S. success in its confrontation with the Soviet Union were the twin
realist pillars of containment and deterrence: defencive measures both
of them, designed explicitly to attain security for the United States and
its primary allies without so frightening the Russians as to instigate
World War III.6 Schlesinger, along with his fellow realist cold warrior
the late George Kennan, believes that American foreign policy has
been taken over by expansionists dangerously dismissive of the caution
and prudence that were the hallmarks of traditional realism. Kennan
was particularly critical of the Bush administration, asserting that the
war in Iraq “bears no relation to the first war on terrorism,” describing
the administration’s attempt to make that connection “pathetically unsupportive
and unreliable” and denouncing the weak Democratic resistance
to that war as “shabby and shameful.”

See? It calls Dems "shabby and shameful" as well. knowledge isn't partisan. Your wing develops with your knowledge of world affairs and ones level of empathy for others. Knowledge has been shown to have a clear effect on changing ones opinions from right to left, not the other way at all. Same with journalist. They have travelled the world, spoken with officials off the record, seen things with their own eyes deemed to brutal for us poor simpletons to understand. They tend to move to the leftist viewpoint the more knowledge of the world they find as well. This is a clear indication that there is good cause to at least consider looking at information first, rather than simply slamming it as leftist lies.

4:59 AM  
Anonymous said...


Some brief comments:

(1) Actually I chose Sarin gas at random. I just wanted to create a hypothetical with a well-known poison gas. I had no idea it had any relevance. I had not heard of Melanie Morgan before I read your post. Interesting....

(2) When you say that you'd change your mind if you learned of fact that disproved your position, I'm not sure you're being entirely honest with yourself. I suspect if you were presented with such a contrary fact, you would likely begin playing a game called "Yes, but...", where you recognized the contrary fact, but found some excuse to consider it irrelevant. We could test this theory if you like, but I don't see much point. We'd probably just piss each other off.

(3) I tend not to read either left- or right-wing blog sites. There is simply too much noise in them, and it takes too much time to sort through all the bias, BS, insults, cheerleading, and self-congratulation. Note that this is common to both left and right sites; I'm not singling out just one side with this criticism. I prefer to read news sites, and if I find an article valuable I go and try to check it's sources. That seems to be a better way to efficiently spend my time.

(4) I have not read the article you mention. I may read it if I can make the time. (Question: Have you read the book I recommended, "Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?" by Thomas Sowell? If that doesn't suit you, try "Basic Economics" also Sowell. I really think it would make a difference.) One comment I can make based on the points you quoted from the article, if Arthur Schlesinger Jr. indicated that it was Containment and Deterrence that lead to the west's success in the cold war, he's leaving out one more crucial item: Economic Productivity and it's effect on the Arms Race. The US (capitalist) economy was so much more productive than the Russian (communist) economy that they simply could not keep up in an arms race. Interestingly enough, the Russian leaders now admit that the item that finally broke their back was SDI ("Star Wars"). The funny thing was that it didn't really matter whether "Star Wars" was even technically possible or not. The Russians believed it MIGHT be, and knew they simply could not produce something similar to it or enough warheads to overwhelm it. That's when they realized they were beaten and had to find another way (capitalism).

I had a professor in college who was born in Poland, got her BS there, her MS in Moscow, and her Ph.D here. She was a brilliant woman, and we would have long talks about what life was like under Communism, and how it compared to Capitalism. I learned things I never would have expected. For example, she said that EVERYONE there is very well-read, and is up on local events. Even the woman you hire to come clean your bathroom is well-read. There is also MUCH more art and culture there than here; everyone is in to it. Why? Simple. In a Communist country, you don't have to work very hard. If you slack off, it doesn't matter; you still get paid the same. You can't lose your job, and if you do the government finds you another one. Thus, at the end of the week, everyone has a lot of energy left to do other things. With capitalism, people usually reap the benefits of their own additional hard work. (If not, they often quit that job and go to one where they CAN reap the benefits.) As a result, people often choose to work so much harder here, and as a result produce so much more than their communist counterparts. This why teh standard of living is so much higher in capitalist countries and in communist ones. It's also why the West won the Cold War.

Again, I highly recommend Sowell's "Basic Economics". It touches on the above. It's a great, easy read, and it makes SOOOO much sense. I think you'd enjoy it.

(5) It's good that the source you mentioned criticizes the Democrats. It means they're not bound to a party. However that doesn't automatically mean they're correct. It could just mean they're mad because the Democrats are not "left" enough for them. That doesn't necessarily prove that the lefts position was correct to start with.

(6) As we previously discussed, I don't agree that because 80% of journalists and academics are liberal that the liberal point of view must be more accurate. Again, they live in an echo-chamber, where they only hire and associate with like-minded people, and by the very nature of their jobs they are insulated from any effects of a bad opinion they may hold. This is how Walter Duranty could write for years that Stalin wasn't starving people to death, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for doing it, even though it was all a lie. Duranty had an agenda, a conclusion he wanted to be true; and few other journalists wanted to believe otherwise, so they never challenged his conclusion; and enough important people in journalism thought so highly of his conclusion they gave him a Pulitzer. Clearly this was not an example of a fact-driven profession that was inherently self-checking, but rather an echo-chamber that reinforced (and ultimately rewarded) desirable pre-ordained conclusions.


7:31 PM  
The Raving Moderate said...

I am a bit tired of the "counter-argument from non-authority" applied to politics, i.e. that if someone is not a politician or at least a (preferably conservative) political science professor, they should be discounted. Politics and war effect us all, and we should all be putting in our two cents. Not that either David Barash or Alec Baldwin should necessarily be running the country (that's why we have elections), but they should certainly have their say. Frankly, I am willing to take their ideas at least as seriously as anything that the so-called "professionals", like George Bush, seem able to come up with. If other Professors of Peace Studies see something in Barash's book even though Barash is officially "qualified" as an animal psychologist, I leave that up to their judgement and the principal of Academic Freedom. Besides, isn't animal psychology what war and peace boil down to anyway?

5:30 PM  
Mycos said...

I'm not sure exactly what point you're making, but if your referring to my discounting of Sowell because he's not a politician, then you've missed what I've said as well. I now know more than enough about Sowell The best that can be said about that book.....and this is according to the vast majority of economists and other professionals who know their stuff and felt compelled to review it...., that he makes economic theory sound so simple and understandable that even an idiot can understand the basics. On that he gets high marks. But considering his audience is the right-wing, he wasn't going to sell very many if he didn't make it dirt simple.

However, when he moves into anything other than the most basic application of market forces, he fails miserably. He does not understand market psychology, sociology, people, or have any conception of where man is going and is the capitalist model the best way to get there. Men like him cannot even wrap there heads around that last sentence. "We're going somewhere? Isn't life about keeping the best for you and yours, period?" No oh primitive one. It's not.

But in case someone is truly interested in where we are going, I'll write a few of my thoughts....thoughts constructed on years of observation, many only possible by those blessed with an ability to see how disparate fields are in fact much more closely related than generally accepted.

Sowell. The best that can be said about him is he has painted a fairly accurate picture of basic economics as it applies to to our daily lives. He can show how to balance a nations check book, but he fails miserably as someone who can explain why this should be important....barely making the case of whether it even is important. In short, Sowell displays the attributes that mark the right-wing for what they are...genetic misfits.

