Thursday, March 22, 2012
I passed up exercise this morning to take a quick look at the New York Times -- I know, rarely a good choice -- and read two op-ed pieces worth passing along to our worthy readers.
Bill Mahar, who has a dog in the hunt, wants us all to stop "apologizing" for, well, small rhetorical missteps.
If it weren’t for throwing conniption fits, we wouldn’t get any exercise at all. I have a better idea. Let’s have an amnesty — from the left and the right — on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront. Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage. One day a year when you will not find some tiny thing someone did or said and pretend you can barely continue functioning until they apologize. If that doesn’t work, what about this: If you see or hear something you don’t like in the media, just go on with your life. Turn the page or flip the dial or pick up your roll of quarters and leave the booth. The answer to whenever another human being annoys you is not “make them go away forever.” We need to learn to coexist, and it’s actually pretty easy to do. For example, I find Rush Limbaugh obnoxious, but I’ve been able to coexist comfortably with him for 20 years by using this simple method: I never listen to his program. The only time I hear him is when I’m at a stoplight next to a pickup truck.Mahar is partisan as usual, but that that does not make him wrong.
Elsewhere on the same page, Nicholas Kristof explains the cognitive structure of conservatives to his liberal readers.
Conservatives may not like liberals, but they seem to understand them. In contrast, many liberals find conservative voters not just wrong but also bewildering.... One academic study asked 2,000 Americans to fill out questionnaires about moral questions. In some cases, they were asked to fill them out as they thought a “typical liberal” or a “typical conservative” would respond.It is about as respectfully a rendering as one might hope for in that publication. One is forced to wonder whether anybody else at the NYT will bother with Haidt's book.
Moderates and conservatives were adept at guessing how liberals would answer questions. Liberals, especially those who described themselves as “very liberal,” were least able to put themselves in the minds of their adversaries and guess how conservatives would answer....
“The Righteous Mind,” by Jonathan Haidt, a University of Virginia psychology professor, argues that, for liberals, morality is largely a matter of three values: caring for the weak, fairness and liberty. Conservatives share those concerns (although they think of fairness and liberty differently) and add three others: loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity.
Another way of putting it is this: Americans speak about values in six languages, from care to sanctity. Conservatives speak all six, but liberals are fluent in only three. And some (me included) mostly use just one, care for victims.
“Moral psychology can help to explain why the Democratic Party has had so much difficulty connecting with voters,” writes Haidt, a former liberal who says he became a centrist while writing the book.
"Moderates and conservatives were adept at guessing how liberals would answer questions."
It's easy when there isn't much variety. Liberals demand loyalty to dogma; simply having reservations about Roe v. Wade is enough to get you thrown off the reservation. Or out of the commune, as it were.
And excluding them from the value "loyalty" seems wrong to me. They're just loyal to 'the cause,' not to people.
Kristof himself could benefit from contemplating his own essay. It's surprising to me that he describes his perspective as originating in "caring for the weak", but I suppose that I'd better comprehend the statement if I read Haidts book myself and understood his characterizations. To me, Kristof is almost purely totalitarian and I often find reading him deeply disturbing.
Mahar is simply incapable of addressing any audience outside of his echo chamber. Even his attempt at declaring a cease fire here illustrates that fact, as he smears both Limbaugh and his listeners in one smarmy statement. I find it downright weird that Ann Coulter likes to revel in the leavings of Mahar's butchery, but perhaps they were friends in school or something and have a more fundamental relationship. He isn't even very clever, just arch, bitter and nasty. Happily, we agree on one thing: don't turn on his show. Plus, he's such a publicity whore that I figure statements like this one are not at all sincere. If he really believed this crap, his show would be different.
FYI, David Brooks, in a joint appearance with Haidt at UVA, says NYT writers are scrambling to be the first to have a review of this book. Some liberals will be upset at the book (not entirely without reason), but when someone like Chris Mooney can feel like he's on the same page as Haidt, that's some kind of magic! (You can see at the link I'm not sure they really are on the same page.) I'm surprised at how well the book has been received by liberals so far.
Haidt himself currently self-identifies as a centrist, but his sensibilities remain fairly liberal.
