Monday, November 29, 2010

Liberals vs Conservatives

Liberals vs Conservatives

Here’s an interesting article about how liberals, conservatives and libertarians see the world and how we change with age.

University of Virginia moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s research explores similar territory: the differences in ethical reasoning between liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. He argues that THERE ARE FIVE DIMENSIONS ALONG WHICH PEOPLE MAKE MORAL CHOICES, E.G., FAIRNESS, HARM, LOYALTY, AUTHORITY, AND SPIRITUAL PURITY. Haidt finds that LIBERALS FOCUS CHIEFLY ON THE FIRST TWO DIMENSIONS, whereas CONSERVATIVES DEPLOY ALL FIVE DIMENSIONS IN THEIR ETHICAL REASONING.

At a recent lecture at the American Enterprise Institute, Haidt further refined the notion of fairness, asserting that there are THREE KINDS OF FAIRNESS. LIBERALS FOCUS ON ONE KIND OF FAIRNESS, WHERE EVERYONE'S NEEDS ARE MET TO SOME DEGREE. CONSERVATIVES, BY CONTRAST, SEE FAIRNESS WHEN PEOPLE ARE REWARDED FOR THEIR EFFORTS, e.g., what they put in, they get to take out. They also see retribution as a special kind of equity in which perpetrators of wrongs must suffer to the same degree as their victims, e.g., an eye for an eye.

What about libertarians? After his lecture, I asked Haidt where libertarians fit along the five moral dimensions. He asked me to GUESS HOW LIBERTARIANS TESTED. "Like liberals," I said, by which I meant that libertarians, like liberals, are less concerned about group loyalty, obedience to authority, and purity. He laughed and said, "Yes, LIKE LIBERALS, BUT WITHOUT COMPASSION." Put another way, libertarians react like liberals, but without the concerns about egalitarianism that dominate the way liberals—and 10-year-olds—think about fairness

The Republican South getting more so

Protected by a potent mix of gerrymandering, pork, seniority and a friends-and-neighbors electorate, DEMOCRATIC STATE REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS MANAGED TO SURVIVE THROUGH THE SOUTH’S GOP EVOLUTION—the Reagan years, the Republican landslide of 1994 and George W. Bush’s two terms. Yet SCORES OF THEM RETIRED OR WENT DOWN IN DEFEAT EARLIER THIS MONTH. AND AT LEAST TEN MORE ACROSS THREE STATES HAVE CHANGED PARTIES SINCE THE ELECTION, with rumors swirling through state capitols of more to come before legislative sessions commence in January. Facing the prospect of losing their seats through reapportionment – if not in the next election – others will surely choose flight over fight.

Democrats lost both chambers of the legislature this year in North Carolina and Alabama, meaning that they now control both houses of the capitol in just two Southern states, Arkansas and Mississippi, the latter of which could flip to the GOP in next year’s election.

The losses and party-switching, one former Southern Democratic governor noted, “LEAVES US WITH LITTLE BENCH FOR UPCOMING AND FUTURE ELECTIONS.”

“There's little reason to be optimistic in my region,” said this former governor, who did not want to be quoted by name offering such a downcast assessment. “We can opportunistically pick up statewides every now and then, but BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE PARTY PROGRAM ISN'T IN THE CARDS. I suppose the President has bigger concerns now, but it’s not healthy for the Democrats to write off our region and not have any real strategy to be competitive.”

Being Black in America

Well worth a read.

The philosopher Eric Hoffer also wondered about THE INABILITY OF MANY BLACK AMERICANS TO EMBRACE THE MAGNITUDE AND MEANING OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. In his essay "Black Studies," Hoffer offers a useful comparison between 1860s America and 1860s Africa. In Africa, ARAB MERCHANTS WERE SELLING SEVENTY THOUSAND SLAVES A YEAR AT THE ZANZIBAR SLAVE MARKET. "The Arabs," says Hoffer, "looted ivory, grain and cattle, made slaves of the able-bodied natives, burned villages and wantonly killed those who did not escape into the bush." Arab slave routes could be traced "by the vultures and hyenas feeding on putrefying corpses."

Indeed, explorer David Livingston, says Hoffer, "was haunted in his last days by the horrors" of the Arab slave trade. Calling the slave merchants "the open sore of the world" Livingston wrote late diary entries telling of images "so nauseous that I always strive to drive them from memory. But the slaving scenes come back unbidden and make me start up at dead of night horrified by their vividness."

While the "depredations of the Arabs were gathering momentum" in 1860s Africa, over in America says Hoffer, "HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICAN SOLDIERS DIED OR WERE MAIMED TO ABOLISH NEGRO SLAVERY." For Hoffer, the paradox is that "many black Americans feel a greater affinity with the descendents of Arab slavers than with Americans whose forefathers fought one of the bloodiest civil wars in history to set the Negro free."

And yet, says Hoffer, we are not allowed to take pride in or feel grateful for these monumental displays of moral rectitude. Of the Civil Rights legislation during the 1960s Hoffer says:

"Nowhere in the world at present and at no time in the past has an underprivileged minority experienced such spectacular changes in its fortunes as did some twenty million Negroes in America during the 1960s. Yet WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE PRIDE IN THIS UNPRECEDENTED ACHIEVEMENT. NEGRO SPOKESMEN SEEM TO BELIEVE THAT THE NEGRO'S CAUSE WILL BE ADVANCED NOT BY PRAISING BUT BY SHAMING AMERICA; that a proud, confident America would resist racial integration."

