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Does being happy prove you're right?

Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby deadwhitemale » 02 Mar 2009, 03:37

Does being happy mean you're right, and does being unhappy prove you're wrong? Let me refine that further: does being relatively happier prove you're relatively righter, or vice versa?

I vote no. I get tired of people claiming most or more people on their side are happy or happier, therefore they must be the right side. Let's take Rush Limbaugh, for instance. I am probably more conservative than he is on a lot of things. But one thing he keeps saying (which may really represent a certain strand of "conservative" thought) that bugs me -- and I just heard him say it on TV a few minutes ago -- is "Conservatives are naturally happy. It's their nature."

Wait, I think I've got the exact quote:

"Conservatives are naturally happy. We seek happiness. We pursue it. It's part of who we are. So what can you do? Live your life."

According to this strain of thought, most often expressed by Limbaugh, conservatism is happy, peppy, perky, eternally optimistic, cheerful and positive-thinking, with an unshakeable can-do attitude permeating everything they do. :??: :thinking: o/` Don't worry, be happy. o/` o/`Happy,happy, joy-joy o/`

Holy cow, I'm worried a lot, and I can't rmember being happy since maybe 1966. I'd call Tolkien a conservative in some sense, and that doesn't sound much like his "long defeat" idea.

Limbaugh seems to think liberals are all gloomy and fearful and pessimistic and negative and so on. I seldom get that. In general they -- or at least the well-off ones -- seem to be having most of the fun. :brood: Well, I admit that they tend to crash lower after flashing higher, where we conservative types tend to plod or slog along on a fairly even and predictable keel, usually, except in especially "interesting times," such as now. I expect many of us to find ourselves outlaws and fugitives soon enough, or maybe just raggedy hobos.

I don't think believe humn beings are deterministic mechanisms -- "clockwork oranges" or that someone's political ideology is determined by or is a function of his or her basic personality type or temperament. I know there have been "studies" that purported to show that, but I think they're bogus, junk science. In one in particular, they defined "conservative" in such a way as to support the results they clearly wanted to find, to support a circular argument.

I don't even think you can tell which religion is true or truer by how relatively happy its adherents are (in this world anyway). There was some famous quote of C.S. Lewis about just that issue.

For that matter, I don't think someone's record collection or taste in records tells you much of anything about their politics, temperament, social class, sexual preference, or intelligence. I don't even own a record player now, and you could have always measured my intelligence as well with a dip stick as by what records I owned, or what radio station I had my car radio tuned to at any given moment.

Frankly, music never occupied the place of significance in my thinking that it seems to for many or most people. I never looked to music to mold and shape my world view. If you were trying "to dissect me with some blunt little instrument," you'd do better to look at what books (including comic books) were on my shelves, and what movies I was especially devoted to.

DWM
"It is when we try to grapple with another man's intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun." -- Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim(1899?)
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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby JRosemary » 02 Mar 2009, 21:34

deadwhitemale wrote:I don't even think you can tell which religion is true or truer by how relatively happy its adherents are (in this world anyway). There was some famous quote of C.S. Lewis about just that issue.


Yes--I remember that. Lewis said that the religion that makes people the happiest, as far as he could tell, was worship of one's self. He gave as his example a man who had lived a life of unbroken selfishness for years. He was, Lewis said, one of the happiest men he knew.

He also added that he didn't become a Christian in order to be happy--he had always known that a good bottle of port could accomplish that. :rolleyes:

deadwhitemale wrote:For that matter, I don't think someone's record collection or taste in records tells you much of anything about their politics...


A very conservative friend of mine loves liberal socialist musicians (Springsteen, for example, is high on his list.) When I teased him about the discrepancy, he just shrugged and said, "You liberals socialists have always had better music." :lol:

Re Edits: See John's post below.
Last edited by JRosemary on 02 Mar 2009, 21:48, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby john » 02 Mar 2009, 21:44

JRosemary wrote:"You liberals have always had better music."


