America’s Eternal Internal Battle

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

Last night Ann Coulter, a person I loathe, appeared on the Bill Maher Show. She was pushing her new book “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America.” Cringing as I watched her the thought nevertheless occurred to me that “She really believes this crap she sells.” This minor epiphany led me on to other thoughts. The battle in American politics has essentially devolved into a two sided affair between opponents convinced of the “demonic,” to use Ann’s term, nature of their ideological opposites. In this ongoing struggle one can’t merely disagree with us on a given political/societal issue, without our believing them to be hateful and worthy of being despised. Their motivation must undoubtedly be sociopathy and/or undemocratic. I must admit that I myself often feel that way about those who disagree with me and I say this with the rueful knowledge that when I do I am allowing myself to engage in stereotypical behavior.

This has been the American condition almost since its inception and was implicit in Ben Franklin’s question about our ability to maintain our Constitution and the freedoms it provides. In order to begin to find solutions for bridging the gaps between us all in the attempt to govern the body politic, we must first understand the fact that much of this division is the result of conflicting mythologies of what we are as a society. If we can identify the underlying mythologies that guide us, perhaps we can see beyond the constraints that limit our ability to see beyond them and discover basis for true negotiation between apparently irreconcilable differences.

In 1988, I watched a many part conversation Bill Moyers had with a Columbia Professor Joseph Campbell: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell and_the_Power_of_Myth  I was fascinated by the man and by the concepts he was teaching. I found it so compelling that I ran out, purchased, and read most of his books. The books that were the most informative to me were “The Masks of God” series and “The Hero With a Thousand Faces”. What Campbell showed was human history was influenced greatly by the mythologies of various political states and ethnicities. These myths indeed reflected not only religious belief but also social and political philosophies. I don’t pretend great expertise in this area to explain it to you cohesively and the topic is one that has produced untold volumes of throughout thousands of years. Suffice it to say that the mythology of a people is a strong influence of not only its behavior, but of its interactions with other believing different myths. I’m sure as a general concept this idea is not a new one to readers here, especially when it comes to religious beliefs.

Stemming from Campbell reading I embarked on rediscovering the books on mythology I had  previous read, but with the new perspective of Campbell’s insights. I later discovered: TheGunfighter Nation: Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century Americaby Richard Slotkin. Using literature, history and even the movies, Slotkin persuasively posited that much of America’s domestic and foreign policy was dictated by the false mythology created of our frontier expansion, “Wild West” and rugged individualism. This myth was portrayed in the newspapers, literature, “Dime Westerns”, Wild West Shows and later on in the Movies.

The nature of myth is such that it’s ingested not only intellectually, but also viscerally. Seeing Gary Cooper in “High Noon” when I was seven in 1951 influenced my own life greatly and actually dictated some actions years later. John Wayne, a college football star spent WWII making innumerable, heroic war movies, while others such as James Stewart actually fought in action. Yet Wayne remains an iconic American Hero and that is pure, though deeply believed mythology. I would be safe to say that many who consider themselves conservative’s today look up to John Wayne as a role model and a hero. That myth becomes meme and that meme becomes point of view.

We of the left are no different in our choice of heroic figures to follow, mythologizing their activities and persona’s into something heroic. JFK, a man I admire on many levels and who I idolized in his time, was a serial philanderer of such epic proportions as to be pathological. Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Jerry Rubin, Abby Hoffman were people who my generation followed with veneration and yet in retrospect, given their future lives, were hardly heroic.

We absorb both past and current myths and allow them to cloud our judgment, limiting our ability to make informed political choices, by shutting down our options of reacting to our environment based on the facts at hand and not the reality we perceive colored by the blanket of our mythology. We see people applying “What Would Jesus Do?” to a broad spectrum of possible decisions and yet isn’t even the concept of WWJD, different based upon ones particular Christian denomination. This is true conceptually for most other religions, all of which have subsets of varying belief.

We need to individually work to understand just what myths guide our own actions in order to be able to react appropriately to the to the decisions we need to make in reacting to the environment of life around us. If we can do that honestly perhaps, we can then comprehend what motivates those with which we disagree. Maybe then, in understanding the other’s mythological viewpoints we can find ways to bridge our differences. This is most probably an over optimistic view from the perspective of possibility.

So let me end on a less positive, but perhaps more practical note. We ignore the influence of our surrounding mythologies at our own peril. The human organism has a need to interact with its environment in such a way that it draws the sustenance it needs from that environment. If our perception of that environment is skewed by preconceptions of reality, we are unable to benefit fully from the interactions, to our detriment.

The country today is engaged in a deadly battle with itself. The rage and hostility on each side seems to be growing. There is a conflict of fundamental mythologies, neither of which holds all the answers, yet blinded by its own preconceptions. These types of battles can end in a total victory and concomitant harsh defeat for the loser; a continuing stalemate and ongoing struggle; a total collapse of our society; and/or perhaps understanding and cooperation by the parties leading to a synergy of ideas. I’d much prefer the latter, but I am sanguine about it’s’ possibility.

239 thoughts on “America’s Eternal Internal Battle

  1. I would think that if I felt that Coulter sincerely believed the crap she writes, then I would not loathe her. I would passionately disagree with her.

    I would think that if I felt that Coulter did not believe the crap she writes, but believed it would sell, then under those conditions, I might loathe her.

    But I actually believe that loathing most of the people that unite as citizens of the United States but who label themselves as that which we do not, is just as bad as automatically going to bat for every Tom, Dick, and Harry who does claim allegiance to “our side”.

    Once you peel off the label of “Democrat”, you can find many ugly, anti-Democratic, non-civil liberties interested, speech oppressing, behavior oppressing movements inside.

    And also, some of the more interesting debates I’ve had or read has not been with Democrats merely retweeting the party line and the same old same old arguments, but with supposedly too stupid to think, corrupt to their bones, worse than terrorist Republicans. But we can’t talk to them, we are told and we tell each other they are all worse than Satan.

    As Sturgeon said, 90% of everything is crap.

    Right now, the pundits tell us Obama may very well lose in 2012. And others point out that we were warned about where he stood politically, as well as what his inexperience might lead to. But I do remember fondly how pointing that out in 2008 would get one called a bigoted racist.

    tl;dr on Joseph Campbell, yeah, I think Bill Moyers covered that back when the first Star Wars WAS the first Star Wars.

    Also, one of us misunderstands the meaning of “sanguine”.

  2. Granfalloons are the path to the darkside. Granfalloons lead to wampeters. Wampeteers leads to foma. Foma leads to suffering. I sense many granfalloons in you.

    So it goes.

  3. Mike Spindell:

    interesting topic but liberty is not a mythology and neither are individual rights. It took many thousands of years to develop the concept of individual rights. We now take that concept for granted because of our founding. It is not some myth or meme it is a philosophical triumph.

    You diminish the arguments we are having today to categorize them as mythology. What we are arguing about is the fundamental nature of man and mans’ relationship with government.

    Are we a free people or partially free or wards of the state? This is not some idle story about Pecos Bill or Paul Bunyan or John Henry.

    You and others here believe in a large involved government, I and one other person here believe in a small limited government. I see no reason for any type of rapprochement between liberty and statism.

  4. Mike:

    Watching what is being discussed with this debt ceiling debate and who should bear the brunt of the reduction of services,and what this Governor in my state has done to people who haven’t had a fair shake through no fault of their own,and are being used to balance a budget on their backs.
    Would I called these peoples motives “demonic”?

    And from what I see,the so called liberals are not in charge.if that was the case we would be posting about different scenarios all together.

    As far as the ‘demonic”lets just say our lawmakers don’t seemed to have walk in some/most of their constituents shoes.

  5. stop watching her, write a letter to the show to complain that they’re helping her sell her books, that you’ll stop watching his show and that you’ll stop buying products from his advertisers. complain to the stores that sell her books that they’re deeply offensive and you’ll stop buying books from them until they remove her books from their shelves. stop writing about her. it’s a capitalist society, the only thing that works is to stop supporting her ideas, books, etc. with your attention and dollars. the more attention you pay her, the more she gets paid.

  6. @ Mike Spindell: “Ann Coulter really believes this crap she sells.”

    I think it’s the other way round with her: She really believes in selling her crap. She “believes” only in what benefits her, what money & “fame” she can accrue. It’s always all about her. How many times did she mention or get Maher to mention her book? As for the other two guests – Chris Hayes, is Washington, DC Editor of The Nation Magazine and Amanda Foreman has a new book, “A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War” – each got one mention only about their publications when they were introduced at the beginning of the program. Coulter is all about her own self-aggrandizement only. She will “believe” and “sell” whatever gets her publicity.

  7. I am absolutely certain that conservatives are at the very least demonic, stark raving insane and quite obviously bent on the destruction of democracy–not just America, but the very concept of democracy. I refuse to compromise with them and I will not engage in polite discussion. That would give them a level of acceptance, of standing and an aura of equality with human intelligence they do not deserve.

    They are worthless. Note that no conservative has ever apologized for the extreme damage done to America just between 2000-2008, let alone the broader downward spiral they deiberately the nation into beginning in 1980. They have no record of achievements to point to. No job creation, no peace, not a single piece of legislation to benefit an American citizen. I cringe whenever President Obama talks of bi-partisanship or compromise with those people.

    mk

    To your point about writing a letter. Bill Maher has mentioned several times that Coulter is a personal friend of his and I’m pretty sure he owns the show.

  8. Mike S:

    Thanks, Mike S, for another wonderful topic for discussion. I would argue that myth is the most important component in human decision making, even more than self-interest. The concept of myth goes directly to how we understand everything including what is perceived as self-interest. How else do we explain the way working class Southern white males vote against their own financial self-interest in promoting Republicon policies (e.g. their opposition to expansion of health care benefits to themselves) designed to enhance the condition of the wealthy. These cynical Republicons have co-opted the very noble human characteristic of self-sacrifice and used it against their own constituents convincing them that the sacrifice they make is in furtherance of God and Country. There is plenty of racial animus contributing too, but, in the main, to many of these fine folks, the reality of their victimization is bound up with myths of American nationalism (manifest destiny but on a global scale) and fundamentalist religious piety (the Puritan ethic) which colors their thinking and reduces any opposition to both unpatriotic and irreligious parodies. Myth allows us not to think as others have put the moral in the story for us and we need only read along and believe. That is the antithesis of critical thinking and the biggest threat to free peoples everywhere.

  9. I hear you rcampbell. In my opinion though the true battle is between the ultra-wealthy…not all of them but the ones actively involved in subverting Our Democracy to their own greedy/power-hungry ends…against the rest of us. They OWN the current Republican Party flat out…state AND federal levels (and a good chunk of Dems as well). They OWN the “liberal media” and hence, the message. They enjoy a personal relationship with the 9th Circuit AND the majority on the SCOTUS.

    Pooling these resources they can easily manage the argument by tapping into the biases and emotions of enough social and fiscal Conservative voters to confuse the direction of anger between Liberal/Progressives vs. Tea Bagger/Conservative.

    We outnumber them greatly but they have the money, judges, many state majorities, the Congress, lobbyists, willing obstructionists in the Senate, the Chamber of Commerce, unfettered super-PACs, their own “news” channel, hate radio, practically every financial publication…let’s just say they are well prepared and WELL into their class war. Sadly the majority of us don’t even know that the war is well underway and that they’ve already lost so much and are poised to lose much more before long.

    The Republican Party does not possess the capacity to bargain in good faith. The Democratic Party does not possess the capacity to stand up to bullies. Neither is doing the work that the majority of the citizens desperately needs…because it conflicts with making more money for the aforementioned ruling class.

    No, the battle is not Dem vs Rep but the age-old struggle of the masses vs. the power-hungry rich.

  10. “We outnumber them greatly but they have the money, judges, many state majorities, the Congress, lobbyists, willing obstructionists in the Senate, the Chamber of Commerce, unfettered super-PACs, their own “news” channel, hate radio, practically every financial publication…let’s just say they are well prepared and WELL into their class war. Sadly the majority of us don’t even know that the war is well underway and that they’ve already lost so much and are poised to lose much more before long.”

    *********************

    Sounds about like the situation in 1776 America and 2011 Egypt. Lincoln is still right in his analysis: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Lincoln’s second clause refers to trolls, you know.

  11. That’s ironic coming from misquote boy. Mespo, you better stick to the quote thing and lefty cant, you don’t do well in the original thought department.

  12. Folks I have a solution to stop what seems to be getting on a lot of the regulars nerves,for me the last straw was Mrs M explaining her credentials to roco,and kedrosa is like a goldfish in a piranha tank,IGNORE them.On every level and see how that works they seem to thrive on the attention that they are given here,IGNORE them!!!

