Tag Archives | Liberalism

Left Liberalism and Social Theory: Jonathan Haidt and The Righteous Mind

41cpg1ESArLJohn Strong writes at Free Liberal:

In The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt sets forth an intuitionist theory of morality that encourages us not to take the discursive (or rational argument) dimension of moral narratives at face value. As he writes quite succinctly early in the book:

If you think that moral reasoning is something we do to figure out the truth, you’ll be constantly frustrated by how foolish, biased, and illogical people become when they disagree with you. But if you think about moral reasoning as a skill we humans evolved to further our social agendas—to justify our own actions and to defend the teams we belong to—then things will make a lot more sense. Keep your eye on the intuitions, and don’t take people’s moral arguments at face value. They’re mostly post hoc constructions made up on the fly, crafted to advance one or more strategic objectives.

So far so good.

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The Redundancy of the Dark Enlightenment


Brett Stevens writes at Alternative Right:

We live in an age of trends. For this reason, people are constantly inventing new “movements” which claim to be different, but are at a logical level identical to the older ones. By “at a logical level,” I mean comparing the structure and function or their ideas and not their surface appearance. Appearance is always misleading and geared toward concealing the fundamental sameness of things.

Currently the roiling trend on the internet is movements like the “Dark Enlightenment,” “Neo-reaction” and “red pill” as well as various “third way” movements. Each proclaims itself to be a new and untested idea, knowing that its audience craves novelty. And yet, if you dig below the level of appearance and look at the structure of the arguments of each group, you find something very far from new.

However, these groups have a lot vested in not admitting this.

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Trigger Warning: How the Language Police are Perverting Liberalism

Jonathan Chait takes on the PC police and their trigger warnings in a lengthy article for New York Magazine:

trigger warning

…After political correctness burst onto the academic scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it went into a long remission. Now it has returned. Some of its expressions have a familiar tint, like the protesting of even mildly controversial speakers on college campuses. You may remember when 6,000 people at the University of California–Berkeley signed a petition last year to stop a commencement address by Bill Maher, who has criticized Islam (along with nearly all the other major world religions). Or when protesters at Smith College demanded the cancellation of a commencement address by Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, blaming the organization for “imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide.” Also last year, Rutgers protesters scared away Condoleezza Rice; others at Brandeis blocked Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s-rights champion who is also a staunch critic of Islam; and those at Haverford successfully protested ­former Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who was disqualified by an episode in which the school’s police used force against Occupy protesters.

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The Poor Person’s Defense of Riots

Matthias Rhomberg (CC BY 2.0)

Matthias Rhomberg (CC BY 2.0)

Delio Vasquez writes at CounterPunch:

Since the Ferguson decision, we have been flooded with stories about how the overwhelmingly peaceful nation-wide protests against police brutality have been occasionally ruined by looting and property destruction caused by “fringe” elements. In conservative media, the trouble-makers have been generally characterized as parts of the black “criminal” underclass. In the liberal media, the law-breakers have often been characterized as “outside agitators,” “violent political radicals,” and “white anarchists.”  While the conservative side has worked to make it seem like the actions of these black “criminals” are not legitimately political, the liberal side on the other hand has avoided publicizing stories about people of color engaging in property destruction altogether. There is a real danger that these omissions have been motivated by white guilt—as well as by the legitimate concern that publicizing these stories will be interpreted as feeding into racism.

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Rethinking Democracy

rubio_jeffersonA pretty compelling read introducing the radical idea that maybe Democracy needs to be reconsidered. Old hat to postmodernism, of course, but maybe it’s time for some mainstream exposure for these notions.

via Salon:

This is what democracy looks like: grotesque inequality, delusional Tea Party obstructionism, a vast secret national-security state, overseas wars we’re never even told about and a total inability to address the global climate crisis, a failure for which our descendants will never forgive us, and never should. Maybe I’ll take the turtle costumes after all. The aura of democratic legitimacy is fading fast in an era when financial and political capital are increasingly consolidated in a few thousand people, a fact we already knew but whose implications French insta-celebrity Thomas Piketty and the political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page (of the “oligarchy study”) have forcefully driven home. Libertarian thinker Bryan Caplan sees the same pattern, as Michael Lind recently wrote in Salon, but thinks it’s a good thing.