Liberal? That term is so 2007. The updated term is Socialist.
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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby JRosemary » 02 Mar 2009, 21:46

john wrote:
JRosemary wrote:"You liberals have always had better music."


Liberal? That term is so 2007. The updated term is Socialist.


Lol! Sorry, my bad. I'll fix it up above. :wink:
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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby archenland_knight » 02 Mar 2009, 22:03

DWM wrote:According to this strain of thought, most often expressed by Limbaugh, conservatism is happy, peppy, perky, eternally optimistic, cheerful and positive-thinking, with an unshakeable can-do attitude permeating everything they do. o/` Don't worry, be happy. o/` o/`Happy,happy, joy-joy o/`


Yes, Rush expresses this sentiment. But I don't think he expresses it as a way of proving that Consevatism is correct. He expresses it because in his view (and in mine, as well) Conservatives are often mistakenly portrayed as being angry and Pessimistic. I think he simply wishes to counter that percpetion. I don't think he makes any implication that this proves Concervatism to be correct.
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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby deadwhitemale » 03 Mar 2009, 04:57

archenland_knight wrote:
DWM wrote:According to this strain of thought, most often expressed by Limbaugh, conservatism is happy, peppy, perky, eternally optimistic, cheerful and positive-thinking, with an unshakeable can-do attitude permeating everything they do. o/` Don't worry, be happy. o/` o/`Happy,happy, joy-joy o/`


Yes, Rush expresses this sentiment. But I don't think he expresses it as a way of proving that Consevatism is correct. He expresses it because in his view (and in mine, as well) Conservatives are often mistakenly portrayed as being angry and Pessimistic. I think he simply wishes to counter that percpetion. I don't think he makes any implication that this proves Concervatism to be correct.


Well, I'm at least as conservative (as I define it) as Limbaugh, and I actually am angry and pessimistic. In fact, lately (the last few months, since Mom died, and Dad had to go into a nursing home, and I have had to look on helplessly as the family fortune is consumed and devoured by the nursing home, and as the country I loved is being transformed into something I don't recognize) I have had more of a problem with anger than at any time since early 1977. I actually took up smoking (cigarettes -- I never even tried marijuana nor wished to) cheifly in an attempt to "self-medicate" my seething rage then, in early 1977.

(Well, it was also partly to spite then-President Jimmy Carter and his anti-tobacco crusade and all the Nanny Statish policies asociated with it; and then there was the fact that everybody who was anybody in my life -- parents, relatives, friends, associates, and enemies -- smoked, and that my enemies in particular all smoked, and yet they were generally stronger, faster, and tougher than I -- I, the ascetic, the abstainer, who didn't even eat candy or drink soda -- was.)

And it really did seem to work -- to help me control myself and keep my cool and not fly off the handle. Also, much later, when I found myself in college, tobacco/nicotine semed to act like a "smart drug for me, greatly improving memory and concentration. There I was in my thirties, in college (and I didn't even want to be there), completely unable to type, and yet vastly academically outperforming all the young potheads who did want to be there and could type (though they couldn't spell or construct a coherent sentence).

Then I found myself in graduate school, where I really didn't want to be. By then smoking was starting to affect my health for the worse, and I wanted to quit, but could not as long as I had to deal with grad school work. Then I dropped out of grad school -- and, with the stres and strain of that gone from my life, I was able to quit smoking with relative ease. It really wasn't that hard, though I almost relapsed at Chrsitmas, due to the stress associated with that. Instead of starting back smoking, I got some of those nicotine patches -- and the first one nearly killed me. I mean my face and hands went numb as I was driving, and I almost passed out at the wheel. And whe I got home somehow and stripped off that patch and washed the palce on my arm where it had been, I collapses and couldn't get up for hours. I think I may have had a mild heart attack.

Anyway, that was in 1996, and I haven't smoked since. But I have always felt just a little dimmer and dumber since then. The furious, chronic, short-fuse anger didn't really come back so much until lately, though.