  13. I second what eniobob says. It is pointless to argue with a trollbot and just raises the blood pressure.

  14. Thanks for bringing me back down with a taste of Lincoln, Mespo. A few of my favorite Lincoln quotes:

    “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

    “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”

    “These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people”

    “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”

    “No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty — none less inclined to take, or touch, aught that they have not honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power which they already possess, and which, if surrendered, will surely be used to close the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix new disabilities and burdens upon them, till all of liberty shall be lost ….”

  15. It is hard to imagine a good end to it all, or a way out that is not lined with tremendous pain. Coming from a progressive point of view, the best I can imagine is that low information voters finally wake up to what I perceive as the insanity of the right, at least as it applies to their own self-interest and the continuation of the U.S. in a from that is recognizable. However, while this should be happening, instead we have a corrupt and broken Supreme Court that has just allowed unlimited corporate money into political races, and rouge GOP legislatures and Republican Governors whom appear to be members of a coordinated colt ramrodding voter suppression legislation through the various states. It is ugly and previously unimaginable.

    The right is becoming so extreme, and causing so much damage to the institutions of our government and society, that unless they have an epiphany and pull back, they might only be defeated by means that are not political, if they can be defeated at all, before our nation fails.

    It is really such a waste, to destroy the most remarkable nation in human history for an extra few percentage points of taxation on ones income and ideological zealousness that fights against a more equal society.

    When these zealots are pulled from their homes behind gates and guards, after this faux security is overwhelmed by masses of the disenfranchised, those left shall look back and think that the extra income tax and greater fairness and compassion they could have proffered was the greatest bargain of all time to live ones daily life in peace and safety.

  16. There’s a big difference between those who use people’s belief in myths to manipulate them, and the followers who believe the myths sincerely.

    The Right Wing has used the belief of millions in Christianity to get those Christians to trust them. It has used people’s love of country to gain huge profits from oil. And these manipulators’ actions have demonstrable bad effects on actual human beings: deaths from oil wars, deaths from toxic pollution … poverty and suffering from lack of social services,

    Interesting article:

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/06/politicians-and-serial-killers.html

    The old saying is that cream rises to the top. A newer saying is that in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence. I guess now we can also see that sociopaths tend to rise to the top positions of government and business.

  17. Mike S.,

    Did you watch the “Overtime” segment on Real Time last night? Coultergeist claimed that the US had intervened in Egypt–and had dropped bombs or something!

    http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher/index.html#/real-time-with-bill-maher/episodes/0/219-episode/video/219-july-8-overtime.html/eNrjcmbOUM-PSXHMS8ypLMlMDkhMT-VLzE1lLmTO1yzLTEnNh8k45+eVpFaUsDGySSeWluQX5CRW2pYUlaZyMjKyMQIAYmwXOA==

    I don’t know if Coulter actually believes all the hateful crap she spews and writes. She definitely seems to bask in all the attention she receives for it.

  18. eniobob,

    I didn’t feel I had to explain my credentials. I chose to for a reason. Some people like to express “expert” opinions/make statements about subjects of which they have no firsthand knowledge/little knowledge. I provided my educational credentials. Kderosa was not able to do the same.

  19. My point, which a few grasped exactly, was that we all are creatures of and susceptible to, mythology. It is indeed how societies and factions thereof, are controlled. The myth of the “American Dream” causes impoverished people to believe they some day will be rich and thereby sells “lottery tickets” to wealth/fame in varied formats. Election battles are won over mythology, rather than policy. However, mythology is pervasive all though human society and is certainly not limited to politics. The nature of mythology is not intrinsically negative, but merely how most humans organize their understanding of their surroundings.

  20. Mrs M:

    I can only say what I felt about that,I have to much respect for you to sit back and be silent.I understand your point also.

  21. Myth may explain why people are predisposed to initially embrace a position or cause but the power of that myth would have to be so overwhelming as to be an absolute control mechanism in order to keep people locked into a failing position. After 30 years of a failed trickle-down theory of economic well-being one has to wonder why the argument still resonates with some voters.

  22. LK:

    Here’s one definition and tile from the Urban Dictionary:

    ” Conservabot
    Brainless person who consistently votes against his own interest.”

  23. Oh my, all this gnashing of teeth and feelings of sadness over your childish behavior.

    I agree with Eniobob, since the “regulars” have shown themselves to be incapable of expressing their views without engaging in name calling, personal attacks, and other childish behavior, the best course is to just ignore the posts of those who hold different view than you. At least until you learn how to argue like an adult. Or at least learn how to form proper arguments. Really, it isn’t that hard, just make sure your conclusions are tied to proper supporting premises.

    Now watch, Eniobob, as your friends completely fail to heed your advice. They can’t help themselves. In fact, Eniobob, if you paid better attention, you’d see that it was your friends who started the mess in the first place.

    And, Elaine, your credentials don’t make you an expert and your opinions aren’t entitled to any more deference than any one else’s. Your credentials might help you form better arguments in your field of study and the strength of your arguments might earn you some deference. So why don’t you try doing that for awhile.

    I hope this detente lasts for awhile. Even I am growing tired of your childish behavior.

  24. Now that’s funny. As I was writing my comment, Eniobob, the guy who just called for decorum, had already started in with the insults. Too funny.

  25. lottakatz,

    “After 30 years of a failed trickle-down theory of economic well-being one has to wonder why the argument still resonates with some voters.”

    That’s for sure. Add to that the Republican mantra that tax breaks for the ultra-rich will help create jobs in this country.

  26. You might want to listen to your idol and “Trickledown” proponent, JFK — “A rising tide raises all boats.” You might also want to take a look at the actually tax revenue data, showing increased tax revenues after marginal capital gains were lowered.

  27. I’m beginning to think it’s a belief that ones well-being is entirely dependant on the favour of someone else. Like serfs that would defend their Lord against a neighboring Lord. It is a statement that a level playing field isn’t enough, one needs to curry the favor of ones betters and hope that their allegiance will be rewarded. It is like Noblesse oblige from the peasant’s point of view; ‘I will exempt them from some generally applied constraints that apply to the rest of us and they will favor us by meeting their obligations to act honorably.’

    There is to me an implied helplessness in the position. There’s a concession that one is less, and unnecessary, and that by recognizing and memorializing the superiority of some others, one may in some manner be advanced (economically). It’s a position of complete self-abasement.

    It’s saying ‘I am nothing, I have no power or ability to do or initiate anything. You are all-powerful and I recognize that and now please throw me some crumbs.’ Gee, if only we had a trained professional on this site to tell me if it is not akin to mental illness and how it can be overcome :-) Maybe it’s just a typical religion myth transposed to the wealth class. ‘God must love them because he made them rich. Who am I to argue with what they want.’

    I just don’t understand the mindset.

  28. Perhaps some of you serfs should try running a business, hiring some employees, and seeing who gets the better end of the deal before you write these comments.

  29. You can’t understand what you don’t know….

    I was reading a few short story’s about the aftermath of the Civil War….it is my belief and I think that it was actually stated in one of the storys….that the reason that the likes of Billy the Kid..Kit Carson….etc was that after the War the Banks wouldn’t lend money and the railroads took your property….and no one really cared for either of them….so rather than being looked at as robber, crooks and thieves….they were actually cheered on by the public and media…..then comes the depression and we have another round of Bonnie and Clyde, pretty Boy Floyd…..etc…the banks are not loaning money….hmmm….in how many localities are Bank Robbery’s increasing…. How many folks are cheering people on when the banks try and foreclose on property…..and they are stifled by the courts because the paperwork is not in order….a new brand of lawlessness…..

    Mike Great post…….

    Elaine….All’s mespo needs to remember in One Dewars at a time….Then the 12 Step program should work really well…..

  30. Elaine and LK,

    This may well be the mindset, but that is the nature of mythology. It takes hold and by its nature closes off a person’s options to react to their environment, because the mythology limits their ability to seek solutions
    obscured by their beliefs. In a political sense the only way to counter “trickle down” mythology is with a more potent one. The left tends to try to engage with reason and that is of little use against a firm mythological belief. In that context the Left’s beliefs that people can be reached by logical arguments is itself mythology, despite the notion’s appeal to us.

    One can say that mythology exists on a sub-conscious level but that is possibly only partly true. Myths construct our conscious view of the world and thus limit inputs. An example might be someone who has ingested the mythology of hatred and fear of Blacks, suddenly alone in a Black neighborhood. The people and surroundings in almost all such places are benign and nonthreatening, yet that person in the grip of their mythological beliefs, would be wracked with fear and loathing. With each step would be a premonition of danger and each face would appear malevolent.

  31. @ Mike Spindell:

    “The left tends to try to engage with reason and that is of little use against a firm mythological belief. In that context the Left’s beliefs that people can be reached by logical arguments is itself mythology, despite the notion’s appeal to us.”

    Speaking of myths, this one appears to be particularly toxic since it, by it’s very nature, disarms the believer’s ability to question his irrational belief that he is engaging with reason.

  32. Mespo727272:

    “Still letting others words (and ideas) masquerade as your own, there Roco?”

    I would say that is a pretty bold statement, I assume you have proof of what you assert? I would like to see it.

  33. A quasi–intellectual fop that still has not formed a real argument in the last month. Something I find shocking for an attorney. Even the kind that do mostly corporate transactional work, relying on the forms others have created.

  34. Mike Spindell,

    I recently read several articles about studies that indicate structural brain differences between self-identifying conservatives and liberals. Here are a couple of them:

    http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2811%2900289-2

    http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/04/11/liberal-conservative-related-to-different-brain-structures/25184.html

    I have a question for you given that Dr. Kanai’s research indicates that a larger anterior cingulate seems to make people better process and integrate new information and refine granular distinctions to that information (thus making them less prone to black and white thinking) while the amygdala is intimately tied to the often irrational fear response and how people deal with threats in the face of anxiety.

    Do you think that it is possible, given your previous statement about how myth applies to fear and hatred and the implication of Dr. Kanai’s work that a lack of capacity for granular thinking in analysis by those with smaller anterior cingulate regions of the brain, that conservatives are more psychologically susceptible to mythological thinking, biologically susceptible, or a combination there of?

    Excellent article, by the way.

  35. Mike S.,

    I think one possibilty is that lots of people aren’t critical thinkers. They begin to believe anything that’s told to them over and over again. I’ve had arguments with a couple of my liberal friends about about some of the things President Obama has done. Remember when the DOJ decided it wasn’t going to prosecute alleged war criminals because the administration was going to look forward and not backward?

  36. That’s a good point, Elaine. In addition to any biological predispositions, critical thinking is a skill that can be taught. That it is lacking in real world application across the spectrum is without question.

  37. Roco:
    Mespo727272:

    “Still letting others words (and ideas) masquerade as your own, there Roco?”

    I would say that is a pretty bold statement, I assume you have proof of what you assert? I would like to see it.”

    **************
    Muhammad! You should have told us it was you what with coining that “cradle to grave” line in the first place. Sorry about that. How’s your winged horse?

    Or maybe you’re Sir William Beveridge who first used the phrase in the context you intend in his famous Beveridge Report of 1941.

    Or possibly, you’re just a mean (in both senses of that word) mind full of trite cliché’s, trading on talking points, and have no idea of the history of “your” ideas nor the ramifications of your musings.

    I’ll take option three.

    “Sulking” as your Gabby Hayes sidekick says? It’s really mildly amusing bewilderment.

    Just in passing, how long did it take you come up with that poetic phrase “siren’s song” ? Good work there Homer … or maybe it’s Ovid.Do they have schools in your country?

  38. There is no such thing as generalized critical thinking ability for most people. Critical thinking is tied to domain knowledge. People who able to think critically in one domain area, such as physics, usually function about the same as novies in areas that they do not possess domain knowledge. See Michelene Chi’s seminal work as well as the work of other conitive scientists in this area of human learning. This is a point that classroom teachers usually fail to grasp beause they often draw the wrong conclusions based on their uninformed experiential learning and they are often unaware of the cognitive science researxh.

  39. @Mespo — Where’s your citation for the line “Gabby Hayes sidekick.” You certainly didn’t coin that usage. Still letting others words (and ideas) masquerade as your own, there Mespo?” Here’s your petard, stooge. Oh wait, do I have to provide a footnote for that line too?

  40. “Do you think that it is possible, given your previous statement about how myth applies to fear and hatred and the implication of Dr. Kanai’s work that a lack of capacity for granular thinking in analysis by those with smaller anterior cingulate regions of the brain, that conservatives are more psychologically susceptible to mythological thinking, biologically susceptible, or a combination there of?”