You think that's overly harsh? Read on. The evidence quickly becomes overwhelming if you are capable of thought exercises. First allow that human traits such as greed and empathy have a genetic origin. Once you proceed with your eyes open and your intellect aim
ed that way, things fall into place so quickly that it becomes sheer foolishness to think it otherwise.

Look at who tends to be the first to use a stick rather than carrot approach when solving social ills. The reason is the "carrot" is something someone else must first want. For the "empathy-simple" among us, that's difficult to determine.
Force on the other hand is something they themselves are in control of. They can simply push until they get the result they want. No empathy required. In fact, a lack of it makes this particular task much easier. Then look at the ranks of the military, police force, bike gangs, KKK, Aryan Nations, and corporate boardrooms. Vastly over-represented by right-wingers.

Look at the right and their thoughts on capitalism and hoarding of wealth. They will tell you that capitalism works for whoever has the will to use it, that there's no reason for the poor to be poor other than a lack of effort. But the fact of that lie is as obvious as another little thought exercise.
Take a world and populate it with identical Bill Gates or Warren Buffet clones. Millions of them. Come back in five years and what do you think you'll see? Millions of millionaires? How? There will be rich Bills and dirt poor Bills. That's how capitalism works. It is a means by which to parasitize others, not create wealth.

The simple truth is that capitalism demands that a lower class exist to do the dirty work. It simply cannot function without an impoverished class. But yet they eludes the much of the Right.

So what have we learnt? Empathy was simply necessary to get along in this new environment, one where strangers are crowded into close proximity with other strangers. This was a dynamic that needed a new behavioural code, which nature provided. And what could we best use for living with strangers where food is tight? You guessed it! We evolved a more acute sense of empathy for our fellow man.

The right on the other hand simply cannot conceive of anything different. They lack an entire brain function that others of us take for granted. They are left with only one angle, that one impulse that served ancient man well during the times when greed was held solidly in check by our limited technology.

IN short, they are deviant personalities, throwbacks to a time when their behaviour was acceptable due the limitations nature imposed on it. Our rapid change in only a few thousand years from H-G to hierarchical hoarding subhumans operating on an instinct that compels them to behave as animals rather than the cooperative empaths nature has been providing us with to deal with it. Unfortunately for us, the Constitution and the Bill of Right s were written by men who had empathy in minds as its core feature. This unfortunately means the documents, in the same way the right avoids the actual words on deeds of Jesus like a plague as well, is one that they cannot understand at a gut level, and so they recite it, salute it, then forget it. And that my friend, is how the right wing took America away from the Founding Fathers.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous said...

David, I am struck by the similarities between many of our universities and the indoctrination of students in Islamic "Madrassas"(sp??) They are teaching our children (in their most vulnerable years) to hate America.

12:47 PM  
Mycos said...

And I am struck by the similarity between the recent comments by the socially conservative Mufti of Australia and American religious conservative leaders. He dared to say that women who dress provocatively have themselves to blame for any attacks and rapes that may become them due their attire. American Christian Leaders have been saying the same thing for years, so why is it it news when this guy says it? Again, because the right-wing is unable to see their own actions through the eyes of others, they are largely unaware and/or uncaring of socially deviant behaviors; in this case - hypocrisy. In these complex and technologically dangerous times, such personality disorders are not acceptable among social leaders. These "right-wingers" as they have commonly come to be called, do not merely have a "difference of opinion" or a misunderstanding of facts, but exhibit the characteristic behaviours of a genetic trait that was formed over countless generations of hunter/gatherer activity. The environmental feedback differences between those and today's sensory input cannot be understated. This presents mankind with a decision it has never had to consciously face before; do we let nature take it's course? Or do we recognize evolutions inability to keep up with a species whose mind can predict and change the process of natural selection? The latter is the only rational choice, one that dictates we "help" nature along by consciously preventing our hunter/gather genetic tendencies to express themselves in the modern world. Towards that end, the "right-wing" must not be allowed to pass genetic material onto future generations. I find it rather ironic that I find myself, an atheist standing at such a major crossroad in our history, wishing to quote the words of a man whom many of the genetically retarded persons I speak of still believe to have supernatural powers --- a quaint (yet now dangerous) example of the primitive psyche still typical among them.

Anyhow. A socially advanced member of the species who had the unfortunate distinction of having been born some two millennium past* is thought to have said; "The meek shall inherit the earth". Indeed we shall...or the species will perish. But it will take some bold decisions by the intelligentsia, followed by some very brave actions by still others before it becomes possible to realize our earthly "kingdom" (as he put it in the language of the day).

*you think it's bad now? Can you imagine what one of us living then must have faced? Incredible!


2:14 AM  
Anonymous said...


You have provided a whole host of things to which I would like to respond. My response will have four parts:

I. Since you have shared your theory on conservatives, I will share my theory on liberals. Specifically, I have found a recurring pattern of flawed reasoning that liberals often employ, and I will describe it.

II. I will cite examples from your own entries in the blog to show how your reasoning commonly exhibits this flaw.

III. I will ask some other very pointed questions, highlighting contradictions and other problems in your writings here, and give you the opportunity to reconcile them.

IV. I will predict how you will respond to this note.

I. Common Liberal Pattern of Flawed Reasoning
As indicated, I have discovered a recurring pattern of flawed reasoning commonly employed by many liberals. While not all liberals do this all the time, and conservatives occasionally employ this as well, it is my observation that a vast number of liberals do this a vast amount of the time. The pattern is as follows:

When a liberal wishes to come to conclusion on a topic, they often simply start with the conclusion they want to be true, and then assume it’s already a well-proven fact. Generally this is offered without any supporting facts/principles, or the illusion of support is manufactured in a flawed way that will be described below.

Since this is often the initial response a liberal gives when debating, I'll call this a Category 1 Response.

Category 1 Responses: Pre-ordaining a Desired Conclusion

When someone challenges that pre-ordained conclusion, the liberal defends it in two different ways (Category 2 and 3 Responses, below):

Category 2 Responses: Blame the Infidel for their Non-Belief
In essence, the liberal assumes that if a given person doesn't believe the pre-ordained conclusion, it’s that person’s own fault. Mild versions of this are responses like “The conclusion is obvious”, or “Look around you”, implying that the lack of belief is the fault of the infidel’s lack of perception. Stronger versions are responses like “You’re a racist” or “You’re an idiot”, directly stating that there is a fundamental flaw in the infidel that prevents them from seeing or admitting “the truth”. Note that this whole approach completely avoids the question of whether the pre-ordained conclusion was arrived at reasonably or logically in the first place. The liberal simply assumes that the pre-ordained conclusion is true, and any lack of belief in it is the fault of the non-believer.

Category 3 Responses: Build the Illusion of Logical Support using Pre-Ordained Backwards Chaining
Backwards chaining is a valid method of inference where a potential conclusion is treated as a hypothesis, and then a search is performed to determine whether the necessary facts and/or principles exist to prove or disprove it. Pre-ordained backwards chaining is a flawed version of this approach, where the desired conclusion is assumed to already be proven to be true, and the subsequent search is biased to only produce facts and/or principles that validate that pre-ordained conclusion. This is done using three methods:

(a) “Cherry-picking”, or sometimes actually creating convenient facts and/or principles that support the pre-ordained conclusion,

(b) Ignoring (or simply dismissing without citing verifiable reasons) any facts and/or principles that disprove the pre-ordained conclusion, and

(c) Citing some sort of mysterious influence that cannot be explained, but nonetheless supposedly results in proving the pre-ordained conclusion. In place of an explanation, the liberal indicates that we should simply trust them that the stated effect proves their conclusion correct.