Hoffer had a good idea of what was driving this strange paradox -- he called it "THE INVISIBLE POWER." According to Hoffer, a safely ensconced army of adversary intellectuals in academia and in the media gleefully occupies itself with "discrediting and besmirching" society in order to undermine "the faith of its potential defenders." Says Hoffer:

It’s Business, Not Personal

In the corporate world it is understood: This is business: not personal.

PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS NO COMPREHENSION OF THE PHRASE: "NOT PERSONAL." To him, EVERYTHING is about Obama, and his definition of "we" is "me, myself and I." Never having had much of a real job other than campaigning and community organizing, he also doesn't grasp the concept of "business." Obama seems oblivious of his job description (defined by the oath of office), he displays scant loyalty to his company (America), and appears unconcerned with the product it produces (freedom and liberty).

Yes, fellow citizens (shareholders), Obama works for you. He was correct when he once offered, "You've got me," but now, several bills, regulations, lies, deals, executive orders and appointments later, we find HE MEANT SOMETHING MUCH DIFFERENT THAN "I WORK FOR YOU."

In the corporate world, in-depth interviews with prospective employees are conducted to mitigate such surprises. Typically, a personnel department will thoroughly vet candidates before involving upper management in a hiring decision. It would be unimaginable to rely on an initial application that failed to require basic credentials, to seriously consider a candidate who instead brought with him a flowery autobiography and a compilation of his own favorite speeches, or to depend on tingly-legged interviewers who asked no discerning questions. Whether liberal or conservative, most Americans now realize they elected a man not resembling the one advertised by the mainstream media or pictured in their own minds, drawn on the blank screen that Obama offered.

George Will defines Progressivism

PROGRESSIVISM IS A FAITH-BASED PROGRAM. The progressives' agenda for improving everyone else varies but invariably INVOLVES THE CULT OF EXPERTISE - an unflagging faith in the application of science to social reform. Progressivism's itch to perfect people by perfecting the social environment can produce an interesting phenomenon - the Pecksniffian progressive.

TSA Procedures and the Courts

One advocacy group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, has already filed a lawsuit, calling the body scanners unconstitutional. Could this challenge succeed?

Courts evaluating airport-screening technology tend to give great deference to the government's national security interest in preventing terrorist attacks. But in this case, THERE'S A STRONG ARGUMENT THAT THE TSA'S MEASURES VIOLATE THE FOURTH AMENDMENT, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

Although the Supreme Court hasn't evaluated airport screening technology, lower courts have emphasized, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in 2007, that "a particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it 'is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives.' "

In a 2006 opinion for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, then-Judge Samuel Alito stressed that SCREENING PROCEDURES MUST BE BOTH "MINIMALLY INTRUSIVE" AND "EFFECTIVE" - in other words, they must be "well-tailored to protect personal privacy," and they must deliver on their promise of discovering serious threats. Alito upheld the practices at an airport checkpoint where passengers were first screened with walk-through magnetometers and then, if they set off an alarm, with hand-held wands. He wrote THAT AIRPORT SEARCHES ARE REASONABLE IF THEY ESCALATE "IN INVASIVENESS ONLY AFTER A LOWER LEVEL OF SCREENING DISCLOSE[S] A REASON TO CONDUCT A MORE PROBING SEARCH."

As currently used in U.S. airports, the new full-body scanners FAIL ALL OF ALITO'S TESTS. First, as European regulators have recognized, they could be much less intrusive without sacrificing effectiveness.
Read it all to see the newer technology used by the Dutch

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

GOOD INTENTIONS WILL GET YOU IF YOU DON'T WATCH OUT. That's true of the invasion of the body scanners, of minimum-wage laws, of some welfare programs and – please don't forget it – a supposedly altruistic push by federal agencies and politicians to put low-income families in their own homes.

Again and again, the government throws us lifesavers that aren't lifesavers at all, but weighty, entangling devices that ensnare us, sink us, drown us.

Because BODY SCANNERS WON'T DETECT BOMBS IN BODY CAVITIES, they'll do no good even as they humiliate airline ticket-holders on a scale only a world power could devise.


And those mortgages THE GOVERNMENT INSISTED BANKS BESTOW ON THOSE WHO COULD NOT AFFORD TO PAY THEM? All they did was contribute mightily to a rash of foreclosures, the worst financial crisis in decades and a recession wrecking the lives of millions of people.

To learn the real lowdown on how good motives can produce bad results, it helps to heed the writings and speeches of Jay Richards, a Princeton philosophy-theology Ph.D., author of "Money, Greed, and God," and someone whose thoughts I recently took in at a speech at Colorado Christian University.

"PIETY IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR TECHNIQUE," he said, quoting the Christian philosopher Etienne Gilson and adding this by way of explanation in the book: "What he meant is that HAVING THE RIGHT INTENTIONS, being oriented in the right way, DOESN'T TAKE THE PLACE OF DOING THINGS RIGHT."

An interesting article that points out the problems with simply having good intentions. You need good techniques too.

Liberal science or is that lies?

When it was passed in 2004, Proposition 71, with its $3 billion state fund and 10-year mandate for embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR), HELD OUT THE PROMISE OF IMMINENT MIRACLE CURES for everything from spinal disorders to Parkinson's.

One campaign ad showed actor Christopher Reeve, aka Superman, asking California voters to "stand up for those who can't."

Some six years later, with ABOUT $1.1 BILLION DISPERSED, there have been $270 million worth of impressive new labs built, research papers published, and respected scientists hired at exorbitant salaries, but NO MIRACLE CURES OR EVEN MARKETABLE THERAPIES. And none is likely for years, if not decades, to come. The promised financial payback for the financially strapped citizens of California is also far off.

The left likes to say they are on the side of science and the right isn’t. But a distain for religion does not make you a science supporter. It just means you’ll be hypocritical and gullible in your own way.

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