    Gene,

    Even though in my role as guest blogger I feel I should keep my responses to a minimum, your question is so pertinent that I feel I need to respond. Joseph Campbell, E.M. Fraser and Robert Graves wrote about mythologies role emphasizing the societal impact rather than the specific political impact, though of course that could directly affect political behavior. However, in Campbell’s fourth volume of the “Masks of God” series, “Modern Mythology” he does explore the works of writers such as Joyce and Mann. I think it would be interesting for me to re-read him looking at it from a more political perspective.

    Personally I would like to think that conservatives are more prone to ingesting myths than others, but my own experience sparring with various communist types in the 60’s Movement taught me that they were deeply rigid believers of their own mythology. Even among the regulars here we have the example of FFLEO, who given his religious upbringing and background would seem a person rigidly following a conservative mythology. Yet we know FFLEO has as mythology free mind as any of us and is capable of highly independent, cogent thought.

    I do believe that there are structural formations in the brain that would enhance, or diminish the capacity for rigid thought, however, I can’t discount the role environment plays. As you are no doubt aware there have been successful experiments at Harvard, with infants, that tend to show that even at 6 months there are behavioral differences between “risk takers” and those of more cautious demeanor. This kind of brain research is still in its infancy in my opinion as is Dr. Kanai’s, but it is heading in the right direction.

    As to Elaine’s thought that “critical thinking” can be taught, I agree with her also. However, given Kanai’s work I’d wonder if the ability to learn to think critically is also a function of brain physiology?

  41. Mike S.,

    It was Gene who suggested that critical thinking can be taught. I’d have to say that I do think that people–at least some of us–can learn to think critically. I was raised Catholic and attended strict parochial schools for twelve years. I believed what was taught to me–all the dogma, etc. Over the years, through education and experience, I’ve learned to be a more critical thinker than I was when I was young. I’ve learned to question what I hear…to question what I read. It may be that not all people learn to think more critically over time. I can’t say.

  42. kderosa,

    Apparently you don’t read what you link to or understand the value of independently replicable results in the pursuit of science.

    “After all this criticism, I have to point out an impressive aspect of the paper, and that is the replication of results in an independent group of 28 participants. In the end, I don’t doubt that there are differences between the brains of liberal and conservative people. But how they got that way, and what it means, are questions for further investigation.”

  43. Mike S.,

    “However, given Kanai’s work I’d wonder if the ability to learn to think critically is also a function of brain physiology?”

    I would think that the implication of Kanai’s work would be that this may be so. Not only is the ability to integrate and accept new data key to critical thinking, so is flexibility in applying that data and the ability to look at the data without the distorting filter of the fear response. Emotionalism of any sort, let alone fear, is detrimental to objective analysis. It’s an interesting area. I look forward to more research on the topic.

  44. GeneH

    Right. But all the criticisms still stand.

    The most damning is that it’s a correlation vs. causation problem as the author points out. You are drawing inferences re one possible causation based on a correlation. The research doesn’t support that causation since it is not that kind of research. Then you extrapolated from the causation you guessed. As the author pointed out, brains could have gotten that way based on beliefs, or beliefs could have caused brains to get that way, or some thing variable might be at play which we don’t know about. That’s the problem with extrapolating causation from correlations.

  45. kderosa,

    The problem here is your misunderstanding of correlation and causation. Not knowing all the causal factors does not eliminate correlation. Many events have multiple causations. That not all of them may be known simply means all the causal factors may not be known. That the correlation between the brain structure differences and self-identifying political ideology exists is without dispute. It has been independently verified through repeat experimentation. People with the different structures adopt the different ideologies. To what degree they adopt those ideologies and what if any other factors contribute to that process is a matter for further study. The fact is that unless a study falsifies the work of Kanai instead of confirming it as has happened, the correlation stands.

  46. @GeneH

    you might want to go back and re-read what I wrote. You are arguing against points I didn’t make. I never said that the correlation didn’t stand. Your causal interpretation is the problem.

  47. kderosa,

    Unlike you, my reading comprehension is quite high. I’m sorry that your attempts to negate a correlation simply because you disagree with the implications of that correlation have failed and that your understanding of causation and correlation let alone multiple causations and multiple correlations is so poor.

  48. Mespo727272:

    This one is for you:

    “Eager to speak, unable to contain
    His boiling rage, he rowl’d his eyes around”

  49. Mespo727272:

    “Or possibly, you’re just a mean (in both senses of that word) mind full of trite cliché’s, trading on talking points, and have no idea of the history of “your” ideas nor the ramifications of your musings.”

    I understand the ramifications of my musings quite well, that is why I muse. However I dont think you understand where your ideas lead, but I think you are finding out these last few years.

    “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    Pat Conroy
    Forest Gump

  50. With words to flourish, than ingage in war….

    (…)

    Forc’d to the field he came, but in the reer;
    And feign’d distraction to conceal his fear:
    ‘Till one more cunning caught him in the snare
    (Ill for himself); and dragg’d him into war.
    Now let a hero’s arms a coward vest, …

    ~Ovid (Metamorphoses, Book XIII)

    Good choice Roco. I think this passage sums up your cowardly breed pretty well. At least I’m improving your reading list from the National Review and Bill O’Reilly books that you dish up daily as original thought.

  51. kderosa:

    “Speaking of myths, this one appears to be particularly toxic since it, by it’s very nature, disarms the believer’s ability to question his irrational belief that he is engaging with reason.”

    who the hell are you? You aren’t some white cracker named Buddha, Mespo, Mike or GeneH.

    You have shredded these people intellectually. To what “dojo” do you belong?

  52. Considering that is not mespo’s ideas that have been implemented since the Reagan years, what mespo is finding out is not where his ideas lead, but rather where not taking his ideas leads to over the last 30 years. Supply-side economics is not a liberal idea. It’s an idea from conservative, promulgated by conservatives. Unless you want to try to sell the idea that St. Ronnie the Gipper and his team of thieves were liberals. It didn’t work in the 1890’s when conservative tried to sell the idea as horse and sparrow theory. John Kenneth Galbraith has pointed to horse and sparrow theory as a primary cause of the Panic of 1896. It didn’t work in the 50’s when conservatives tried to sell it as trickle down economics. Trickle down economics that resulted in the economic malaise of the late 60’s and early 70’s. It didn’t work in 80’s and into the present when conservatives tried to sell it as supply-side economics. Supply-side economics that have led to the very situation we are in today. That it is a liberal idea is only a slightly less ridiculous assertion than the assertion that supply-side economics works or has worked no matter how packaged to anything other than the greater economic detriment of the country every time it has been tried.

  53. Mespo727272:

    I dont subscribe to National Review, do not read Bill O’Rielly’s books or listen to his show.

    I know where your ideas come from though and where they are leading.

    Good on you, you’ve read a few thousand years of human thought and you still cannot get it right.

    Given a choice between freedom and despotism, you have chosen despotims every time and believed it to be freedom.

    Why do you hate people so much?

  54. If by “shredded”, you mean “failed to prove wrong”, then you might be on to something, Roco. Otherwise, you are just proving that you don’t know what the word “shredded” means in the context in which you used the word. Apparently the lengths you two are willing to go to make up the meanings of words in boundless.

  55. Roco:

    “Given a choice between freedom and despotism, you have chosen despotims every time and believed it to be freedom.

    Why do you hate people so much?”

    *************************

    While you’re sitting around with your reactionary friends lamenting the good old days as you sip your bourbon, I’m on the front lines of the struggle between the individual and the state or his fellow citizen. I haven’t seen you there, nor am I likely to unless we start giving out bar cards in Fruit Loop boxes. So far you’ve proven only: that we disagree; you can’t come up with an original thought not already prepared for you on flash cards; and you really, really, really like caderosa. That, my invertebrate friend doesn’t prove your assertion, it just tells us all we need to know about you.

  56. no by shredded I mean shredded.

    Definition of SHRED
    transitive verb
    1archaic : to cut off
    2: to cut or tear into shreds
    3: demolish 2

    Definition of DEMOLISH
    transitive verb
    1a : tear down, raze b : to break to pieces : smash
    2a : to do away with : destroy b : to strip of any pretense of merit or credence

    I like 2b myself.

  57. Mespo727272:

    I dont like bourbon, I am not a lawyer so I am not in a position to defend anyone. I do not eat cereal for breakfast.

    I dont know kderosa, so I all I can like is the person’s ideas. Nothing wrong with that. I really, really really like Frederic Bastiat, Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo, and Thomas Jefferson as well.

    Are you a slip and fall lawyer or one who actually does something more than take money out of the pockets of the wealthy because lil’ Abner got a boo boo on his finger when he cut it trying to steal a coke out of the machine? I guess you take that spread the wealth around seriously, how much do you pocket? 33%? Please spare me your concern for humanity.

    Momma needs a new fur coat.

  58. Roco,

    Congratulations! You can use a dictionary. Might I suggest keeping it close at hand next time you feel the urge to make up a definition instead of merely misapplying a word.

  59. Gene H,

    Do you know how to use the internet? You can get all sorts of words there. So, how much did clown school cost? Is it true that you have to buy your own shoes?

  60. Gene H:

    “Roco,

    Congratulations! You can use a dictionary. Might I suggest keeping it close at hand next time you feel the urge to make up a definition instead of merely misapplying a word.”

    I am waiting for you to show me how I misapplied the word. Just as I am waiting for you to show me where I have made up words.

    You are a rascal.

  61. Roco,

    Your past posts, like kderosa’s, show a marked tendency to make up definitions. As to your current misapplication of “shredded”, I’ve not seen any evidence of kderosa winning a single argument in my time reading and posting here. That you may think he has is an opinion not supported by any historical evidence. A Google search of “Turley ‘Roco’ ‘making up defintions'” reveals threads containing examples of this, namely this comment (where you think “religion” and “philosophy” have the same meaning):

    http://jonathanturley.org/2011/04/23/ayn-rand-and-christianity/#comment-230435

    And this thread which contains multiple instances of you making up meanings for the term “fascism”:

    http://jonathanturley.org/2011/05/03/fascist-confusion-head-of-national-black-chamber-of-commerce-calls-obama-administration-a-bunch-of-brown-shirted-marxists/

    I’m sure there are many more such examples as someone willing to make up terminology is likely prone to be a serial offender, but I’m not going to look for every example of you making up definitions. Two is adequate.

    I may be a rascal, but it would appear that the big shoes are on the historically evidenced other foot regarding your making up terminology.

  62. Roco,

    Just blow this joint. These people are contortionist, they are so good they can blow themselves.

  63. Gene H:

    what is religion? What is philosophy?

    Is not religion used to make sense of life? Is not philosophy used in the same way?

    As far as the shoe goes, maybe you dont understand as much as you think you do.

  64. Anonny Yours:

    They contort an argument when it gets too much for them. I am not trained in the law but it only took me a few months to figure out that what they were doing was asking me “when was the last time you beat your wife?”

    Simple lawyer tricks that work on those not trained in the law. They dont work so good anymore even if I am not trained in the law.

  65. Roco,

    I understand the difference between religion and philosophy. Philosophy uses reason to discuss man’s place in the universe. As it relies upon reason, it can be falsified. Religion requires belief in often contradictory stories that are open to different interpretations based in the readers own biases. As it relies upon belief, not reasoned understanding, it is not falsifiable. The difference between philosophy and religion is analogous to the difference between astronomy and astrology.

    As far as the clown shoes go, if you’re upset that Buddha had the better grasp on what fascism is as a matter of both economics and political ideology and was more persuasive than you, I suggest you take it up with him when he returns. Your argument is with him. I merely look at it as a dispassionate party reading an exchange. As a “juror” seeing the case, I will say he was clearly the victor. If you want to think you were right, go right on thinking you were. I don’t think you were right and judging by the responses on that thread, others don’t think you were right either. If that troubles you? I am unconcerned. However, none of that changes that you were indeed using an incorrect definition of fascism. You have no one to blame for that but yourself.

  66. @GeneH

    I didn’t say you had a reading comprehension problem. What I said was that you should go back and re-read what I wrote since you clearly missed something.That point is driven home by your next paragraph.One of us is seriously confused and I don’t think it is me. But why don’t we find out just in case.

    1. What is the coefficient of the correlation between the volume of the grey matter of the anterior cingulate cortex and the thickness predicted by the regression as a function of political orientation?

    2. What is the percentage of the variability in the predicted volume of the cingulate cortex explained by the variability in the actual data? In other words, how well does the actual data fit the predicted score?