Note that with responses (3a), (3b), and (3c), the facts, principles, and effects embraced or rejected are often new examples of additional pre-ordained conclusions; they are accepted or rejected simply based on whether they are convenient and/or desirable, not based on whether they are accurate. Thus, the liberal both recursively uses the same logical flaw (attempting to prove the initial pre-ordained conclusion using further pre-ordained conclusions), as well as employs a form of circular logic (the original main conclusion is supposedly true because it is supported by the subsequent facts/principles/effects, yet those subsequent items were chosen to be "true" simply because they supported the original main conclusion).

A clear way to determine whether an individual is employing pre-ordained backwards-chaining is to identify the facts/principles the individual embraces when defending their conclusion on a given topic, and then determine if the individual continues to embrace them when discussing other topics. If the same facts/principles are relevant to both topics, and embraced for Topic A but rejected Topic B, it’s obvious that the individual selected those facts/principles because they were convenient, not because they were accurate or the individual truly believed in them. This is clear evidence of pre-ordained backwards chaining: The conclusions were selected first, and then information was conveniently created to support them later on.

II. Examples where your responses followed this pattern of flawed reasoning.
First, take this example, when I suggested reading a book by Thomas Sowell, which shows hard evidence that the lot of the black man has gotten worse since the civil rights movement took place:

[Begin Quote]
Mycos said...
Unfortunately your book neither interests me nor should it (HES: This is a Category 3b form of flawed reasoning; ignoring contradicting facts. You clearly state you have no interest in a book that contains facts that contradict your desired conclusion.). Think. He says the lot of the Black Man has gotten worse since the sixties. Guess what. f you belong to the lower or middle class, your lot has gotten worse too (HES: Category 1; a pre-ordained conclusion. Nowhere in any of your postings do you offer any facts to support this claim). IOW, your learned professor is doing precisely what I strongly suspect Horowitz is doing as well; and that's selling junk to greater fools (HES: Category 2; blame the infidel. They’re fools; that’s why they don’t believe liberal ideas) than themselves so that they can keep their butts out of the aforementioned class.

You may ask, why would they pick the right instead of the left to pull this charade on? If I have to tell you, I will(even though it's obvious) (HES: Category 2; Blame the Infidel; conservatives can’t see the truth because they’re not perceptive enough). The right is predictable. Their world is full of scary foreigners with strange and thereby threatening (to a conservative) ways, or homegrown devils (homo's, liberals, commies, etc.) trying to steal America's soul by teaching a more complex version of creation than the Bibles (HES: Category 3a,b; Cherry-picking convenient “facts” about so-called conservatives, and ignoring contradicting facts. Your postings never offer any facts to establish that even a significant minority of conservatives are afraid of foreigners or homosexuals, or believe in the literal version of creation in the Bible.). In short, a very childish view of the world (HES: Category 2; Blame the Infidel: Conservatives don’t believe because they’re childish). Now ask yourself, what kind of an audience is easier to write to? The complex and abstracted world of the intellectual....or children (HES: Category 2 again; Blame the infidel)?
[End Quote]

Next, consider your response when I provided data showing the situation for the poor has actually improved significantly in the last 30 years:

[Begin Quote]
Please do yourself a favour and look at the conditions under which these poll numbers were ascertained. A random stratified sample is certainly not the case. Perhaps they needed a phone to be contacted in the first place, a minor detail that leaves out the vast majority of the poor underclass.
[End Quote]

Notice that you instantly conclude that there must be a problem with the study, simply because it doesn’t fit your pre-ordained conclusion. Your reasoning is clear: If the data disproves my personal pet theory, the data must be wrong! Now, you may feel that you’re challenging it because it goes against the other data you’ve seen. Fine: THEN SHOW US THAT OTHER DATA. You offer absolutely ZERO evidence, either to disprove this study, or to support your point. Instead you create a hypothetical flaw out of thin air, project it onto the study, and use that to discredit it. For you, this make-believe flaw is enough of an excuse to ignore the data. This is a classic example of a liberal pre-ordaining their desired conclusion (category 1), and then creating a convenient “fact” out of thin air (category 3a) such that they can ignore/dismiss any contradictory facts without providing any verifiable reasons to do so (category 3b).

Here’s another passage where you give a critical discussion of Thomas Sowell and his book:

[Begin Quote]
I now know more than enough about Sowell The best that can be said about that book.....and this is according to the vast majority of economists and other professionals who know their stuff and felt compelled to review it (HES: This is an example of either Category 3a or 3c, citing unsubstantiated sources that we cannot check, but that we’re supposed to simply trust are accurate. You indicate there are a whole host of critics, yet fail to name even one of them, nor provide any references so their analysis can be reviewed.)...., that he makes economic theory sound so simple and understandable that even an idiot can understand the basics. On that he gets high marks. But considering his audience is the right-wing, he wasn't going to sell very many if he didn't make it dirt simple. (HES: Again, category 2; Blame the Infidel. Conservatives don’t understand because they are stupid.)

However, when he moves into anything other than the most basic application of market forces, he fails miserably. He does not understand market psychology, sociology, people, or have any conception of where man is going and is the capitalist model the best way to get there (HES: Again, Category 3a or 3c. You cite ZERO examples of where Sowell’s points fail, let alone give proof of their failure.). Men like him cannot even wrap there heads around that last sentence. "We're going somewhere? Isn't life about keeping the best for you and yours, period?" No oh primitive one. It's not. (HES: Classic Category 2; Blame the Infidel: “Sowell and his readers are idiots; that’s why they don’t automatically believe my pre-ordained conclusions.”)
In short, Sowell displays the attributes that mark the right-wing for what they are...genetic misfits. (Again, Category 2, Blame the Infidel)
[End Quote]

Another key point to note: Sowell packs his books with examples from history that prove his points. Yet you refuse to address any of his specific points, because that would force you to address all the examples he cites. Instead, you level vague unsubstantiated criticisms. This is easier for you, because the facts don’t get in the way. Again, a classic unsubstantiated pre-ordained conclusion, and the classic maneuver of ignoring inconvenient contradicting facts (Category 1 and Category 3b Responses). You do not wish to deal directly with explicit facts because they will disprove your desired conclusions.

Take this other example:

[Begin Quote]
Take a world and populate it with identical Bill Gates or Warren Buffet clones. Millions of them. Come back in five years and what do you think you'll see? Millions of millionaires? How? There will be rich Bills and dirt poor Bills. That's how capitalism works. It is a means by which to parasitize others, not create wealth.
[End Quote]

This experiment is a fantasy, pure and simple. There is no way to verify the stated results are accurate. How can someone apply the scientific method and reproduce your experiment to independently verify your results? We are simply expected to trust you that the results will prove your point correct. Again, classic Category 3a and 3c flawed reasoning. It would be like if I said, “Take a world and populate it with people who think like Mycos. Come back in five years. They’ll all be dead or starving, and any survivors will all be living in total poverty. See? This proves everything Mycos says is BS.” Are you willing to just accept my results? Of course not! But how is this experiment any less valid than yours? Come on, man, SHOW YOUR WORK! PROVIDE SOME REAL EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR POINTS!

