If morality was a real issue instead of merely being used as the lowest kind of rhetoric, assholes like William Gheen would have their careers destroyed and they’d be ostracized from all respectable society.
The following video points out how moral absolutism can only exist in an advanced civilization. That makes sense to me. It reminds me of Karen Armstrong’s view that fundamentalism is a direct response to modernism.
I just saw this video about the marshmallow test.
The first thing I noticed was that the emphasis was on the belief we should teach our kids more self-control because it leads a to a more focused mindset and so increases the probability of traditional success. My immediate response was that psychological research shows that people are born with such traits and there is a limit to how much you can cause your child to change. It’s good to teach kids self-control, but I don’t think it’s good to force the ideal of “success” on young children. Kids should to an extent be allowed to be kids and allowed to be their natural selves.
I’d heard of the marshmallow test before, but I decided to post about it because it connects to another video I recently saw (and posted about: Rise of the Creative Class & Second Axial Age).
In the second video, another study shows an interesting contrast to the Marshmallow test. The more that the self-controlled, success-focused mindset is increased the more that innovative thinking decreases. Traditional schooling has focused on self-control, but as I described in my other post innovative is gaining a higher priority in our society. If you want to know who will be the geniuses, I’d bet on the kid who didn’t follow the rules in the marshmallow test and instead did something unexpected.
You know change is in the air when mainstream media is this blatantly honest about how lobbyist politics works. Wall Street has pumped billions of dollars into Washington politics and yet the leaders of the Tea Party continue to blame Washington for regulating Wall Street too much (Republicans Support Big Government… just as long as Republicans are in power).
I was surprised to see this video from the mainstream media. It’s a news report about an important topic and they even discuss actual scientific research. Scientists have been researching the effects, uses and benefits of psychedelics off and on for about a half century now, but it’s nice to see the mainstream media finally catching up.
rethinkafghanistan — April 20, 2010 — Californias economy is in a tailspin. One in 5 Californians is out of work. Over three quarters of a million have lost their homes. Desperately needed social services have been cut to the bone. Yet residents of our state continue to pay for a senseless war in Afghanistan thats not making us safer a war that has cost California taxpayers nearly $38 billion already.
Last month, facing tuition and fee hikes of over 30 percent, public university students all over California said enough is enough, organized and went on strike. Now these students have a new message: California is wasting tens of billions of dollars on war even while making public education accessible only to the rich.
We cant afford to continue a war that does nothing to make us safer.
This post relates to the post right before this one (Tea Party: prejudiced against marginalized groups?).
It’s not that these conservatives don’t trust government. What they trust is government when it serves their own interests and the interests of capitalism. But not when government serves the interests of the underprivileged working class. And not when government serves the average American by regulating the excesses of Wall Street.
I remember a media person (probably Cenk Uygur) commenting that the only time bipartisanship happens is when Democrats agree with Republicans. However, the only principle Republicans stand by is that they refuse to cooperate in almost any bipartisan effort. This data seems to support that in that it shows that Democrats are the only party willing to be fair in both support and criticism.
(As an interesting side note, I just heard reported of a poll that appears to show Tea Party supporters have more favorable ratings of George W. Bush and the Republican party than even those who fully identify as Republicans. That seems to fit into this data since the problems the Tea Party complains about mostly began under Bush’s administration: Wall Street dishonesty, economic downturn, bank bailouts, trampling on Constitutional rights including the seizing of legally owned guns in Washington, DC.)
My favorite comment to the above video:
FirstAmongNerds Wayne’s claim that the government is as much to blame for this catastrophe as Wall Street is like claiming police are as much to blame for rape as rapists. “That rapist might have raped me, but the police consciously assisted by not being in the vicinity by chance at the time of the rape.” The government did a terrible job regulating Wall Street, but the moral onus lies with Wall Street to not intentionally fuck over their investors.
Look at those numbers. Democrats are about as trusting of Barack Obama’s administration (33%) than they were of Ronald Reagan’s (34%). Compare that to Republicans, who are supposedly wary of government, out of principle. Nope. When there’s a guy with an “R” next to his name at 1600 Pennsylvania, they just completely toss that out the window.
