Sunday, March 05, 2006

The left and the US: blaming the parent

There are certain themes I keep coming back to, and one has to do with the mindset of liberals and those on the left (different, but at times related). It may seem to be an obsession of sorts, but I don't think so--it's just something that I encounter a lot, both in my "real" life and in the comments section here.

Many aspects of this mindset continue to puzzle me--like the old Beatles lyric, I could say about the left and liberals, "I thought I knew you; what did I know."

So, in the constant and ever-evolving attempt to Understand Them (old habits die hard), I wanted to quote a note I received from Marc Danziger, Armed Liberal of Winds of Change, on the topic of why the left seems to act as though the US is the font of all evil:

I've thought for a while that this was a form (forgive me for stepping on your turf) of narcissism - they think that we (our culture, the West) are so powerful that we are, in effect, omnipotent. So of course we can get the bad guys without hurting them; of course we need rules to contain our strength. Because we're so strong that everything that happens anywhere in the world is a reflection of something we do or have done.

I'm sure all of this ties into things I--or Dr. Sanity, or Shrinkwrapped, or SC&A, all of us psychobloggers--have written before. I'm too lazy to search for the links right now, but I'm hoping you'll take my word for it.

What Armed Liberal says is correct, and at the risk of repeating myself I'd like to say it also reminds me of the relation of a child to parent. To the child, the parent is omnipotent, and perfection is demanded and easily achievable. Everything that goes wrong must be the parent's fault, that much is clear; otherwise, the world would become a much more frightening place.

Because the truth is that if the parent is not omnipotent, or can't ever become perfect, then the child is exposed to truly frightening dangers that he/she is unequipped to handle. So it's far better to preserve the myth of parental omnipotence and perfection, and to get angry at a parent who, after all, (at least ordinarily, in the absence of major pathology) loves the child and is not about to retaliate harshly against that child.

The child knows the parent is strong enough to absorb the blow, so it's safe to direct the blame and the anger where it won't be dangerous to do so (if the US were really as bad as extreme leftists say, they'd all be in jail or worse). It's a win-win situation for the child, who gets to "vent," and to feel that the world isn't such a dangerous place, knowing the parent will not strike back and harm the child.

I'm not saying leftists--or those liberals who join the "blame America first, often, loudly, and last" chorus--are children. They are not. But in their relationship to their own government they seem to be acting out a similar dynamic.

84 Comments:

At 3:03 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Who's on first?

"psychobloggers"

I think a psycho blogger is someone who talks about Fallujah, Syria, Iran, and Al-Sadr delenda est ; )

(if the US were really as bad as extreme leftists say, they'd all be in jail or worse)

There's always the crucifixion option the Romans reserved for rebelling slaves and provinces. Line them up on the Via Appia, all alive, or mostly anyway.

Then there is the Indian punishment of staking. Which for those who don't know, is when a short wooden stake is carved and they grab you and then make you sit on it. It is, like all punishments, a very effective deterence. When used against you, your friends, or your family, the psychological damage is immense. I had chills just reading about it from S.M Stirling's novels. But like all human psychological phenomenon, familiarity breeds contempt (parent child omg confluence). The more you are used to psychological attacks by the enemy, the better you are able to cope. This might even be taught by the SERE course given to Special Forces operators, Deltas.

Dr. Sanity once wrote, "Do you got any better options?"

Personally, I got plenty of different and more effective options. But I don't think Bush would like them, personally.

War is what it is. If you want to win, you will have to become more like the enemy.

As Sun Tzu said, know thy self and know thy enemy. I think he understood that in war, if you look deep within yourself for strength, you will see your enemy. Or glimpses of him.

 
At 3:16 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger The probligo said...

I read this and thought "Hah!! Just another arrogant right-whinger post".

I went back and re-read it to make sure and a doubt crept into my mind. It came from the "parent/child" argument that you made and suddenly it all clicked. What you say is quite correct, but not in the way that you mean.

If you were speaking of the colonial systems of the nineteeth century and earlier you would be quite correct - in that the colonial powers (say Britain) saw themselves as "parent" to their colony "children".

However, when you bring that thought into the 21st century it changes somewhat. As a colonial power, the US (being the only nation with a self- imposed "Empire") does have that "parent/child" mentality.

There are any number of instances; like you I am too lazy to go fetch. But if I think solely of the relationship between the US and NZ I can illustrate what I mean quite easily.

Since WW2, the US in particular has frequently made attempts to influence NZ policies in defence (paticularly), trade, and international relations.

In the first instance we have the "enforced" disposal of our Skyhawk squadron for F-16s (Jim Bolger's attempts...) through refusal to allow the use of modern avionics and weaponry on the old airframes.

On the trade front, I could include the "offers" of a free trade association (as a bribe) for NZ's support in Iraq. Apparently the work done prior and since in Afghanistan counts for nowt...

Enough rant.

My point - the US does try to have a "parental role" with NZ and many other nations. Regrettably it is more in the nature of the meddling mother-in-law than the caring guidance given a young child.

And like all meddling mothers-in-law, they are not loved for their continual interference.

 
At 3:32 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous bob said...

psychobabble

Nice try, but no cigar.

 
At 3:36 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

As a colonial power, the US (being the only nation with a self- imposed "Empire") does have that "parent/child" mentality.

Woah, we got an Empire? Since when?

Bush has been working at it it seems. Maybe Bush isn't as multilateralist as I thought.

So, how many people have we executed in our provinces?

NZ you say, okay, how many people have we summarily executed in NZ?

You don't mention any people being executed in our Empire. I think you were lying here.

When you come across a real Empire, come back here with the map.

I got Google Earth, I can find, just give me the map.

Mother-in-laws interfere to the extent of their power. Their power over a man and a wife is minimal, usually only psychological in origin.

The United States de facto has the powers of execution, trial, jury, and arrest. We are the world's police, categorically because there are no higher courts, no higher powers, and no restrictions whatsoever.

A mother-in-law with the powers of execution punishment, financial control, divorce, legal custody, and moral standing is ignored at the peril of the wife and husband's very souls, if not lives.

Most people in the world would love interference in their Heart of Darkness lives. They just don't believe the United States has the ruthlessness, Imperial expertise, moral fortitude, or willpower to carry through on promises of help.

And neither do I for that matter. Most Americans do not believe we can successfully conquer the world or make lives better for everyone, or even a significiant portion of the world's population.

The power of the United States is nearing critical mass. If we want NZ's help, all we have to do is to blockade their ports and sink any ships that try to run the blockade, with our carriers imposing a strict air space guarantine.

Most people would not be worried about the lack of love, most people would be scared to death and quite frustrated. Because NZ has no power, zip, compared to the power of the United States.

We're indeed Pandora's Box, and we keep the lid tightly closed. Others are very annoyed at that, and curious how far they can push us to open it. I'm curious too.

 
At 4:17 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger John Laver said...

Good post. I have often thought the same thing, but I don't think the left is the only group that plays the role of the child. I think the same can be said for any group which does not share the responsibility for decisionmaking. In the real world decisionmakers are almost always compelled to act, and to act based upon imperfect information and in the face of conflicting goals and values. Responsibility demands nothing less. And this is what often distinguishes them from their opponents, who are free to humor their own deeply held beliefs without experiencing the difficult compromises of the decisionmaker.

 
At 4:32 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The child knows the parent is strong enough to absorb the blow, so it's safe to direct the blame and the anger where it won't be dangerous to do so..."

The US left has gone way beyond attacking its parents. It's now calling the UN child abuse hotline with all sorts of wild stories about American hegemony, political assaseinations, and invading NZ in an effort to steal all the kiwi fruits.

They'll find out, after the US government is hauled off to the Hague and they end up in their foster homes of Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela, what a huge mistake they've made. But by then, it will be too late.

 
At 4:33 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Epaminondas said...

The failure of the 'left' to grasp that we can fail, that they are aiding in that process, that their children's freedom and relgious ideals (or lack of) are fully at risk, mirrors exactly the Oxford Club in 1935 voting not to fight for king and country.

 
At 5:04 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

The parent-child motif, as many of us recall, was common in the 1960's, meant to describe the attitude of the Boomers vs the Vietnam War and many other things.
In those days also, everyone read Turgenev's "Fathers and Sons" to get a handle on this generational disparity, which is actually rather common in history. Of course, now many lefties are middle-aged.

I think the core issue is that Americans have always been rather idealistic about things and when the messiness of something, say, this war, comes about, it offends our ideals.

I do think it's somewhat simplistic to say that the "left hates America" or "blame America first". I think they are only holding us to higher standards. I frankly don't see a problem with that.

As to the war itself, I note there are reams of print describing how, since this is war, we should go in "like Sherman" and end it all, humanitarian niceties for later. I am not necessarily opposed to that, except that obviously American opinion in general is not behind that, and our military establishment is not adequate to the task. Again, I don't blame that on the blogosphere, or the MSM. I do blame it on the political leadership, which occupies the most bully pulpit of all.

The kvetching of the left about the war is due mostly to the fact that they don't want us in it. Well, we're in it, the American people endorsed it, in 2004, and while I support the right to criticize I don't see it going anywhere, unless the war suddenly hits home to all of us, which it has not. But -- if there are no tax increases, no draft, no belt-tightening, I don't think we will win in Iraq, and I don't think we will win the WOT.

Put it another way. From 1987 and forward, Israel has been involved with Palestinian violence at a heightened level. Much internal criticism inside Israel, and much international criticism about various alleged human rights abuses. The IDF struck back, as they were entitled to do. No amount of violence stopped the violence. In the end, the Israelis have retreated behind a wall, while on the other side, the Palestinians have elected a government committed to Israel's destruction.

What does this tell me? It tells me that the use of force has limits, limits for everyone, including the US in Afghanistan, Iraq, and whatever "key" country we plan on invading next. It tells me that the use of force, let alone fantasies about using ultimate force, just won't solve the problems.

We can win the WOT if we focus simply on the pinpoint of finding and destroying WMD's. But obviously, to do that right, we cannot have intelligence failures. On the other hand, if we are attempting to create democracies, I think we will fail, maybe even if we made an attempt to fully occupy the entire Muslim world.

That leads to the unfortunate conclusion that we are going to lose, either now, with one hand tied behind our backs and with some human rights abuses, or then, with maximum mobilization of manpower and resources in the Muslim world, and presumably, a suspension of all human rights concerns for the duration.

We need some other strategies to pacify and moderate the changes in the Muslim world.

 
At 5:17 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger RickInNY said...