Lately, things I used to bear with relative patience and composure just about set me off. Everything is so unbearably frustrating and irritating now. It's so frustrating anymore to sit at a stop light that never seems to change, and I'll brood angrily over how much of a person's life is eaten up, just sitting and waiting at stop signs and stop lights. It takes this blasted computer at least ten minutes to conect to the Internet -- when nothing goes wrong. Sometimes I can barely restrain myself from taking a sledge hammer to it.

I never liked to cook or be involved in any aspect of food preparation -- I never really even liked to eat ** -- but now I find it an onerous, intolerable chore, almost an insane, impossible task, like climbing Mount Everest or swimming the English Channel with a garbage can full of rocksstrapped on my back.

And all the shopping I have to do, almost every day (because I have so little storage space), and all the errands I have to run -- all that going and going, like "nights in white satin, never reaching the end."

And everything always seem to be so much trouble, so hard and complicated and time-consuming. Last night I was all set to order some things online -- and then found I couldn't do it with my credit or debit card. No, I'll have to use a check or money order, and go through licensed brokers and things.

There's this tremendous sense of resistance about everything I have to do, as if I were wading chest deep through cold molasses or wet cement while wearing lead-weighted diver's boots. And there's never anything good on the car radio. Or, when there is, I always tune in just as it's ending. I never hear the beginning of anything I'd like.

I brought up music earlier, and how I deny that you can tell anything about anyone's politics or personality by what music they like (or can tolerate). More broadly, it irritates me no end how people think they can extrapolate everything they need to know about you from little dribs and drabs and tidbits of information, little factoids taken out of context.

And, yes, those are the Lewis quotes I was referring to.

** I don't usually enjoying eating as I'm doing it. In fact I resent the time it takes and the mess it makes. I ahev no laundry facilities anymore, and no good way of washing clothes, so if I spill or splatter anything on my garments, it is no small matter. What I like is to have eaten -- the way I often feel better and calmer and stronger after eating. Unfortunately I must go eat now. Lasagna. Very sloppy. :brood:

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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby Robert » 03 Mar 2009, 16:44

Well I have always found that gauging Happiness is much harder than it looks as well. For I don't think that one can rightly measure happiness by merely some temporal catalog. If we are eternal beings, I would think that Happiness must be measured by not only in which time span is being gauged as well as in whom it is placed.

Clearly, Happiness is a good thing. Perhaps it is the flower from which the roots and stems of joy-as Lewis spoke so eloquently on-blossom from. And I think it not the insignificant thing we may think it is. Anymore than the petals of the rose to the plant are. However, one can not look upon the thorn ridden plant and state that it is no flower. Petals come and go, but definitions are foever. It is 'knowing' and 'hoping' and having 'faith' that gives us the joy that will ultimately bring forht the pleasantries of Happiness. At least this is my view on the matter. Whether one is conservative, Liberal or even Fascist (which I feel I am closer to than the former two).
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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby Leslie » 04 Mar 2009, 01:03

I'm going to give an answer to the question without reference to the discussion about Rush Limbaugh, since I've never heard him speak, and all I know about him is that he is conservative (which seems to be putting it mildly).

I think we just have to look around to see that happiness has little or nothing to do with being "right" in one's ideology and beliefs (and it could be argued, although I won't do it here, that "right" and "wrong" have little meaning when applied to ideology). We have happy atheists and happy Christians. Unhappy conservatives and unhappy liberals. I don't think happiness is some sort of reward for thinking the right answer to big questions. Happiness derives chiefly from one's physical and mental health. Having emotional or mental problems does not mean that one is wrong, any more than having the flu means that one is wrong--it just means that one is not well, and needs healing.

