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Discussions on Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition. (Split requested by Phi for All)


Acme
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One would never guess you or any of the others who fail to discuss the studies know this is a serious discussion. Pathetic.

Can I just ask why your jackass' book is more valid than my jackass' blog?

Note that my jackass is probably a better known social commentator than yours.

Also, it's shorter so, if you can't be bothered to critique it, you can hardly blame me for taking a similar view of a much longer work.

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Can I just ask why your jackass' book is more valid than my jackass' blog?

Note that my jackass is probably a better known social commentator than yours.

Also, it's shorter so, if you can't be bothered to critique it, you can hardly blame me for taking a similar view of a much longer work.

Pathetic argument John. You really can't figure out the difference between scientific studies and commentary?

 

I urge the staff to mark the thread [Answered: Yes] and close the thread inasmuch as so few are willing or able to distinguish the topic any better than John.

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Pathetic argument John. You really can't figure out the difference between scientific studies and commentary?

 

I urge the staff to mark the thread [Answered: Yes] and close the thread inasmuch as so few are willing or able to distinguish the topic any better than John.

Feel free to actually answer the question, rather than calling it pathetic.

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Science Forum Rules

 

...5.Stay on topic. Posts should be relevant to the discussion at hand. This means that you shouldn't use scientific threads to advertise your own personal theory, or post only to incite a hostile argument. ...

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The two works seem broadly in agreement.

"! 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"

and

"Republican have it easier here too. Regarding the Middle East, for example, all they have to do is ask themselves two questions:

1. What does Israel want us to do?

2. Do we have any bombs left?"

"Consider economics. If you are a Democrat, you have to balance all sorts of complicated economic theories in your head. That stuff is hard to understand and almost always wrong anyway. But if you are a Republican, all you need to know is that cutting taxes will make us all rich. "

 

"Democrats are always worried about issues of fairness and equal opportunity. For example, workplace gender issues are a huge deal for Democrats. But if you are Republican there is no problem there to fix, except for all the whining. And you can learn to ignore that too."

 

They look fairly similar to me.

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!

Moderator Note

Acme, enough. You are not a moderator, you do not get to be the arbiter of what is and isn't a rules violation. We have received your many, many reports. We haven't commented here because we don't agree with your assessment. Now please, everyone, take a breath and stop with the hostility.


Edit: to clarify, this is to say we don't value reports when members notice an infraction. However, when you send upwards of 5 or so reports in the space of a few days, you can safely say that we got the message. If we don't choose to act on it, it's because we either don't agree or we're still discussing. It is not an invite to take matters into your own hands and post reminders of the forum rules in response to other members.

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Can I just ask why your jackass' book is more valid than my jackass' blog?

Note that my jackass is probably a better known social commentator than yours.

Also, it's shorter so, if you can't be bothered to critique it, you can hardly blame me for taking a similar view of a much longer work.

 

Seriously though, if being "shorter" and from a "better known" source, is a basis for making a judgement, then why would a critique matter?

 

I'm not advocating the "appeal to authority" fallacy here, but the "authority" of the source does matter! This is still a science forum, right?

 

~ ;)

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Seriously though, if being "shorter" and from a "better known" source, is a basis for making a judgement, then why would a critique matter?

 

I'm not advocating the "appeal to authority" fallacy here, but the "authority" of the source does matter! This is still a science forum, right?

 

~ ;)

Then my source, who is a "famous name" trumps his.

But that's hardly the point; the issue is that he refuses to discuss it because he thinks I haven't read his pet theory on the subject.

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Then my source, who is a "famous name" trumps his.

“Famous name” in what circles, and famous for what?

 

But that's hardly the point; the issue is that he refuses to discuss it because he thinks I haven't read his pet theory on the subject.

Discussing “it” would prove “the issue” one way or the other, if that’s your interest.