    3. Are these results statistically significant? At what level?

    4. Based on your answers re 1, 2, and 3, what would you conclude about the correlation?

  67. kderosa,

    I’ll be the one dictating how and when I respond to you. Save giving orders to someone who takes you seriously.

  68. @GeneH, anyone who knows anything about fascism at a scholarly level, knows that even scholars admit there is no agreed upon definition of fascism. How is it that you are so sure you know the one true definition?

  69. @GeneH

    Not a problem, GeneH. I just wanted to check what you knew before I wasted any more time on this issue with you. This would be a good time for you to declare victory and to call me a liar.

  70. kderosa,

    If you’re unable to grasp that there is a correlation between the size of the anterior cingulate cortex and liberal views and the size of amygdala and conservative views, that’s not my problem. Whether that difference is a sole causation or not is irrelevant to the correlation itself. The size difference met a significant sigma level of certainty to merit publishing and the results were independently verified through testing. There may be other causal links to the acceptance of the differing ideologies, but absent proof additional or supervening causations or there is a falsification of Kanai’s results, take a wild guess at what the leading causal contender will remain? Any answer other than the structural differences is wrong.

    As far as fascism goes, you’ve demonstrated that you know nothing of fascism on a scholarly level and made up your own definition – by your own admission – to use as well.

    “kderosa 1, July 6, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    @Buddha,

    Ok, then I’ll use my definition of facism. Facism is a lefty form of government and Von Mises propositions which are pro-capitalism, also according to my definition, don’t lead to a lefty forms of government which are anti-capitalist, Gin by definition. So premise one is false, so we don’t need to reach premise two since you used the AND boolean operator. That was easy.”

    http://jonathanturley.org/2011/06/29/democrats-raise-constitutional-argument-in-favor-of-raising-debt-limit/#comment-245561

    It was also wrong as Buddha went on to point out quite well. That little exchange of yours with Buddha was one of the first indicators to me that you are not to be taken seriously. Which is why I don’t take anything you say seriously.

    At this rate, I probably never will take anything you say seriously.

  71. @GeneH

    You do realize that your entire first paragraph makes no sense from a scientific standpoint? if you answer my questions, pretty please, I’ll tell you why.

    Re fascism, I didn’t attempt to define fascism I just hyperbolically asserted it was a lefty form of government and then backed-up my assertion. The whole socialism thing kinda gives it away. Also, he kind of spills the beans in Mien Kampf. You should read it sometime. And, of course I expect you to side with Buddha, bless his crazy heart, ignoring alll contrary evidence, and relying upon a series of fabricated ad hominems. You aren’t exactly a neutral party. You’re the one who has to live with yourself.

  72. kderosa,

    Your opinions of what constitutes science are as meaningless as your made up definitions. If you think what you did on that thread was “back up your assertions”? That just indicates to me that you don’t understand the concept of backing up your assertions. As to living with myself, I’m perfectly comfortable agreeing with the most accurate and persuasive argument. In that instance, it was Buddha’s. If you don’t think I came to that conclusion based upon his argument as evaluated in a dispassionate manner, I won’t lose a wink of sleep over it.

    You’ve mistaken me for someone who takes you seriously.

  73. @GeneH

    I see you are back to spouting cant. We both know that that signifies. It is how you end all your debates you are not confident you are winning.

    This thread is like all the others you’ve participated in.The only difference is that unlike the threads with political issues, this one has a scientific issue. There is a right answer here, not just a difference of opinion.

    You claim you are neutral and consider all the evidence before making up your mind. You said you did that on the fascism thread. I can’t disprove that because it was opinion.

    This issue is entirely different. You could not have formed an informed opinion on this matter unless you first answered the three questions I listed. If you did, then it would take you about 30 seconds to explain your answers. That you cannot or are unwilling to do that tells me, and anyone else who knows anything about science, that you’ve been lying all along. And, unlike you, I don’t throw that word around lightly.

  74. Good post Mr. Spindell.

    I think “party” is a misnomer that probably needs to be changed to “mob”, so that we have the republican mob and the democratic mob.

    Evolution is going backwards it seems.

    Wonder if that happened in other places around the cosmos?

  75. kderosa,

    I don’t have an obligation to jump through any hoops for you. My statements about correlation and causation stands. The logic is sound. If you don’t like it that I’m not going to go running off on errands for you or do whatever you want instead of what I want to do? I am unconcerned. I’m even less concerned that someone with your record of postings would intimate that I’m a liar, especially since there is an option you didn’t list. Maybe I don’t answer your questions because I can’t, but I don’t answer them because I’m perfectly comfortable with my statements as they stand. If you think that someone is lying about there being a correlation between brain structure and political ideology, why not take your accusations of lying to the source of that information, Dr. Kanai.

    It should be quite evident that since I don’t take you seriously that I concurrently don’t care what you think much less what you take lightly.

  76. @GeneH

    These aren’t my hoops.They are the standard hoops anyone uses to evaluate whether a study has any scientific merit and what conclusions one should draw from the study.You should know this.

  77. @GeneH

    If you think that someone is lying about there being a correlation between brain structure and political ideology, why not take your accusations of lying to the source of that information, Dr. Kanai.

    No one is lying about the correlations presented in the study.They seem to exist to the extent two small scale studies can show them to exist.

    You must not have been reading my previous posts.

  78. kderosa:

    Interesting subject, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with politics or intelligence.

    He studied younger people for one thing and we know the brain structures of young people are not fully formed.

    But on a lighter note, wikipedia says the ACC is linked to emotions and reward based decision making. Which in a way make sense, liberals love to feel sorry for people while being singularly opposed to giving to charity.

    It must be some finely tuned mechanism which gives them the reward of doing a good deed without actually having to do the good deed.

  79. I am always intrigued by the poster who feels the need to make multiple successive posts. Oh, not the ones to correct an error or explain an omission, but to serially raise totally separate issues in some forlorn attempt to vanquish his “foe.” Reminds me of a client who ran a commercial bakery. His line of choice to his bakers was that “a half baked loaf has to be baked twice.” I suppose it referenced wasting time and effort in a pointless endeavor. Seems to me that this is good advice for loaves and half-baked ideas.

  80. mespo,

    That is a good saying….I was reading Charles Kuralts’ Book…one thing I recall at this moment is…an eternal optimist is one that skips stones on water….You know its going to sink…its just a matter of time….but they are continually looking for that perfect stone to make it to the other side of the lake…

  81. @Roco, we haven’t even gotten into the merits of the study. GeneH is still stuck on a moe basic level.

    @passive-aggressive Mespo, the Occam’s Razor explanation is that I changed my mind after I posted as to whther to address GeneH’s second “argument.” Since you don’t ever address any substantive points, it’s understandable that such finer points as forming proper argument are lost on you. All you try to do is to wear people down with insults. Does that ever work in your real life practice? Or does this derangement syndrome of yours merely manifest itself in political arguments?

  82. I think in this case it just means that the multiple poster wants to make sure they dont overload you with more than you can process in a single viewing.

    Still not able to come up with your own material I see. Now instead of quoting old dead white guys you are quoting a guy who makes white bread.

    Dont you have an original thought at all?

  83. Roco,

    What’s wrong with writing about dead white guys? and BTW….if I am correct…mespo will on numerous occasions quote dead Greeks, Romans, African’s…what is the problem with that…would quoting Shakespeare be over your head? And I am not sure who even authored Shakespeare…. Since you know so much…was there really a man named Shakespeare? Just asking…..I wanna know….

  84. Roco:

    “I think in this case it just means that the multiple poster wants to make sure they dont overload you with more than you can process in a single viewing.”

    *******************

    I gotta hand it to you. Now that — in reference to caderosa — is funny!

    As to caderosa’s incessant query that I don’t addresses his “substantive points,” he probably should be told that I don’t argue with children. You kindly “taught” me their minds are not yet fully formed. I will get around to it eventually.

    Now look I mean it. You guys need a manager. Lewis and Martin have nothing on you two. There’s all manner of seedy hotel bars in the Catskills dying for your shtik!

  85. There we go, our boy Mespo just admitted to being a troll. He’s not here to make substantive points just to “post[] inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum… with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

  86. kderosa:

    I would not be so hard on ole Mespo, he has gone from quoting Caesar to the guy who makes white bread and maybe whole wheat.

    Oh what heights we scale to so far fall
    ignoble snicker doodle
    parrot be thy name.

  87. I just noticed this littel gem of Mespo’s on another thread:

    “I’d take you on a point by point refutation but why bother with a guy with a mean streak.”

    Notice a pattern.

    Always an excuse not to form an argument. And he’s a lawyer to boot. Forming arguments is second nature. And they know how dopey they come off when they claim they can, and then don’t.

  88. kderosa,

    Then your accusations of lying are by your own admission unfounded.

    I never said there were no other causative factors. I said the structural differences were A causative factor and that until other factors are identified and quantified it will remain the leading causative factor as the others have not been identified and/or quantified yet. You must not have been reading let alone understanding my previous posts. Because these sentences:

    “To what degree they adopt those ideologies and what if any other factors contribute to that process is a matter for further study. The fact is that unless a study falsifies the work of Kanai instead of confirming it as has happened, the correlation stands.”

    must not have registered. In time, I’m sure other even more dispositive causal factors will emerge. The brain is one of if not the most complex system known to modern science. The final answer will certainly be more complex than just structural differences. However, the causal correlation still stands. If you have a problem with that, contact Dr. Kanai at the University College London.

    As to the fascism issue. No, actually it wasn’t just my opinion that Buddha had the better definition. It’s a fact. He invited readers to compare your definition to the Wikipedia definition by saying that your definition wasn’t even close to it, much less his. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism I’ll even go one better for the readers of this blog and let them compare Nazi fascism for themselves so they too can decide who had the better definition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism#Relation_with_fascism But if you want to continue that argument, I suggest you take it up with Buddha upon his return. The problem for you is that Buddha had the best facts regarding the nature of fascism and that’s not just an opinion. It’s an opinion informed by fact. I don’t have a dog in that fight, so I’m perfectly content to let others decide for themselves. Saying that I agreed with Buddha was not the point of linking to that thread.

    Why I linked to that thread was to provide an example to showing what I wanted to show which is that you have a tendency to make up your own definitions. Which you did. It’s also a wrong definition even if one does not totally agree with Buddha’s definition (which I don’t in part but do in whole).

    That you make up definitions is but one item on the ever growing list of reasons you should not be taken seriously.

  89. @GeneH

    This is a study that attempts to show a correlation between brain volumes and political orientation. As such, it is incapable of showing causation. It is not a study that is capable of showing causal connections. The more you talk of causation, the more you demonstrate you don’t know what you are talking about. Also, the fact that you can’t address the questions I raised demonstarte that you don’t know how to evaluate a scientific study on its merits.

  90. “…you can’t address the questions I raised…”

    ****************************

    ‘Can’t’ is quite different than ‘won’t.’ To conflate the two concepts runs afoul of the false equivalence fallacy. And also assumes the speaker knows the underlying motives of another person, which is still another fallacy of reasoning.

  91. @OS

    I included the “won’t part” above, you need to read the whole before jumping to hasty conclusions. For your ready reference: “You could not have formed an informed opinion on this matter unless you first answered the three questions I listed. If you did, then it would take you about 30 seconds to explain your answers. That you cannot or are unwilling to do that tells me, and anyone else who knows anything about science, that you’ve been lying all along.”

    Bet you felt proud of yourself there for a second because you found a nit to pick. Small victories and all that.

  92. kderosa,

    The fact that correlation was found is without dispute. You think it’s not dispositive as causation. I said, again:

    “To what degree they adopt those ideologies and what if any other factors contribute to that process is a matter for further study. The fact is that unless a study falsifies the work of Kanai instead of confirming it as has happened, the correlation stands.”

    You’re the one trying to say that I said it was causation when clearly what I said was that it was correlation which means it may be a causation. How many times do you have to read those sentences before they register? More than three times apparently. The fact that I don’t care to answer your questions because I don’t take you seriously apparently doesn’t register either.

    Another fact of the matter is that I know exactly what sigma of certainty was assigned to the values found and while it’s not certainty it’s better than a coin flip. Had it been certainty, I would have said that the structural differences were causation, not a correlation (which just very well might be a causation as all the data isn’t in yet).

    I didn’t answer your questions because I’m not your servant. Give me a command again and watch me ignore it again. It will happen just that way. I promise. The list of people who can tell me what to do is very small. You’re not on it.

    Isn’t it about time for you to insert a premise into the arguments of another or make up a definition of something?

  93. K, I could care less what you think. You are just a faceless character on the internet whose opinions have no impact or weight in my life whatsoever. Obviously, since you are putting so much energy into this blog, it appears you feel compelled to respond, insultingly, to every comment. That tells me that either you are being paid by the word, or that you care deeply what others think.