What’s going on here?
One, Republicans are simply more authoritarian than Democrats. For all their talk about individual liberty and personal freedom, they’re ready and eager to goose-step behind whatever Republican Daddy figure that comes along. Think back at the cottage industry of sickeningly fawning books about Bush during his first term and you get the picture. This is why right-wingers saw black helicopters in the skies when Clinton was President, but cheered on every egregious executive overreach — from domestic spying to torture — when Bush was at the helm.
Paraphrasing Truman, Republicans have leaders and Democrats have bosses.
It’s also pretty self-evident from these results that a Democratic President trying to appeal to Republican (or Teabagger) voters is completely wasting his time. So Barack Obama can escalate in Afghanistan and cut taxes and he’s still considered a communist pacifist by the right.
Finally, look at the steady decline of trust in government among Independents. That’s the result of 30+ years of “government is the problem” Reaganism. The Democrats and Barack Obama must make an affirmative case for government or this trend will continue.
The party of “government sucks — vote for us” is still winning the messaging war.
First, there is considerable evidence that distrust of government is strongly connected to how people feel about the overall state of the nation. […] The recent downward trend in trust in government began in the fall of 2008, when public satisfaction plunged amid the financial crisis. […]
A second element is presidential politics. Trust in government is typically higher among members of the party that controls the White House than among members of the “out” party. However, Republicans’ views of government change more dramatically, depending on which party holds power, than do Democrats’. Republicans are more trusting of government when the GOP holds power than Democrats are when the Democrats are in charge. […]
A third factor is that a particular subgroup of independents, who are financially pressed, chronically distrustful of government and who typically lean to the Republican Party, appears to be especially angry today. Pew political typology surveys in the past have labeled these individuals as “disaffecteds.” This group may explain, in part, why at least as many Republican-leaning independents (37%) as conservative Republicans (32%) say they are angry with the government. And identical percentages of Republican-leaning independents and conservative Republicans (53% each) say they agree with the Tea Party movement.
Finally, record discontent with Congress – and dim views of elected officials generally – have poisoned the well for trust in the federal government. Undoubtedly, this has contributed to growing discontent with government even among groups who are generally more positive about it, such as Democrats. […]
A desire for smaller government is particularly evident since Barack Obama took office. In four surveys over the past year, about half have consistently said they would rather have a smaller government with fewer services, while about 40% have consistently preferred a bigger government providing more services. In October 2008, shortly before the presidential election the public was evenly divided on this issue (42% smaller government, 43% bigger government). […]
While the public is wary of too much government involvement with the economy, it suspends that concern when it comes to stricter regulation of major financial companies. A clear majority (61%) says it is a good idea for the government to more strictly regulate the way major financial companies do business, which is virtually unchanged from last April (60%).
I mentioned the study done on racism in the Tea Party in a previous post (Tea Party Racism & Milwaukee Socialism). I’m posting again the relevant part of that post and adding further information about the values and attitudes of Tea Party supporters.
The conclusion is that the Tea Party is mostly white males (although another study showed they were slightly more female) who have more wealth than most and higher education than most Americans (it sounds like the Pew Enterpriser demographic which is also the Fox News loyal viewership). So, the Tea Party supporters are mostly Americans who live a privileged lifestyle. This affluent class is critical towards government in that they blame the government for the problems on Wall Street (according to Pew, Enterprisers are the group that does the most trading in stocks and bonds). But this group (and conservatives in general) are only critical of government when a Democrat is power (whereas liberals are equally critical no matter which party is in power: Republicans Support Big Government… just as long as Republicans are in power).
Most important, this privileged class has little compassion towards those who were born with less privilege. Also, they see themselves as the dominant class, i.e., “Real Americans”. They are worried about losing their dominance with the increasing numbers of minorites, the increasing social liberalism of the young generations, and the growing acceptance of diversity (interrracial dating and marriage; atheism, agnosticism, and other religious “nones”; social justice Christianity; pick-and-choose religious sensibility). They have always loved big government when they were in power for most of the last several decades, but now they worry that the government might be helping the poor and needy… which really makes them mad.