===

 

But about the OP, I want to defend the necessity of political conservatism, in general, while still acknowledging the significant aspects of the right-wing authoritarianism-ness (RWA) that seem to be a common, fairly normal, human trait; a part of the human condition, which seems to arise universally across cultures and history, as if it were to some extent a genetic propensity.

 

Reading E. O. Wilson’s recent book, “The Meaning of Human Existence,” I came across some lines, in chapter 13, entitled “Religion,” which seem to address this very subject; this RWA human trait. Wilson is the "father of evolutionary biology" and coined the term sociobiology, iirc. He writes:

 

“Faith is biologically understandable as a Darwinian device for survival and increased reproduction. It is forged by the success of the tribe….”

 

“The brain was made for religion and religion for the human brain. In every second of the believer’s conscious life religious belief plays multiple, mostly nurturing roles. All the followers are unified into a vastly extended family, a metaphorical band of brothers and sisters, reliable….”

 

And so much for our highly-adaptive RWA Paleolithic roots …and genetic heritage. Wilson goes on describing civilization on levels that are more complex than the “tribal” level.

===

 

“A great many educated citizens … understand the rule attributed to the Roman stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger that religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.”

 

The Founding Fathers of the United States understood the risk of tribal religious conflict very well. George Washington observed, “Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing and ought most to be depreciated.” James Madison agreed, noting the “torrents of blood” that result from religious competition. John Adams insisted that “the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” America has slipped a bit since then.

~E. O. Wilson from ch.13: The Meaning of Human Existence

 

Wilson goes on to note:

 

“In more secular societies faith tends to be transmuted into religionlike political ideologies. Sometimes the two great belief categories are combined. Hence, “God favors my political principles over yours, and my principles, not yours, favor God. …. The price of the loss of faith was a hemorrhage of commitment, a weakening and dissipation of common purpose.”

 

“It is tribalism, not the moral tenets and humanitarian thought of pure religion, that makes good people do bad things.”

 

“Religious warriors are not an anomaly. It is a mistake to classify believers of particular religious and dogmatic religionlike ideologies into two groups, moderate versus extremist. The true cause of hatred and violence is faith versus faith, an outward expression of the ancient instinct of tribalism. Faith is the one thing that makes otherwise good people do bad things.”

===

 

I, imho, don’t think he’s saying faith is necessarily bad, but that a freedom of faith might be more adaptive than a blind faith; especially since as a “rare social species” we’re not ant-like automatons, but rather we are humans humanely trying to balance competition with cooperation, as the meaning of human existence emerges from our cultures.

Speaking about freedom of faith, I’d hope Russell Means’ quote about how “Freedom means you're free to be responsible,” would illuminate that juxtaposition against blind faith.

===

 

As Wilson writes:

“Religious warriors are not an anomaly. It is a mistake to classify believers of particular religious and dogmatic religionlike ideologies into two groups, moderate versus extremist. The true cause of hatred and violence is faith versus faith, an outward expression of the ancient instinct of tribalism.”

===

 

It's not that a mild form of insanity infects political conservatism, but that it afflicts one faction in particular more than other factions; especially where "In more secular societies faith tends to be transmuted into religionlike political ideologies."

 

This experiment in Democracy has plenty of trials still emerging, istm.

~

Edited by Essay
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Being in neither the Liberal or Conservative camp
Dunno about Canada, but anybody in the US who frames the US political situation as divided into Liberal and Conservative camps is among the group whose political conservatism is being described as apparently mildly insane.

 

That's one of the characteristic field marks of the crazy - the "both sides" and "two camps" and "liberals vs conservatives" frame to which every political discussion is nailed. This feature of their political efforts has had enormous influence, coming to dominate official and public discourse throughout the media and most of the country. But it's not sane.

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^ Conservatives do a beautiful job creating false dichotomies. Foxnews attacks all other media not own by newscorp as liberal, Republicans in office use names like Democrat, liberal, left wing, Socialist, and even at times Fascist interchangeably. Everything is us vs them.

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So because of my indiscriminate use of some term, Overtone, you now lump me in with the 'group' whose views are 'mildly insane'.

