Saturday, October 2, 2010

Who's Smarter Now?

We all like to think of ourselves as well-informed voters. We weigh the issues, consider all sides of each argument, exercise our rational faculties, and arrive at a dispassionate judgment about where we stand.

And yet, we are not really the independent, autonomous individuals we take ourselves to be. We are social beings, people for whom membership in the right group can spell the difference between success and oblivion. Therefore, we suffer the influence of others far more than we would like to think.

In the Color War of American politics-- red team vs. blue team-- we are especially concerned with being part of the right team. The right team might be the winning team, but for many people it is the team that is associated with higher status and higher intelligence.

If you have allowed yourself to be convinced that the red team is filled with dumb and dumber rubes, you will be less likely to want to join. If the blue team, as liberal commentators and bloggers incessantly insist, is populated by brilliant, serious thinkers you will be happy to sign on and pledge allegiance.

In many of America's more serious precincts-- like Manhattan Island-- members of the red team find that their intelligence, their rationality and their character are impugned on a daily basis.

It is not an accident, and certainly not the result of deep reflection, that Manhattan Island is overwhelmingly liberal in its politics.

How do you enforce this level of intellectual conformity? By shaming, of course. People who inveigh against shaming as a social sanction are more than happy to call their political opponents illiterate, ignorant, stupid, ridiculous, and dumb.

And they often add a bit of character assassination: the red team is so stupid that its members have lost their rational judgment to the invading and occupying forces of dark emotion.

They are angry, enraged, irrational, and stupid. Why would you want to associate with such people, no less belong to their team?

Emotional incontinence is a character flaw. Unless, of course, it is demonstrated by a member of the blue team.

Remember the now famous rant by Mad Anthony Weiner on the floor of the House of Representatives. Mad Anthony simply lost it; he looked like he was going to have a stroke; he was foaming at the mouth about some issue or other.

Since Mad Anthony belongs to the blue team, his emotional incontinence was not a sign of weak character. It showed how deeply he felt about whatever he was ranting about. Truth be told,  the source of all irrationality lies with the red team. Thus, Mad Anthony lost control because he was frustrated by the obtuse failure of the red team to listen to the voice of calm reason.

More recently, comedian David Letterman, not exactly an intellectual titan,. told Jon Stewart that he could not imagine how Bill O'Reilly could believe what he says he believes.

Thus is a certain order and discipline enforced on the blue team. Letterman was saying that no intelligent person could believe the things that O'Reilly believes.

Don't ask who or what made David Letterman the arbiter of intellectual illumination. He belongs to the blue team, and therefore, his judgments are supposed to be coming down to us from a higher intellectual plane. He does not have to explain what O'Reilly believes; he does not have to explain why O'Reilly is wrong.

Fellow members of the blue team know that he is one of them. They are all, dare I say, in on the joke. Because it really is something of an in-joke.

While we're talking about today's politics, how would you describe the blue team approach to the election? One of their basic tactics is to tar the red team with guilt by association with Christine O'Donnell.

O'Donnell's intelligence is derided on a daily basis-- not always without reason-- to the point where anyone who utters a word of support for her candidacy will immediately be labeled an imbecile.

Derision, scorn, and ridicule count among the most important shaming tactics. They are politically effective.

Keep in mind, if you belong to the party of imbeciles your views are of interest only in so far as they signify your lack of intelligence. Beyond their value as symptoms, they should be ignored.

Given this aspect of political discourse, ask yourself this: which team would you like to belong to? The one that is led by a Harvard Law grad or the one that seems to be led by an Idaho State grad? Your choice.

And note this. When members of the blue team  exclaim their satisfaction at seeing the White House in the hands of Ivy League educated intellectuals, they are also saying that if these people can't get it right, then things have gone so serious awry that no one could ever get it right.

I have offered this prologue to introduce Charles Blow. In the New York Times this morning Blow begins his column by remarking that liberals spend considerable time and energy stigmatizing their opponents for stupidity and ignorance. Link here.

