Fellowship of Punditry

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Cul Heath

Mick Arran

Jeffrey Barbose

Inspector Lohmann

Eric M. Fink

Michael Lane

Rep. Mark B. Cohen

The Fellowship is accepting new members. Inquire within.

The Sages

  • David Weinberger
  • Jon Lebkowsky
  • Jay Rosen
  • Rebecca MacKinnon
  • Nova Spivack
  • Dan Gillmor
  • Jim Moore
  • Lawerence Lessig
  • Ed Cone
  • Jeff Jarvis
  • Joi Ito
  • The Titans

  • Talking Points Memo
  • Oliver Willis
  • Burnt Orange Report
  • Jim Hightower
  • Wonkette
  • Political Animal
  • The-Hamster
  • Matthew Yglesias
  • Pandagon
  • Altercation
  • Informed Comment
  • Donkey Rising
  • The Decembrist
  • Buzz Machine
  • Orcinus
  • Brad Delong
  • Eschaton
  • The Left Coaster
  • Pacific Views

    Distinguished Colleagues

  • Tom Burka
  • The American Street
  • wood s lot
  • Rox Populi
  • Scratchings
  • Blond Sense
  • Cut To The Chase
  • Bad Attitudes
  • Rook's Rant
  • Dohiyi Mir
  • Stout Dem Blog
  • A Violently Executed Blog
  • American Leftist
  • Easy Bake Coven
  • Southerly Buster
  • Abuddhas Memes
  • Post-Atomic
  • Van Ramblings
  • Friends of the Fellowship

  • Texas Native
  • Chuck Currie
  • To The Teeth
  • Radically Inept
  • In Dark Times
  • Serial Blogonomy
  • The Bone
  • Public Domain Progress
  • Alien Intelligencer
  • Research Associates

  • Blogged In the Desert
  • One Fine Jay
  • Jessica's Universe
  • Selective Amnesia
  • In Grown Brain Stem
  • Immolation.org
  • Somewhere over the rainbough
  • Politikult
  • Political Puzzle
  • Dear Free World
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  • Think Tanks

  • CEIP
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  • Blogging Resources

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  • Into the Blogosphere
  • George Orwell

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    Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

    In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

    But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

    Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.

    Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie... a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.

    In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

    All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

    At fifty everyone has the face he deserves.

    Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.

    John Stuart Mill

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.

    The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.

    The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.

    Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.

    A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    Mark Twain

    Don't let schooling interfere with your education.

    All generalizations are false, including this one.

    A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.

    Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

    The Public is merely a multiplied "me."

    Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we."

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

    Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.

    Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

    Winston Churchill

    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

    I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

    Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.

    Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.

    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

    However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

    In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.

    Otto Von Bismarck

    When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.

    I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring.

    Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.

    Be polite; write diplomatically ;even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.


    A witty saying proves nothing.

    If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.

    When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, that is metaphysics.

    I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.

    To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.

    It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

    The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.

    Karl Marx

    Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.

    All I know is I'm not a Marxist.

    The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.

    Wednesday, June 09, 2004

    George Will: Conservative psychosis

    By Nick

    George Will: Conservative psychosis:
    WASHINGTON -- This just in: Conservatism often is symptomatic of a psychological syndrome. It can involve fear, aggression, uncertainty avoidance, intolerance of ambiguity, dogmatic dislike of equality, irrational nostalgia and need for ``cognitive closure,'' all aspects of the authoritarian personality.

    Actually, this theory has been floating around academic psychology for half a century. It is reprised in ``Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,'' written by four professors for Psychological Bulletin.

    ``Motivated social cognition'' refers to the ``motivational underpinnings'' of ideas, the ``situational as well as dispositional variables'' that foster particular beliefs. Notice: situations and dispositions -- not reasons. Professors have reasons for their beliefs. Other people, particularly conservatives, have social and psychological explanations for their beliefs. ``Motivated cognition'' involves ways of seeing and reasoning about the world that are unreasonable because they arise from emotional, psychological needs.

    The professors write, ``One is justified in referring to Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan, and Limbaugh as right-wing conservatives ... because they all preached a return to an idealized past and favored or condoned inequality in some form.'' Until the professors give examples of political people who do not favor or condone equality in any form, it is fair to conclude that, for all their pretensions to scientific rigor, they are remarkably imprecise. And they are very political people, who would be unlikely ever to begin a sentence: ``One is justified in referring to Stalin, Mao, Franklin Roosevelt and the editors of The New York Times as left-wing liberals because ...''

    The professors acknowledge that ``the same motives may underlie different beliefs.'' And ``different motives may underlie the same beliefs.'' And ``motivational and informational influences on belief formation are not incompatible.'' And no reasoning occurs in a ``motivational vacuum.'' And ``virtually all belief systems'' are embraced because they ``satisfy some psychological needs.'' And all this ``does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false.''

    Not necessarily. What a relief. But there is no comparable academic industry devoted to studying the psychological underpinnings of liberalism. Liberals, you see, embrace liberalism for an obvious and uncomplicated reason -- liberalism is self-evidently true. But conservatives embrace conservatism for reasons that must be excavated from their inner turmoils, many of them pitiable or disreputable.

    The professors' paper is adorned with this epigraph:

    ``Conservatism is a demanding mistress and is giving me a migraine.'' -- George F. Will

    A ``mistress'' who is ``demanding''? Freud, call your office. The epigraph is from ``Bunts,'' a book of baseball essays, from an essay concerning what conservatives should think about the designated hitter. Will probably thought he was being lighthearted. Silly him. Actually, he was struggling with fear of ambiguity and the need for cognitive closure.

    Conservatives, in the crippling grip of motivated social cognition, think they oppose the DH because it makes the game less interesting by reducing managers' strategic choices. But they really oppose that innovation because mental rigidity makes them phobic about change and intolerant of the ambiguous status of the DH. And because Mussolini would have opposed the DH.

    I think these professors have blinded themselves with science. Take the very assumption which gives their theory ground: "`Motivated cognition'' involves ways of seeing and reasoning about the world that are unreasonable because they arise from emotional, psychological needs." What about the psychological and emotional need of the professors to equate Conservatism with a psychological disorder?

    posted by Nick at 6/09/2004 03:18:00 PM |

    I think the motivational need of these professor arises from a desire to understand why some people take on conservative beliefs, which is a perflectly understandable desire.

    I actually can see where they are coming from, one of my first suspicions about conservatism arose whenever I would talk to a conservative about an issue and questiont them. If they could not find a rational answer, some would literally say that their head hurt and then ask to stop the conversation. It was really quite funny. This was esp. true whenever the subject involved sexuality.

    Having said that, I think the same phenomenon can be encountered on the Left. However, the Left allows for critical thinking which serves as a genuine check on the excesses of ideology. Conservatism is more based on fear of the future, not on a seriously critique of ideological excessiveness. That fear now strikes me as neurotic.

    Conservatism by definition is like a straitjacket on the human mind.

    Furthermore, I would be very interested in studies psychologist have done on leftist, I think that would be worthwhile as well. however, not as interesting. The reason this study and studies like Adorno's are interesting is because they show the reasons why the most normal of normal people, conservatives, are susceptible to psychological influences they themselves may not realize.
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