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Tea Party Activists Boycott Fox News for Being ‘Too Liberal’

Picture: CometStarMoon (CC)

What is this “liberal” people speak of? David Freelander writes at the Daily Beast:

“I am having withdrawal. I do like Fox News,” said Kevin Avard, a former state lawmaker in New Hampshire who is participating in the boycott. “I have been going to CNN, and to Headline News just to get some kind of fix. I usually probably only watch them once or twice a year.”

Hjerlied said that “If I want news, I go to Breitbart News and Drudge and I can find all the news I need, very quickly,” and after the first boycott, says he may have “kicked the habit” for good.

“I used to have it on all day long, and I probably watched maybe six hours last week,” he said. “The more I looked at it, I have come to the conclusion that Fox is not as fair and balanced as I thought.

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The Death Of The Left Right Paradigm

From the about section of Disinfo:

We disagree with any labels such as “progressive” or “conservative,” “left” or “right,” “right” or “wrong”

There are a number of thought viruses embedded within the Disinfo brand that are key to the awakenings triggered within its keenest readers, commentors and contributors. Thanks to these concepts our core community is able to disagree on everything and yet still instantly recognise and respect those who ‘get it’.

The inevitable expansion of the brand means it’s worth re-introducing and re-articulating some of these ideas for newcomers. One of the most important is the often misunderstood aspect of political identity[1]. It’s possible the notion of neither labeling yourself as left wing or right wing will be entirely new. If that’s the case I envy you as someone who listens to a great album for the first time, welcome to a world revealed by The Death Of The Left Right Paradigm.Read the rest

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Red Brain, Blue Brain: Republicans and Democrats Process Risk Differently

Both of the major U.S. political parties may suck scum, but they are not the same.  Via ScienceDaily:

A team of political scientists and neuroscientists has shown that liberals and conservatives use different parts of the brain when they make risky decisions, and these regions can be used to predict which political party a person prefers. The new study suggests that while genetics or parental influence may play a significant role, being a Republican or Democrat changes how the brain functions.

Dr. Darren Schreiber, a researcher in neuropolitics at the University of Exeter, has been working in collaboration with colleagues at the University of California, San Diego on research that explores the differences in the way the brain functions in American liberals and conservatives. The findings are published Feb. 13 in the journal PLOS ONE.

In a prior experiment, participants had their brain activity measured as they played a simple gambling game.

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From Liberal Victory to Disempowerment in Six Easy Steps

Picture: Antonu (CC)

Glenn Greenwald, via Common Dreams:

STEP ONE: Liberals will declare that cutting social security and Medicare benefits – including raising the eligibility age or introducing “means-testing” – are absolutely unacceptable, that they will never support any bill that does so no matter what other provisions it contains, that they will wage war on Democrats if they try.

STEP TWO: As the deal gets negotiated and takes shape, progressive pundits in Washington, with Obama officials persuasively whispering in their ear, will begin to argue that the proposed cuts are really not that bad, that they are modest and acceptable, that they are even necessary to save the programs from greater cuts or even dismantlement.

STEP THREE: Many progressives – ones who are not persuaded that these cuts are less than draconian or defensible on the merits – will nonetheless begin to view them with resignation and acquiescence on pragmatic grounds.

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The Myth Of Government Dependence

PolicyShop on the largely nonexistent scourge of able-bodied but lazy masses who mooch off of hardworking taxpayers:

The Great Recession has led to falling labor force participation and soaring social spending, particularly for food stamps and unemployment benefits. Never mind the economic causes of these trends; the United States, the right argues, has been drifting toward a country where a dwindling band of “makers” support a growing army of “takers,” with the most successful and hardest working people — wealthy job creators — paying much of the tab to subsidize a nation of freeloaders.

Now, the right’s Freeloader Nation critique has moved to the center of Mitt Romney’s campaign…in selecting Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney has chosen one of Congress’s most vociferous critics of the safety net.

Start with the big picture: Only a tiny sliver of overall government assistance — less than 10 percent — goes to non-working adults in their prime years, and much of that is in the form of emergency assistance to people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

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