Repeating myself, but it's instructive to remember that for many on the left, perhaps most on the left, it's far, far more important for President Bush - and by extension, the US - to fail in the Middle East than it is for the people of Iraq to succeed. How could any self described liberal (defined, classically, as an advocate of freedom) be opposed to what the US is doing in Iraq? Podhoretz refers to them as intellectual cretins. I can think of worse.

And why must we use the term "liberal" and "left" interchangeably? There's nothing liberal about the left.

 
At 5:23 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

>>And why must we use the term "liberal" and "left" interchangeably? There's nothing liberal about the left.<<

Well, that's a terminological issue. In the "love of freedom" sense, which implies a laissez-faire approach to most problems, what we call conservatives have always been the true "liberals." However, liberals in the US have always been associated with strong government, government programs, centrally defined values (right to choose, right to integrate) and so on.

My experience is that most neo-conserveratives are in fact "social liberals" in the above sense, but "conservatives" in terms of national defense issues.

It's very complicated. But it's all about labels. Left=Liberals, that's just what we call them.

 
At 5:36 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger chuck said...

the US does try to have a "parental role" with NZ

You mean that tiny little island SE of Australia with a moral superiority complex? Heck, the Kiwis make the Swedes look humble. But nah, NZ ain't worth bothering about except when it shows up someplace decent. Then its time for whack-a-mole.

PS, aren't the progressives starting to lose their grip in NZ? Having 2/3 the personal income of the Ozzies has got to rankle.

 
At 5:52 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Callimachus said...

Years before I began to think about it political terms, a friend who is a psychologist described "narcissism" this way: "A narcissist is a person who, when he picks up the morning newspaper and reads that a plane went down in China, he thinks, 'oh, no, how am I ever going to come up with an excuse for THIS.' "

Now that's almost true. Except instead of excusing it, they'll be blaming it on Bad Daddy Amerikkka.

 
At 5:54 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

You're post reminded me of the actress Camryn Manheim, who was on "The Practice," and for whom I have some admiration. I read a book she wrote about her life. Ms. Manheim wrote that she grew up with parents who took her to protests. She wrote of how important it is to be politically involved - which, to her way of thinking, means to be a rabble rouser, and a protester. I don't think it's ever occurred to Camryn Manheim that she can work for change within the system. I don't know if it's occurred to her that it's HER system, set up for HER benefit, and to allow HER to use her rights to help bring about change. Much as I admire her - and I think she is quite wonderful - it struck me that she was quite childish in this area.

 
At 6:26 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger BeckyJ said...

I can compare the attitude described by neo to what happens to most people when we return to our parents' house for holidays. Among our friends & coworkers we are adults, react in an adult manner, etc. When we get back home and our parents act in the same manner as they have our entire lives, we react as we did when we were growing up. We revert to our childhood responses. I think the left does the same thing. Dealing with or reacting the US in foreign policy or some other format is like going home for the holidays and reverting to your childhood reactions.

 
At 6:29 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous Randall said...

I agree.

But sometimes, the only option for an exasperated "parent" is to tell the "child."

"Your on your own. Good luck."

Sounds harsh, but what the hell else are you supposed to do with a 40 year old eating from your fridge, sleeping in the basement, and blaming you for all his self-esteem problems?

Whatever the cost of kicking the kid out are, at this point, almost certainly LESS than the cost of continuing the circumstances which infantilized him (or, ahem, her).

Let's let the "child" show us how much smarter he is than his fuddy duddy-ish and out-of-touch parents, by, oh, dealing effectively with the Darfur slaughter without the parents to fall back him up.

 
At 6:34 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The probligo:
First of all, if you are from NZ (and living there) you should start with the assumption that you know absolutely nothing. Kiwis are very nice people, but your news reporting is abhorrent.
Aside from AU, you have no clue how the world works beyond your borders. NZ news reporting makes CBS Nightly News look like the BBC World Service. Good luck finding non-NZ news. Also what news is reported is horribly distorted. It is like looking at the world though a funhouse mirror.
The idea that the US has God-like powers runs throughout NZ news reporting. If you listen to NZ news you think that Americans are modern Olympians capable of hurling thunderbolts, and crossing great oceans in a single stride. You would think that we have the ability to solve all the world’s problems with a wave of our hands and the only reason we don’t is because we a mean and oppressive.
It is almost like the NZ news services took the BBC’s news and paraphrased and sexed it up. News this off the mark must be at least a second derivative of reality. The distortions are such a child’s pantomime character it would be funny if it didn’t cause you such a warped view of the world. And since this is the only view of the US you get, how could you not eventually believe this?

 
At 6:42 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Perhaps I am only overinterpreting on the basis of my own teenager socialism, but I see the adolescent as a better analogy than the child per se. The brighter teenager has the ability to follow abstract reasoning, but cannot create any on his own until about age 13. The next decade is spent in practice-logic, not real logic. And that's the bright ones.

Reasoning involves taking principles and extending them to see what their consequences are. Teenagers are notorious for taking single ideas and trying to apply them as trump cards to all situations, without regard for competing principles.

PJ O'Rourke writes brilliantly and humorously on this.

as to the probligo's comments, I think the point is reasonably well-argued, but flawed at its base. The US is not an imperial or colonial power, unless those words have no meaning. All nations try to influence each other. The US is able to have more influence because we are a powerful nation. But among the nations of the world are many who have been rescued by the US, which nonetheless pursue policies which we don't like, and don't vote our way in the UN. NZ, which would not long have remained out of Japan's reach, is included in this.

The resentment of the little brothers is a key to understanding the relationships of US/Canada, UK/Ireland, and Australia/NZ, BTW. In each instance, the latter can fashion itself as wiser and more peaceful because it exists under the protection of the larger. And they resent it. You'll be rushing to help the UK in the Falklands, eh? Not likely. I'll be following the NZ editorials about that upcoming problem -- thanks for reminding me.

Both Afghanistan and Iraq voted against us on a UN resolution within the last year. When we import democracy and self-determination, we actually mean it, and the number of our allies who say vicious things about us, with no adverse consequences, is proof of it.

 
At 6:57 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The child knows the parent is strong enough to absorb the blow, so it's safe to direct the blame and the anger where it won't be dangerous to do so"

The leftists want to kill the parent to assume the parent's perceived roll / power....

 
At 7:18 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger RickInNY said...

Steve - I think you are indicating that the terms have become synonymous in pop parlance, regardless of their original meaning. Perhaps I should have pointed out that liberalism in the extreme becomes anarchy, as there are no governing factors, either internal through the moral sense, or externally, even at the point of a gun.

My point is that liberalism, defined as an advocate of freedom, compared to conservatism, which I believe could be defined as a political philosophy that respects the lessons of history and an understanding of human nature, cannot be identified as mutually exclusive. In fact, I believe they go hand in hand. Freedom without corresponding responsibility leads ultimately to a betrayal of freedom.

Horowitz once wrote that the left stands for two things: the radical redistribution of wealth and moral anarchy. That sums it up. And there's no freedom in that.

 
At 7:37 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

As to the war itself, I note there are reams of print describing how, since this is war, we should go in "like Sherman" and end it all, humanitarian niceties for later.

You've obviously not read up on Sherman.

American opinion is whatever it can be molded as.

There is no consistency in the chaos of a person's opinions at any given moment, so don't try to order them.

The "higher ideals" people haven't read American history. Some Americans have read American history, and they feel they owe a debt to their ancestors. Japanese ancestor worship, Shintoism, look it up. A lot of Americans practice it.

But -- if there are no tax increases, no draft, no belt-tightening, I don't think we will win in Iraq,

When the taxes break our economy, I'm sure the troops will have all the money in the world to fight with.

When the draft drags in Senator's daughters and sons, I'm very sure the military will be loyal only to the Constitution and the chain of command.

The IDF struck back, as they were entitled to do. No amount of violence stopped the violence.

That's cause Israel didn't go psycho batshit crazy like AMericans can get. I.E. Sherman. Any scientist understands activation energy in chemistry. To get a self-sustaining reaction going, one must have the appropriate level of activation energy to go with all the reagents to produce the product. If you want to produce peace, then you need a very high level of violence, energy in otherwords. Israel has not pumped enough energy to break the cycle. They only feed it.

It tells most Americans that if you want to a fight a war, you'd best be serious about it, and blow up as many people as it takes to kill and demoralize the enemy. I.E Sherman.

It tells me that the use of force, let alone fantasies about using ultimate force, just won't solve the problems.

This must be why the threat of force by the Islamic Jihad weren't able to force newspapers in the West to do things their way...

We need some other strategies to pacify and moderate the changes in the Muslim world.

Why don't you come up with some and tell the rest of us.

And why must we use the term "liberal" and "left" interchangeably? There's nothing liberal about the left.

That's why I've been calling them fake liberals for years.

what we call conservatives have always been the true "liberals."

Conservatives in WWII were very protectionalist. No always to it.

Let's let the "child" show us how much smarter he is than his fuddy duddy-ish and out-of-touch parents, by, oh, dealing effectively with the Darfur slaughter without the parents to fall back him up.

Uh, the problem is, there's nothing we can give the Democrats in terms of power, except government power. We aren't an Empire. We can't, like you know, give them New Zealand to govern and see how well the Democrats do with that country.... So, if you want the Democrats to show us what they can do, you're going to have to vote them in. I'm not going to risk it, personally.

If you listen to NZ news you think that Americans are modern Olympians capable of hurling thunderbolts, and crossing great oceans in a single stride.

Our Navy can indeed cross oceans and throw thunderbolts.

When we import democracy and self-determination, we actually mean it, and the number of our allies who say vicious things about us, with no adverse consequences, is proof of it.

To the rest of the world, that's proof we're suckers that can be pushed around. Which is why they keep doing it.

 
At 7:55 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Instead, Saddam thought he could bully his way through this crisis, as he had in previous standoffs with the United States and its allies. The inspectors say Saddam believed that uncertainty about WMD could again serve as a deterrent to American forces.

I think Saddam also were counting on the French guarantees of a veto. Makes sense.

One of the ways to win a war is through raising your side's morale so high, that it doesn't matter what happens on the ground, all that matters is that you keep fighting.

Many battles and wars have been won because the other side just didn't give up, and worn down the enemy to the point where the enemy gave up instead.

 
At 8:04 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Thanks for another great post, Neo.

C'mon, you know you want to say it -- the Left wants ... Unreal Perfection.

In fact, what the Left wants of America, and never gets, is very much similar to what the anti-Christians want of Christianity, and never get. A world without problems, and with totally non-hypocritical powerful rulers (elected and anointed).