True, one's mental health can be affected by one's worldview. Take for example a person who witnesses exploitative child labour in the factory of a 19th century "classical liberal", and who wants to bring about change so that the exploitation may end. This person may feel anguish over the plight of the children and be made unhappy by that. So one could say that this person's "modern liberal" or progressive worldview, which wants government to make laws banning the exploitation of children, has made him unhappy, whereas the "classical liberal" factory owner sees only the "right" working of the free market and the profit made by it, and is happy.
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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby deadwhitemale » 04 Mar 2009, 03:52

Leslie wrote:I'm going to give an answer to the question without reference to the discussion about Rush Limbaugh, since I've never heard him speak, and all I know about him is that he is conservative (which seems to be putting it mildly).

I think we just have to look around to see that happiness has little or nothing to do with being "right" in one's ideology and beliefs (and it could be argued, although I won't do it here, that "right" and "wrong" have little meaning when applied to ideology). We have happy atheists and happy Christians. Unhappy conservatives and unhappy liberals. I don't think happiness is some sort of reward for thinking the right answer to big questions. Happiness derives chiefly from one's physical and mental health. Having emotional or mental problems does not mean that one is wrong, any more than having the flu means that one is wrong--it just means that one is not well, and needs healing.

True, one's mental health can be affected by one's worldview. Take for example a person who witnesses exploitative child labour in the factory of a 19th century "classical liberal", and who wants to bring about change so that the exploitation may end. This person may feel anguish over the plight of the children and be made unhappy by that. So one could say that this person's "modern liberal" or progressive worldview, which wants government to make laws banning the exploitation of children, has made him unhappy, whereas the "classical liberal" factory owner sees only the "right" working of the free market and the profit made by it, and is happy.



I mostly agree with what someone said in a 1997 sermon:

" ...think of the vagaries of human existence that propel us from the depths to the heights and back again, that thrust us into prominence or obscurity, grant us fame or infamy, that give us riches and power or leave us impoverished, wounded, and desperate.

So much of what comes to us is beyond our control. Wealth, physical beauty, strength, intelligence, or their opposites are so seldom ours to choose that even those who seem in control of their destinies are often the puppets of forces well beyond their ken. Seldom do any of us--wealthy or poor, powerful or insignifi­cant--even realize what propels us or impedes us."

I mean I don't think the race is always to the swift or the battle to the strong. I don't think everyone always gets what they deserve, but I notice how almost everyone who's doing alright almost always thinks he deserves all the credit for his good fortune. Just once I'd like to hear someone admit he's NOT a self-made man.

I think you can do everything right and still lose. I don't know why it's that way. It just is.

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. -- Ecclesiastes 9:11

Frodo: It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill [Gollum] when he had the chance.
Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand. Many that live deserve death, and some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends.

I'm supposed to be so far to the right politically, but I'm not very interested in business or economics, or other people's sex lives, or several other things I'm supposed to care about, but don't. Mostly I just want to be left alone. I wish it would not be assumed that what I want to be left alone to do is something bad, like exploiting child labor or foreclosing mortgages on widows and orphans or promoting dog fights. I don't actually own any sweatshops, or any other businesses.

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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby Leslie » 04 Mar 2009, 23:42

deadwhitemale wrote:I wish it would not be assumed that what I want to be left alone to do is something bad, like exploiting child labor or foreclosing mortgages on widows and orphans or promoting dog fights. I don't actually own any sweatshops, or any other businesses.

DWM

Please don't think I was suggesting that all conservatives are like the classical liberal exploiter of children. I was just giving an example of perhaps why some have the notion that modern liberals are unhappy -- many were (and still are) deeply unhappy with the society produced by the industrial revolution and the classical liberal ideology.
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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby Coyote Goodfellow » 05 Mar 2009, 03:08

This conversation actually reminds me of Perelandra--where the Green Lady says

"Every Joy surpasses all others. The fruit you are eating is always the best fruit of all."