III. Some other very pointed questions, highlighting contradictions and other problems in your writings

Question #1: You indicate that people who are “right-wing” should not be allowed to breed, so as not to pass their genetic material on into the gene pool. Please tell us more about this Aryan race you wish to form. Also, what are your plans for us right-wingers? Will you send us directly to the gas chambers, or will you first send us to labor camps?

Question #2: You refer to Nazism as a disease, yet you advocate the practice that was probably the central point of Nazism: Selective breeding to purify the human race. Please reconcile these two. If your answer is that Hitler’s effort was evil and yours is good, please tell us how one effort to improve the human species through genocide and eugenics is better than another.

Question #3: You refer to yourself as one of the “meek”, yet you advocate preventing people from breeding that do not meet your approval. Is this the behavior of the meek? Please reconcile these.

Question #4: Here are two (2) studies that show conservatives are more giving in terms of their money and their time than liberals (in fact one shows conservatives are also significantly more giving in terms of donating blood):

Please reconcile this with your belief that liberals, not conservatives, have more empathy and are more giving. Note: Every possible response you can give will fall into one of the following categories:

(A) You will change your position, and admit that conservatives actually have considerable empathy; perhaps more so, in fact, than liberals;

(B) You will maintain your current position, and advocate it intellectually by either providing references for some other studies (that I can investigate) that show the opposite, or pointing out the precise, specific mistake(s) in the studies I cited that causes them to be invalid; or

(C) You will maintain your current position, but advocate it by citing unsubstantiated “facts”, simply hurling insults, or ignoring the topic altogether; thus adding further proof to my theory on flawed liberal thinking that I described above.

Question #5: You stated that when you are presented with new facts, you change your opinion. Several months ago I presented to you the first study (above) showing that conservative generosity exceeds liberal generosity. Your response was to ignore it, and you continued to maintain the position that liberals are more generous. Please reconcile the contradiction between your stated behavior and your actual behavior.

Question #6: Now that there is proof that conservatives, not liberals, have more empathy, will you advocate preventing liberals, such as yourself, from breeding?

Question #7: I notice (by you answering this note) that you still have a computer, and you have not sold it and given the money to the poor. Is this due to your liberal lack of empathy? Or is keeping the possessions that a person worked hard to obtain only evidence of lack of empathy in conservatives?

Question #8: Please explain why the much heralded liberal empathy always seems to require someone other than the liberal to fund the proposed solution. This can be seen in almost every liberal position. For the sake of discussion, let’s take the example of nationalized health insurance. If you, as a liberal, want everyone to have health insurance, then Go for it: Why don’t you go out, find someone without insurance, take out your own personal Visa card, and buy the guy insurance? You could encourage all your liberal friends to do the same. You guys could form a charity, where people could donate money, and the charity could use it to buy health insurance for people without it (and probably negotiate large price discounts due to the volume). Bingo! Problem solved. THERE IS NOTHING STOPPING YOU FROM DOING THIS TODAY. YOU DO NOT NEED ANY GOVERNMENTAL ACTION TO DO THIS. Considering your high level of empathy, please explain why you aren’t already doing this. Please indicate why, before you implement a solution, you feel you must take money from other people to finance that solution.

Question #9: Similar to the above, please explain why virtually all people who profess liberal beliefs in public, adopt conservative beliefs when it comes to their personal lives (their property, their privacy, and their children). Examples (quoted from Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy by Peter Schweizer):

* Michael Moore denounces oil and defense contractors as war profiteers. He also claims to own no stock portfolios, yet he owns shares in Halliburton, Boeing, and Honeywell, and does his post-production work in Canada to avoid paying union wages in the US.

* Noam Chomsky opposes the very concept of private property and calls the Pentagon “the worst institution in human history”, yet he and his wife had made millions in dollars working for the Department of Defense and own two luxury homes.

* Hillary Clinton, in 1977, wrote an essay for the book Children’s Rights: Contemporary Perspectives , arguing that children were competent to make “decisions about motherhood and abortion, schooling, cosmetic surgery, treatment of venereal disease, or employment and others…Children should have the right to be permitted to decide their own future if they are competent.” In her 2000 Senate campaign she reiterated her support for the right of 13-year-old girls to have abortions without their parents’ consent. Yet when 13-year-old Chelsea wanted to have her ears pierced, Hillary overruled Chelsea and forbade it.

* Nancy Pelosi constantly fights for labor unions and received a 2002 Cesar Chavez Award from the United Farm Workers, yet she and her husband own a Napa Valley vineyard that uses nonunion labor.

Notice that these people are not fringe elements of the Left; they are in fact leading (or have been publicly closely embraced by) the Democratic Party. Also note that these examples of hypocrisy are not instantaneous lapses due to moments of weakness, followed by deep remorse (especially when their transgressions are made public), such as someone who preaches monogamy but then has a one-night stand; nor are they situations resembling addiction, where the individual acknowledges their less-than-perfect behavior but indicate they have it “under control”. These are long-term, continual, and conscious behavioral deviations from their publicly stated positions. In my opinion, these famous liberals are clearly showing, by their own actions, that they are fully aware the liberal positions they state in public do not work and are not in the best interests of the individuals involved, which is why they do not follow them in their own private lives. If you disagree with this conclusion, please provide any other reasonable explanation to reconcile their statements and their contradictory behavior.

Question #10: You stated that the rich (such as business owners) parasite off the poor (such as the workers). Here is the definition of parasite (from Webster’s):
1 : a person who exploits the hospitality of the rich and earns welcome by flattery.
2 : an organism living in, with, or on another organism in parasitism.
3 : something that resembles a biological parasite in dependence on something else for existence or support without making a useful or adequate return.
Definition 1 makes it clear that the rich are generally not the practitioners of parasitism, but rather are the victims of it. Definition 3 indicates the parasite does not provide anything of value in return. Please indicate what value the unemployed return to society by being unemployed. I am not saying they are bad people, or should be killed or beaten, I’m just curious what value the unemployed provide simply by being unemployed. How about the union workers in a job bank, who do zero work and instead sleep, read, or play cards 100% of the time at work. What value do they provide to the company? Finally, let’s consider the company president, and the investors who provide funds for purchasing capital assets and materials. If these two groups truly do not provide anything of value, and all the value is being provided by the individual workers, why don’t the workers simply start their own company, without the president or any investors? Also, please explain why, when the company decides “not to be a parasite on the workers any more” and either move the work offshore, or bring in automation to replace the workers, the workers howl and complain? Surely if the company president and the investors were simply being parasites on the workers, the workers would be glad to be rid of them, right? Please explain how all these facts contradict your statement.

IV. Prediction on How You’ll Respond to this Note

Simple: See Section I. above. You’ll use more flawed logic in the manner I described, and you’ll hurl more insults. Or you’ll find some excuse to not reply at all, which would actually be a Category 3b response: Ignoring contrary facts.

The bottom line is that you cannot win the factual debate, because the facts simply do not support your conclusions. If you think they do, THEN PROVE IT: CITE THE FACTS THAT PROVE YOUR POSITION.

Good day,

7:04 AM  
Mycos said...