The US certainly tries to influence, but not control by force (beheading those who disagree!). Like socialist union members taking higher paid union jobs -- if the boss gets more money and the company is making profits (to pay dividends to capital owners), the union member feels ripped off! controlled by the profiteer! unfair! inhuman! greedy!
Wal-mart! (McDonalds! IBM! Microsoft!)

"Most powerful" is not all-powerful; but Leftists often criticize as if they think the US could be, and should be. Thus, on torture, some 100 Iraqis have died in US custody, some through firm interrogations. I don't call usually call them torture, because the aim is not to cause pain, but merely severe discomfort (no clear border).

Yet Michael Totten writes that, in one building in Kurdistan, Saddam had 10 725 Kurds murdered, by torture (interrogation). Even accepting the 100 number as US tortures, that means not a 50% improvement, nor 90%, but 99% plus. Yet the Left hates America because of torture (of Iraqis).

What a lie. The anti-capitalist/ America/ Jew/ success folk are only using the "torture" of Iraqis as a stick to beat the US. With a "higher standard". Bah!

We have the UN, we have Universal standards. No torture. (Christians: no sin). Sometimes US soldiers fail (Christians sin). Humans are imperfect.

But let's have one standard, please. And compare: 10 725 vs 100. Those "against the war" are in favor of the leader who wants 10 725 torture murders. The anti-war folk do NOT care about Iraqis being tortured, just as anti-war folk did NOT car about Vietnamese being murdered.

My Lai allowed them to hate-Nixon/ America/ imperfection of the all powerful USA parent = God. They can "claim" they want the US to leave Vietnam ... for the sake of the Vietnamese! Since, as Kerry testified, the US acts like Genghis Kahn. Bah!

Those against the war were in favor of commie victory, and 600 000 Viet murders; the results.

epam: Western Civ won't fail -- it will revert to total war fascism before it lets Islamic fascists win. (Sometimes I think the PC thought police Nazis actually want this.)

Watch the French become "Nazis" in the next 10 years, with EU blessings. If Tel Aviv is nuked/ WMDed, look for lots of nukes flying. Mecca and Medina can just as easily become mushrooms.


Of course, maybe the US can convince India to increase its Indian Peacekeeper forces (especially if the US pays), so the US-UN can pay the Indian army to pacify Darfur.
First.

 
At 8:25 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger TmjUtah said...

Steve -

"What does this tell me? It tells me that the use of force has limits, limits for everyone, including the US in Afghanistan, Iraq, and whatever "key" country we plan on invading next. It tells me that the use of force, let alone fantasies about using ultimate force, just won't solve the problems."

and

"We can win the WOT if we focus simply on the pinpoint of finding and destroying WMD's. But obviously, to do that right, we cannot have intelligence failures. On the other hand, if we are attempting to create democracies, I think we will fail, maybe even if we made an attempt to fully occupy the entire Muslim world."

Uh. No.

There is a definite limit to how hard you can hit with a small hammer. The upper limit for energy on the target for a sledgehammer is usually beyond the strength of the average person.

America is not "average" in any measure of what a nation can do. Individual liberties, standard of living, economic opportunity, healthcare/ life expectancy... and the ability to project force when and where we want. However much or little we decide is necessary.

You mention the IDF response to Palestinian terror. You are mistaken that "no amount of force" has solved the problem. You are mistaken.

The state of Israel, like America, is a democracy. They have decided that containment, a heightened security state, and aggressive targeting of known terrorists is the method that they will use to counter the threat.

That takes a fraction of their power. Tiny taps with their own substantial hammer. Moderation, in a word. The weight of most world opinion is heavily against them for even doing that, of course. There's a lot of liberal Israelis, and they are heard in the halls of power. The majority of Israelis don't think that Pal (and wider Islamic) terror is close to achieving its goals today. So, tiny taps with infrequent applications of half-swings.

America is in the same boat. No, not an empire in the rigorous sense. I could go for "hegemon", if the caveat that we are largely apathetic (as a population) about that state of affairs. Our government, the upper strata of business professionals, and various media/NGO types with specific agendas all want to assign nefarious intent to our actions. Mostly, our elected leaders want tomorrow to be predictable. They want that because large organizations don't react well to radical change. Especially entities that can and do elect leadership based on free political choice.

If it weren't for the oil economy and the exploding population of unintergrated Muslim populations scattered through the West, fundamentalist Islam could have remained a viscious tribal cult tucked away in the corners of the back of beyond.

I've about stopped talking about politics and the war. Democratization might have worked, had not liberals been determined that any undertaking of a Republican administration must fail.

We have not yet begun to fight the real war - the one against fundamentalist Islam. We are in the third inning of a baseball game that will most likely be called in the seventh inning due to the inability of the opposition to field a team.

Without access to easy capital, be it through conquest of neighbors or geographical accident, we wouldn't be having this problem today. Oil money replaced conquest as the source of capital that let militant Islam expand. It must expand, must execute raw political power and direct control whereever it exists, or it falls apart into the failed tribal scam it truly is. The tactics of al Q and their scores of kindred organizations are unchanged from 800 A.D. except for technology. The strategy remains just as fatally flawed, and in 800 A.D. none of the Moors pretended that their enemies wouldn't fight to their limit.

Back to the hammer. And force. Ask the Japanese, or the Germans, about force.

I'm waiting for the over reach that must certainly come from the enemy, and am waiting to support the response we will visit on them. All of them, wherever they may be.

This nation swings a hammer that can level continents, but only when enough of us take a hold of the handle. Only after enough of us see the necessity.

That time is coming.

 
At 8:33 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

I'd like to say that I thought of the child-parent issue when a friend of mine was dating the WeatherUnderground Linda Evans.

She was just not of this world. She had a perfect innocence of anything beyond what she wanted to be true because she thought it should be.
That it wasn't this way was the fault of the government/LBJ/society who, if they'd wished could certainly have done right. That they didn't proved they were evil.
I'd say that was the viewpoint of about two years old.

 
At 9:04 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

American opinion is whatever it can be molded as.

And who's going to mold it? First of all, those with the widest possible audience.

That's cause Israel didn't go psycho batshit crazy like AMericans can get. I.E. Sherman. Any scientist understands activation energy in chemistry. To get a self-sustaining reaction going, one must have the appropriate level of activation energy to go with all the reagents to produce the product. If you want to produce peace, then you need a very high level of violence, energy in otherwords. Israel has not pumped enough energy to break the cycle. They only feed it.

I leave it to the polls to determine if this is effective opinion molding.

It tells most Americans that if you want to a fight a war, you'd best be serious about it, and blow up as many people as it takes to kill and demoralize the enemy. I.E Sherman.

You want to give me chapter and verse on that from Sherman's memoirs? Just curious.

Conservatives in WWII were very protectionalist. No always to it.

Conservative economics has long drawn a line between domestic and international trade; going back to the Enlightenment.


Thus, on torture, some 100 Iraqis have died in US custody, some through firm interrogations. I don't call usually call them torture, because the aim is not to cause pain, but merely severe discomfort (no clear border).


This attempt to sanitize the unlawful deaths of enemy combatants in US custody is not likely to change many minds either. The aim of torture is to elicit information. It is certainly meant to cause pain.

But let's have one standard, please. And compare: 10 725 vs 100.

It should be 10,725 to nothing. Again, this doesn't subvert the war effort. But we Americans just can't be doing that.



and the ability to project force when and where we want. However much or little we decide is necessary.


I get absolutely no sense that the American people are yet ready for that effort, or the use of that much power.


Democratization might have worked, had not liberals been determined that any undertaking of a Republican administration must fail.


I get no sense that domestic politics in the US has anything to do with the so-far failure of democracy in Iraq. I'd need more of your thoughts on this.


Back to the hammer. And force. Ask the Japanese, or the Germans, about force.


I also get no sense that the American people would accept the level of indiscriminate urban bombing that we used against the Germans and Japanese in World War Two.


I'm waiting for the over reach that must certainly come from the enemy, and am waiting to support the response we will visit on them. All of them, wherever they may be.

This nation swings a hammer that can level continents, but only when enough of us take a hold of the handle. Only after enough of us see the necessity.

That time is coming.


This is a fantasy about worldwide retribution. It goes nowhere and will never be adopted by any sane leadership.

The analysis of either US or Israeli responses still stands. Whether they refused to use "Batshit Power" because of prudence, domestic politics, international politics, or simply because they didn't feel like it, the fact is, they didn't, haven't, and most probably won't.

The US is just a part of the world. There are limits to what we can do in the world. Yes, even if we go "psycho batshit." Let's get real.

 
At 9:23 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

A claim, a claim, o happy day, a claim!

It should be 10,725 to nothing. Again, this doesn't subvert the war effort. But we Americans just can't be doing that.

You've just stated an absolute - torture is always wrong. Now go forth and do not return until you can prove that America can afford to not use such methods. Go!

 
At 9:29 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Well, that's easy Quantum, because you cannot prove a moral judgment.

Rather more difficult, give me your legitimate criteria for the application of torture, and tell me how those criteria applied to however many enemy combatants died in our custody.

 
At 9:36 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Well, that's easy Quantum, because you cannot prove a moral judgment.

I'm at a loss to explain how you managed to get that so wrong. Whether America can afford to not use torture is not at all moral; it's empirical. You have to prove that intelligence gathered using 100% clean methods is not statistically significantly (let's use the established standard of P-value < 0.05) less able to prevent guerilla/terrorist attacks than intelligence gathered using 'dirty' tactics. For simplicity's sake I'd suggest a two-tailed t-test, but if you've got something better, go right ahead and use it.

Now go!

 
At 9:51 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

I'm at a loss to explain how you managed to get that so wrong. Whether America can afford to not use torture is not at all moral; it's empirical. You have to prove that intelligence gathered using 100% clean methods is not statistically significantly (let's use the established standard of P-value < 0.05) less able to prevent guerilla/terrorist attacks than intelligence gathered using 'dirty' tactics.

You are just being silly now. Torture is traditionally condemned for the following "empirical" reasons, based on extensive anecdotal evidence:

(1) there is no bright line for determining where to stop, which frequently results in death with no intelligence.

(2) intelligence extracted via torture is usually worthless, for the simple reason that the victim of torture will usually say anything to stop the pain. There are reams of evidence for this, just go back to the middle ages and the Spanish Inquisition.