It's not exactly news, but it is somewhat surprising to see it in the New York Times.

Be that as it may, Blow's next point will surely come as an unpleasant surprise to many Times readers. He informs us of the inconvenient fact that the most ignorant and uninformed segment of the American electorate is... you guessed it... the Democratic base.

Blow does not have information about relative IQ or aptitude, so he limits himself to what he calls, felicitously, civic literacy. Which voters are better informed about basic political realities?

In his words: "The unpleasant facts that these liberals rarely mention, and may not know, is that large swaths of the Democratic base, groups they need to vote in droves next months-- blacks, Hispanics and young people-- are far less civically literate than their conservative counterparts."

Uh, oh.

As for the  "progressive" brand that these erstwhile liberals have recently adopted as their own, Blow remarks: "According to a Gallup poll released in July, most Democrats didn't even seem to know what a progressive was...."

Uh, oh. Somehow you start to think that these great progressive minds do not have a clue about how the majority of their fellow blue team members think.

Anyway, Blow offers some advice to Obama. If Obama wants to appeal to the Democratic base, he needs to stop appealing to their intelligence and start appealing to their emotions. He must excite them by manipulating their fear and anger. That way, they will be more likely to turn out on election day.

Given the nature of the blue team, Charles Blow is probably right.

[A warm welcome to those of you who have arrived here via Instapundit and Dr. Helen. My special thanks to Prof. Glenn Reynolds and Dr. Helen Smith for linking this post.]

37 comments:

Jim said...

"If Obama wants to appeal to the Democratic base, he needs to stop appealing to their intelligence and start appealing to their emotions."

Isn't that the way Democrats already operate? I have yet to hear a intellectually based argument from a Democrat for any of the policy views they hold. They always seem to appeal to emotion.

David said...

Obama "appeals to their intelligence" only in the sense that he uses slogans which net out to "smart people agree with me." He certainly doesn't construct elegant logical arguments drawing on tremendous historical, literary, and philosophical knowledge.

Basically, what has happened in the last 10 years or so is that the terms "intelligent" and "intellectual" have become markers of claimed status positions, rather than descriptions of knowledge or ability.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Of course, you're both right. Next to the notion that somehow Obama is brilliant, the greatest illusion that the American people are laboring under is the notion that the Democrats are presenting reasoned and intelligent arguments.

As David says, it is really about using slogans, almost like passwords, that people can use to signify that they belong to the right group.

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Schneiderman, et al.
RE: The Beat-Down

[someone's] intelligence is derided on a daily basis-- not always without reason-- to the point where anyone who utters a word of support for her candidacy will immediately be labeled an imbecile. -- Stuart Schneiderman

I'm reminded of one of my first 'experiences' with college life.

Just checking-in with my first semester, I was asked if I wanted to participate in a little 'experiment'. I agreed.

I was shuffled off to a room with about six other students, senior to me, a mere freshman.

We were given one of those esoteric problems to solve. I believe it was being marooned on the moon and what would we take from our crashed landing craft to get to our base, miles away.

After coming up with our list of recommended items to bring along from the salvaged landing craft, we began to discuss the merits of each as a group.

It seemed that every item I suggested was denounced. While every item suggested by anyone else in the group—even if I had suggested it—was applauded.

After the exercise was over, we were given what was the recommended list of items to bring along.

After the EXPERIMENT was over, I was informed of the true nature of the experiment.

The scenario was a proverbial 'maguffin', as Alfred Hitchcock would put it.

The truth was I was the 'rat in the maze'. Everyone else were as we call them in an Army Field Problems Test, 'buddy f---ers'. [Note: Usually in an AFPT, there's only ONE, if there are any. Here I had eight. And I was the man-in-the-barrel.]

The objective of the experiment was to see if I could be silenced by being derided for my comments. And, I have to admit that after a while, I was.