Over at Ricochet, they note how the NYT comments on Kristof's piece are mainly about the "respect for authority" category. It is recommended that more people read the book in order to understand what this meant to the book's author.
Also interesting in light of the mocking of "respect for authority" as a value held by conservatives is how often progressive turn to authoritarianism to enforce "fairness".
I love Haidt, and he almost gets it. Yet I have to keep pointing out that liberals do also subscribe to those values (an Anon notes), they just don't realise it. One's beliefs about climate change are strongly related to who one accepts as an authority, for example.
More deeply, liberals do use "sanctity" as a moral category. Haidt's questions included such things as whether one would use an American flag to clean a toilet if nothing else were available. If one rejiggers the question, to ask whether one would use a newspaper photo of Obama or MLK as toilet paper if nothing else were available, liberals would score similarly. Also, just read National Geographic or other environmentalist sources and note how much the environmental values owe to aesthetics or the idea that a particular type of place is "sacred."
Haidt wasn't trying to skew the questions. He just didn't know at the time. He's getting better as he goes along.
AVI, Haidt recognizes that liberals do invoke the authority and sanctity foundations, but they do so less than conservatives; they're less respectful of authority and sanctity in general. In the book Haidt actually uses examples similar to yours in regard to sanctity among liberals. All of Haidt's claims about the foundations are matters of degree.
AVI, you are so right. There are definitely things that have 'sanctity' for liberals. I once made someone cry just by suggesting that unitarianism didn't really strike me as a religion. Criticizing a tolerant religion was disgusting to her. Loyalties run to the symbols and practices of political correctness, as you point out. For some, you can't even criticize President Kennedy. It just hasn't been codified in a 'good book
This is Bill Maher, whose back is up against the wall again for his ugly commentary over a life time. A failed average Comedian who somehow got the wrong idea he knew something - including politics (he obviously has no clue). Like many Democratic Partisans his entire concept of politics, policy, etc., is largely based on the most misguided fashionable popular culture. Emotive collective sophistry failing to analyze the real basis of what works. Sure Bill Maher is now going to hide behind Free Speech and the idea of the Free Market while he is on the hot seat, after years of advocating of shutting others down, vilifying, demeaning, slandering, etc, anyone who dares oppose the Democratic Partisan denial. Bill Maher is an example of what is bringing everyone downward. And I do agree, if the MSM didn't have such a partisan push - ugly Partisans like Maher, Baldwin, Penn, Franken, Garofalo etc., would never be heard from again, rejected in the healthy Free Market. But today we still have the decades old monopoly of Democratic Partisan push which forces these fools and the most foolish political sophistry upon the American Public. But thankfully, like in NJ recently, it looks as if Democratic Partisans are going to be handed a huge dose of reality for their enormous disaster they forced upon all. Maher will not only feel his ratings sink further - he will take it where it really hurts, at the voting booth, utter rejection. Even with a dominant Media push, decades worth of installing a dysfunctional political mantra, the American Public simply cannot handle the Democratic Party's enormous failure - they have made such a mess. Like the Carter - Clinton fiasco before, enabling appeasement with massive Government takeover schemes, insane tax increases, obscene deficit spending, the Democratic Party's recipe for disaster. Smart Power is a joke, warfare being waged everywhere with endless diplomatic fiasco, coupled with the worst economic-financial-fiscal malaise conceived. Just like in NJ, the majority of Americans are growing in revolt, and thankfully Mr. Romney is going to be given a chance to turn it around. We shall see, but we all will be happy to watch Maher return to his cheap game of vilifying a Republican President soon after the election in 2012 removing Obama safely from making matters even worse. In fact, we can happily look forward to seeing all the Democratic Partisans snidely chirping the most ugly nonsense from the sidelines soon, far away from any real influence from harm.
PS: What the Democratic Party did to a recent judicial nominee in NJ was a reminder of how pathetic this American Party has become. These are not Americans working to help all address problems, the Democratic Party is simply a self serving train wreck, much like Santorum, Gingrich, etc. Not responsible, not reasoned, just utterly destructive for overwhelming personal greed.