You have created a framework into which the comments of anyone --- on any subject---- can be placed, whether that persons opinions reflect the left, the right, a rebellious or completely acculturated individual, a follower or a leader, anyone who says anything can be dismissed using your convenient little construction of a bubble with which to dismiss everything I have said. My evidence of your having constructed such a cocoon is a fait accompli due a simple observation of what you haven't done; considered a fourth possibility.....that the argument offered may be correct.
When coming from the left, it seems there is no room for that in your world. Unfortunate considering the the correlation between a high-level education and a leftist worldviews is firmly established. Indeed, it seems the right-wing themselves are the most likely ones to point this out whenever their whining about the non-acceptance of their false and/or harmful notions in the halls of academia.

Hey. The problem isn't us, it's that the best theoretical models and/or empirical evidence run contrary to the foundation upon which much of the right-wing's worldview must rest.

Militarism is not a liberal/left pursuit. There are no liberal skinheads or Klan members. Islamic terrorists are not left-wingers or liberals. Zionists hold Israel as the center of their universe, all goyim and their lives being secondary considerations at best....clearly an elitist worldview that has no relationship with liberal values. So too with Nazism; also one the 20th century's most extreme outbreaks of nationalist fervor with ethnic or racial superiority as a primary ideological pillar along with Zionism,. Neither of these ideologies can be placed at the feet of the left, with Israeli Zionists seeming hell-bent on repeating the very mistakes that the Jews suffered at the hands of German "Zionists" who called their real-estate plan "Lebensraum" instead.

Reality also seems to have little importance in their decision making process. The right are much more likely to become religious fundamentalists, a psyche wherein a central consideration upon which they base decisions effecting their own and others lives, is on a belief in supernatural forces and realms (gods, angels, demons, devils, heaven and hell, etc.). At a very fundamental level, this requires a personality with little respect for fact as an arbiter of the truth, despite 'fact' being the best gauge *bar-none* of what the truth may in a given circumstance.

Only facts are to be taught as facts, with prominent theoretical models taught in the absence of empirical evidence. And it's here that right-wing academics have such a hard time of it. They try to teach nationalist fervor with "my country, right or wrong" being taught as patriotic duty. Or teach economics as though it were dictated out of the mouths of the Getty or Rockefeller book-keepers. With the definition of "faith" actually being a belief in something despite a total lack of evidence for it's existence, you have some unbelievable nerve to accuse the left of creating their world to suit whatever agrees with our preconceptions. Have you ever researched the psychology that lies behind "right-wing" politics? it's markers as a right-wing ideology? I doubt it, because I find it hard to believe that someone could have done so and still proclaim their membership in such a club. The profile is embarrassing.

As for your repeated "No citations!" howl, that is a common tactic used to avoid having to address the subject, the popularity of which is second only to the old "You used an ad hominem in your argument, so I am going use my "PC" trump-card to declare the rest of your argument false". Your willingness to use it at any chance is again brightly displayed with that attack on my thought experiment as being "pure fantasy" and unable to verify. Of course! That's what thought-experiments are all about. They must be done in the head Einstein!

But again, the right's ability to think logically in abstractions seems about as elusive an ability as using empathy to determine what another person --- friend or foe --- is feeling, and thus how they will react to your provocations. Iraq stands as a testament to their inability to "know your enemy" despite making enemies when they aren't even trying.

In nay case, my opinions on what goes into the genetic predispositions of the left and right are theories still of a "work in progress". As such, I cannot possibly supply your needed references to authority in order for you to believe anything. Interesting work; Milgram's "Obedience To Authority" which delved into the reason people obeyed authority figures even when to do so was distressing to themselves? The "right" again, scores high in the "followed orders" profile. The Nuremberg trials where so many SS men said that they were just following orders as if it were a good excuse for the atrocities committed by their hands under someone else's orders.

Anyhow, a good article to read for you here.

Why Hawks Win

By Daniel Kahneman,
Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel laureate in economics and Eugene Higgins professor of psychology and professor of public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

and Jonathan Renshon
Jonathan Renshon is a doctoral student in the Department of Government at Harvard University and author of Why Leaders Choose War: The Psychology of Prevention (Westport: Praeger Security International, 2006).

January/February 2007

Why are hawks so influential? The answer may lie deep in the human mind. People have dozens of decision-making biases, and almost all favor conflict rather than concession. A look at why the tough guys win more than they should.

Elizabeth Glassanos/FOREIGN POLICY
Should Hawks Win? Matthew Continetti of the conservative Weekly Standard and Matthew Yglesias of the liberal American Prospect square off in an FP web exclusive debate. Kahneman and Renshon respond to the debate here.
National leaders get all sorts of advice in times of tension and conflict. But often the competing counsel can be broken down into two basic categories. On one side are the hawks: They tend to favor coercive action, are more willing to use military force, and are more likely to doubt the value of offering concessions. When they look at adversaries overseas, they often see unremittingly hostile regimes who only understand the language of force. On the other side are the doves, skeptical about the usefulness of force and more inclined to contemplate political solutions. Where hawks see little in their adversaries but hostility, doves often point to subtle openings for dialogue. cont....

And to be allied with people like this doesn't mortally embarrass you?

Dr. Tony Beam
Pastor, Conference speaker, Professor, Talk Show Host, and Columnist
Friday, January 12, 2007

All the President is Saying is "Give War" a Chance

10:54 PM  
Mycos said...

I completely ran by your questions, thinking them unworthy of my time when you would deign to cite Michelle Malkin as a source of anything worth repeating. But then I noticed the Charitable Giving Index elsewhere and decided to come back and see what you had twisted on this subject.

[quote]Question #4: Here are two (2) studies that show conservatives are more giving in terms of their money and their time than liberals [/quote]

Your problem is twofold. The rich states are near the bottom because the way in which they are placed is indicative of their overall wealth and the portion sent to charity thereof. IOW, if a billionaire gives a million dollars, he;s cheaper than a shoe-shiner who gave a quarter.
In any case, that the wealthy give less of their overall wealth as a charitable donation comes as no surprise. That these states also tend to be Catholic also speaks to the cheapness of that faith. This all speaks to the opposite of your idea that wealthy capitalists are also great and generous benefactors.

Second, the Bible Belt and dirt poor states tend to the top of the list because donations to churches are included in the stats. The image of people so poor that they don't have money for a decent education or health care yet still give away their money in some well rehearsed scheme by the hordes of parasitic preachers down there who dedicate their lives to separating the least able to give money, away from their savings. This fits perfectly with my "preconceived bias". IOW, you have merely exposed precisely what I was saying. Think Jimmy Baker and his air-conditioned doghouse, or Ted Haggard and his "I was just buying it to be nice to the man" meth habit. Oh, the fools and their gullibility. Oh, the gullibility and their votes for the right-wing PNAC attackers. You ready for a coup d'etat when Cheney and Bush suddenly realize that there's not going to be a 'Pax Americana' and they may have to stand trial.

[quote](in fact one shows conservatives are also significantly more giving in terms of donating blood):[/quote]

Yup. The broke are the people who tend to sell their blood. Again, Po' White trash. Look no further (than Ann Coulter's family tree)

As for what I know and how I know it, well, I'm just one of those kind of people. Here's a little hint for you. Delete all your browsers security certificates that are uncertified/unverifiable or expired, then go to You should see a security pop-up from one of your new benefactors. It will ask you whether you want to allow or to deny the setting of their SC. It's up to you "whether you accept the mission"

1:08 AM  
Mycos said...