That was my impression from the get-go, that you are using the insinuation of insanity to stifle the views of people arguing against you.

 

I have been described as good-looking, intelligent and modest, cetrainly never as insane ( joking ).

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So because of my indiscriminate use of some term, Overtone, you now lump me in with the 'group' whose views are 'mildly insane'
No, once again you exhibit symptoms instead of engaging in argument.

You have far more, and deeper, connections and allegiances with the US type crazy, and your continual habit of splitting the political discourse in the US into "liberal" and "conservative" camps, and assigning other posters their identities in those "camps" (getting "impressions" from the "get go" that are profoundly wrongheaded, say), stretches back for years now.

 

For starters, it is not you as a person, but US brand "political conservatism" that is being labeled crazy. For very good reason. You join with the crazy, in that limited sense, to the extent you join with the expounders of US brand political conservatism, and repeat their whacko bullshit on cue. Which you do, to an inescapable and continually obstructive degree. This is not (necessarily, or by my presumption) an inevitable consequence of some kind of mental disorder afflicting persons in general. My presumption is that this is voluntary and alterable behavior.

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...For starters, it is not you [MigL] as a person, but US brand "political conservatism" that is being labeled crazy. For very good reason. You join with the crazy, in that limited sense, to the extent you join with the expounders of US brand political conservatism, and repeat their whacko bullshit on cue. Which you do, to an inescapable and continually obstructive degree. This is not (necessarily, or by my presumption) an inevitable consequence of some kind of mental disorder afflicting persons in general. My presumption is that this is voluntary and alterable behavior.

The studies that I have referenced and that this thread is prefaced on forestall your and the other posters' needs to presume. Of the 80+ such studies cited in the meta-study introduced in the OP I have to date only looked in depth at Altemeyer's RWA work and it evidences that by-and-large the dysfunctional behavior is not voluntary, however as I most recently referenced from the last chapter of The Authoritarians, Altemeyer agrees with you that the behavior is alterable. He also points out that one road to such alteration is for high Right Wing Authoritarians to read his study, but as we know of course you can lead equines to water but you can't make them drink.

 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein

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Sorry Acme, I haven't nor do I intend to read this study, as I don't have the time, but I would like to see this thread continue.

Is the study targetting the 'leadership' of the American Conservative movement, or regular people like me, who happen to share a few of of the ideals which are sometimes labeled 'conservative' ?

 

I have stated many times that I have fiscally conservative values, I tend to live within my means, and wish my government would also try, although I realize that sometimes borrowing must be done.

I get the impression you are Canadian also ( BC ? ), if not I apologize, but last year Canadian taxpayers ( sorry I don't have US equivalent values, but I'm sure they can be looked up and it'll shock people ) spent over 60 billion dollars just on interest, servicing our combined federal and provincial debt. This money did not go into social services, salaries, defence, education or health. It was paid directly to big banks and bond holders. In other word, this money contributes directly to the wealth inequality that you, Phi for All, iNow, Ten oz and even Overtone have eloquently made a case against in that other thread.

How many hospitals could have been built ? How many schools ? How many jobs ?

 

I wonder how much the US spent servicing its huge debt ? How many more Chinese billionaires did the US taxpayers create last year ? Would it have been enough to realise B. Obama's dream of universal health care for ALL Americans ?

Sad and pitiful.

 

Things are not always black and white, there are shades in between.

Cutting government spending does not necessarily lead to an erosion of our social 'safety net'.

Sometimes it can actually improve life for everyone.

 

If on the other hand, your argument is that the American Conservative leadership wants to cut social programs and still keep making huge payments to big Banks and investors, i.e. on the backs of little people to benefit the rich, then OK, I'll agree with you, THEY are insane.

But those of us who are hoping cutting government spending leads to improvement, certainly are NOT.

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Sorry Acme, I haven't nor do I intend to read this study, as I don't have the time, but I would like to see this thread continue.