(3) Torture involves inflicting pain on another human being. People who engage in torture are often psychologically damaged by it, or worse, become addicted to it. In that regard, I wonder how many people who advocate the use of torture have actually tortured a living thing. Thought not.

(4) There is really no way to construct the kind of statistical tests you envision, because it would take a long, long time to compile a sample that would be considered statistically credible. There are several other considerations involved in such a statistical weighting, such as the relationship of torture/no torture to hypothetical outcomes, but we leave it at that.

 
At 10:11 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve says: "We can win the WOT if we focus simply on the pinpoint of finding and destroying WMD's."

So you're saying if we Napalm all of the cocoa, all of the hashish, all existing illicit drugs everywhere in the world, that the drug addicts on the sidewalks of, say Greenwich Village, will suddenly be enlightened and go forth as productive members of society without further interaction?

Or do you think they might get busy searching for previously unknown means of getting high?

3,000 died on 9/11 without WMDs and your solution to the world's problem with terrorism is to seek out WMds with precision intelligence so the terrorists can't use them? It just doesn't get more naive than that -- and really doesn't even deserve a reply at all.

 
At 10:41 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

3,000 died on 9/11 without WMDs and your solution to the world's problem with terrorism is to seek out WMds with precision intelligence so the terrorists can't use them? It just doesn't get more naive than that -- and really doesn't even deserve a reply at all.

Well, thanks for responding anyway, I appreciate it.

The way you stop terrorists coming into the US is to tighten the borders. That would be difficult, but we haven't even started.

The way you stop 9/11's, is to use security for items that can be used for terrorism, such as, airplanes.

The way you stop the use of WMD's, is you ensure that, by whatever means necessary, that they are not being produced in bulk worldwide, and if you can't control that (witness our nuclear ally in Pakistan), then you ensure that whoever has WMD's is at least responsible. If neither, then you destroy the WMD's.

You are not going to be able to stop the terrorist mentality lurking among many hundreds of millions of Muslims by invading the Muslim world and killing them all, or forcing them to adopt forms of government in which they have no experience, or whatever. The idea that we can invade the Muslim world and persuade them at gunpoint to play nice is just preposterous.

A hundred years ago we had anarchists in the US and Europe, and they carried out many "terrorist acts" and assassinations (including McKinley, of course). This led to a heightened fear of the immigrants who were usually associated with these groups, including Italians, Russians, and Russian Jews. There were consequences to this hysterical, prejudicial, reaction. One thing I do not recall hearing, however, was any plan to invade these countries and implanting democracy as a way of stopping it.

 
At 10:48 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, gotcha Steve. Defense.

Sounds like a plan to me, build a wall and pray. No thanks. No further reply needed.

 
At 10:55 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Sounds like a plan to me, build a wall and pray. No thanks. No further reply needed.

You wouldn't get further replies if you accurately stated my position. Number one, I said nothing about praying. Number two, I said nothing about building a wall. Number three, I said nothing about interventions: in fact that is exactly what I have in mind. However, invading countries and attempting to remake them is a much bigger deal than has been yet sold to the American people. Moreover, speaking of 9/11, I don't recall any Iraqis on those planes -- I think they were mostly from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. And we did -- what?

 
At 11:26 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger TmjUtah said...

Steve -

Without the capital of Iran and Saudi, there is no worldwide Islamist movement. It would be DONE.

You call it a fantasy.

On September 10, 2001, you'ld go a long way to find anyone who would credit a successful U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was in the offing.

Watch several hundred thousand U.S. (shucks, even European or Israeli) citizens die as the result of a terrorist attack.

Thar's a billyun of 'em. Cain't kill 'em all. Nope.

Just watch. I never said anything about indiscriminate bombing, either. Specific targets, destroyed utterly, are what bring states to their knees.

Leadership, comms, infrastructure. And if the Iranians have put a lot of effort into building their White House, Pentagon, Los Alamos and Oak Ridge facilities under shrines and hospitals, they have proven themselves about as historically literate as your run of the mill college graduate from the west.

The level of capital expenditure to end the "state" end of state sponsored terror falls short of what we are going to spend this year on reclaiming and rebuilding the slums of New Orleans.

We could end the threat over a longer time frame, and with less loss of life, but the way our polity is wired, I don't see it being allowed to happen.

Successful years of self-government in Afghanistan and Iraq would bring unbearable pressure for positive change in Iran, Saudi, and Syria. Pressure that makes the internet and satellite TV influences pale in comparison. Unfortunately, with the liberal/Left chorus of "conflict=defeat as long as there's a Republican as president", there's not enough years in hand to see it through.

I see an intersection of Western decadence and Islamist insanity in the offing. Both sides are going to pay a heavy price.

 
At 11:44 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

I think the core issue is that Americans have always been rather idealistic about things and when the messiness of something, say, this war, comes about, it offends our ideals.

Steve is projecting here. This is really Steve’s description of himself – rather idealistic, fastidious about war because war is messy & an offense to his ideals.

I do think it's somewhat simplistic to say that the "left hates America" or "blame America first". I think they are only holding us to higher standards. I frankly don't see a problem with that.

“Higher standards” is not too far off. At least it’s in the neighborhood of reality, which is an imposition of a double standard but Steve & other anti-warriors have no problem with that.

The standard the anti-warriors give the enemy is the helpful luxury of no standard at all. The enemy is quite free, as far as the anti-warriors are concerned, to do harm to US interests overseas, to sponsor & aid the terrorists to murder American citizens & the allies of America, including inside the US itself & to openly & officially threaten America. There is almost no limit to what the enemy is allowed to do with impunity. All the enemy has to do is to avoid invasion of US territory with an army of uniformed combatants, something none who currently shop from the list above could do, anyway. Our enemies are hoping against hope that the anti-warriors can stall things until our enemies can go nuclear, just like Saddam did.

Maybe it’s not whether there’s a parent/child component to the anti-warriors’ naïve & immature viewpoint of the role of foreign policy. Isn’t that an inevitable element of any group’s outlook on government? The parent/child metaphor is pervasive, strong & seems to characterize many relationships at one time or another. Perhaps the question should be how the anti-warriors can progress toward a realistic, mature & healthy relationship with their government.

In the parent/child metaphor the terrorists & their rogue state enablers could be the ‘fast company’ that are leading our anti-warrior/rebelling teens astray, staying out until all hours & getting them high & hooked on America-bashing.

I also get no sense that the American people would accept the level of indiscriminate urban bombing that we used against the Germans and Japanese in World War Two.

I find it annoying that statements like the above appear on the blogs all the time. It means that over the years since WW2 the left has been able to revise history for many like Steve to the effect that the US was the bad guy in WW2. It’s the unspoken assumption behind the “indiscriminate urban bombing” phrase that Steve uses. There is a Template that all of the anti-warriors use to analyze any historical event, from WW2 to the recent bombing of al Qaeda at a banquet in the mountains of Pakistan – America is forever the villain – or if not the villain, caused or created the villain.

In that regard, I wonder how many people who advocate the use of torture have actually tortured a living thing. Thought not.

Steve apparently thinks that the posters on this blog advocate torture.

 
At 11:57 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve says:

Number one, I said nothing about praying. Number two, I said nothing about building a wall.

I beg to differ, the very first thing you said in reply was:

The way you stop terrorists coming into the US is to tighten the borders. That would be difficult, but we haven't even started.

If that ain't building a wall, I don't know what is, and even though I like that part of your wall theory for other reasons, if you plan on depending on that artificial barrier to save yourself from death by terrorism, you better damn well learn how to recite prayers, because you'll need them -- either for your final words or in capitulation to your new masters.

Number three, I said nothing about interventions: in fact that is exactly what I have in mind.

Yes, you have in mind some sort of guided missile attack on stockpiles of WMDs from behind your wall of isolation. In your mind, this will somehow ensure that you get fresh milk deliveries for the rest of your life.

The reality is you will stand by your milkbox, gazing at the empties from your "cone of silence" (sorry, couldn't resist sticking in a Schumer/Smart quote there) while growing ever more thirsty in your despair.

 
At 12:15 AM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do think it's somewhat simplistic to say that the "left hates America" or "blame America first". I think they are only holding us to higher standards. I frankly don't see a problem with that.

Thanks Steve.

How about writing about Social Dominance Orientation, neo-neocon?

This paper's been cited 200+ times:

Pratto, Filicia; Sidanius, Jim; Stallworth, Lisa; Malle, Bertram. "Social Dominance Orientation: A Personality Variable Predicting Social and Political Attitudes." In Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1994, vol 67, no. 4, 741-763.

I don't want to pick a fight, just point out an interesting study showing (amongst many findings) significance levels at the p < .001 level (n=100) correlating social dominance orientation with support for "Wars of Dominance," and at the p < .01 level correlating negatively with "Humanitarian Wars."

"SDO strongly and consistently related to belief in a number of hierarchy-legitizing myths, most strongly to anti-Black racism and nationalism. SDO also was strongly negatively related to a hierarchy-attenuating ideology, noblesse oblige. SDO correlated consistently positively with beliefs in sexism, equal opportunities, patriotism, cultural elitism, conservatism, and a Just World.

"Finally, SDO showed strong consistent correlations with scales assessing women's rights, and with support for military programs. SDO was also consistently correlated with opposition to gay and lesbian rights, environmental programs, and miscegeny and was consistently correlated with support for U.S. chauvinism, law-and-order policies, and Republican party identification" (p. 754).

The study's been replicated many times over in many countries.

 
At 12:55 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger J. Peden said...

Anon 12:15am. - How is SDO defined? This sounds like a study of White Supremists. If so, so what?

 
At 2:04 AM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SDO is just a unit of measurement, like centimeters or inches, applied to one aspect of personality (rather than a ruler, the authors use a set of questions).

This sounds like a study of White Supremists.

No, just your run-of-the-mill bastards.

If so, so what?

Unlike neo-neocon's post, the paper I cited tested for significance and had reliable findings. "Reliable" means their findings weren't chance and can be applied to the broader population. One of the more interesting findings was that bastards like wars for the wrong reasons. Another interesting finding is that bastards are consistently correlated with the Republican party.

Not all conservatives are bastards, but most bastards are conservatives.

 
At 2:57 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger still realizing said...

Beware of any analysis that makes you feel superior. And beware any analysis that lets you dismiss the opposition without analyzing their points. "Oh -- they're crazy" or some variant of that.

The child wants to weaken the parent when the child is afraid of the parent. If you are really afraid of the US government becoming too powerful then maybe al-Queda seems very far away.