Researchers help define what makes a political conservative

By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations | 22 July 2003 (revised 7/25/03)

BERKELEY – Politically conservative agendas may range from supporting the Vietnam War to upholding traditional moral and religious values to opposing welfare. But are there consistent underlying motivations?

Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:

* Fear and aggression
* Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
* Uncertainty avoidance
* Need for cognitive closure
* Terror management

"From our perspective, these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination," the researchers wrote in an article, "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition," recently published in the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin.

Assistant Professor Jack Glaser of the University of California, Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy and Visiting Professor Frank Sulloway of UC Berkeley joined lead author, Associate Professor John Jost of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, and Professor Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland at College Park, to analyze the literature on conservatism.

The psychologists sought patterns among 88 samples, involving 22,818 participants, taken from journal articles, books and conference papers. The material originating from 12 countries included speeches and interviews given by politicians, opinions and verdicts rendered by judges, as well as experimental, field and survey studies.

Ten meta-analytic calculations performed on the material - which included various types of literature and approaches from different countries and groups - yielded consistent, common threads, Glaser said.

The avoidance of uncertainty, for example, as well as the striving for certainty, are particularly tied to one key dimension of conservative thought - the resistance to change or hanging onto the status quo, they said.

The terror management feature of conservatism can be seen in post-Sept. 11 America, where many people appear to shun and even punish outsiders and those who threaten the status of cherished world views, they wrote.

Concerns with fear and threat, likewise, can be linked to a second key dimension of conservatism - an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.).

Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way, the authors commented in a published reply to the article.

This research marks the first synthesis of a vast amount of information about conservatism, and the result is an "elegant and unifying explanation" for political conservatism under the rubric of motivated social cognition, said Sulloway. That entails the tendency of people's attitudinal preferences on policy matters to be explained by individual needs based on personality, social interests or existential needs.

The researchers' analytical methods allowed them to determine the effects for each class of factors and revealed "more pluralistic and nuanced understanding of the source of conservatism," Sulloway said.

While most people resist change, Glaser said, liberals appear to have a higher tolerance for change than conservatives do.

As for conservatives' penchant for accepting inequality, he said, one contemporary example is liberals' general endorsement of extending rights and liberties to disadvantaged minorities such as gays and lesbians, compared to conservatives' opposing position.

The researchers said that conservative ideologies, like virtually all belief systems, develop in part because they satisfy some psychological needs, but that "does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false, irrational, or unprincipled."

They also stressed that their findings are not judgmental.

"In many cases, including mass politics, 'liberal' traits may be liabilities, and being intolerant of ambiguity, high on the need for closure, or low in cognitive complexity might be associated with such generally valued characteristics as personal commitment and unwavering loyalty," the researchers wrote.

This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes, the researchers advised.

The latest debate about the possibility that the Bush administration ignored intelligence information that discounted reports of Iraq buying nuclear material from Africa may be linked to the conservative intolerance for ambiguity and or need for closure, said Glaser.

"For a variety of psychological reasons, then, right-wing populism may have more consistent appeal than left-wing populism, especially in times of potential crisis and instability," he said.

Glaser acknowledged that the team's exclusive assessment of the psychological motivations of political conservatism might be viewed as a partisan exercise. However, he said, there is a host of information available about conservatism, but not about liberalism.

The researchers conceded cases of left-wing ideologues, such as Stalin, Khrushchev or Castro, who, once in power, steadfastly resisted change, allegedly in the name of egalitarianism.

Yet, they noted that some of these figures might be considered politically conservative in the context of the systems that they defended. The researchers noted that Stalin, for example, was concerned about defending and preserving the existing Soviet system.

Although they concluded that conservatives are less "integratively complex" than others are, Glaser said, "it doesn't mean that they're simple-minded."

Conservatives don't feel the need to jump through complex, intellectual hoops in order to understand or justify some of their positions, he said. "They are more comfortable seeing and stating things in black and white in ways that would make liberals squirm," Glaser said.

He pointed as an example to a 2001 trip to Italy, where President George W. Bush was asked to explain himself. The Republican president told assembled world leaders, "I know what I believe and I believe what I believe is right." And in 2002, Bush told a British reporter, "Look, my job isn't to nuance."

1:11 AM  
Mycos said...

The end?

I have to say that in all sincerity, I found this rather extended debate/argument the most challenging I have yet encountered on the web, be it with a left or right-wing foil. And if this sounds like I am declaring victory,m I am not. If there is still something in particular you want me to try and answer, I will do my best.

But that is not why I came back.

If you remember back in the sequence above, there was a point where you were ascribinga series of faults/qualities to me and/or the left. But I'm not the point. What seemed exasperating at first soon changed to curiousity due the fact that I quite honestly believe these very same qualities are hallmarks of right-wing personalities. Now, just mentioning it that way has a ring of silliniess about it, so you can imagine that from my position as the opponent how difficult a position I was placed in. I had a choiuce of speaking my thoughts as iterated above, and sounding like a fool without even enough imagination to fake a position, or speak my mind by dressing up the response in a way that at least sounded as if it had substance. "Yeah? Well you do it too!" just didn't seem viable regardless of whether it reflected my basic sentiment.

Seriously though, I have seen this same pattern emerge in enough inter-ideaological articles, blog conversations, personal emails (one of them with Horowitz himself actually) with a frequency that strongly suggests a hint of some kind, a "flag" pointing to an explanation or insigfht perhaps into the psychological or perceptual differences that acount for the development of such an 'unharmonious' feature as this left/right polarity of basic personality traits.

On the surface at least, it appears to do little more than cause strife. But the root of the traits are surely genetic, and this in turn suggests they are at least as old as man. Considering the million plus years as a socialized species, that is...a species whose individuals each depend on a group strategy for their own survival, and of course...the survival of the species as a whole. This means at some point an ancestor species, one that was solitary in our genes were going to have to make an allowance for Perhaps a reflection of our status as a social creature...dependent on others, yet still saddled with the basic drive to save ones own life. How then do we explain the impulse in many to risk their own life on a spur of the monment decision to save that of a total stranger? Clearly competing drives, one selfish, one altruistic, a;lthough the "altruism" has an expectation of a potential for reciprocity, I'm sure.

In any case, I digress. This mirror image that we seem to honestly believe the other guilty of is an intriguing signal of something that deserves to be investigated further. I cannot help but assume that the answer to the mystery will be more forthcoming should the question be appraoched from opposite ends, working towards the middle. It seems apparent that we cant both be right, or if we can, then something is taking place at a sub-cognitive level which allows us to percieve reality as a mirror image.


10:45 PM  
Anonymous said...


No, this does not need to be the end. I’ve just been overwhelmed at work over the last three months, so I have not had the time to delve into this. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I have not had the time to investigate the references you provided (thank you, by the way). Considering you were good enough to provide them, I should certainly review them, and there’s always the chance they could enlighten me. Also, you have made a rather large number of points to which I’d like to respond, but I would have to devote a lot of time to form one comprehensive, complete yet concise reply.

Your last reply was very civil. Thank you for that. I'll try to do the same.

Even though I am still extremely busy, your last posting hit upon a topic that I have had the exact same opinion about for quite some time: It seemed to me that the Left always seems to criticize the Right about items that seem much more accurately criticisms of the Left. You indicated you felt the same way, only in reverse. Perhaps talking about other issues will shed some light on this. This is an interesting parallel that maybe we should explore.