  94. @ GeneH

    You again demonstrate your misunderstanding.

    I never said there were no other causative factors. I said the structural differences were A causative factor and that until other factors are identified and quantified it will remain the leading causative factor as the others have not been identified and/or quantified yet. You must not have been reading let alone understanding my previous posts. Because these sentences:

    “To what degree they adopt those ideologies and what if any other factors contribute to that process is a matter for further study. The fact is that unless a study falsifies the work of Kanai instead of confirming it as has happened, the correlation stands.”

    First of all, it’s very sloppy terminology to call the variables being tested “causative factor[s].”

    Second, by using the terminology, you are assuming a direction of causation, namely that structural differences in the brain cause political ideology. The study by it’s nature cannot show this causation regardless of the coefficent of correlation. Furthermore, it is just as likely that “causation” runs the other way, namely, that political ideology “causes” the difference in the structural differences in the brain. Moreover, the study by its nature cannot discount the possibility that there is a third unknown factor that “causes” both the difference in brain structure and also the political ideologies.

    That you failed to recognize any of this basic information relating to correlative studies shows that you don’t know how to evaluate a scientific study of this sort.

    Thus, the rest of what you wrote is thus pure gibberish. Now you know it.

    And, we didn’t even have to get into the weakness of the correlation which is not the same thing as the “sigma of uncertainty.”

  95. @OS, I think you mean “couldn’t care less,” unless you really do care about this very much.

    My comments are no more insulting than yours, big guy. And, you started in with the insults as I have already pointed out to you. This is a childish statement I realize, but not quite as childish as your starting with the insulting comments.

    Also, your last sentence, logical fallacy boy, is a false dilemma.

    @Mespo, is it even possible to be subdued by dopy quotes? I think you meant bored.

  96. Kd,

    Do you get your Jolly’s being insulting….Just asking….seems
    you can be very obtuse….

  97. AY, you have to consider the source of those insults. All those insults are just expressions of frustration with being unable to adequately defend one’s opinions and arguments. I collect them like ears.

  98. “… much of this division is the result of conflicting mythologies of what we are as a society… ” (Mike Spindell)

    Excellent and thought provoking post. I would suggest a great deal of the anger seen and felt on all sides is due to the fact that the myths are dissolving. We are in a time of great change and there is a rudderlessness to society that is causing deep anxiety and fear that manifests as anger.

  99. kderosa,

    First, that you don’t like my terminology means nothing to me as you regularly make up the definitions of words. The statement “I never said there were no other causative factors” was crystal clear if you speak English. There are other unknown causative factors to determining ideology. They will be found by building other experiments to test variables key to proving or disproving a hypotheses relating to a specific experiment designed to test variables related to that hypothesis. Not every variable tested will be a causative factor just as not every hypothesis tested will be affirmed. A variable is not a causative factor. A variable is a variable. A causative factor is a variable that has been proven to a degree of statistical certainty to have a causal connection to the object or phenomena being studied. All of the causative factors determining political ideology are not yet known.

    Second, that you assume “[t]hat you failed to recognize any of this basic information relating to correlative studies shows that you don’t know how to evaluate a scientific study of this sort” would be a bad assumption on your part. I can do confidence interval calculations in my sleep. Just as it is your bad assumption that because I stated there was a correlation (as did Dr. Kanai) that this was the equivalent of saying that the nature of the correlation was fully understood. That you don’t like the possible implications of the correlation is not my problem. That you don’t like that people will discuss the possible implications of the correlation is also not my problem. Also, feel free to insert premises into the statements of others all you like. It’s just one of the reasons not to take anything you say seriously. If you want to try that with me some more, I’ll simply keep pointing out that you’re doing it every time you do it, just like you are now. If you’d learn to understand what words mean instead of making up the definitions of words to be what you want them to mean, maybe then the sentences could start to make sense to you provided the grammar didn’t scare you first. Maybe someday you too could experience the wonderful gift of understanding language and communication wouldn’t all sound like gibberish to you. Maybe.

    Lastly, I’ll repeat this: I didn’t answer your questions because I’m not your servant. Give me a command again and watch me ignore it again. The list of people who can tell me what to do is very small. You’re not on it.

  100. K, that was funny. You demonstrate once again your struggle with the English language. Common usage strikes the cad once again. To make it simple for you, let me put it this way and see if you can explain why I SHOULD care what you and your enablers think. You are rude, a serial plagiarist, and having analyzed your sentence structure (when not copying someone else’s work) is sophomoric, ethically and morally challenged, greedy (one of the seven deadly sins), and have no idea of the correct meaning of many of the words you throw around.

    As I said, I do not feel compelled to respond to every brain fart you have, nor do I give a rat’s ass what you think. I know, personally, some of the poster’s here who are from some of the top academic institutions in the country, if not the world. I value the exchange of ideas with them. As for you and your fellow internet trolls, I have no interest in your pixel vomit.

  101. @GeneH

    You are like a broken record.

    Clearly, you don’t understand my first point.

    Why did you skip the main argument of my second point entirely? The point where I explained to you that in this experiment you can’t know the direction of causation and you can’t eliminate other unknown variables.

    Also, show me where I inserted a premise in your argument, such that it is. You are very good at hurling unfounded accusations, not so good at supporting them.

    Also, you showed me re answering my questions. Better to lose the argument than to comply with an opponent’s request. Good or you.

    I recommend this up thread and I’ll recommend it again. You are making yourself look silly.Just call me a liar and declare victory for yourself like you usually do. Why keep coming back and repeating the same old wrong arguments?

  102. @OS

    And yet you keep coming back for more. It’s like an obsession with you. You say you don’t care, but your actions demonstrate you care very much. You are clearly fawning over my every word in the background. Analyzing and Googling phrases for any hope of finding some flaw. And yet all you can ever pull out of your ass are typos, trumped up charges, and unsupported accusations. It must kill you. A smart guy like you, what with your fancy credentials and all, not being able to raise and defend any substantive points. I bet the false dilemma mistake really sticks in the craw. Between me and you, we know your ” You demonstrate once again your struggle with the English language” is a typical non-defense defense.

  103. kderosa,

    I’m sorry, but the only broken record here is you. I should also point out it’s not a matter of winning or losing. It’s a matter of you not speaking English. You have yet to win any argument that I’ve read.

    “Not knowing all the causal factors does not eliminate correlation. Many events have multiple causations. That not all of them may be known simply means all the causal factors may not be known. That the correlation between the brain structure differences and self-identifying political ideology exists is without dispute. It has been independently verified through repeat experimentation. People with the different structures adopt the different ideologies. To what degree they adopt those ideologies and what if any other factors contribute to that process is a matter for further study. The fact is that unless a study falsifies the work of Kanai instead of confirming it as has happened, the correlation stands.

    The premise you tried to insert into my statements (a strawman) was that I said correlation was causation when what I said was correlation was correlation. Your English comprehension problems are a valid defense when you clearly don’t understand the words you read. That your language difficulties are compounded by your committing a logical fallacy is simply an aggravating factor and your problem. Just between you and me, I don’t take anything you say seriously including your suggestions.

  104. @GeneH

    Here’s where you said it:

    “People with the different structures adopt the different ideologies.”

    Your premise is that people with different [brain] structures cause them to adopt different different ideologies”

    So you took the correlation and read in a causation. A causation that does not follow from the mere correlation because there are other equally plausible explanations which is what my second point was trying to get you to recognize. Or maybe you do recognize the distinction and that’s the reason why you continue to evade answering my second point.

    It’s funny that you don’t even realize the implications of your own words.

  105. Gene H:

    “I never said there were no other causative factors. I said the structural differences were A causative factor and that until other factors are identified and quantified it will remain the leading causative factor as the others have not been identified and/or quantified yet.”

    Not to belabor the obvious but if there are other causative factors then the initial causative factor is not a causative factor until all of the information is made available. At this point Kanai’s work is a hypothesis in need of proof.

    So there is no initial causative factor because at this point we do not know what the causative factor(s) is/are if all the information is not yet available.

    And to think that political orientation is predicated on two structures within the brain is to have no brain.

    Fascinating, I guess Kanai knew where the grant money was coming from and that it would be coming in fast and furiously with research like this.

    No wonder government science is an oxymoron.

    I have added the Merriam Webster definition of oxymoron so you do not have to waste your “valuable” time looking it up.

    Definition of OXYMORON
    : a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (as cruel kindness); broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements

  106. Any “reading in” is entirely yours, kderosa. You are the one making the inference that I said “correlation is causation” when what I plainly said was “correlation is correlation”. Inference was required for you to attempt your strawman. The correlation indicates that people with these differing structures do indeed adopt different ideologies. If you have an issue with that, it is with Dr. Kanai. Why that correlation is so is a matter for further study, as I’ve already said. That you have a problem with improper inference comports to your general problems understanding English or perhaps your desire to use strawmen for some other purpose. It’s just another item to add to the list of why you shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  107. Roco,

    “And to think that political orientation is predicated on two structures within the brain is to have no brain.”

    Then why do you two obsess over that very matter when I’ve clearly stated “what if any other factors contribute to that process is a matter for further study”?

    Not that watching you two chase your own tails isn’t sort of fun, It’s much like watching a dog chase its own tail though. The amusement factor wears off quickly.

  108. GeneH,

    so what did you mean by this statement “People with the different structures adopt the different ideologies.” What causes them to adopt the different ideologies? The different brain structures? Isn’t that what you characterize by a “causative factors”? That the factors cause something?

    And when you said “Whether that difference is a sole causation or not is irrelevant to the correlation itself.” What did you mean? What is the sole causation.

    And when you said “There may be other causal links to the acceptance of the differing ideologies, but absent proof additional or supervening causations …”

    If there are other causal links, which is the one causal link you are referring to?

    And when you said, “or there is a falsification of Kanai’s results, take a wild guess at what the leading causal contender will remain?” Tell me which causal factor will remain. What will that factor cause?

    Please, help me, GeneH, you are so much better at understanding English than I am. Please, use small words and simple phrases so that I might understand your wisdom.

  109. GeneH

    The problem is that when you state “Then why do you two obsess over that very matter when I’ve clearly stated “what if any other factors contribute to that process is a matter for further study”?

    You don’t know from the correlation that the factor you have listed, brain structure, is a cause of anything. As I explained to you the causation direction may be reversed: that political ideology causes the different brain structure or, and this is the kicker, there may be a third unknown variable(s) that cause both.

    Your statement is clear. And you are clearly wrong.

  110. Gene H:

    ““what if any other factors contribute to that process is a matter for further study”? ”

    You are disingenuous and that is the bottom line.

    Supposedly there is a scientific study which says child molesters and liberals have similar cellular structures in the parahippocampal gyrus.

    It is the same sort of study, I could bring it up as “proof” of liberals being child molesters but it would be ridiculous to do so.

  111. The first paragraph merely indicates that you have an inference problem and/or your strawman was deliberate.

    Your second statement “‘Whether that difference is a sole causation or not is irrelevant to the correlation itself.’ What did you mean? What is the sole causation” indicates that you have a problem with the article “a” as well as the basic grammar of that sentence. You are the one asserting causation where I was asserting correlation.

    “If there are other causal links, which is the one causal link you are referring to?” I’m referring to any causal links that might exist.

    “Tell me which causal factor will remain. What will that factor cause?” This indicates that you don’t know what the word “contender” means. A contender is one that contends as in strives in debate.

    You are quite clearly beyond help, kderosa.

    I also find that watching you chase your own tale has simply become tedious.

  112. Otteray Scribe:

    “I know, personally, some of the poster’s here who are from some of the top academic institutions in the country, if not the world. I value the exchange of ideas with them”

    Then there is the problem with our country, too many top notch “intellects” from “top” academic institutions.

    I have always said, progressives have rigged the educational system in this country to dumb down the populace. But it seems to have backfired, it has turned the “elite” into primitives.

    Did you ever stop and wonder what happens to an intellect subjected to progressive educational philosophy? I think we are seeing the outcome right now. It is some scary stuff.

  113. Roco,

    Disingenuous? I’m not the one trying to use strawmen here, but if you want to think I’m disingenuous, then I’m really quite unconcerned.

  114. Otteray,

    Better to have a good fundamentalist conservative education that teaches creation science, that dinosaurs and humans co-existed, and that Phyllis Schlafly is an American heroine–than a progressive education.

    ;)

  115. Elaine:

    Now why do you think I would be for that? I have never once mentioned teaching creation. Personally I would teach the old dead white guys along with a good deal of math and science.