Tea Party supporters are less likely than Americans overall to believe whites have more opportunities to get ahead than blacks.
Just 16 percent of Tea Party supporters say whites have more opportunities to get ahead, compared to 31 percent of all Americans. Seventy-three percent say both have equal opportunity, compared to 60 percent of Americans overall.
Fifty-two percent believe too much has been made of the problems facing black people. Far fewer Americans overall — 28 percent — believe as much. Among non-Tea Party whites, the percentage who say too much attention has been paid to the problems of black people is 23 percent.
A majority of Tea Party suppers believe the Obama administration treats both blacks and whites the same way. But one in four believe the administration favors blacks over whites, an opinion shared by just 11 percent of Americans overall and seven percent of non-Tea Party whites.
A comprehensive poll conducted for the New York Times and CBS News and released late Monday CBS News/New York Times essentially found what anyone watching a couple minutes of news footage of a rally would intuit: the 18 percent of the nation that identifies with the Tea Party movement tends to be white, male, older than 45 and Republican. And also hypocritical: despite their anti-spending rhetoric, Tea Party supporters told pollsters that two of the federal government’s most money-consuming programs, Social Security and Medicare, are worth the cost to taxpayers (maybe not a surprise, given the Tea Partiers’ average age).
Interestingly, despite the frequent framing of the Tea Partiers as a predominantly blue-collar, the NYT poll also found that they are wealthier and better-educated than the public as a whole. And half of them think the Obama administration’s policies favor the poor.
If you stopped there, you might think this is largely a class-based movement, built on the principle of “I got mine.” But there’s more to it than that: 25 percent of the movement’s supporters think that the administration favors blacks over whites (compared with 11 percent of the general public).
[…] The UW survey shows Tea Partiers’ concerns with federal government spending are bound up with fears of having to share “their” benefits with people who aren’t deserving – and who also happen to be non-white.
Yes, they’re white, older, male and Republican; 56 percent make over $50,000 a year and 12 percent make over $250,000. They’re more likely to rely on Social Security and Medicare than the average voter — and, no surprise, they tend to approve of those two programs.
[…] As my friend Digby points out, make that “way more likely: 52% of them think that as compared to only 28% of the general public.” (Digby delves into much more detail about the poll, here.)
[…] And Tea Party supporters don’t like it when anyone notices the racists in their midst? I’ve written before that I find it galling when the wealthy, white Pat Buchanan (who by the way spent much of his adult life on government health insurance) lectures me about being “condescending” to the Tea Partiers, as though they’re a grass-roots uprising of the vulnerable against the elites. That’s garbage: They are a well-funded uprising of the elites against the vulnerable. And they’d be nowhere if their mission wasn’t largely supported by the top of corporate America (and the GOP shadow government in waiting).The idea that the Obama administration’s policies somehow favor black people will come as a surprise to many in the black community who are concerned that the president hasn’t done enough to directly address the crisis of unemployment, especially among black men. I happen to believe Obama’s race-neutral employment policies, targeted to place, not race, are the way to tackle the problem. But I have an idea for Tavis Smiley, Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson: They should hook up with the Tea Partiers. That’s an audience that really needs to hear their complaints about how little Obama is doing for black people.
“The tea party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race,”said Christopher Parker, a UW assistant professor of political science who directed the survey.
It found that those who are racially resentful, who believe the U.S. government has done too much to support blacks, are 36 percent more likely to support the tea party than those who are not.
“While it’s clear that the Tea Party in one sense about limited government, it’s also clear from the data that people who want limited government don’t want certain services for certain kinds of people. Those services include health care,” said Christopher Parker, the assistant professor of political science at the UW who directed the survey. Among his findings:
- Southerners are 12 percent more likely to support the Tea Party than whites in other parts of the U.S.
- Conservatives are 28 percent more likely than liberals to support the Tea Party.