I just spent two hours writing a "quick" reply (obviously I was unsuccessful at the "quick" part), however after I finished it I decided to discard it. I wanted to show some quick points to try to present a conservative's perspective; sort of a "Can you see why a Conservative concludes X when he sees Y?". However, the problem with it was the examples I chose were from our previous discussions (thinking those would both be more fresh and more specific than citing general liberal comments/positions). However, your latest reply to me was extremely civil, and I want to return the civility. Unfoirtunately, using our previous discussions may have seemed like I was using your own words against you, which although is a fair tactic, it tends to seem pointed and aggressive, and I did not want to do that. I would rather work in concert together than in opposition. It is more important to arrive at the truth than it is to win an argument. Working together tends to serve the former; working against tends to serve the latter.

I'll see if I can express the same thoughts in a more generic manner.

But, it's almost 10 PM, so that will have to be another night.


6:52 PM  
Anonymous said...


The framework for analyzing arguments I presented is indeed (as you pointed out) useful to analyze/criticize any argument, whether from the right or left. It was designed to separate arguments where facts and principles and used to determine the conclusions vs. arguments where the pre-ordained conclusions are used to determine the facts and principles. Any argument that falls into this second category is simply not a valid, reasonable argument: It is almost the textbook definition of flawed logic.

It is my observation that Liberals often use this second form of logic: They start with the conclusions they want to end up at, and manufacture fact and principles to give it the illusion of support. Perhaps you have the same opinion of Conservatives.

That said, let me work through one example of a generic liberal position, as seen from a conservative point of view, and see if you can relate to how a conservative might reasonably view it as he/she does (realizing you probably think of the term “reasonable conservative” as an oxymoron).

Let’s start with the subject of racial discrimination. A conservative attempts to determine what Liberals think about this topic based on the liberal statements and actions. OK, so talk about terrorism, and the US reaction to it. (Now, I don’t want to argue about who’s a terrorist, and whether one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. Let’s just define terrorism as violent acts that deliberately target civilians to make a political point.) A vast majority of terrorist acts committed in the world today are committed by people of Arabic descent. This is especially true of acts committed against the US. The greatest act of terrorism against the US was committed by 19 Arabic men using airplanes. So, can we give Arabic people further scrutiny when they go through airport security? The Left says, “No, that would be racial discrimination.” Note that even in a potentially life-and-death situation, according to the Left, we cannot discriminate based on race. Also note that there is no debate or hesitation here. The Left categorically rules this out, apparently using a hard-and-fast rule that racial discrimination is always wrong.

(Note that when the Arabic person goes through the additional screening, they are not physically hurt, nor does it cost them any money, or do they lose any possessions. The worst that can be said is their self-esteem might be hurt a little. More on that later.)

So what about Affirmative Action? This clearly discriminates against people on the basis of race, yet Liberals are strongly in favor of it. Note that while being treated fairly in the world is very important, it still falls slightly short of a life-or-death situation. So it appears we have one situation where the stakes are higher where racial discrimination is not allowed, but another one where the stakes are lower where it is allowed. Hmmm.

Now, I’ve debated Liberals on this point before. Often I get the argument, “Affirmative Action is not racial discrimination.” This is a boldface lie. For the sake of discussion, let’s take U-of-M’s recent undergraduate admittance policy. In short, on a scale of 150 points (with around 100 being the threshold for admittance), African-Americans were automatically given 20 points (effectively a 20% bonus) simply because of their race. So, when the Liberals said this policy was not racism, were they arguing that race is not involved? If not, why does the policy specifically differentiate between African-Americans and people of other races, based on race? Perhaps they’re arguing that the policy does not treat the people of different races differently? OK, then change the +20 points to be a –20 points; would they be still be as happy with the policy? If not, why? Because the policy NOW discriminates based on race? All I did is change the “+” to a “-“. Surely the mathematical symbols are not racist! If there was any racism in the policy, it was there already, and the liberal was just conveniently ignoring it.

Now, this argument is separate from the argument of whether this type of policy is necessary or not. I’m strictly focusing on whether the policy discriminates on the basis of race. Clearly, it does.

(Note that this policy is also a form of racial profiling: The blacks are profiled, simply because of their race, as having had a harder time in their Life, and the whites are profiled, simply because of their race, as having had an easier time in their Life. Certainly there are many individual cases in both categories where the opposite is true, but the policy ignores this and simply profiles people based on race.)

OK, so a conservative concludes that, according to liberal’s actions and statements, liberal philosophy must believe that racial discrimination is OK…sometimes. OK, two points on that:

(1) If it’s OK sometimes, then no one can dismiss a policy simply because it discriminates based on race. We would have to identify another reason to not allow the discrimination in that specific case.
(2) If it’s OK sometimes, then when? Under what circumstances? We’ve already seen that potentially life-or-death situations are not enough justification, but (perceived) equality in Life is.

Is discrimination OK when it’s against the majority? No, in South Africa, the blacks we in the majority, and Liberals disagreed with the policies that discriminated against blacks.

Is it OK when it’s against people with power or money? No. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Oprah…all of them are rich and powerful, but I think the Left would declare discrimination against them as off-limits.

Let’s look at another angle: In a recent column, Clarence Page pointed out the following:

“In a side-by-side comparison of 2000 census data by sociologists including John R. Logan at the State University of New York, Albany, black immigrants from Africa averaged the highest educational attainment of any population group in the country, including whites and Asians.”

He then went on to say, “…the traditional American narrative has rendered the high academic achievements of black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean invisible, as if that were a taboo topic.”

However, then he says:

“But, as Walter Benn Michaels, a professor of English at the University of Illinois, Chicago, writes in his book The Trouble With Diversity, the original intent of affirmative action morphed in the 1970s from reparations for slavery into the promotion of a broader virtue: "diversity." Since then, it no longer seems to matter how many of our colleges' black students have slavery in their families. It only matters that they're black.”

A conservatives reads all this and observes the following:

(1) If Affirmative Action was designed to make up for people who have slavery in their family histories, when will Affirmative Action end? 10,000, years from now the descendents of these people will STILL have slavery in their family histories. Even if we kill all white people, and give all their property to the blacks, there will STILL be slavery in their family histories. Clearly this approach provides no reasonable exit criterion.
(2) Since blacks that did not grow up in the US (or 1st generation blacks who did grow up here) are doing so well at getting in and achieving in college (much better than whites), the college system clearly can’t be too biased any more. Why then do we still need Affirmative Action in college?

In fact, there is a lot of other data on these recent immigrants from Africa and their 1st-generation offspring showing that they (as a group) do very well in the workforce as well. If the overall American system is truly heavily biased against them, how can this be? From a scientific point of view, these individuals are genetically indistinguishable from descendants of slaves. Also, the 1st-generation individuals are native-born Americans, and speak as such, so there is no accent to give them away. And, let’s face it: Bigots are idiots. It’s inconceivable that someone stupid enough to be bigoted is going to be smart enough to tell the difference between a descendent of a slave and a 1st generation immigrant from Africa, and discriminate against one and not the other.

But as Clarence Page said, for some reason Liberals do not want to acknowledge these people and their achievements.