The Bush administration came into office wanting to overthrow Saddam Hussein but didn't have the pretext. Given the pretext, it overthrew. But we still forget to ask: "Why did the Bush administration want to overthrow Saddam from the beginning"?

Conservatives don't ask that question. Amazingly, leftists don't ask that question, either! There is irrationality in all politics.

 
At 3:22 AM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

TmjUtah: We are in the third inning of a baseball game that will most likely be called in the seventh inning due to the inability of the opposition to field a team.

I agree. The enemy has been lulled into recklessness by their misinterpretation of recent history & by their symbiosis with the anti-warriors, who speak of little but pacification & moderation. The enemy thinks: Soft, easy, acquiescent, lacking will, too fastidious to fight.

The last time the US really warred ‘all out’ was WW2. Since then, starting with Korea, all US conflicts have been ‘limited’ & in distant locations. US citizens have felt safe & I think for most people 9/11 only briefly interfered with that feeling of safety. Life continued to be mundane, ongoing & filled with the everyday exigencies of living.

For some 9/11 was a consciousness raising event. It imbued certain knowledge of the enemies intention. This time it was airplanes, we thought, but next time, what will it be?

If the US population were ever hit by a really large scale terrorist attack it would necessarily have to be performed with a weapon given to the terrorists by the ruler of a country. A nuke, chemical or biological weapon of such killing proportions is not assembled in London apartment bomb factories or in a mountain hideaway.

A problem for Iran, Syria & perhaps a couple of other despot-ruled nations is that the situation itself, because of the impossibility of knowing for certain who gave the terrorists the wherewithal to perform the atrocity on the US, would beg for over-retaliation & I believe the retaliation would be swift, devastating & unconcerned with exact guilt.

BTW, TmjUtah & Ymarsakar are correct in their assessments of the US military’s true capabilities. The US submarine fleet, all by itself, if put to the task would be able to destroy several ME nations. Don’t doubt it.

Tehran & Damascus’s long & ancient histories would end abruptly & rudely. Hopefully, Afghanistan & Iraq would be off the list. Let’s hope they would have continued to be friendly regimes & above suspicion. If it happened today I think some mountainous regions just inside the Pakistan border from Afghanistan would get a share of the destruction.

I don’t think I’m projecting my own fear & anger; I believe at that hypothetical point the Missile Masters would have little choice but to hit the likely suspects, knowing the enablers of the terrorists would likely be somewhere in a very select group: Iran & Syria. The goal would be to prevent those rulers from giving anymore portable WMD to terrorists, thereby ending the attacks in the US or at least limiting the terrorists to whatever weaponry they might already possess.

Anti-warriors need to realize that any US President finding themselves in such a scenario would probably go to any length to prevent future attacks. Want to prevent carnage in the Middle East? Support the war, support counterespionage measures like the NSA wiretaps & hope the terrorists never get their wish.

 
At 4:39 AM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

How about writing about Social Dominance Orientation, neo-neocon?

SDO seems to comes under the heading of pseudo-science. I read some of the questions on the scale, which are laughable. Some of the problems surrounding SDO are touched on by this author, himself a published scientist:

“And SDO has also been found to predict the tendency to express racial preferences (e.g. Heaven & St. Quintin, 2003). So let's look at what the other half of the items in the SDO scale say: They say things like: "Inferior groups should stay in their place", "Superior groups should dominate inferior groups" and "Some groups of people are just more worthy than others". So people who believe that there are inferior and superior groups also believe that there are inferior and inferior races. How astounding! Since races are groups, the finding that the SDO scale predicts racism is in fact LOGICALLY ENTAILED. It parades as an empirical finding but it is not. It tells us nothing new about the world. It is merely something that is true by definition.”

Subjects were presented with covertly racist statements, such as “Superior groups should dominate inferior groups.” Those that answered in the affirmative were given further overtly racist questions to answer: “Blacks are not to be trusted.” Not surprisingly, most who said yes to the first also had a tendency to answer yes to the second.

http://users.bigpond.net.au/jonjayray/sdo.html

Another 26 page abstract of an SDO study I read had college students recruit subjects from among their neighbors. Whatever happened to scientific methods of sampling?

http://ppw.kuleuven.be/religion/adobe/ModernFascism.pdf

 
At 11:14 AM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SDO seems to comes under the heading of pseudo-science.

No, SDO is a mainstream measure in the social sciences. The book on the topic has been cited 289 times by authors publishing in academic journals:

Sidanius, J., & Fratto, F. (1999). Social dominance: an inter group theory of social hierarchy and oppression. New Work: Cambridge University Press

I read some of the questions on the scale, which are laughable.

Appendix B of the paper lists all the items used on the many 7-point scales used to measure SDO. Instructions read, "Which of the following objects or statements do you have a positive or negative feeling towards? Beside each object or statement, place a number from '1' to '7' which represents the degree of your positive or negative feeling." The scale is labeled from 'very positive (7)' through to 'very negative (1)'. Here's the anti-black racism scale:

A Black president
Racial integration
White superiority
Black are inherently inferior
Civil rights activists

Yeah, that's pretty laughable alright. How could I have missed it?

So people who believe that there are inferior and superior groups also believe that there are inferior and inferior races. How astounding!

And they vote Republican. How astounding!

Some of the problems surrounding SDO are touched on by this author, himself a published scientist.

J. J. Ray is a former academic and a critic of SDO. You can read his stuff at his blogs, Political Correctness Watch, Greenie Watch, Gun Watch, Education Watch, Socialized Medicine, Leftists as Elitists, Marx & Engels in their own words, and Scripture Blog. Knock yourselves out.

As I said, the seed article has been cited 200+ times.

Another 26 page abstract of an SDO study I read had college students recruit subjects from among their neighbors. Whatever happened to scientific methods of sampling?

How would physical proximity to the researcher bias the study?

Your link is broken. You can create a link like so (replace square brackets with 'less than' and 'greater than' signs):

prefix:
[a href="http://www.address.com"]

suffix:
[/a]

 
At 11:41 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

"liberals in the US have always been associated with strong government"

Always is a long time. I'm pretty sure liberals were on the side of, say, Robin Hood vs. King John, so the change must have happened at some point since then. Given liberal distaste for our current government, perhaps there is hope for rectifying the situation...

 
At 12:45 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous jg said...

Neo, a very interesting thread with stimulating comments. Thanks. I think the refusal of the American Left to abide by American principles has left us no choice to but to label their viewpoint as non American.
Analysis must be not be rationalization. So, you can be born in this country but not be an American. THAT declaration will really bring on hellfire, won't it?
Yes, I am saying no more tolerance. Bush has paid a political price for tolerating the lies of the Left. Too many Americans have died because of the Left; any dialogue ended long ago. I am not interested in protected domestic terrorists.

 
At 12:55 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

No, SDO is a mainstream measure in the social sciences. The book on the topic has been cited 289 times by authors publishing in academic journals:

Appendix B of the paper lists all the items used on the many 7-point scales used to measure SDO.

As I said, the seed article has been cited 200+ times.


Anon seems to be of the opinion that if it’s repeated or referenced often enough it becomes plated in gold.

I checked both of the sites I addressed in my comment & found no Appendix B & no such questions as Anon listed. Perhaps Anon & I are talking about different studies.

And they[that the studies find are racists] vote Republican. How astounding!

Furthermore, I didn’t see any questions among those several listed by Anon that had anything to do with party affiliation.

I’m not going to go out & buy a book but if Anon could perhaps provide something on the internet that backs up his/her statements I might get back with a comment.

Grackle: Another 26 page abstract of an SDO study I read had college students recruit subjects from among their neighbors. Whatever happened to scientific methods of sampling?

Anon: How would physical proximity to the researcher bias the study?


Such a non-random, unscientific method of sampling is likely to produce skewed data & that’s even if the students recruiting neighbors for subjects could be completely unbiased, which is very unlikely. I worry with such a sampling method whether if the students, being only human, might decide to cherry-pick for results likely to please the professor or confirm their own bias. The size of these samples would also have a bearing on the validity of the results.

I would point out that polling companies, who themselves are masters of rigorous scientific sampling, still get it wrong from time to time.

More on sampling methods: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_(statistics)

Your link is broken.

I haven’t provided any links. What I have furnished are internet addresses to be copied & pasted into the address window of the browser. The addresses are good – I just checked them.

 
At 1:15 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

The whole SDO thing is a tendentious joke. No science at all. The citations number is also a joke. Sure, those that are predisposed to believe that con = bad will cite such garbage "to prove" thier point. The whole thing reminds me of the use of Heisenberg's principles in lit crit. No thinking person would take overt political garbage like SDO seariously.

 
At 1:19 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

still_realizing said:
"The Bush administration came into office wanting to overthrow Saddam Hussein but didn't have the pretext."

Links, please.

 
At 1:46 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

But we still forget to ask: "Why did the Bush administration want to overthrow Saddam from the beginning"?

Some of us do not need to ask. We have enough historical awareness to know that it was already the official policy of the US to seek Saddams overthrow even before Bush took office.

We even know why that was official policy. We know why the US, not Bush, sought to get rid of Saddam.

Memory is a useful thing. Without it you end up like some character in an Orwell novel, saying "We never had any prior desire for regime change in Iraq until Bush came along".

 
At 1:54 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Promethea said...

Some of the posters on this thread persist in thinking that the Iraq War is all about "Republicans" and "personality types."

Please, do yourself a favor and read Kenneth Pollack's "The Threatening Storm," written about U.S.-Iraq relations before 2001. This book is full of facts. The arguments the antiwar left presents is generally about non-facts.

Before I read this book, I also read "Republic of Fear," by Anonymous (later, Kanan Makiya),written around 1989. I cite this book because all the information one needed was around before 9-11.

I've almost stopped trying to convince various "liberals" that facts are important. I'm giving this effort another try in this small posting.

 
At 2:05 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon seems to be of the opinion that if it’s repeated or referenced often enough it becomes plated in gold.

The number of times an academic work is cited is a good indication of the adoption of its hypotheses by the academic community. It's similar to social navigation on the web: material that isn't worth your attention just fades away. It's possible that a notorious work could be cited frequently, but it would have to be very notorious indeed, and that's not the case here. I've browsed hundreds of titles, and I assure you it's a mainstream instrument.

Perhaps Anon & I are talking about different studies.

I am referring to this one:

Pratto, Filicia; Sidanius, Jim; Stallworth, Lisa; Malle, Bertram. "Social Dominance Orientation: A Personality Variable Predicting Social and Political Attitudes." In Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1994, vol 67, no. 4, 741-763.