Since the subject of this thread is the study -actually more than 80 studies summarized in a meta-study- then you have no legitimate grounds to comment on that which you have no knowledge of. While the mods put this in politics, it is about psychology.

 

Is the study targetting the 'leadership' of the American Conservative movement, or regular people like me, who happen to share a few of of the ideals which are sometimes labeled 'conservative' ?

Altemeyer's The Authoritarians 'targets' everyone and categorizes the results. I remind you again, it is just one of 80+ studies and I started with it because I found it free online in its entirety. You can look forward to not intending to read any other of the studies if-and-when I get to them.

 

I have stated many times that

I have fiscally conservative values, I tend to live within my means, and wish my government would also try, although I realize that sometimes borrowing must be done.

I get the impression you are Canadian also ( BC ? ), if not I apologize, but last year Canadian taxpayers ( sorry I don't have US equivalent values, but I'm sure they can be looked up and it'll shock people ) spent over 60 billion dollars just on interest, servicing our combined federal and provincial debt. This money did not go into social services, salaries, defence, education or health. It was paid directly to big banks and bond holders. In other word, this money contributes directly to the wealth inequality that you, Phi for All, iNow, Ten oz and even Overtone have eloquently made a case against in that other thread.

How many hospitals could have been built ? How many schools ? How many jobs ?

 

I wonder how much the US spent servicing its huge debt ? How many more Chinese billionaires did the US taxpayers create last year ? Would it have been enough to realise B. Obama's dream of universal health care for ALL Americans ?

Sad and pitiful.

 

Things are not always black and white, there are shades in between.

Cutting government spending does not necessarily lead to an erosion of our social 'safety net'.

Sometimes it can actually improve life for everyone.

 

If on the other hand, your argument is that the American Conservative leadership wants to cut social programs and still keep making huge payments to big Banks and investors, i.e. on the backs of little people to benefit the rich, then OK, I'll agree with you, THEY are insane.

But those of us who are hoping cutting government spending leads to improvement, certainly are NOT.

 

You can take up your issues outside of the topic of this thread in the appropriate places.
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To be fair, he started the thread so he does have a say in what it is about.

Thank you John; I appreciate that. To be fair to Phi, he actually suggested my first post was a good topic and he split that post from the thread where I made it.

 

You [Acme] should start another thread based on this study, one that can explore more than just the homophobic angle of this thread. It's totally on-topic here, but I see a lot of tangents coming off this conversation. I, myself, would probably create most of them. :embarass:

 

Conservatism is becoming more pervasive as people start labeling themselves and not their stances (some people call themselves liberals too; it's weird to me, I take a different perspective on just about every issue). I think people who call themselves "a conservative" tend to make conservative choices even if a liberal one is better in context (again, weird). ...

He well makes the point that people label themselves and it is this self-labeling that comes out in the psychological studies. It is not as has been argued that the researchers label people conservative (or liberal, or progressive, etc. .)

 

Back to the topic.

The Authoritarians

Chapter 5 Authoritarian Leaders

[pg. 160]Suppose you were applying for a leadership position in a right-wing religious/political movement--a movement hell-bent on gaining total power so it could impose its beliefs and rules of conduct on everyone forever. (I realize this may not be your No. 1 career choice, but work with me a bit here.) As part of your application you're asked to take an aptitude test. Indicate whether you dislike, or favor, the sentiments below on a -4 to +4 basis.

 

This country would be better off if we cared less about how equal all people are.

Some groups of people are simply not the equals of others.

Some people are just more worthy than others.

 

These items are from the Social Dominance Orientation scale, and if you want the job of Dictator For Life youll agree with them, coming out foursquare against equality. In turn, you will disagree with:

 

If people were treated more equally, we would have fewer problems in this country.

We should try to treat one another as equals as much as possible.

Increased social equality.