And it always struck me that part of being happy is attaining the innocence, being able to enjoy eating a peach without having to decide if it is better than an apple or not. It's sort of like where Francis of Assissi says that perfect joy consists in knocking at a door to ask for hospitality on a snowy night, and being told that there is no room and you must wait and freeze in the snow. I think part of happiness means not having to evaluate and compare what you have to what others have, or even yourself at one moment to yourself at a different moment.

Of course there is another side of happiness: feeling superior to others: economically, socially, or morally--which may be the type of happiness Rush is talking about.

I think if you can achieve Francis of Assisi perfect Joy in all situations you have tapped into something. If you achieve the happiness of smug superiority, you are probably right about something (if you're successful economically you must have figured some system out) but I think you're missing out on something else.

And the thing I'm realizing as some one who used to be more liberal--is that being unhappy about other people's suffering does not in itself make them any better off. If it motivates you to become involved in specific ways so that you understand people's experience in context rather than merely as statistics--that's good. But I don't think being unhappy about the lives of people you've never met accomplishes much more than making you unhappy.

The other thing is that our bipolar ideas about liberal and conservative in some ways come out of the French Revolution and everybody sitting either on the left or the right side of the chamber. When the US Constitution was written, people thought the primary divides would be geographic: large state small state, North and South. Most real political thought is much more complex than can be shown on a single axis. Rush Limbaugh is one style of conservative--but I was just reading an article by John Derbyshire, talking about how he's trying to conserve a different set of things. And the type of Conservatism envisioned for instance by David Cameron in England sounds very different from the Republicans in the US.
http://www.amconmag.com/article/2009/feb/23/00006/
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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby Stanley Anderson » 05 Mar 2009, 15:25

Coyote Goodfellow wrote:I think if you can achieve Francis of Assisi perfect Joy in all situations you have tapped into something. If you achieve the happiness of smug superiority, you are probably right about something (if you're successful economically you must have figured some system out) but I think you're missing out on something else.


But being concerned about missing out on whatever that something else is sort of negates the achievement of a Francis of Assisi perfect Joy, doesn't it? (the economically successful one is probably on the other side of that door and is missing out on the joy of freezing in the snow that the other person gets to enjoy :smile:)

(I'm just playing at logic games with you here -- actually, I really like and and pretty much agree with what you've written in your post)

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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby Leslie » 06 Mar 2009, 03:56

Coyote Goodfellow wrote:But I don't think being unhappy about the lives of people you've never met accomplishes much more than making you unhappy.

Not in itself, no. But if you follow the example of, say, William Wilberforce, who led the movement in the English parliament to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire, your unhappiness at injustice perpetrated against people you've never met leads you to attempt to bring about justice, and make the lives of those strangers better.
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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby archenland_knight » 06 Mar 2009, 22:34

Coyote Goodfellow wrote:Of course there is another side of happiness: feeling superior to others: economically, socially, or morally--which may be the type of happiness Rush is talking about.


:stunned:

What on earth would make anyone think that Rush is talking about something like that?!?! Look, Rush is no paragon of spiritual virtue, nor does he claim to be. But, after listening to him, occassionally, since almost the beginning of the Clinton Administration, I have never heard him say anything that would make be believe he is the sort of person to who would perceive himself to be superior to others, much less take pleasure in doing so.

There is no "happiness" in feeling superior to another. There may be a sort of pleasure, but it poisons the soul and in the end results only in bitterness and sorrow. I can't imagine why anyone would think this is what Rush means.
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Re: Does being happy prove you're right?

Postby deadwhitemale » 07 Mar 2009, 03:36

archenland_knight wrote:
Coyote Goodfellow wrote:Of course there is another side of happiness: feeling superior to others: economically, socially, or morally--which may be the type of happiness Rush is talking about.


:stunned:

What on earth would make anyone think that Rush is talking about something like that?!?! Look, Rush is no paragon of spiritual virtue, nor does he claim to be. But, after listening to him, occassionally, since almost the beginning of the Clinton Administration, I have never heard him say anything that would make be believe he is the sort of person to who would perceive himself to be superior to others, much less take pleasure in doing so.