I'm not going to go out & buy a book but if Anon could perhaps provide something on the internet that backs up his/her statements I might get back with a comment.

You need either access to electronic journals or access to a research library with a subscription to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

I know it's unlikely, that's why it would be interesting for neo-neocon to post on the topic. Presumably, she has easy access to the journals.

Such a non-random, unscientific method of sampling is likely to produce skewed data & that’s even if the students recruiting neighbors for subjects could be completely unbiased, which is very unlikely. I worry with such a sampling method whether if the students, being only human, might decide to cherry-pick for results likely to please the professor or confirm their own bias. The size of these samples would also have a bearing on the validity of the results.

Fair enough, though they may have controlled for bias. That said, there are dozens if not hundreds of studies using the SDO scales, or variations on them.

The whole SDO thing is a tendentious joke. No science at all. The citations number is also a joke. Sure, those that are predisposed to believe that con = bad will cite such garbage "to prove" thier point. The whole thing reminds me of the use of Heisenberg's principles in lit crit. No thinking person would take overt political garbage like SDO seariously.

You go girl!

 
At 2:24 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

You're right - this whole mess is my dad's fault. First thing tomorrow, I'm getting my own place.

.

 
At 3:07 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Anon SDO,
You go girl?

It is not science, and you should not try to represent it as such. I am in science and I review many manuscripts for many different scientific journals, and that work doesn't cut it. Can't reduce it to a single varible, can't control, and can't avoid operator bias. What you are describing was developed for the purpose of giving shallow people like yourself some feeling that their petty opinions are somehow "scientifically" valid. I doubt if you even understand the concepts of science.

 
At 3:32 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous bob said...

Brad,

You are so arrogant. Go back to your cubicle.

 
At 5:21 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

You need either access to electronic journals or access to a research library with a subscription to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

I have neither. I gather that your belief is that pro-warriors are meanie racist types & that anti-warriors are a lot nicer. I wouldn’t mind a debate along those lines but if your technique is to toss out material from sources the rest of us can’t access, I’ll pass.

 
At 6:09 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brad, at its heart the instrument is simply correlating answers to expose patterns. How is it not science?

 
At 7:05 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Here’s a scientific presentation I found that critiques SDO. According to the author the significance of the SDO articles & book that Anon refers to is that gender differences were found – woman being less prone to Social Dominance Orientation than men, but the difference was small – less than 1%. Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of his critique:

While it is true that the authors found statistically significant differences between males' and females' SDO scores, the difference could hardly be called "significant" in the more ordinary sense of the term. In the authors own words, "The mean effect size for sex-gender was indeed small (.07)." (1994, p.1009.)

And later in the article:

Although earlier in the article SDO is linked to war, capitalism and a number of other major political behaviors, all the authors claim in the end is that if this difference is upheld by other research teams, the difference will be important in terms of "helping us to choose among various explanatory paradigms." (p. 1009.) The main thrust of my criticisms in this paper is the way in which this very small difference is interpreted and the way it is linked to very "large" political behaviors.

http://ispp.org/annual_meeting_archives/wardispp95.html

Another critique:

http://www.psy.ox.ac.uk/social_psych/Rubin_&_Hewstone.doc

Having devoted 2-3 hours of reading on the net about SDO, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a theory under fire from the scientific community. It seems that other, newer theories, such as System Justification are superseding it. I nowhere saw anything having to do to do with correlation of SDO with party affiliation.

 
At 7:10 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Can we move the SDO stuff to another thread? I'm trying to read the debate about the thread topic :P

 
At 7:23 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Anon,
Correlation is not proof of anything; I have had some manuscripts rejected by fine journals (e.g., PNAS) because I could not demonstrate causality. I later did and was published. That is science. I came across the article you cite several months ago while chasing some link; my first thought after reading it was that “I have a different conclusion.” Using their data, I concluded that the study showed that people who consider themselves, upfront, to be “liberals” are much more likely to deny their prejudices than cons. In other words, I concluded that cons are not nastier (more racist, etc) people than liberals, but that liberals were much more dishonest than cons. You cannot prove that my conclusion is wrong, and I cannot prove that their conclusion is wrong. That is why it is not science.

 
At 8:27 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

"The number of times an academic work is cited is a good indication of the adoption of its hypotheses by the academic community. It's similar to social navigation on the web: material that isn't worth your attention just fades away. It's possible that a notorious work could be cited frequently, but it would have to be very notorious indeed, and that's not the case here. I've browsed hundreds of titles, and I assure you it's a mainstream instrument."

Welcome to the new scholasticism; it's all the rage. Once every other truth criteria is deconstructed, you're left with majority rules. So much for original thought...

 
At 8:45 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 8:50 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

This nation swings a hammer that can level continents, but only when enough of us take a hold of the handle. Only after enough of us see the necessity.

That time is coming.


Or, to use anime terms, just wait until we go Super Saiyen. You can have your laughs beating us up, but that won't last forever.It might, if the US was as weak as Israel in terms of population. But we're not the short dude here.

And who's going to mold it?

News, info, propaganda, terroist bombings, military testimonies. Stuff, you know. You'll never control all the variables.

I leave it to the polls to determine if this is effective opinion molding.

Relying on polls to judge polling. How logically circular of you.

You want to give me chapter and verse on that from Sherman's memoirs? Just curious.

Google Sherman Atlanta. I already posted the link here, obviously you didn't read it a few posts back.

I get absolutely no sense that the American people are yet ready for that effort, or the use of that much power.

I suppose if you're satisfied with children being blown to pieces around American humvees giving out candy, so be it. You still don't know the solutions, but do you really want to? If you don't want to use your power, you're just going to have to stand by and watch people be killed by those who will.

I also get no sense that the American people would accept the level of indiscriminate urban bombing that we used against the Germans and Japanese in World War Two.

You don't get much sense of anything, including any possible solutions, now do you?

While it is true that America has not accepted, it is not the same as we would not accept.

This is a fantasy about worldwide retribution.

Some people are willing to defend children being slaughtered, because we are willing to use our power and suffer the consequences thereof. You think this is a fantasy, and perhaps it is, to people who like reality as it is and are unwilling to sacrifice anything to change the status quo.

Of course it is a fantasy to you, because the world we want to create is so much better than the status quo one, and that will always be a fantasy looked down upon by those who criticize.

There are limits to what we can do in the world. Yes, even if we go "psycho batshit." Let's get real.

We've already considered the physical limitations of power. The limits you impose is one based upon your belief that it is a fantasy. Your limits are not based upon physical reality, because you consider the simple use of such power to be a fantastical scenario. Such a belief system is inadequate and foolishly applied to power produced from Human Domestic Products.

because you cannot prove a moral judgment.

Actually, you can, but you'd have to use logic. And few people use or understand logic.

(1) there is no bright line for determining where to stop, which frequently results in death with no intelligence.

Water dunking is very useful because you can resusitate a person many times. The limit is simple, 20 times for young people, fewer times for older.

(2) intelligence extracted via torture is usually worthless, for the simple reason that the victim of torture will usually say anything to stop the pain. There are reams of evidence for this, just go back to the middle ages and the Spanish Inquisition.

Remember what I said about logic and how people don't use it?

It's pretty obvious, if someone tells you something because he is intimidated or in pain, you can't take it for the truth. Which is why you get his buddies and his family and the other 5,000 something inmates you have, and get them to answer the same question on the same topic. Then correlate what they say, and come up with reasons for inconsistencies and percentage chances that the person actually knows something. So, if a General says something inconsistent that a Private is saying, then even if 5,000 privates are consistent and against the General, the General by his rank holds much greater sway.

Proof isn't an excuse to stop thinking, people. Science ain't no religion, don't rely on it through faith that the "proof" will set you free.

(3) Torture involves inflicting pain on another human being.

War involves killing people, which ends their lives and causes pain to their family. We should stop doing this because...?

People who engage in torture are often psychologically damaged by it, or worse, become addicted to it.

And this is different from war because...? Like I said, logic helps. Logic allows superior training to reduce the stress and psychological damage on humans, when they kill. Same applies to torture. Humans are malleable, superior training produces superior results.

. In that regard, I wonder how many people who advocate the use of torture have actually tortured a living thing. Thought not.

Torture is an interesting subject because it is both an ethical and a pragmatic issue that one can study without the actual doing. So when I say that crime is bad, I don't have to have actually done a crime to be right about that.

I wonder how many solutions you have provided, Steve, and how that qualifies you to criticize the solutions already offered.

You are not going to be able to stop the terrorist mentality lurking among many hundreds of millions of Muslims by invading the Muslim world and killing them all,

Theoretically, if you killed them all, then it would stop their mentality, because nobody would be alive to have a mental state. Did you ever hear of logic, or what do you use exactly here?

The idea that we can invade the Muslim world and persuade them at gunpoint to play nice is just preposterous.

There is that belief and then there is the facts. The Muslim world can persuade the West at gunpoint to play nice, but you say it is preposterous for us to make them play nice.... your reasoning lacks some coherence here.

Steve apparently thinks that the posters on this blog advocate torture.

I really don't care what they call it.. I advocate efficient interrogation methods because I study psychology and its effects, and there's nothing wrong with it. I tend to think people sympathetic to terroists that blow up children with an IED because they like American candy, is un-ethical. Pain, fear, and deterence works. There's nothing unethical about efficient interrogation methods.

The devil is always in the details. I don't trust bureacracy with torture, like I don't trust bureacracy with anything. Torture should only be allowed to Special Forces operators, Seals, etc units and not military intelligence.

If you need someone tortured, you don't do it, you drag in a SpecForce Ops guy from Afghanistan to do it for you. Or you can just limit it to officers of certain ranks. If you run out of people qualified to do it, under my terms, that may be a sign that you are turning into a fascist police state.

The devil is always in the details, but that doesn't mean there are no solutions here. I trust America's Special Forces community to be moral about inflicting great mental and physical anguish and to restrain themselves. They have the training to blow up an American city, if we trust them with such power and knowledge, then we'd better trust them to be ethical. And I do. Others don't, what the hell.

 
At 9:23 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Just to make my opinion known... in the specific case where the person in question is a part of some terrorist attack in the works and knows enough to stop the attack, hell yes I advocate torture! However, in the general case, this isn't a very useful statement, as it can be difficult to tell who really is a terrorist and who isn't. I most definitely do not advocate torture for the purpose of witch hunts (in other words, for following leads that have a low or mediocre chance of being reliable). In other words, it's a cost/benefit analysis.