    And it would not be taught in some disjointed manner but as an integrated whole.

  116. Elaine, Gene, et al. Why are we wasting time on people whose opinions matter not at all? These people apparently get off on insults instead of dialogue. I do not have time for this. If their purpose is to make the Turley blog nearly unreadable, they are succeeding on that front.

    And I cannot think of a single reason to take these moral and educational Luddites seriously enough to even bother to reply to them any more.

  117. Roco,

    “I have always said, progressives have rigged the educational system in this country to dumb down the populace.”

    You said progressives have rigged the educational system in order to “dumb down” the populace. I was making a point that some people think it’s fundamentalist conservatives who have dumbed down/continue to try to dumb down the educational system. Many of those fundamentalist conservaties don’t want people who can think critically. They want people who are believers…people who will take things on faith.

    Should we be teaching the youth of this country that the Earth and everything on it was created in six days? That the Earth is approximately six thousand years old?

  118. Let’s break down wise Otteray Scribe’s latest screed.

    Why are we wasting time on people whose opinions matter not at all?

    At best this is merely an insult. At worst it is an ad hominem (no engagement with opponent’s argument + attempt at discrediting opponent’s character to avoid consideration of opponent’s argument).

    These people apparently get off on insults instead of dialogue.

    Apparently forgetting what he just wrote, Otteray Scribe apparently has just gotten off on his own attempt at insults instead of attempting dialogue. This is called hypocrisy.

    I do not have time for this.

    But he does apparently have time to write dismissive comments like this on practically every thread instead of attempting dialogue.

    If their purpose is to make the Turley blog nearly unreadable, they are succeeding on that front.

    Of course, comments like this contribute to that unreadability. As do every other one of Otteraray Scribe’s comments which are always laced with insults, ad hominems, pot shots, and unsupported opinions. For example, take the long list of ad hominems he recently asserted his opponents engage in. He just listed them. No support was given for any of them. What does such an unsupported list of ad hominems (itself a long ad hominem) contribute the the discussion or readability of the blog? Nothing.

    And I cannot think of a single reason to take these moral and educational Luddites seriously enough to even bother to reply to them any more.

    An empty threat. More insults. He says this all the time. And yet he keeps coming back to reply. First he starts off in a passive aggressive manner by addressing his opponent’s comments indirectly. Then when he thinks he has a gotcha point to make, like finding a typo, he’ll pop out of passive aggressive mode for a direct comment with an added insult (always). Then if he gets challenged or insulted back. He replies with this sort of I’m-taking-my-ball-and-going-home comment.

    Please, Otteray Scribe, do us all a favor and take your ball and go home for good. Your dopey unsupported comments add nothing to the discussion. Your insults and personal attacks add nothing to the discussion. And comments like this merely waste everyone’s time. If you don’t like the attention you receive with your dopey comments, just stop the dopey comments or grow a thicker skin. Otherwise, do us a favor and keep your promise this time. Jackass.

  119. Elaine, what science textbook out there teaches such things? Hoe many school districts have adopted that textbook. Most states have teaching standards, which states have such a standard in place? For state’s without standards, what school districts teach such a thing as part of the curriculum?

  120. Elaine M:

    “Many of those fundamentalist conservative don’t want people who can think critically. They want people who are believers…people who will take things on faith.

    Should we be teaching the youth of this country that the Earth and everything on it was created in six days? That the Earth is approximately six thousand years old?”

    You and others here have the same “faith” in government which has been inculcated in the “religious” schools of the left, the public school system.

    It is very subtle, take the movie Unknown for example. The movie had an ex Stasi agent as the hero, a guy who would pass up a patent on a superior corn seed and evil capitalists as the bad guys.

    Come on, a former Stassi agent as a hero? That was too much for me. I could accept the absent minded professor giving away a super corn ( I would probably do that myself) and the evil capitalists (such a leftist cliche) but the hero as a person who used to persecute people and send them to long prison terms or their death?

    The same is true with public schools, the ideology of the person teaching is bound to show up in ways they may not even notice or think they are being partisan.

    It showed up in your post and OS’s post. You just assume since I believe in laissez faire I am a conservative Christian. I have news for you, classical liberals like Jefferson, Madison, Say, Bastiat, and others believed in laissez faire.

    It is part of true human liberty.

  121. Roco,

    I never said anything about your being a conservative Christian. You read that into my comment. I explained that I was trying to make a point. I don’t know what “laissez faire” has to do with my comments about fundamentalist conservatives wanting creation science taught in public schools. Do you deny that many fundamentalist Christians want creation science taught in public schools? Some fundamentalist conservatives/Christians are big on the censorship of books that children read, on the censorship of school reading lists, and on the banning of certain books from school classrooms and libraries. I wouldn’t call that “laissez faire.”

  122. It seemed that the books being banned are offensive to a lot more people than fundamentalist Christians. Shouldn’t parent’s get a say in what books are appropriate for their children? It is more than just a free speech issue. And while we may disagree as to why some of these books are banned, who are we to presume to tell parents what is appropriate for their children?

  123. From the American Library Association
    Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009
    http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedbydecade/2000_2009/index.cfm

    Note: The top four books on the list are children’s books.

    1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
    2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
    5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
    6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
    9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren
    10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
    12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
    13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
    15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    16. Forever, by Judy Blume
    17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
    18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
    19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
    20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
    21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
    23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
    24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
    25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
    26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
    28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
    29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
    30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
    31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
    34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
    35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
    36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
    38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
    39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
    40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
    41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
    42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
    43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
    44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
    45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
    46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
    47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
    48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
    49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
    50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
    52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
    53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
    54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
    55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
    56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
    57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
    58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
    59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
    60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
    61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
    62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
    63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
    64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
    65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
    66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
    67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
    68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
    69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
    70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
    71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
    72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
    73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
    74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
    75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
    76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
    77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
    78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
    79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
    80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
    81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
    82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
    83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
    84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
    85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
    86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
    87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
    88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
    89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
    90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
    91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
    92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
    93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
    94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
    95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
    96. Grendel, by John Gardner
    97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
    98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
    99. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
    100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

  124. kderosa,

    Who said anything about parents? I’m not talking about parents. I’m talking about pressure groups who want to ban specific books from school libraries and from reading lists. They want to censor what other people’s children read.

  125. And which ones were banned on Conservative Christian religious grounds, as opposed to other grounds like, sexually explicit themes, profanity, racial slurs, violence, drug-use, etc.

  126. @Elaine are you saying that there are no parents in these pressure groups and that at least some of the people are applying pressure to affect what their children read? One of the problems with our public school system is that it’s usually an all or nothing deal with getting the school to to take action. It’s zero sum. For some parents to win, another group of parents on the opposite side of the issue must lose.

  127. Elaine, that is an interesting list. The explanations on the web site are informative and maddening. Some people, in their smug self righteousness, cannot let others–or their reading preferences–alone. When I was young, you could not get a legal copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover or the Kama Sutra. Nor could you find a copy of Mein Kampf or Das Kapital on the shelf of any library. I recall that some pro censorship activists wanted to ban Chaucer and Shakespeare. Ovid was in the cross-hairs as well.

    It is funny but none of those books or authors are in the list above. That does not mean that somebody, somewhere, would not like to ban them if they could.

  128. kderosa,

    “And which ones were banned on Conservative Christian religious grounds…”

    Books that include magic, witches, witchcraft, the Harry Potter books.

    Why should certain books that some people in a community don’t approve of be banned from a school library so that no children in the school can read them?

    **********

    Otteray,

    Sometimes people will demand that a book that they haven’t even read be banned/removed from a library.

  129. @Elaine, those are not necessarily on religious grounds, some parents might think that occult topics aren’t suitable for children, regardless of religious beliefs.

    Why should certain books that some people in a community don’t approve of be banned from a school library so that no children in the school can read them?

    Because broadly speaking, freedom of speech only applies to government action, not action by private citizens. Mind you, I’m not saying it’s smart to do so. There are plenty of things you are prohibited from doing in many communities: you can only paint your house certain colors, maintain your yard certain way, park you car in certain areas, etc. The solution is to move to a better community.

  130. “Sometimes people will demand that a book that they haven’t even read be banned/removed from a library.”

    Yes. I recall that when I was at the University, a traveling performance of Jesus Christ Superstar was held on campus. There was a hue and cry in the newspaper with letter writing and lots of pickets around the ticket booths when we went it. It was almost like running the gauntlet at an abortion clinic. The hate was palpable by people who admitted the only thing they knew about the play was the title.

  131. Sometimes people will demand that other people pay for the medical and retirement needs via taxation so that they don’t have to save for themselves.

    Lots of people are stupid about lots of things. But, in our democratic system we must take the good with the bad.

  132. kderosa,

    Children attend public school until the age of 17-18. High schools have school libraries too. I doubt high schoolers would want to read a children’s/kiddie’s edition of the Bible.

    BTW, it’s not the private citizens who decide whether or not a book is banned from a school library. It’s usually the school administration.

  133. kderosa,

    I should add that in some communities the decision to ban a book or have a book removed from a school library may be made by the local school board.

  134. @Elaine, School Boards and schools are governed by Island Trees School District v. Pico and their rights are not nearly as broad as you may think for removing books.

  135. caderosa said: ” All those insults are just expressions of frustration with being unable to adequately defend one’s opinions and arguments. I collect them like ears.”

    *******************************

    Stop it now! You’re making me sick laughing. I mean it, you two could earn big money with that act.

    I am sure that as many insults as you’ve justifiably collected, we could call you “corn field.” I think I will. I redub you, “cornfielderosa.”

  136. And thank you, my dear cornfielderosa, for hilariously proving mine. Man you are always right on cue. That’s good for a comic. I wonder if I can make you stand on your head now. LOL

  137. Elaine M:

    basically you are trying to tie religious fanatics to conservatives and to our belief in free markets. You make the implication that since Christians would like to see creation taught in public schools they must be crazy and therefore their belief in laissez faire must be crazy as well. In fact every single conservative idea must be crazy.

    It is the chauvinism of the left, you think you have superior intellects and superior ideas. For every Krugman there are 10 more able laissez faire economists who do not get air time and who are not as well known because of that chauvinism.

  138. It is the chauvinism of the left, you think you have superior intellects and superior ideas. For every Krugman there are 10 more able laissez faire economists who do not get air time and who are not as well known because of that chauvinism.

    ******************************

    Maybe we just read John Stuart Mill and take him at his word. It is hard to tell the difference sometimes:

    Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.

    ~John Stuart Mill

  139. @Mesporon, you do eralize that European conservatives, especially at the time of Mill, were practically the exact opposite of today’s U.S. conservatives. That’s the problem with relying on quotes instead of your brain, feeble though it is.

  140. Mespo, did you know that in his studies of genius, Terman and his group of researchers determined that John Stuart Mill may have had the highest IQ of anyone? IIRC, J. S. Mills’ IQ was about 215. Einstein had an estimated IQ of 185.

    At those levels, there is no standardized test, so the numbers are based on early childhood writings, musical talent, and other methods that allowed the researchers to compare the genius being studied with other average kids of the day for whom they had drawings, writing, etc.

  141. Roco,

    “basically you are trying to tie religious fanatics to conservatives and to our belief in free markets.”

    No, I’m not. You’ll notice that I wrote about fundamentalist conservatives and Christians. Not all Christians and conservatives are fundamentalists.
    I wrote nothing about free markets. Not sure how you made that connection.

    There is more than one definition for laissez faire.

    Definition #2 from “The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language”: Noninterference in the affairs of others.

  142. OS:

    the reason none of those books is in that list above is because American schools have been dumbed down.

    You now how to read those works on your own and you get the 3rd or 4th tier writers for your school work. in my opinion it should be the other way around.

    The list Elaine produced is summer beach reading for the most part, I dont see Mespo citing “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things”.

  143. So Elaine, are you saying you are selectively laissez faire for, say, censorship, but apparently not for anything else. That sounds convenient.

  144. Mespo:

    “Maybe we just read John Stuart Mill and take him at his word. It is hard to tell the difference sometimes:

    Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.

    ~John Stuart Mill

    John Stuart Mill couldn’t make up his mind as to whether he was a socialist or liberal free market type.

    I am not so sure I would be quoting someone who had no clue as to where he stood in regard to his philosophy. If he doesnt know his own mind can he know the mind of another?

  145. Mespo::

    “Maybe we just read John Stuart Mill and take him at his word. It is hard to tell the difference sometimes:

    Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.

    ~John Stuart Mill

    John Stuart Mill couldn’t make up his mind as to whether he was a socialist or liberal free market type.

    I am not so sure I would be quoting someone who had no clue as to where he stood in regard to his philosophy. If he doesnt know his own mind can he know the mind of another?