I took the lesson to heart. Hence my being kicked/banned/killed by a number of blog operators because I WILL NOT BE SILENT!!!!. For example, Armed Liberal, Amy Alkon, Pajamas Media—because someone didn't like what I was saying on their particular thread.

Such is the nature of the mind of people who hold themselves above honest discourse. And if they can't shout you down, they—in their nefarious way—will 'kill' you.

On a personally operated blog, that's just fine. It demonstrates their true nature. On the other hand, we have real life. In the real world. And I thank the Founding Fathers for the 2d Amendment in the Bill of Rights because I know for a fact, from historical studies and personal experience, that….

There's more than one way to silence the opposition.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Whereas Good can tolerate the existence of Evil. Evil cannot tolerate the existence of Good, as Good will continually be pointing out Evil's faults. Therefore Evil must always try to destroy Good.]

Chuck Pelto said...

P.S. Of late, when I encounter someone deriding my 'intelligence', I comment....

Show me your Mensa membership ID number and I'll call you 'bro'.

That seems to shut the blackguards up rather quickly.

But then we got others that come back with deriding membership in that strange, but oddly interesting group. At which point I comment that 'jealousy' doesn't look good on them.

[Am I getting 'smart' with you? How would you know?]

RKV said...

As a fellow MENSA member, I get the point about social reinforcement. MENSA membership alone is not sufficient to guarantee that the policies promoted by the member are a) desirable and b) practical and c) moral. Intelligence in the service of evil is not what I'm interested in. We get quite enough of that amoral power for its own sake crap from the Skull and Bones society members.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Letterman's wife, after his affairs with staffers was revealed, told him, "I can't understand what you were thinking"?

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: RVK
RE: Indeed

As a fellow MENSA member, I get the point about social reinforcement. MENSA membership alone is not sufficient to guarantee that the policies promoted by the member are a) desirable and b) practical and c) moral. -- RKV

Attend a few RGs and AGs.

As I said, a lot of the people there are 'interesting'. But I wouldn't want them sitting in places of authority over others.

On the other hand, the POINT being made is that I'm (1) christian, (2) conservative and (3) retired military. However, despite the 'best' efforts on the part of the people on the 'Left' to describe me as 'dumb', 'dumber', 'illiterate', 'ignorant' or anything of that sort, I think they're 'projecting'.

Hope that helps, 'bro'....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[You daren't handle high explosives; but you're all ready to handle honesty and truth and justice and the whole duty of man, and kill one another at that game. What a country! What a world! -- George Bernard Shaw]

CosmicConservative said...

Liberals are the masters of Orwellian speech. Their entire ideology is based on the fantasy that human beings should act the way that liberals think they "should" instead of on how human beings demonstrably and historically do act. And yet they call themselves the "reality based community."

Liberals constantly preach the values of independent thought and rational analysis, and yet they expect their members to be in lockstep on any issue.

I call liberals the "platitude based community" because the vast majority of their policies are based on some laughable platitude that they have elevated to the plane of "higher thought." During the run up to the Iraq war the big platitude was "Give Peace a Chance" as if peace had not been given a hundred chances already. Whenever I see a "coexist" bumper sticker, I drive very carefully around that person because I believe they have demonstrated a complete lack of rational thinking. My favorites are the cars with the "tolerance" bumper sticker next to the "The road to hell is paved with Republicans" bumper sticker. As I've told people for years, the surest sign of the ideologue is their inability to recognize the irony of their own statements.

Liberals have been conditioned for generations now to believe that conservatives are stupid, evil, racist and homophobic. While there are some who still recognize that this is a political smear campaign, more and more of them believe it. The vitriol and raw venom which permeates the internet whenever liberals encounter conservative views and beliefs is becoming frightening.

My daughter is a conservative young woman in college who routinely has her views attacked as close-minded, ignorant, racist or theocratic by her classmates and teachers.

We've been in the midst of an ideological culture war for at least 30 years. Every year that war inches a little closer to an actual war.

betsybounds said...