One clear difference between recent immigrants and descendents of slaves is the message from the American Left (especially Black leaders) that “YOU CAN’T SUCCEED – THE SYSTEM IS BIASED. YOU CAN’T SUCCEED – THE SYSTEM IS BIASED. YOU CAN’T SUCCEED – THE SYSTEM IS BIASED. Clearly the immigrants who come here did not grow up with this message, and they succeeded. Then they raise kids and (I assume) do not teach them this message (because they saw first-hand that message was not true – they succeeded), and their kids succeeded, too. Perhaps it’s a coincidence. Perhaps not. The Left is very big on teaching kids self-esteem, and making sure everyone feels like a winner, and how important messages like that are. Think back to the point I made earlier on the self-esteem of Arabic people going through extra screening at the airport – isn’t that (the psychological effect on the Arabic person) a big part of the liberal rationale as to why we can’t do such screening? With that in mind, it would be a contradiction to then say that the message “YOU CAN’T SUCCEED – THE SYSTEM IS BIASED” repeatedly sent to Blacks has no psychological effect on them.

So what if it’s not the system that inhibits Black success so much as some other influences? Then Affirmative Action is working on the wrong cause of the problem, will never fix the problem, and therefore will never end. Wow. Through Affirmative Action, we’ve just legally institutionalized racism for the rest of eternity.

So, now let’s generalize a little bit. When a Conservative looks further, he/she sees similar liberal positions on discrimination against other groups: Other racial minorities, women, gays, and religions minorities (for example).

So, to liberals, when is discrimination (in general) OK, and when is it wrong? The sum total of the above seems to lead us to the conclusion that, according to liberal philosophy, it’s OK to discriminate (based on race, sex, sexual preference, and/or religion) against white male heterosexual Christians (WMHC), and to discriminate in favor of anyone else. It’s OK to use sweeping rules to create this discrimination (ignoring individual cases) such that there may well be individuals in those groups who do not warrant the different treatment (either beneficial or detrimental). However, any discrimination in FAVOR of WMHC or AGAINST anyone else is wrong. Instead, in these cases we must deal with them as individuals, on a case-by-case basis, to ensure that NO individuals who do not warrant different treatment receive it.

And when will this system end? Well, there is no defined ending date or exit criterion. So, we must assume it will go on forever. Or at least until someone decides the system is now “fair”.

But, then again, the stance liberals take is that the system is assumed to be biased until it is proven not to be. In essence, the liberals (who, in many cases are the ones receiving the preferential treatment) want to be the ones to decide when the preferential treatment should end. Is “equal outcomes” a good measure of when the system is fair? No, not really. History filled with situations where the racial participation in a specific industry in a given country differed drastically from the racial proportions of the general population, therefore we cannot simply assume that “equal outcomes” is a reasonable measuring stick to see if the situation is unbiased. (Examples, mostly taken from Basic Economics, by Sowell: A majority of the brewers throughout the world (including in the US and the most famous brewery in China) are of German descent. So are a majority of the world’s piano makers. In England, most of the watchmakers are descendents of French Huguenots, while most of the financial institutions were founded by Jews and Lombards. Is any of this due to intentionally denying opportunities to other ethnic groups? Is the predominance of blacks in the NBA due to a biased admittance policy? Do we need affirmative action until there is a proportionate number of Hispanics in the NHL? Today, 4/5ths of the doughnut shops in California are owned by people of Cambodian ancestry. Should we conclude that this is a racially-incorrect situation, and give preferential treatment to other groups until enough people of other races own enough doughnut shops so the proportions work out to match that of the general US population? So “equal outcomes” is no substitute for the question of whether everyone had an equal opportunity.)

Can you understand how a Conservative would see all of this and ultimately conclude that the Liberals are saying the following: “OK, our pet groups (which in many cases are the liberals themselves) get to discriminate against you, but you can’t discriminate against them. If another idea comes up that sounds like discrimination, we get to decide whether it’s OK or not, and if we decide it’s not, then the idea gets immediately vetoed (because we’ve decided it’s the “bad” type of discrimination) without any further debate. And while we’re getting this preferential treatment (regardless of what data you find), we’ll decide when our preferential treatment should end.”

Take the next step: Can you see how a conservative would realize once one group justifies discrimination for what they believe is a good reason, it opens the doors for other groups to justify it for what those other groups believe are good reasons? The Nazis believed their discrimination was for a good reason. So do the KKK. So do the Islamofacists. In many communist countries, discrimination on the basis of religion is official policy, and certainly deemed by them to be for a good reason. I’m sure Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton believed they had good reasons to uses the terms “Hymietown” and “diamond merchants” to disparage the Jews.

This is about the time the Conservative hears the term “nuance” (or something similar): That there is some underlying concept that supposedly we don’t understand that (in this case) differentiates “good” racism from “bad” racism, and (coincdently?) makes all the conclusions end up the way the Liberals wants them to end up.

Call me a cynic; but that sounds like a salesman talking; like we’re being told, “It’s all very complicated. Just trust me.” Trust them?! They’re trying to convince me I should accept discrimination, without being able to successfully articulate why. If they were in my shoes, would they accept it? Not hardly! Can you see why we feel like we’re being sold a “bill of goods”?

Think about it: Can you conceive of ANY circumstance – any kind of nuance - where it would be OK to discriminate against a minority in favor of a white male heterosexual Christian? (Be serious here: Would it be appropriate in, say, Mexico to demand a law where Americans should be given preferential treatment in terms of jobs? How about giving legal preference to Christians in Iran or Pakistan? How about preference for whites in Africa? How about preference for men in the LPGA or in NOW? Doesn’t this shoe feel wrong when it’s on the other foot? Can you see how a conservative would conclude that if the liberals don’t want to wear this shoe, that we should not have to either?)

If there aren’t any such reverse circumstances, then we’ve pretty much affirmed the conservative’s conclusion that in the liberal philosophy discrimination is always a never-ending one-way street in favor of the liberal’s pet groups.

Can you see how a conservative would think through all the above and arrive at that conclusion?

Now, do me a favor: Try to address the points and topics I’ve raised here. We certainly can go the other way later (where you come up with a similar conservative scenario as seen through liberal eyes, and then I respond to that). However, please try not to jump into that right now. If you do, we’ll end up talking past one another and never get anywhere. If you can, just focus on how I’ve described a conservative sees the above. Let me know what you see that seems reasonable, and what seems to be missing or mistaken.

Summary: In short, I guess I’m saying this: Conservatives try to determine rules and principles. We work to infer them from statements and actions, and then apply them uniformly. We are generally embarrassed by contradictions to these rules. We get angry when the rules apply to one side and not the other, or when one side changes the rules in the middle of the game to seek an advantage. We dislike vagueness and “nuance”, not because we cannot think in vague terms, but because those are the areas where people most often try to cheat (i.e., interpret the rules one way when it favors them, and then later the opposite way when that favors them).

In my opinion, this is the essence of conservatism.

When we analyze liberal behavior and/or statements, we often see either inconsistent or unexplained principles (i.e., Clinton can fire 93 US attorneys and it’s OK, but Bush fires 8 and it must be for political reasons), or principles that if fully explored and explicitly stated are pretty biased and (even many liberals might agree) would be hard to defend (the topic I discussed in this note – discrimination – is an example of this), or principles that are sound but with which we just fundamentally disagree (such as the general idea of redistribution of wealth).


10:07 AM  

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