  146. Roco,

    Just so you know: The ALA list of banned and censored books I provided includes books for all ages–from picture books through adult novels. The list changes from year to year. New books are being published all the time. New books make their way onto the list. It’s the people who try to ban and censor books who are responsible for the book titles that appear on the list. BTW, the ALA hasn’t been compiling the list for decades.

    Speaking from my own personal experience–my daughter read a number of challenging books when she attended a public high school in a community where the residents are well-educated and open-minded. There have been very few attempts to censor or ban any books that the children and teenagers in that communty read. The adults in that town are not afraid of literature. They don’t think it will warp their children’s minds.

  147. And now I’m going to attempt to, by words alone, transform and transport a train from a wrecked heap to one running smoothly on an entirely different track. If that’s not a feat of mythic proportions, I don’t know what is.

    Might I suggest that the myth/cultural relationship is a more complex feedback relationship? I think to a large extent, myths don’t cause our behavior, they rationalize the behavior we’ve got built in (including making myths). On the other hand, I don’t think anyone would argue that they also serve to reinforce and channel those existing behaviors. Prayer of some sort or another is pretty common to all humans, but I’m much less likely to try a laying of hands if I haven’t heard about the “Gifts of the Spirit” in Sunday school.

  148. Elaine, we had to do battle with the branch of the St. Louis Public Library nearest our home. When our oldest son was in the 4th grade, we were in the library one evening when he came to me in tears. He had been browsing in the adult section of the library when the librarian chastised him for being in that section. She put him back over in the elementary school section and told him books for his age group were there.

    I am afraid I unloaded on the head librarian. I told her this little fourth grader was reading at the second year college level and that he could read any damn book he wanted. She then wanted me to sign a release so they would not be held responsible for him reading from the adult section of the library. I signed the form, but I was really irritated.

    He is now a physician. You never, ever, want to play either Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit with him for money. ;-D

  149. Gyges, have you read Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell? A wonderful read.

    The hero may have many faces, but the underlying story is pretty much the same. Dragon threatens village, so the village identifies an ordinary person, maybe even a child, to go slay the dragon. Erstwhile hero sets out, kills dragon and then either returns home to be celebrated as a hero, or decides to press on and look for the Dragon’s grandaddy and slay him too. Sometimes the myth turns out well, or sometimes it doesn’t.

  150. K,
    “So Elaine, are you saying you are selectively laissez faire for, say, censorship, but apparently not for anything else. That sounds convenient.”
    ——

    LOL, public policy is complex, it calls for a complex framework of personal assessments and intellectual discrimination regarding the multitude of possible choices. Dogma is easy. Dogma is convenient. A more nuanced approach is difficult but makes for better policy. Srsly.

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” Emerson

  151. @Lottakatz, emerson was talking about conformity, specifically he was advocating not being a conformist. Elaine, if anything, is in conformity with the gang with respect to her views. I haven’t see her stray yet.

    Have you never heard of liberal dogma? It’s what this group subscribes to with utmost fealty.

  152. lottakatz,

    Get it straight, will ya! I’m a conformist who never strays from liberal dogma. It must be true because kderosa said so.

    kderosa’s term of the day: “utmost fealty”

    At least kderosa hasn’t accused me of making an ad hominem attack today. I had better check some of the other threads to make sure.

    ;)

  153. OS,

    I tried the first chapter of The Power of Myth and couldn’t make it past the Noble Savage undercurrents.

    How does Gilgamesh work in that theory? Gilgamesh wasn’t chosen, the gods basically made up a bunch of crap for him to do so he’d stop raping his own citizens.

  154. Elaine, I’m more libur-ally dog-matic than you are. I am. You just can’t go around claiming your some kind of dogma-queen, that’s my title, I even copyrighted it, you can’t have it. There. ;)

    Well, maybe for you, I’ll share.

  155. Gyges, in Dr. Campbell’s epic writings, the hero does have a thousand faces. The stories and myths are mostly different, but when you start dissecting the theme and storyline, they are surprisingly similar. The genius of keeping us enthralled with the timeless stories is the variety of adventures and motivations of the various characters. Sometimes the villain is more interesting than the hero. The comic strip artists who drew Dick Tracy and Batman created genius villains much more interesting than the heroic main character.

    I do not see Gilgamesh as being much different than many heroes of ancient times in song and story. He was much more flawed, but at the same time had more heroic features to offset his flaws and weaknesses.

    Interestingly, many mythological heroes are probably based on real people. Some heroes even have well documented histories, but the myth embellishes their power. I think the myths surrounding McBeth, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce are good examples of real men who probably did not exactly live up to the myths, even though they came very close.

  156. OS,

    Having not read the book, I can’t comment on the specifics.

    I will say that in the epic of Gilgamesh, he didn’t show up in response to the dragon, the dragon showed up in response to him. You could almost use the whole thing as an parable about the nature of standing armies. You could say similar things about Beowulf.

    I’ve always been under the impression book goes a long way to just to say “humans are wired the same, so we tend to create similar forms of art.” Which is a valid statement, but at some point it becomes a little silly to compare a piece by Palistrina to a piece played by a gamelan ensemble.

  157. Gyges,

    Good try!

    I am not as enamored with the myth culture as others though I did enjoy Campbell’s contributions. I do find myself agreeing with your thought: “I think to a large extent, myths don’t cause our behavior, they rationalize the behavior we’ve got built in (including making myths).”

    I suppose that in referring to Campbell, I would suggest that his theory of myths validating and supporting the existing social order are what I see as evolving thus greatly disturbing the social order as a result of the discomfort within the social order. I know what I mean but I suspect I am being unclear in my presentation.

    The idea of questing within the King Arthur legend has always fascinated me … finding our way, etc.

  158. Gyges,

    Interesting point. I think what Campbell was saying can be summed up by the French phrase, Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose …

  159. kderosa,

    “Tell us three positions where you’ve stayed from liberal dogma, Elaine.”

    I think you meant “strayed.”

    Tell me what liberal dogma is first. I never received instruction in liberal dogma. You’ll have to educate me.

  160. Gyges: “How does Gilgamesh work in that theory? Gilgamesh wasn’t chosen, the gods basically made up a bunch of crap for him to do so he’d stop raping his own citizens.”
    —-
    “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra”

    (BIL’s not here, somebody has to make the reference)
    —-

    The only thing that made an impression on me from the Gilgamesh legend was that Gilgamesh at one point sought out the only immortal man. That man had been given the task of building a large boat and gathering up pairs of animals and saving them from a great, world destroying flood.

    Myths that have their roots in history have always seemed to me to be oral histories, made worth remembering and retelling by tweaking with heroic acts. Rousing good tales (encompassing events that may well summaries of events separated in time) crafted and passed down from the first flickering of civilization.

    The Gilgamesh epic has elements, like the great world-killing flood, that must be incredibly old. Writing was new when the epic was written so the elements therein that were stated to be old were perhaps some of the earliest and most profoundly memorable events in human history. The flood story could well be the greatly condensed record of the Ice melt from the last ice age. Homo sapiens were around and would notice over time, that up to about about 60 meters of water was again inundating the land, in spurts, over about 10,000 years. It’s something that would be memorialized.

  161. lottakatz,

    I used to do an extensive unit on traditional literature in my elementary classroom. One of the most interesting things I discovered was the variety of Cinderella stories that come from different cultures all around the world.

  162. Elaine,

    Is it true what that say? That a dog-matic is easier to drive than a standard? I love my karma but I’ve been thinking about swapping out the transmission. I’d ask some of the other drivers posting here who obviously drive dog-matics, but it appears they all have right wing steering.

  163. Joseph Campbell on the mythology of the trickster. He points out that even Yahweh is a trickster and gives examples.

  164. Gene, I think Dr. Campbell would say that the tricksters around here drive dog-matics. And their Karmas are all in disrepair.

  165. I saw one in an Edsel. D was broken so it could not go forward. So it only drove in R and backed into the pond where it got goose poop all over it.

  166. I’ve got to agree with Elaine on that one. The Edsel was not an attractive car no matter what gear it was stuck in.

  167. rcampbell wrote:
    To your point about writing a letter. Bill Maher has mentioned several times that Coulter is a personal friend of his and I’m pretty sure he owns the show.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    interesting… I don’t watch the show. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are my favorites. I would love to see Ann Coulter as guest on the Colbert Report! That I would watch with relish!

  168. America’s Book Banners Are Back in Force
    “Groups are organizing around the principle that professional librarians don’t have the expertise, that they’re pushing porn on our kids.”
    Miller-McCune Magazine / By Lewis Beale
    February 16, 2011
    http://www.alternet.org/rights/149924/america's_book_banners_are_back_in_force

    On the website Parents Against Bad Books In Schools, some of the works deemed “sensitive, inappropriate and controversial” for K-12 students, even those who are college-bound or in advanced placement classes, include Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses, Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.

    “Bad is not for us to determine,” says the disclaimer on the site. “Bad is what you determine is bad.” One of the purposes of PABBIS.org, the disclaimer goes on to say, is to “provide information related to bad books in schools.”

    Of course, “bad” is a relative term, and one person’s obscenity is another person’s Pulitzer or Nobel Prize winner. Yet websites like PABBIS.org and Safelibraries.org have become the vanguard for a recent increase in organized attempts to ban books from public libraries and school curricula.

    “There are organized groups on the internet whose purpose is to remove books from libraries because they believe they may be inappropriate for children,” says Deborah Caldwell-Stone of the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association.

    “Traditionally, when books are challenged, it’s usually a single parent. But we have found that groups are organizing around the principle that professional librarians don’t have the expertise, that they’re pushing porn on our kids.”

    “Groups of parents are getting together and organizing in their communities to ban books,” adds Joan Bertin of the National Coalition Against Censorship. “I think what’s happening is once a book is challenged in one town, people on the same wavelength, it will flag that book for them. For example, we’ve seen three challenges to Sherman Alexie’s teen novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, all within the past three months, two in Missouri, one in Montana.”

    Some other recent incidents:

    • Self-identified members of the 9.12 Project, a conservative watchdog group launched by Glenn Beck, succeeded in removing Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology from a high school library in Burlington County, N.J., a Philadelphia suburb.

    • A fight over library books featuring sex and homosexuality inflamed the town of West Bend, Wis., north of Milwaukee, and led four men to threaten to publicly burn Baby Be-Bop, a novel about a gay teenager.

    • In Hillsborough County, Fla., which includes Tampa, parents objected to the inclusion of Augusten Burroughs’ memoir Running With Scissors on the suggested reading list of an English AP course. Out of nine high schools, two banned the book outright, and the other seven either required parental consent to read it or placed a “Mature Reader” label on the front cover.

    “Books written for an adult audience are not frequently challenged,” says the ALA’s Caldwell-Stone. “The vast majority that are challenged are written for young people or provided to young people as part of an AP class. [Grounds include] profanity, sexually explicit, simply talking about having sex, or homosexuality. Books have been challenged simply because they had a homosexual character, and there was no sex in them. Unsuited to age group is a big complaint.”

    “We have always seen a lot of challenges around sex,” Bertin adds. “Of course, gay and lesbian sex is even a hotter topic. Teenage sex is a big thing. And the sex issue ties in with religion, which goes by the code name of family values — these are not the values we want to teach our children, we don’t want them to know about casual sexual activity.”
    This is not to say that some of the most challenged perennials — Huckleberry Finn (long a favorite target of the left, which might be placated by a little Bowdlerization …), Beloved, the Harry Potter books — aren’t still fighting off the censors.

    But there has been a sea change in what kinds of books are being attacked, and the ways in which those challenges are handled. Whereas a decade ago, evangelicals seemed to concentrate on removing books about witchcraft and secular humanism from libraries, now the emphasis is definitely on sex, particularly of the homosexual variety. (Although there are always outliers, like Bowlderizing The Cartoons That Shook the World because of panels showing the Prophet Mohammed, or keeping minors from seeing Barbara Ehrenreich’s book on the working poor, Nickel and Dimed, off the shelves because of anti-Christian themes) And the book banners seem to be concentrating on award-winning literature taught in advanced high school classes.

    “The fact people say AP high school students shouldn’t be reading Beloved, or Bookseller of Kabul, what I fear this indicates is that these are people who believe no one should be reading these books,” Bertin says. “In their view, these books are the product of a corrupt and immoral society, and they don’t want to have anything to do with it.”
    There is, of course, a fine line being danced around here. What’s appropriate for one student might not be for another of the same age. Librarians, teachers and parents can help make these determinations, but, Caldwell-Stone says, “it shouldn’t be one parent deciding what’s appropriate for every 12-year-old. This is a pluralistic society, not everyone shares the same values, and publicly funded schools and libraries have to serve the public.”