Here's where you lost me:

"O'Donnell's intelligence is derided on a daily basis-- not always without reason-- to the point where anyone who utters a word of support for her candidacy will immediately be labeled an imbecile."

You've been seduced into falling for the same syndrome you're describing and rejecting. Oh sure, you're a bit tentative about it, not full-throated at all, but you granted that maybe the Left/Progressive/"blue" side is on to something about O'Donnell.

Sorry, I'm not going for it. It was a cheap, and completely unnecessary, shot.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks, Betsy. I am sorry I lost you, but perhaps it's because I did not express myself very well.

I certainly agree that O'Donnell has made some absurd and ridiculous statements. Most of them, incidentally, to not pertain to issues at stake in the election. I sincerely hope that no one casts a vote in Delaware or anywhere else based on the candidate's position on masturbation.

Drawing attention to her absurdities creates a stigma that attaches to anyone who would be tempted to vote for her. The same tactic was used against Sarah Palin, rather effectively for a time.

So, if a Delaware voter wants to vote for O'Donnell because she will vote to lower taxes and spending, and if he admits to it in public, he will be tarred as an imbecile.

You certainly have to wonder whether Palin and O'Donnell are subject to special treatment because they are women and because they do not have Ivy League degrees.

Barack Obama sat in Rev. Wright's church for 20 years and did not know what was being said. He did not seem to understand what liberation theology was about. And he did not find the America-hating to be disturbing. In fact, he embraced Wright as his spiritual mentor.

I will confess to you that I find that a lot more frightening than the fact that Christine O'Donnell dabbled in witchcraft.

At the same time when you have a clown holding a senate seat from Minnesota, you could, I am sure. find many, many absurd and ridiculous statements coming out of the mouth of Al Franken. And yet, no one in the media, no one on the Daily Show, no one anywhere has mounted a campaign against Al Franken that has made those people who supported him feel like imbeciles. Largely because Al Franken went to Harvard.

I am sure that you have seen Congressional hearings where the members of Congress demonstrate beyond any doubt that they do not know what they are talking about, even when they are reading from prepared questions.

Even if O'Donnell is coherent and intelligent about policy issues-- grant me a fantasy-- her detractors will run and rerun her appearances on Bill Maher when she said absurd things about God knows what.

In my view, it's politics by smear and character assassination.

JKB said...

This reminded me of a passage from a book first published in 1883, so sadly we've made little progress in the last 125 years

Freedom of speech and freedom of thought are catchpenny phrases. There is much of the former, but very little of the latter. Speech is generally the result of automatic thought rather than of ratiocination. Independent thought is of all mental processes the most difficult and the most rare; habit, tradition, and reverence for antiquity unite to forbid it, and these combined influences are strengthened by the law of heredity. The tendency to automatic action of the mind is still further promoted by the environment of modern life. The crowding of populations into cities, and the division and subdivision of labor in the factory and the shop, and even in the so-called learned professions, have a tendency to increase the dependence of the individual upon the mass of society. And this interdependence of the units of society renders them more and more imitative, and hence more and more automatic both mentally and physically.

Another powerful influence contributes to the same end. The schools educate automatically. They train the absorbing powers of the brain, but fail to cultivate the faculties of assimilation and re-creation, and neglect almost wholly to develop the power of expression.
Charles H. Ham, Mind and Hand: manual training, the chief factor in education (1900)

As the Progressives more densely concentrate in the cities, they are less free in their thought and more imitative. The power of shunning is impressive when your self-worth is dependent on your acceptance in your social group.

I also find the new liberal arts cry of we teach "critical thinking" to be aligned with the automatic education. Best I can tell this "critical thinking" is how to be critical of those who don't share your views. In any case, deserved or not, when I read that claim, I can't help associating "critical thinking" with "reality-based community." Both sound fine and proper but are not much in evidence.

betsybounds said...