- Strong support for the Tea Party resulted in a 45 percent decline in support for health-care reform compared with people who opposed the Tea Party.
- 30 percent of the 1,015 had never heard of the Tea Party. But among those who had, 32 percent strongly supported it.
- 56 percent of Republicans who had heard of it strongly approved. So did 31 percent of independents and 5 percent of Democrats.
- Whites who disapprove of President Obama are 55 percent more likely to support the Tea Party.
- Among whites who approve of the Tea Party, 35 percent say they believe blacks are hardworking, 45 percent said they believe blacks are intelligent and 41 percent believe them to be trustworthy.
For instance, the Tea Party, the grassroots movement committed to reining in what they perceive as big government, and fiscal irresponsibility, also appear predisposed to intolerance. Approximately 45% of Whites either strongly or somewhat approve of the movement. Of those, only 35% believe Blacks to be hardworking, only 45 % believe Blacks are intelligent, and only 41% think that Blacks are trustworthy. Perceptions of Latinos aren’t much different. While 54% of White Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be hardworking, only 44% think them intelligent, and even fewer, 42% of Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be trustworthy. When it comes to gays and lesbians, White Tea Party supporters also hold negative attitudes. Only 36% think gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children, and just 17% are in favor of same-sex marriage.
[…] Overall, the average distance separating respective levels of tea party support, across various marginalized groups, after rounding, is 17% for blacks, 12% for immigrants, and 13% for gay rights, respectively.
Rather large differences also emerge upon consideration of liberty, equality, and perceptions of president Obama’s character traits. On questions that tap issues of liberty, the gap between true believers and those in the middle is greatest on the question of whether or not the “government can detain people as long as they wish without trial,” where true believers support the proposition by 25 points over those in the middle. The difference narrows to 8 points when people were asked to consider whether or not people with political beliefs at variance with the much of the country are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. Overall, for this set of questions, the mean difference is 19 points, where “true believers’” preferences appear to run counter to liberty, at least relative to those in the middle (table of results: click here)
Similar results obtain for egalitarianism, where strong supporters of the movement appear less inclined toward equality. Consider the proposition where the distance between groups is greatest. When asked to opine on whether or not “we’d have many fewer problems in this country” if people more treated more equally, only 31% of true believers agreed, versus 55% of those in the middle, reflecting a 24 percentage-point difference. The smallest difference, a 17 points, emerges when respondents were asked whether or not “our society should do whatever is necessary to ensure equal opportunity in this country,” where 81% of those in the middle agree, versus 64% of true believers. Overall, the mean difference is approximately 22 points.
Finally, at least for this round of analysis, we turn to the way in which support or the tea party informs how people perceive the president. At its most narrow, 21 points separate true believers from those who dwell in the middle, where 65% of the latter see the president as a strong leader versus 44% of the former group. The gap reaches its widest point on the issue of whether or not the president is moral: 64% of those in the middle agree that he is moral versus only 32% of true believers. Overall, the mean difference between the groups, in the way in which both perceive the president, is approximately 26 points.
THE TEA PARTY IN THE AGE OF OBAMA:
MAINSTREAM CONSERVATISM OR OUT-GROUP ANXIETY?
MATT A. BARRETO, BETSY L. COOPER, BENJAMIN GONZALEZ,
CHRISTOPHER S. PARKER, CHRISTOPHER TOWLER
With its preference for small government and fiscal responsibility, the Tea Party movement claims to be conservative. Yet, their tactics and rhetoric belie this claim. The shrill attacks against blacks, illegal immigrants, and gay rights are all consistent with conservatism, but suggesting that the president is a socialist bent on ruining the country, is beyond politics. This paper shows that Richard Hofstadter’s thesis about the “paranoid style” of American politics helps characterize the Tea Party’s pseudo-conservatism. Through a comprehensive analysis of qualitative interviews, content analysis and public opinion data, we find that Tea Party sympathizers are not mainstream conservatives, but rather, they hold a strong sense of out-group anxiety and a concern over the social and demographic changes in America.