I await statistics to show whether witch hunting is what the US has been doing, because I'm too lazy to find the info myself (that and I have three midterms this week, including biochemistry and immunology).

 
At 10:44 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Witch hunting is called having two investigations on Tillman, the poster child for the Rangers if you saw his picture.

There is something wrong with the lawyers in the military, Army and even Marines. You'd think that military lawyers would be better than civilian lawyers. But they aren't. Neither the prosecutors nor defenders. It's just the same game.

You have lawyers railroading Captains out of the Army, for firing a pistol off in the ear of an "insurgent" in order to save his men.

Those lawyers can even corrupt the military with biased system of "justice".

Here's an interesting comment by Iraq the Model on American "batshit psycho" power.

Me: Is there going to be no role for politics?

Dad: What politics are you talking about?! We are dealing with deeply-rooted beliefs…Yes, in politics everything is possible but with religion you find yourself before very few options to choose from and our people have mostly voted for the religious.

Me: And what's America's role here? Will they stand by and watch while things go against what the way they desire?

Dad: Why do you always put America in the face of the canon? America is a super power but it's not superman. These are our problems now and America has nothing to do with it. We have to fix our mess or no one will.

Me: But their interests and presence here makes Iraq's stability a top priority for them, right?

Dad: And this stability is not going to happen soon…Why do you always want things to be the way you like them? Failure exists just like success does.

Me: Will America leave Iraq?

Dad: Not now of course but they will at the nearest possible chance. Don't forget that America had been in the region long before 2003 and Iraq is not an irreplaceable base. Syria and Iran can be dealt with from Turkey of the gulf countries.


I wish America were fully worthy of the power we wield. But we are not. Just as the Army is not fully worthy of the patriots in the Army, whom they get rid of for political purposes. America is what it is, and it is very imperfect.

We have somehow degenerated into a society in which we seek the "world's permission" to piss in a pot. Reagan used to bomb Libya in punishment for two Americans being killed, without "UN" resolutions. And this was the big bad time of MAD and nuclear holocaust time.

I am sad that we cannot do more for Iraq, I am sad that we are not confident in our power and maturity to take the lead so that others don't have to do everything by themselves.

The great example of America was the primary example Japan and Germany became successful nations. Because AMerica showed that fighting a war with America is just a waste of your time, far better for you to devote your efforts to peace and prosperity, American might will protect you while you do so.

Iraq has had the detriment of never being beat by America in a war. We came close in Gulf War I, Iraqis surrendered, then Bush's father started making 50 mistakes in a row. Then Bush tried to solve his father's mistakes, and ended up making another mistake, and here we are.

It is really sad. I don't want a multilateral leader like Bush in charge, but I am quite aware that he was the best option of the lot. I hold no bitterness there like others. Things are what they are, suck it up.

America is afraid to use our power. We are insecure in some ways, without the hated Soviet Empire to fight against and to justify our show of strength.

Americans love the underdog, it is very very weird to be the top dog of the 21st century.

But, we will mature, in time. And the more the terroists attack us, the more pictures of American soldiers are ripped naked and dragged through the streets in Somalia, the more the Arabs burn our flag, then the faster we will mature.

I say, bring it on. It's about time we finished this war, so let us see what we may see, shall we?

Remember those Star Trek episodes where they show you the "war version" of Picard and Janeway? They were my favorite episodes. Cause it had a seriousness, an honesty, and a maturity that the other episodes lacked in atmosphere.

Now I understand that the episodes were meant to convince me that war was bad, and that peace was good, because the happy ending was supposed to have returned Picard to the universe he belonged or something like that. Nevermind, it didn't work.

 
At 11:10 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

I say, bring it on. It's about time we finished this war, so let us see what we may see, shall we?

*sigh*

As much as some people need to be snapped back into reality, I always hesitate to wish for something like that, given the implications.

And, may I add, I get your (Neo's) word verifications wrong 20-30% of the time.

 
At 11:18 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to the child-parent analogy.

I got into a heated argument with a very good friend over the weekend. He doesn't believe American Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.

This friend of mine loathes his father. Doesn't a child who routinely feels manipulated, betrayed, humiliated become an adult who can only look at life through a horribly distorted lens - those in power are out to screw you and deceive you?

I'm just curious, do any of the individuals who embrace conspiracy theories ever come from happy-go-lucky families?

 
At 11:18 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The implications are clear. If they don't bring it on now, and soon, before they are ready and we are fully asleep, 9/11 would have been a nuclear attack.

If Hitler had waited until he had a full Navy as was projected in a few years, Hitler would have been in a much better place. If hitler had waited before attacking Russia, Hitler might have won.

So bring it on, because enemy attacks are only opportunities for counter-attacks.

If they don't attack, it doesn't mean less people will die. It means more people will die when they finally attack, than ever would have died had they attacked sooner.

 
At 11:49 PM, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grackle, this is from the first article you cite as condemning SDO (http://ispp.org/annual_meeting_archives/wardispp95.html ):

Social Dominance Theory, stripped of the distracting issue of biologically rooted gender differences, is still an important contribution to political psychology. A constellation of beliefs and behaviors have been identified that seem to cluster with some consistency.

And Brad, that's my response to you, too. Correlation is sufficiently interesting. The cluster alone is revealing.

Granted, yes, the liberals could all have been lying while taking the test. You might consider getting some grant money to look into the phenemenon.

Grackle, I'm not sure why you cite the second paper as a criticism of SDO:

http://www.psy.ox.ac.uk/social_psych/Rubin_&_Hewstone.doc

The major shortcoming they see in SDO, from the conclusion of their paper (p. 25), is that,

"Social dominance theory’s personality based approach fails to account for cases of relatively rapid widespread social change."

That's a different ball of wax. Is Humanitarian War now a core conservative value? Well ... the irony of the other thread's presence here is just killing me.

This nation swings a hammer that can level continents, but only when enough of us take a hold of the handle. Only after enough of us see the necessity.

That time is coming.


lol

 
At 12:04 AM, March 07, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

And Brad, that's my response to you, too. Correlation is sufficiently interesting. The cluster alone is revealing.

Yes (this is more to Brad than to anon). Correlation generally does not prove causation (there are some ways to imply cause and effect using special methods, but that wouldn't even matter in this case), but it can suggest linked attributes, thus making it interesting.

That said, I'm not really sure how SDO has any relevance to this debate, other than to serve as a potential ad hominem attack.

 
At 1:27 AM, March 07, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

A lot of people just don't understand how liberty and democracy and the Republic of the United States works.

So they scoff and laugh at Justin's portrayal of popular fury and popular power.

The dream of every utopian was the "power of the people". Yet when the people's power finally ascends to the level of Superpower in the 21st century, known as the United States, suddenly we become a laughing stock and a pinata to abuse.

There goes that dream.

 
At 8:39 AM, March 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I've made an ad hominem attack, what do you call the parent post "The left and the US: blaming the parent"?

Unlike neo-neocon's post, the paper I cited tested for significance and had reliable findings.

The dream of every utopian was the "power of the people". Yet when the people's power finally ascends to the level of Superpower in the 21st century, known as the United States, suddenly we become a laughing stock and a pinata to abuse.

The people's movement is in South America.

In the USA, the bastards are in power.

 
At 11:14 AM, March 07, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Grackle, I'm not sure why you cite the second paper as a criticism of SDO.

Readers, I cited the second paper because it is a criticism of SDO. I offered it as a typical example of several critiques I ran across in my short stint of net research. It is an article comparing 3 different theories: social identity theory, system justification theory, social dominance theory. It concludes with the opinion that system justification theory & its kissing cousin, social dominance theory, both suck when compared to the older tried & true social identity theory, especially since “… only social identity theory offers the potential for explaining social change and social stability.” The critique author was interested in a theory that might be useful for both models at the same time. It is dry & technical but most definitely critical.

Anon also quotes from a study that I commented on that was critical of SDO researchers, implying that the author approved of the SDO researchers. The author definitely did not.
Below the critique’s author takes the SDO researchers to task for implying that differences in SDO scores between men & women were significant. And no wonder, according to the SDO researcher’s own data - the actual amount of difference was .07 percent, less than one percent!

Sidanius, Pratto and Bobo (1994) "confirmed the notion that men have significantly higher social dominance scores than women and that these differences were consistent across cultural, demographic, and situation factors..." (p. 998.) Of what, then, does that confirmation consist? While it is true that the authors found statistically significant differences between males' and females' SDO scores, the difference could hardly be called "significant" in the more ordinary sense of the term. In the authors own words, "The mean effect size for sex-gender was indeed small (.07)." (1994, p.1009.)

A little further on the critique’s author politely berates the SDO researchers for hinting that a higher score on SDO is linked to war, capitalism(ooh, bad, bad Capitalists!) & other political behaviors because in the conclusion the authors couldn’t really say that:

Although earlier in the article SDO is linked to war, capitalism and a number of other major political behaviors, all the authors claim in the end is that if this difference is upheld by other research teams, the difference will be important in terms of "helping us to choose among various explanatory paradigms." (p. 1009.) The main thrust of my criticisms in this paper is the way in which this very small difference is interpreted and the way it is linked to very "large" political behaviors.

Still further the author writes of the SDO researchers’ “… pre-conceived notions … dressed as tentative conclusions,” which are then “folded into the "etiology" of social dominance orientations.” Hardly a recommendation.

What is troubling is that given the lack of a formal test and the very cursory explication each model receives, the basis for choosing any model can only be the authors' pre-conceived notions of which model is best. These are then presented in the article dressed as tentative conclusions. In later articles, the "conclusions" are folded into the "etiology" of social dominance orientations (Sidanius, Pratto & Bobo, 1994, p.999-1000.)

And another quote:

Equally troubling is that when the authors introduced the biological model, they linked it to what today we might refer to as male "testosterone poisoning" on the one hand, and female nurturance and tender mindedness on the other. These concepts are so riddled with stereotypes and so poorly sustained by research (see below), that one must keep in mind that the research reported in this article belongs to a previous era of research on gender differences. That is not the case, however with the data Sidanius and his colleagues have collected more recently which are interpreted in a similar manner to the data reported in 1980.

Finally, as seen below, not only does the critique’s author dislike the methods of the SDO researchers, the author has no respect for the SDO theory as a tool to predict negative traits:

In short, just as the research on race differences causes an initial stir when reports of differences are circulated followed by the evaporation of those differences when brought under closer scrutiny, I see no reason to believe SDO will not suffer the same fate.