Stuart, I think I was over-harsh. You didn't actually lose me entirely, and I agree with pretty much everything else you say. My point, though, is that I'm tired of ceding anything whatever to these wizards. I grant them NOTHING. You hear thoughtful conservatives doing it all the time: "Are there racists out there? Sure. But . . . ." or "Do some people hate gays? Of course. But . . . ." Or, in the event, a more-or-less implicit agreement that Christine O'Donnell is a bit bonkers--which I don't, anyway. I've heard her speak several times and she's quite lucid and sensible, and seems to have a solid handle on the philosophy she's trying to promote.

It's not that I think there's no place for self-examination and improvement, but that I think those things should be kept in-house and confidential as much as possible, not entirely unlike confession and penance. Talking about them publicly, to perhaps make amends, is too much like telling tales out of school, and they're never going to grant us anything anyway. I'm tired of it. So I've just gotten to the point where I deny each and every charge they level against us, and I do not qualify my denials in any way whatsoever.

So, with that somewhat small reservation, I think your points are all excellent and well-taken.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks for the clarification, Betsy. I fear that I did misunderstood your point. Now that I see what you are getting at I certainly agree. I don't know if you've seen it, but I did post on this a little while back: http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/2010/09/tea-party-welcomes-mike-castle.html

I was granting that O'Donnell made some kooky remarks as a matter of courtesy and civility. I certainly believe that it is possible to stand firm on principle and remain civil.

I find that that is quite different from the attitude of those who are not only civil as a matter of courtesy but who are so desirous of being liked that they cave on principle too.

M. Simon said...

Chuck,

Winds of Change hasn't been the same since Joe Katzman stopped being a regular. I don't go there any more. Well not much.

You will also note tat a lot of the former regulars have gone on to bigger and better things. Michael Totten being a prime case in point.

M. Simon said...

Chuck,

You would get more respect if you included a short exposition on biology with every comment.

I have read some of your stuff in that field. It is rather good.

BTW the arrogance is undeniable. I'll be arguing a point with my well educated betters and get tons of crap heaped on me. Then I mention I'm a UChicago alum and the discourse all of a sudden gets respectful. The disagreement is still there but I get a respectful hearing.

Which is to say they were never arguing the merits.

But you find that everywhere. I'll be arguing some technical point about fusion (my hobby) and get crap thrown at me. Then I'll mention I'm Naval Nuke Qualified and all of a sudden the discourse improves.

Of course when I meet another member of the Nuke fraternity the respect is automatic. Kind of a SFs for geeks.

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: M. Simon
RE: Funny....

Winds of Change hasn't been the same since Joe Katzman stopped being a regular. I don't go there any more. Well not much. -- M. Simon

....you should mention them.

Joe had me 'killed' there when I challenged one of their 'commentors', Armed Liberal, on a thread there. Reminding him of his 'killing' me on his personal blog over that business about the woman claiming 'just kidding' about chemically neutering all men. It was in keeping with the topic of the thread as I perceived AL was being something of a 'hypocrite' on the topic, vis-a-vis my experience with him, earlier.

AL kept deleting my post. I kept putting the same post back up once I noticed it was 'disappeared'. I automated the system to check for the text of my post. If it wasn't there, it would be immediately re-entered. AL didn't like that. So....I was 'killed'.

What's my point?

That not only so-called 'liberals' are capable of that sort of behavior.....killing those who oppose them. so-called 'conservatives' can do EXACTLY the same.

I've found that the biggest 'problem' I have with their ilk is the expression of my christianity. They don't like it.

Still and all.....I WILL NOT BE SILENT!!!!

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[When the stones get thrown;
They either miss;
Or they turn to 'glory'. -- Newsboys, Stepping Up to the Microphone]

Chuck Pelto said...

P.S. I gave up trying to get 'respect' from other people a LONG time ago. Like when I gave up my sergeant stripes and took on a lieutenant's bars.

I thought it more important to hold to the truth than to other peoples' opinions. I suppose it had a lot to do with that experience at college I mentioned (above).

Moneyrunner said...

