Friday, July 14, 2006

Dean's List

I saw John Dean on Keith Olbermann's show. At first I thought it was a put-on, but Dean was serious. (And Olbermann seemed to be buying it.)

Dean has a new book out attacking conservatives. Fine, that's what partisans do. But he wasn't merely claiming conservatives are wrong, he said they naturally desire authoritarianism and are impervious to facts. Worse (or should I say funnier), he actually claimed it wasn't his opinion, it was a truth revealed by decades of scientific research.

Where had I heard this argument before? Of course, in the Soviet Union, where political disagreement was considered a psychiatric disorder.

The only response is to make sure men like Dean never (again?) have any real power.

Columbus Guy says: By "Soviet Union," do you mean "Berkeley"? (I tried to sort out a best line, but it's just not possible. Read the whole thing. It's a riot from top to bottom: "Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way, the authors commented in a published reply to the article. . . . They also stressed that their findings are not judgmental.
"In many cases, including mass politics, 'liberal' traits may be liabilities, and being intolerant of ambiguity, high on the need for closure, or low in cognitive complexity might be associated with such generally valued characteristics as personal commitment and unwavering loyalty," the researchers wrote.
This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes, the researchers advised."

So let's see if I read this right. Liberals suffer a Bill Clinton weakness, e.g., "I care too much," and, to be fair, let's acknoweldge that conservatives have strengths, e.g., if you want a Nazi movement, they're your guys.)


Blogger AnnArborGuy said...

Is this just the other side of the Ann Coulter coin? She spends most of her columns (and so I assume her books) in ad hominem and characterizing her opponents arguments in their most unfavorable light. I don't know if she proposes a specific psychological disorder but is not afraid to call them "crazy."

5:34 AM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

I don't see how it can be the flip side of the same coin, unless you buy your medicine from someone who says, "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV." Berkeley is in earnest as medical professionals, Coulter is in earnest as a provacateur and humorist.

5:55 AM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Let me make a useless statement here by noting both AnnArborGuy and ColumbusGuy make good points.

Both sides don't just claim the other side is wrong, but go on to say they have something wrong with them. A good example is right wing radio pundit Michael Savage's book Liberalism Is A Mental Disorder. (They also claim they are fair and reasonable while the other side unjustly attacks them.)

But while it's mostly opinion-mongers on the right who attack the left, in the John Dean example, we have actual professors stating their claims about conservatives and liberals aren't opinion, but based on objective, scientific research.

2:01 PM, July 14, 2006  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Dean's ideas are just silly. Intolerance can occur anywhere. Here's a town in Massachusetts which was proudly declared "The Place Without Hate" because of its tolerance for gay rights. And now that the gay community is large, there are increasing instances of intolerance and even "hate crimes" from the gay community, according to this Boston Globe article.

I think hate crime laws are ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the assumption that minorities are incapable of intolerance.

7:02 PM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I agree with the above comment that anyone can be intolerant. The trouble is one group can see itself as always the victim of intolerance, thus it's not imaginable that they themselves can be intolerant.

The problem with the academics in Berkeley that ColumbusGuy links to is related. The problem starts in the definitional stage. First these profs all but define conservatives as intolerant and hateful, and then they declare everyone they believe is intolerant and hateful are conservatives. Finally, after the research is done, they discover conservatives are they hateful and intolerant ones.

8:08 PM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger matt said...

The only response is to make sure men like Dean never (again?) have any real power.

Huh. I woulda thought the "only response" was to demonstrate that Dean was wrong....

12:48 AM, July 18, 2006  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I can see convincing other people who haven't thought about this that Dean is wrong, but it seems like a fool's errand to try to convince Dean he's wrong.

I'd rather just make sure he doesn't have any power. (And one way is to quote this nonsense against him any time he tries to get power.)

10:48 PM, July 18, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home

web page hit counter