Readers, social dominance orientation is neither good nor bad – it is a neutral measurement of a sort of deference given by most individuals for groups. The deference can be strong or weak but is almost always present. The concept itself is neutral; deference toward groups can be good in some situations & not good in others. No doubt SDO is a valuable general concept for the field of psychology but it seems to be a fatally flawed tool as a personality theory of discrimination or predictor for violence or war.

Anon has fallen back to the position that data analyzed against model is trivial & that the presence of “clusters” are the important thing. The clusters are apparently a table of negative social traits used by one study among the many SDO-related studies analyzed by the authors of the book he mentions, of which the mere inclusion in the research methodology proves nothing. It’s like reading a newspaper & claiming the information learned from the articles was unimportant & that the really significant thing was how the columns were arranged.

Unlike neo-neocon's post, the paper I cited tested for significance and had reliable findings.

The history of SDO is that it is a neutral measurement of an viewpoint toward groups common to most individuals that some left-leaning social scientists seized upon & for 20 years attempted to link higher SDO scores to negative social traits. Although no such link was ever actually proven it was certainly implied by some of the studies. However, other researchers of similar concepts, such as social identity theory, contradicted even their implications & the flogging of SDO in order to produce bigots is petering out. A similar history exists for other attempts to craft a personality theory of discrimination.

The people's movement is in South America. In the USA, the bastards are in power.

Why is it that anti-warriors, if you debate them long enough, almost always turn out to be closet Communists? It’s happened to me so many times over the years. Anti-warriors are always happy & excited when Totalitarianism speaks. Ortega gets on CNN & they have to lay down for awhile until their pulse returns to normal. A bragging, self-serving retired North Vietnamese colonel is interviewed & schweeng! their Dockers become all bulgy in the front.

The important thing to Anon is that he has found something that he thinks confirms all that he has been seething about in regards to Bush & the war, a thing that can guide him in his confused & angry world. It’s all dressed up in scientific jargon & in the past(not so much now) has been mentioned in some scientific venues & that’s good enough for Anon.

 
At 11:17 AM, March 07, 2006, Anonymous TalkinKamel said...

So, Anonymous, you're going to move to South America, then? Assist the glorious people's revolution down there? Maybe you can move to Cuba, offer Fidel your services? Or Chavez! Go, assist the poor and downtrodden against devil Amerikkka, and the bastards who run it! Power to the people! Viva La Revolucion! Right on. . . whatever.

Don't forget to write. Be sure to let us know how it goes.

(Neo-Neocon, an excellent entry on your blog! And posters like "anonymous" only help you prove your point.

 
At 12:13 PM, March 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always figured they're role-playing gamers too snooty to admit to it.

I can even tell you the ruleset they're playing: a live version of Star Wars RPG, West End D6 or current D20 system, take your pick.

In this fantasy role-playing, they can be Luke Skywalker, leading the Good Guy Rebel Alliance (TM) against the Evil Empire (TM) of Emperor Bushitler, Darth Ashcroft, and Grand Moff Rumsfeld. And since it's fantasy role-playing, they are NEVER in any actual personal danger as they jack off being a Fantasy Hero.

Only thing is, in this fantasy game, the rest of us are non-player characters. And NPCs often "wear the red shirts".

 
At 1:31 PM, March 07, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

The cluster is not interesting; it is intentional; it is a manipulation; it is strictly political. Discriminant Analysis is just like digitalization: BS in, BS out. The methods and sample were chosen to create a particular outcome that could be used in political debate: scientific evidence that a specific worldview is nicer, more benevolent, kinder, and predisposed to fairness (i.e., predisposed to “social justice”). BTW I never wrote that the liberals lied; I wrote that they would deny their prejudices. A major part of the neo-liberal (i.e., social justice, PC liberal) self-esteem is their view of themselves and their worldview as being morally superior; of course that motive force would come out in the kind of questions asked in that “study.” Imagine having scientific proof that you and your ilk were better human beings than your opposition. What a powerful weapon! Almost too good to be true; well, maybe not almost.
Look what it does for Anon: he comments that most bastards are cons and that the bastards are in control of the US (I happen to agree, based on what they say and do, not some junk science). He needn’t prove his point; it was already proved for him.
This schlock tactic is all too common in the past two decades in academia.

 
At 1:40 PM, March 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good rebuttal. I'll reply Wednesday afternoon/evening.

 
At 5:45 PM, March 08, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

I’m having to amend my first impressions of SDO. After reading some criticisms my first feeling was that the concept of using SDO to flog conservatives was “petering out.” I should have held off with that opinion because now that I’ve had 2 more days of research I have discovered that SDO studies that attempt to link SDO to negative social traits are entrenched & numerous.

SDO is only one of several theories that are being used by leftist scientists to demonize the Right. One of their main research instruments is something called the Right-wing Authoritarian(RWA) scale, a scale concocted by a University of Manitoba professor of psychology, Robert Altemeyer. This scale, a set of statements, supposedly tests for RWA. It does not & that is the major flaw in all these studies. Here’s one of the statements on the RWA scale:

It is important to protect the rights of radicals and deviants in all ways.

Altemeyer evidently didn’t worry too much about semantics when he devised this particular scale item. “Deviant” is a hot button word. For most subjects the phrase “sexual deviant” would immediately come to mind. Clearly though, for purposes of the RWA scale, the word is ostensibly meant to convey the meaning of “social deviant” or “political deviant,” since the scale is not intended to test for sexual attitudes but for social authoritarian attitudes. “Deviants” has generally come to mean rapist or sexual molester – not out of the norm political behavior. Can we doubt that most subjects would be more lenient towards someone with an eccentric political philosophy than for a child molester?

The word, “radicals,” is used most often to describe groups(think: student radicals) who exhibit left-spectrum political behavior & its inclusion on the statement almost surely creates a desire to protect the group, “radicals,” with which a left-wing subject(most of whom seem to have been students!) would have a tendency to empathize & thus generally score low. Can we spell “skewed data,” class?

This disconnect between generally accepted meaning & contrary use invalidates the scale item, because it makes it impossible for the item to test what it is supposed to test.

Furthermore, let’s consider the unqualified phrase, “in all ways.” That’s a lot of ways. Could there be any “ways” in which subjects might not want to protect the rights of “child molesters”? Personally, I think the rights of child molesters should be protected but not to the extent that they would be allowed to work at day care centers & elementary schools. So I would check off “strongly disagree” & be branded a bastard by those who think like Anon.

The users of the RWA scale also make a hugely false assumption; they assume that the scale tests for a trait, “Rightwingism.” They apparently have never met an authoritarian left-winger. Readers, I have & I know that many of you have had considerable experience with leftwing authoritarianism in individuals we know & see in the news.

We know the people in China, Russia & Cuba also know about leftwing authoritarian behavior. The President of Harvard University, who was recently made to resign, has struggled with lefty authoritarian types. The phrases “political correctness” & “nanny state” were invented to describe leftwing authoritarian behavior. Some of the most authoritarian & close-minded people I have ever known have been lefties, so a research instrument based on the premise that all authoritarian types are right-wing, that any type of authoritarian tendencies manifest themselves exclusively in right-wingers is invalid ab initio.

In reply to such criticism Altemeyer attempts to explain left-wing regimes that were also authoritarian, such as Stalinist Russia & Maoist China, by declaring them to be “conservative”! Get that, Readers? If you’re a really bad lefty you’re actually right-wing. And this muck passes for research in today’s Halls of Academe …

 
At 7:33 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Thanks grackle for coming around. This stuff is indeed pervasive. Unfortunately, this pseudo-science is the rule, not the exception in the soft sciences, and the “level” of the university is not a factor. Some of the worst BS comes out of a woman’s study group at Harvard. They have been repeatedly shown to be BS artists and still the NYT et al just burn their “work” (read propaganda) into the national consciousness. They know that a thorough, post-publication debunking does nothing to diminish the effect of the BS.

 
At 7:39 PM, March 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
-- Aristotle


Ah, you've saved me some time Grackle.

Thanks for the debate.

 
At 10:48 PM, March 08, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Grackle, a nice analysis in your last post there. Anyone who hasn't read about the SDM whatever, may find this last post of Grackle's interesting and enlightening. Cause it focuses almost exclusively on the scientific method and the flaws therein.

 
At 12:53 AM, March 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol

 
At 10:37 AM, March 09, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Right Wing Authoritarianism 1
Running Head: RIGHT-WING AUTHORITARIANISM AND RAPE MYTH
Right-Wing Authoritarianism and Rape Myth Acceptance in Female College Students
Marie Koesterer and Jennifer Hoffman
Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri
________________________________________
Page 2
Right Wing Authoritarianism 2
Abstract
The significance of high or low right-wing authoritarianism on rape myth acceptance in female
college students was investigated. One hundred and fifty-eight college undergraduates answered
an anonymous questionnaire containing a modified version of Altemeyer’s (1996) Right-Wing
Authoritarian Scale (RWA) and Burt’s (1980) Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (RMA) and related
subscales: acceptance of interpersonal violence (AIV), sex role stereotyping (SRS) and
adversarial sexual beliefs (ASB). Consistent with Burt’s findings, males exhibited higher rape
myth acceptance than females. Females with high right-wing authoritarianism had greater rape
myth acceptance than females with low right-wing authoritarianism. These findings supplement
existing research on right-wing authoritarianism and male college students (Begany and Milburn,
2002) and suggest that right-wing authoritarianism is an important factor in understanding why
people accept rape myths.

In other words, conservatives favor rape.

 
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At 12:01 AM, April 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neo Con hegemonist

I was reading this interesting blog and I had time to get tot he first 2 posts (this is a long blog). In any case seeing as my academic training is in security studies with a concentration in STIA - science technology in international affairs geopolitics and geo strategy I had to comment on one thing that was stated about warfare. The quote reads:


"As Sun Tzu said, know thy self and know thy enemy. I think he understood that in war, if you look deep within yourself for strength, you will see your enemy. Or glimpses of him."

Actually what Sun Tzu stated is more closely related to Clausewitz second reciprocal action.

“Clausewitz stated that the purpose of war is to make our opponent comply with our will. However, one's opponent will obviously not do that unless complying to that will becomes the least oppressive of its available options. Therefore, in order to achieve the end goal of war (making the enemy comply with your will), a state must place its adversary in a position that is more oppressive to it than compliance. Furthermore, that position cannot be temporary (or at least must not appear to be temporary), because than it is likely that one's enemy will simply 'ride out the storm' in the prospect of being in a better position at a later stage.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_war

We could go on and talk about national identity / national will but that will be another time.

This neo con welcomes you neo-neocon 

 

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