I’m intrigued by the comment that O’Donnell’s issue on masturbation was “kooky.” My understanding was that it was biblically based, and it goes like this: Christ told us that not only should we not commit adultery, but that anyone who looks after another woman with lust commits adultery in his heart. Tell me if you are different, but masturbation is typically accompanied by mental images of sex. Therefore, masturbation should be avoided as we strive to avoid committing a sin of lust. Note that I have not referred to the Old Testament’s reference to the sin of Onan which is another kettle of fish entirely.

There are many things that strictly observant Christians believe are sin. Now don’t get me wrong, Christians sin all the time which is why we need the grace of God. Apparently she was asked about this and replied as a Christian. I don’t think that your regards Christians as kooks, or am I wrong?

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Moneyrunner
RE: Such Discussion.....

.....is more deeply delved in on a different thread of that topic, i.e., 'masturbation' vs. 'christian ethic'.

And by the way.....as I've noticed of late, only the Left insists that the Right abide by it's own rules. On the other hand, the Left, having no rules except what they accept for the day, need abide by nothing.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Are you on the 'Left' or the 'Right'?

Chuck Pelto said...

P.P.S. About those 'rules'....

....what was it Someone said about 2000 years ago? Something about a 'house built on sand'?

Well....guess what....

As Sarah Connors remarked in Terminator....

There's a storm coming.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

When I said that O'Donnell's views were kooky, I meant to say that they would seem to be somewhat bizarre to most people, no matter what their religion. Especially, as part of a political debate.

Masturbation is not a political issue and probably should not become one.

In truth, I do not know of a religion that promotes or recommends masturbation. All religions see it as sinful activity.

So, No, I am not saying that Christians or other people of faith are kooks. I think that the the injunctions against masturbation are part of the way all religions accord a special privilege to generative sexual actions. And I have often argued against the politically correct viewpoint that all means of finding pleasure are the same.

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr> Schneiderman, et al.
RE: Back On-Topic

This business of deriding someone else's 'intelligence' because the don't agree with their outlook on Life, the Universe and everything is just a way of attempting to silence anyone who disagrees with them.

It doesn't matter which side of the political 'aisle' one sits or stand on. Someone will always try to suppress your opinion if you disagree with them and that person can make their point 'strike home'. The REAL question is whether or not what is being said is the 'truth'.

This gets back to the business of 'blue', 'red', whatever. It seems that the only thing that matters to such people is whether or not your on their 'side', as oppose to seeking the truth of a matter.

Back in the 90s there was a 'space opera', e.g., Star Trek or some such thing, known as Babylon 5. In in was one character known as Kosh. One of his most interesting comments was....

Truth is a three-edged sword. There's one side. And there's another side. And then there's the truth.

I think that such is the nature of political discourse.

Where neither side is interested in the truth....

....there's Hell to pay.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The road to Hell is paved with 'good' intentions.]

Chuck Pelto said...

P.S. This leads to the ultimate question.....

What IS 'truth'?

Chuck Pelto said...

P.P.S. ERRATA

Kosh's statement was....

UNDERSTANDING is a three-edged sword. There's one side. There's the other side. And then there's the TRUTH.

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Schneiderman
RE: Kenya??!?!?!

I would suggest she look into the AIDS epidemic there.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.]

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: All
RE: Silly Computers

That preceding comment was supposed to be posted on the Karen Owens: Hookup Queen, thread.

Oh well....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[If you REALLY want to foul thinks up, use a computer.]

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks for getting us back on topic. I agree entirely that this habit of calling people stupid if they disagree with you is a way of silencing them, of turning the marketplace of ideas into a monopoly... under pain of ostracism.

Sorry, that your Karen Owen comment did not take the correct path and arrive at the proper post, but I too am a bit curious to know what she is going to do in Kenya. Perhaps, she is going to care for the sick and indigent as a penance for her college years. If she is not going to do penance, then perhaps she is going to do Kenya.

I guess we'll all have to stay tuned.

David said...

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge.

--Daniel J Boorstin

David said...