    Caldwell-Stone says about 25 percent of all challenges are successful, and that challenges often occur without being mentioned in the press because many librarians are afraid of losing their jobs and hesitate to report what’s happening.

    The number of known challenges has remained relatively constant. The ALA says they’ve had as many as 700 in a given year, and as few as 380. The numbers generally come out in the 400-500 range (there were 460 challenges in 2009, the latest year for which figures are available). So the problem is not that there’s a major uptick in complaints, it’s that the challengers are starting to organize.

    In that sense, they’ve taken a page from the opposition — the annual Banned Books Week was first organized in 1982 to highlight the issue, and it’s currently sponsored by organizations like the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Association of College Stores.

    “We never have a problem with people who don’t want their own kid to read a book,” Bertin says. “We have a problem with people who feel these books are corrosive to the culture, and they don’t want them taught in schools. They think it’s immoral and offends their religious values, whether they’re Jewish, Christian or Muslim.”

  169. Elaine, one of the more curious things about the book banning, anti-abortion, anti-family planning crowd is that many of them are the same ones who want government to stay out of their lives. The same ones who brandish the “Don’t tread on me” flag. The cognitive dissonance and hubris is staggering.

  170. OS,

    I’d say that Yahweh’s less of a trickster and more of a compiling of myths included some trickster gods.

    The thing to remember, is that the ancient Israelis hit on this great idea, they took their god with them. Usually, gods just sort of stayed put, and when you moved to a city, you worshiped (among other things) it’s god. That’s why the Arc of the Covenant was always brought to battles; god literally was on their side. That’s why there’s those weird stories about the prophets that seem to imply that there are other gods that Yahweh was stronger than.

    So anyway, they went place to place, their god in tow, and they found all these great myths. So they did what every other culture did, they changed the names and retold them, but because they only had one tribal god instead of a pantheon of gods with the same general roles as the other pantheons, they had to force all the aspects of these other gods into their one. Just look at the flood story in Gilgamesh, and then look at Noah’s story; The Sabbath wasn’t really a big deal until after the Babylonian exile; etc.

  171. Elaine,

    In 1956 my father who owned a Desoto/Plymouth Dealership, was offered considerable incentives to turn it into an Edsel Dealership. He turned the offer down and so didn’t have to suffer the humiliation of going broke backing Edsel. However, he did go broke with his own dealership and DeSoto and Plymouth are long gone as auto brands. Sometimes even foresight does a person little good.

  172. “I’d say that Yahweh’s less of a trickster and more of a compiling of myths included some trickster gods.”

    Gyges,

    As to your surmise on the origin of the Torah, I don’t think you’re far from the mark. However, in many ways Yahweh does have the characteristics of a trickster. Remember too that tricksters weren’t always necessarily bad characters, such as Krishna for instance. I’m enjoying everyone’s comments. However, OS why is it that you are always so way ahead of me in knowledge? I once had the psychotherapy franchise here and lost it to you.
    Now i only briefly had the Joseph Campbell franchise and there you go again. Damn, it aint easy having pretensions of pseudo-intellectuality at my stage of life, only to see its balloon busted.

  173. “Our family car for many years was a dark green DeSoto. I think it was a 1946 or 1948 model.”

    Elaine,

    In a peculiar coincidence the first car I remember my family owning was a dark green 1947 DeSoto Coupe. My first car was a 1957 DeSoto Fireflight Sedan, Red with a white two-tone flair. The first night I got my drivers license I went out to drag race with it. It wasn’t easy drag racing with a push button transmission but I did it. The car was totaled 4 months later, in a parking lot, hit by a Corvair of all things.

  174. This post is a serious misread of what’s going on in our country. It’s almost a form of denial. There is one political faction in this country that is hell bent on hating and demonizing all other factions that stand in it’s way and that is the extreme Republican right which also now happens to also encompass what little remains of the “moderate” portion of that party. This faction is a coalition of well funded, seriously midquided, dangerous authoritarian misanthropes. The phenomenon is well documented. Attempting to put a stop to this now neo-fascistic, know-nothingism is most definitely NOT a mirror image of the right wing extreme. Those who meet the challenge of this very dangerous element in our political cutlture and society are not motivated, as is the right, by hatred and a lust for power at all costs but rather it is motivated by a profoundly conservative notion of preserving the stability of our nation and both the social and political progress that has been made here since 1932. This wrongheaded idea that “all” of us have somehow been consumed with a similar hatred of everyone who doesn’t think like we do is understandable but dead wrong and really is a posture that allows the right to gain even more ground. This faction on the right is not reasonable or rational and cannot be dealt with in any sort of normal fashion. I find it amazing to have to even point this out. Becuase it is so highly authoritarian and sociopathic, this faction must be treated in a manner appropriate to the threat it represents and must be opposed and put down by everyone else both conservative and liberal. People like Ann Coulter are not just right wingers who actually believe in the extremist garbage they vomit up as political opinion. There is something fundamentally wrong with them. I saw the Maher program and all one need do is look at her demeanor, the look in her eyes, the Linda Blair like evil giggling she does even when being severely mocked. That blank, hate filled stare of Coulter’s is something you can see in other right wing extremists as well, particularly females like Bachmann, Palin and the like. Watch sometime and focus on that glazed over look in the eyes, the frozen smile as they try to control their urge to scream and go on full attack. This is a problem for everyone, but the author’s misdiagnosis is almost as dangerous as the right wing extremists themselves are because it does nothing to address the real threat to our liberty and to our republic that these folks represent. One needn’t be liberal at all to understand this. All one need be is a modern, nonideological, educated, rational human being.

  175. horus: If there ever was a Top Comment on the Turley blawg, that is it.

    Well said. Your comment is one of those that make me say I wish I had thought to say that. Thanks.

  176. (1)”Attempting to put a stop to this now neo-fascistic, know-nothingism is most definitely NOT a mirror image of the right wing extreme.”

    (2)”This wrongheaded idea that “all” of us have somehow been consumed with a similar hatred of everyone who doesn’t think like we do is understandable but dead wrong and really is a posture that allows the right to gain even more ground.”

    (3)”but the author’s misdiagnosis is almost as dangerous as the right wing extremists themselves are because it does nothing to address the real threat to our liberty and to our republic that these folks represent.”

    horus,

    As to your first quote, a review of the history of my comments on this blog
    would show that there is nothing you say about the Right Wing Conspiracy that I haven’t stated years ago, with great passion and copiously. What does bother me is that you took my Post to mean I was establishing a “mirror image” argument vis-a-vis right and left in this country, which is hardly the case, though you may incorrectly read it as such.

    Now sometimes I admit that I assume too much of those reading stuff I’ve written. The misinterpretations people make may well be due to my own failings as a writer, or they can be because the reader rather than understanding the points being made and/or influenced by their own myths misinterprets me. If your confusion is due to my own failings I apologize.

    However, in light of your ideas of what I said I’ve just gone back to re-read it, If you would do the same perhaps you would come to a different conclusion as to the points I was making. You may still disagree, but perhaps you would understand that you are literally distorting what I wrote and missing the point.

    In quote number 2 you conflate mythology and myths as negatives. Part of the reason I referenced the writings of Campbell and Slotkin was because they explain the role of myths in human’s affairs and inherent in their explanation is that to follow certain myths is in no way always a negative thing. Myths are not by definition distortions and actually can be positive actors in allowing us humans to understand the world around us. Myths are allegorical and as I assume you know, allegory can be a very salutary method of education Certain myths are indeed poisonous, but others can be nourishing to a society.

    Finally I must say that I take umbrage in your quote number 3. Unless you are older than the age 67, which I’m fast approaching, you probably lack the experiences that I’ve gone through. I was a minor soldier in the Movement” of the 60’s and 70’s, fighting both racism and Viet Nam. In my involvement I came into contact with many other “allies” on the left who were every bit as badly myth-ridden and poisonous as the government we opposed. Sit down sometime and talk with real Communists, Maoists, Trotsyites, SNCC members or other Left Wingers of sociopathic bent and you might see that some people you deem on your side are just as poisonous and pathological as any Teabagger.

    Now today, contrary to form, I remain as radical in beliefs as I was back then. The difference is that I spent 10 years of my 37 year career of fighting for the underdog, in deep self examination. I believe I’ve learned to be self aware and self critical. With that knowledge I have seen many who would seem to be on my side, actually acting for their own selfish gain. Are a goodly percentage of the people on the right promulgating evil as I (and you perhaps) define it, knowingly or not? My answer is a definite yes they are. However, our side of the equation is also not a paragon of good among all our allies and some would be just as totalitarian in power as those we oppose. Unless we understand this and unless we convince many others of this, we are doomed to failure. I’ve always believed that “a one-eyed man in the land of the blind is king.” My aim is to allow us all to be “one-eyed” by fully understanding the nature of the combat we are in.

    One further thing. Professor Turley, when he honored me by making me a guest blogger cautioned me about being overly political in my essays.
    The purposes of this blog, while on some level one of advocacy, is in its essence to promote a free exchange of ideas. I will leave my political passion and leanings to the many comments I make on other threads.
    When it comes to my guest blogging my aim is to stir thought and debate,
    though the Professor allows us to express our opinions. Our host is the main advocate here, his guest bloggers perform a different function.

  177. This post is a serious misread of what’s going on in our country. It’s almost a form of denial. There is one political faction in this country that is hell bent on hating and demonizing all other factions that stand in it’s way and that is the extreme Democratic Left which also now happens to also encompass what little remains of the “moderate” portion of that party. This faction is a coalition of well funded, seriously midquided, dangerous authoritarian misanthropes. The phenomenon is well documented. Attempting to put a stop to this now neo-Marxist, know-nothingism is most definitely NOT a mirror image of the left wing extreme. Those who meet the challenge of this very dangerous element in our political cutlture and society are not motivated, as is the leftt, by hatred and a lust for power at all costs but rather it is motivated by a profoundly conservative notion of preserving the foundation on which our country was founded. This wrongheaded idea that “all” of us have somehow been consumed with a similar hatred of everyone who doesn’t think like we do is understandable but dead wrong and really is a posture that allows the left to gain even more ground. This faction on the left is not reasonable or rational and cannot be dealt with in any sort of normal fashion. I find it amazing to have to even point this out. Becuase it is so highly authoritarian and sociopathic, this faction must be treated in a manner appropriate to the threat it represents and must be opposed and put down by everyone else both conservative and liberal. People like Nancy Pelosi and Rachel Maddow are left wingers who actually believe in the extremist garbage they vomit up as political opinion. There is something fundamentally wrong with them. This is a problem for everyone, but the author’s misdiagnosis is almost as dangerous as the left wing extremists themselves are because it does nothing to address the real threat to our liberty and to our republic that these folks represent. One needn’t be conservative/libertarian at all to understand this. All one need be is a modern, nonideological, educated, rational human being.

  178. Mike S. in my comment above regarding the assessment by horus, I was focusing on the more psychological assessment of Palin, Bachmann, et al, and did not mean to imply agreement with the criticisms of your post. As a bystander, I see both sides of the argument. I do disagree with the criticism of your assessment.

    This is what I thought was spot-on (emphasis mine):

    People like Ann Coulter are not just right wingers who actually believe in the extremist garbage they vomit up as political opinion. There is something fundamentally wrong with them. I saw the Maher program and all one need do is look at her demeanor, the look in her eyes, the Linda Blair like evil giggling she does even when being severely mocked. That blank, hate filled stare of Coulter’s is something you can see in other right wing extremists as well, particularly females like Bachmann, Palin and the like. Watch sometime and focus on that glazed over look in the eyes, the frozen smile as they try to control their urge to scream and go on full attack.

  179. I am certainly glad I decided to revisit this thread as the exchange of ideas between Mike and horus was well worth the effort.

    Horus’ subtle attack on Mike’s presentation was, in my opinion, a staging designed to present his own thoughts in the best light. Such maneuverings are unnecessary for horus’ comments have a strength and validity that doesn’t require the augmentation of upstaging.

  180. OS,

    How could I take offense when I know you are very familiar with Campbell?
    I to agreed fully with horus in that quote you cited.

  181. Mike S., Alan Watts talks about making the person who is illogical follow a path that will puncture the illogic, but one must be consistent.

    The problem of life….

  182. OS,

    I’ve really liked Watts a lot and miss the soothing wisdom he brought while observing the world around him. Regarding consistency though, I’ve always been a fan of Emerson, though perhaps to I appreciate it because I at times fail to act logically.

Comments are closed.