 

Felicia Pratto of the University of Connecticut and Jim Sidanius at UCLA presented the test in 1994 as a measure of belief in social inequality.1 Whereupon SamMcFarland at the University of Western Kentucky used their scale and twenty-one others in a magnificent pitting experiment aimed at finding the best predictors of prejudice. He discovered that only two of the 22 tests he threw "into the pit" to fight it out could predict prejudice at all well: the Social Dominance Orientation scale, and the RWA scale.

 

I repeated McFarlands experiment and got the same results. Generally, the Social Dominance scale predicted such unfairness better than the RWA scale did, and so gets the silver medal in the Prejudice Olympics over the bronze medal I awarded the RWA scale in chapter 1. Furthermore I found that these two scales could, between them, explain most of the prejudice my subjects revealed against racial minorities, women, homosexuals, and so on. Furthermore, social dominance scores and RWA scale scores correlated only weakly with each other--about .20. This "Lite" correlation has a ton of significance that we shall deal with later. But in the first instance it meant persons who scored highly on the social dominance test were seldom high RWAs, and high RWAs were almost never social dominators.

 

That's why the two tests could predict so much together: each was identifying a different clump of prejudiced persons--sort of like, "You round up the folks in the white sheets over there, and I'll get the pious bigots over here." So it looks like most really prejudiced people come in just two flavors: social dominators and high RWAs. Since dominators long to control others and be authoritarian dictators, and high RWAs yearn to follow such leaders, most social prejudice was therefore connected to authoritarianism.2 It was one of those discoveries, thanks to Sam McFarland, that happen now and then in science when a great deal of This, That and the Next Thing suddenly boils down to something very simple. Most social prejudice is linked to authoritarianism; its found in one kind of authoritarian, or its counterpart.

 

1 See Pratto, F., J. Sidanius, L. M. Stallworth, and B.F. Malle, 1994.Social Dominance Orientation: A Personality Variable Predicting Social and Political Attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 741-763.

...

Perhaps when Altemeyer's work is exhausted here we will do well looking at the Social Dominance Orientation research.

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Is the study targetting the 'leadership' of the American Conservative movement, or regular people like me, who happen to share a few of of the ideals which are sometimes labeled 'conservative' ?

Nothing about "ideals" is relevant. It's patterns of behavior and specific belief that are at issue.

 

 

 

 

last year Canadian taxpayers ( sorry I don't have US equivalent values, but I'm sure they can be looked up and it'll shock people ) spent over 60 billion dollars just on interest, servicing our combined federal and provincial debt. This money did not go into social services, salaries, defence, education or health. It was paid directly to big banks and bond holders. In other word, this money contributes directly to the wealth inequality that you,
Tax rich people to pay off those bonds - use a "progressive income tax" or the like - and the contribution to wealth inequality will vanish, while the benefits from the infrastructure and so forth will remain.

 

 

 

 

Cutting government spending does not necessarily lead to an erosion of our social 'safety net'.
Cutting spending specifically and dramatically from the support of the social safety net does lead to erosion of that net, however. And that is the behavior of the politicians who promulgate "political conservatism" in the US - Ronald Reagan, for example, cut government spending on mental health care facilities and programs, whereupon that aspect of the social safety net eroded away and tens of thousands of mentally ill people hit the streets. Soon the prison population began to rise. along with the number of homeless people and the demand on food shelves and other charities. Edited by overtone
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So when I post something, it is off-topic, according to Acme, the originator of the thread.

But when Overtone rebuts my comments, that is apparently OK, as he agrees with Overtone's point of view.

Heck, he even gets a +1 from some mindless nitwit who thinks ( wrongly ) Overtone has addressed the points I made, instead of going off on a rant about R. Reagan.

 

That essentially proves the point I've been making all along. You aren't interested in discussion. You want to stop opposing viewpoints from being expressed and only want re-enforcing of your own.

 

I am astounded with the tolerance and enlightenment you guys display.

( watch out, some sarcasm may drip on you )

 

By the way Acme, you yourself posted the comment from Phi that your OP would 'generate a lot of tangents', yet now you say those tangents are not allowed.

Edited by MigL
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