Also

I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.

--Michel de Montaigne

Bonfire of the Idiocies said...

What you say seems very true. But, thankfully enough of us have the courage to think for ourselves and ignore the parrots' babble to come up with the truth. Think for yourself.... it's the AMERICAN WAY!!!!

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Bonfire
RE: Sooooo....

What you say seems very true. But, thankfully enough of us have the courage to think for ourselves and ignore the parrots' babble to come up with the truth. -- Bonfire of the....whatevers....

....what are YOU doing to deal with the current situation? Furthermore, WHEN did YOU 'graduate' from high school?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Inquiring minds want to know.]

Moneyrunner said...

When I said that O'Donnell's views were kooky, I meant to say that they would seem to be somewhat bizarre to most people, no matter what their religion.
Here’s the point I was really trying to make. I don’t know of any occasion where O’Donnell discussed masturbation – or refraining from masturbation – as part of her political platform. For all I know, she disapproves of drinking or some other activity that most people participate in. It turns out that she had the bad judgment to participate in a Left Wing comic’s TV show. We can criticize her for failing to realize that exposing her Christian beliefs may have been a bad idea if she was going to run for public office, since some of Christian concepts of sin are very unpopular. They are widely practiced by Christians and are not regarded as sins by non-Christians. The moral precepts of people from 100 – 200 years ago are considered abhorrent or kooky today. The racial prejudices of Jefferson or even Lincoln would be considered un-enlightened today. I frankly don’t care if you do or do not masturbate or whether doing so causes you any feelings of guilt. For some people I’m sure it does which explains the guilty pleasure many people take in on-line pornography – the number one revenue source of on-line services (I’m told). From whence comes this desire to deny what millions are doing? I think it’s the residue of religion. Kooky? Perhaps most people are kooks?

Stan said...

The Democrats' playbook has always been to tar the GOP as hate-filled, mean-spirited, racist, sexist, homophobes, etc. It keeps the disparate groups in their coalition in line even when they disagree with many Dem policies. No one wants to be a "hater" (see e.g. Dionne's clueless statement about his friend Gigot -- "he really is a conservative, but he's not a hater"). Imagine how rare Dionne thinks that is.

As for Blow's point -- the demographics of Rush listeners has been known for years: better educated, harder working, more successful, better informed about govt, ....

Democrats are more likely to drop out of school, more likely to be in prison, more likely to do drugs, less likely to give to charity, less likely to volunteer, less informed about govt ....

West said...

Jim,

"Isn't that the way Democrats already operate? I have yet to hear a intellectually based argument from a Democrat for any of the policy views they hold. They always seem to appeal to emotion. "


You must hate children.

Lee Reynolds said...

Leftists suffer from active ignorance. This form of ignorance is not simply the condition of being unaware, which is better known as passive ignorance. No, active ignorance is the condition of knowing and believing a great many things, none of which are true.

But this is merely the least of their problems. Their conclusions are wrong, needless to say. But more than that they are consistently wrong. They seem to have an innate gift for finding the wrong answers regardless of what the question is. The reason they perpetually arrive at the wrong conclusions is that the premises from which their ideas spring are themselves invalid. They're working off of profoundly flawed assumptions and prejudices that taint and skew everything they think about, leaving them incapable of finding their way to the truth even when they desperately want to find it.

Leftists claim that conservatives and libertarians are ignorant. In many cases this is quite true. Soccer moms and auto mechanics are unlikely to be versed in the subtleties of leftist ideology. How is it then that these ordinary people tend to get things right more often than not? Because someone who doesn't know very much, but whose limited knowledge is based on the truth, will always be in a better position to arrive at a valid conclusion than someone who knows a great many things that are false.

Conservatives and libertarians who are well versed in the sophistries of the left are in an even better position to find the truth. It is like Reagan once said: A leftist is someone who reads Engels and Marx, a conservative is someone who understands Engels and Marx.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you, Lee, for those very insightful and helpful comments.