There is no "happiness" in feeling superior to another. There may be a sort of pleasure, but it poisons the soul and in the end results only in bitterness and sorrow. I can't imagine why anyone would think this is what Rush means.



I'm also pretty sure Rush didn't mean anything like that. I may have already said this, but I think he is saying that a certain personality type -- someone with a certain temperament -- specifically, someone who is confident, optimistic, positive-thinking, cheerful, go-getting, and bursting with vigor, vim, vitality and pep -- tends to automatically be conservative -- i.e., to look to himself and to traditional, organic human and social institutions like the family and religion rather than to the government/State -- to get him through life.

And that another personality type -- a fearful, pessimistic, timid, wilting-wallflower kind -- tends to automatically become liberal (in the modern American sense) -- i.e., to look to the government/State to solve all of his and everyone else's problems, at the taxpayer's expense.

But I think Rush has fallen into a trap here -- the same trap his (and my) ideological opponents fell into long ago. They think people are basically deterministic mechanisms whose beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors can all be analyzed and predicted by psychology. In other words, the people on the other side could not posibly have arived at their positions and views through rational processes. They must have just started out naturally feeling a certain way and later come up with self-serving rationalizatins and justifications. Some examples of how the Left does it:

" ... scientists have concluded that the psychological factors which contribute to political conservatism are:

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

http://www.nationalreview.com/goldberg/ ... 072403.asp


How to spot a baby conservative
KID POLITICS | Whiny children, claims a new study, tend to grow up rigid and traditional. Future liberals, on the other hand ...
Mar. 19, 2006. 10:45 AM
KURT KLEINER
SPECIAL TO THE STAR


' Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.

At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.

The study from the Journal of Research Into Personality isn't going to make the UC Berkeley professor who published it any friends on the right. Similar conclusions a few years ago from another academic saw him excoriated on right-wing blogs, and even led to a Congressional investigation into his research funding.

But the new results are worth a look. In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids' personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months. There's no reason to think political bias skewed the ratings — the investigators were not looking at political orientation back then. Even if they had been, it's unlikely that 3- and 4-year-olds would have had much idea about their political leanings.

A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking again at personality, and this time at politics, too. The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.

The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.

Block admits in his paper that liberal Berkeley is not representative of the whole country. But within his sample, he says, the results hold. He reasons that insecure kids look for the reassurance provided by tradition and authority, and find it in conservative politics. The more confident kids are eager to explore alternatives to the way things are, and find liberal politics more congenial.

In a society that values self-confidence and out-goingness, it's a mostly flattering picture for liberals. It also runs contrary to the American stereotype of wimpy liberals and strong conservatives.

Of course, if you're studying the psychology of politics, you shouldn't be surprised to get a political reaction. Similar work by John T. Jost of Stanford and colleagues in 2003 drew a political backlash. The researchers reviewed 44 years worth of studies into the psychology of conservatism, and concluded that people who are dogmatic, fearful, intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, and who crave order and structure are more likely to gravitate to conservatism. Critics branded it the "conservatives are crazy" study and accused the authors of a political bias.

Jost welcomed the new study, saying it lends support to his conclusions. But Jeff Greenberg, a social psychologist at the University of Arizona who was critical of Jost's study, was less impressed.'


' Liberal-friendly studies are so easy to debunk; all you have to do is find the lie:

"Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative."

The lie in this particular case occurs in that the study was loaded at the front end. Any child whose upbringing placed him at odds with the Berkeley brand of liberal orthodoxy would not have had to to imagine that "everyone was out to get him". The study's outcome was assured from the start; this is how liberals make sure their studies come out "right".'

http://www.usmessageboard.com/current-e ... tives.html


Anyway, psychoanalyzing one's ideological opponents and "diagnosing" them with all sorts of syndromes and disorders is an equal-opportunity game that everyone at any point along the political/ideological spectrum can play. So much of course depends on what definitions you can impose and gain wide acceptance for. And there is much confusion caused by the different ways conservatism and liberalism are understood in America than in Europe and the rest of the Anglosphere. In the USA "conservatism" "liberalism" means a kind of leftist Statism, more or less, and "conservatism" is roughly synonymous with "classical liberalism," and has nothing to do with European fascism or monarchism.

Probably no one should ever "argue from his own case." I never went to kindergarten or pre-school, but I'll admit that my later public school experience was unpleasant, and in a sense "radicalizing." I didn't have to imagine that quite a few people were out to get me. I learned quickly that the school authorities were not only not going to stand up for me, but that in many or most cases could be relied upon to take the other side.

I learned that you can't get anywhere by talking and negotiating and "reasoning" with irrational, malevolent half-wits. About the time you open your mouth to "reason" with them you het chopped across the larynx or kicked in the groin.

And, just as in the larger society beyond school, standing up for yourself -- "taking matters into your own hands" -- what they a-historically call "vigilantism" -- is perceived as a greater threat to the powers that be than plain, ordinary criminality. In the larger society, it's often to the govenment's advantage and benefit to let crime flourish, as it justifies the government's creeping, then leaping, encroachments on the rights and liberties of ordinary people.

Why, if Sharkey's Gatherers and Sharers didn't confiscate everything of value the Shire produced, and impose and enforce a lot of draconian new Rules on the Shire, those Hobbits would get right out of hand! There'd be anarchy, chaos!

My general sense of things is that liberals generally favor higher, punitive and confiscatory taxes on productive and/or prosperous people, and ever-more laws and Rules and regulations and control over, well, pretty much everything. It's to their advantage to have a lot of poor, and defenseless, people, because they can be kept dependent on the government, and kept under control. So, they strive tirelessly to keep as many people as possible mired in povery, and to impoverish (and disarm/geld) whoever managed by hard work or good luck or guts or imagination to be otherwise (except of course for a few uber-rich liberal/Left-wing mega-billionaires like George Soros or Ted Turner or Richard Branson or somebody).

“’Disarmed’. That’s the word. Taken aback, defeated, helpless, gelded, stopped. Not citizens then, but serfs.”
-from Fireworks, by John Dean "Jeff" Cooper

I've been over all this before and shouldn't need to reiterate any of it. I'd be surprised if there was still any big mystery about where I'm coming from. For a long time I called myself a libertarian, and I thought it was true. Sometimes I even called myself an anarchist, but I was half-joking, andI defined anarchism differently than most do anyway. But lately I've tended to adopt the label "anti-state conservative."

As far as I can tell, bigger government offers me nothing I want, and a great deal I don't want. I ask almost nothing from the government/State but to be left alone and not interfered with.


"The government is mainly an expensive organization to regulate evil doers, and tax those who behave. Government does little for fairly respectable people, except annoy them."-- E.V. Howe


" There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers." -- Ayn Rand


I'm not saying I'm incorruptable. Maybe the State could buy me and my vote, if the price was right, but it wouldn't be cheap. They'd have to do a lot better than $13 a week, or a few other pathetic crumbs and bones.

Now, if Medicare changed its mind about cutting us off and just leaving us to be sucked dry into impoverishment, riches-to-rags, and offered to step back in and pick up the $5,000-plus-a-month tab for Dad's end-of-life nursing home care, I might conceivably be tempted. The cost of health care is probably the biggest chink in my ideological armor. But so far they haven't offered me anything that would make me even change how I vote.

DWM

P.S. Just because I quote Ayn Rand now and then does not mean I'm a Randian or Objectivist as they call themselves (though I do consider the battle between small-o objectivism and big-S. Subjectivism kind of my own struggle). I have many differences with Rand and the Randians, but I quote her when she says something true and quotable.
"It is when we try to grapple with another man's intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun." -- Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim(1899?)
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