Posts Tagged ‘Conservatives’
Posted by Bill S (Diary)
Another day, another book I need to buy and hopefully read some day. In the March 21st NYT, Nicholas Kristof reviews a new book: ”The Righteous Mind”. In it, author Jonathan Haidt discusses some original research that investigates some key values held by conservatives and liberals – and how these two groups perceive each other on these values. I have long been interested in why Republicans and Democrats believe as they do, and this type of research on values zeroes in on this question.
A couple of key observations emerge. First, the author points out how both conservatives and liberals adhere to values that are formed around a moral code, but conservatives follow some additional core values that liberals do not. Kristof phrases it as:
Americans speak about values in six languages, from care to sanctity. Conservatives speak all six, but liberals are fluent in only three. And some (me included) mostly use just one, care for victims.
Kristof summarizes the values:
…for liberals, morality is largely a matter of three values: caring for the weak, fairness and liberty. Conservatives share those concerns (although they think of fairness and liberty differently) and add three others: loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity.
In his research, Haidt and his colleagues refer to the latter three values as “binding values”, as they bind together people into larger groups.
These foundations are Ingroup/loyalty (supporting moral obligations of patriotism and “us vs. them” thinking); Authority/respect (including concerns about social order and the importance of traditions and role-based duties in maintaining that order) and Purity/sanctity (including concerns about treating the body as a temple and living in a higher, more “divine” way, versus a baser, more carnal way).
These sound pretty familiar to a conservative. In fact, Haidt’s definition for the second category (authority/respect) sounds like a sound bite description of what conservatism is.
The second, more interesting observation from Haidt’s book and research is touched upon briefly by Kristof:
Moderates and conservatives were adept at guessing how liberals would answer questions. Liberals, especially those who described themselves as “very liberal,” were least able to put themselves in the minds of their adversaries and guess how conservatives would answer.
Much of Haidt’s research centered around the accuracy of stereotypes of “out groups” – i.e. how liberals see conservatives and vice versa. The research showed that, by a significant margin, liberals were less accurate in their depiction of conservatives than the converse. The ironic part of this comes when reading the comments on Kristof’s article – this liberal lack of other-awareness is illustrated over and over by the left-leaning commentariat…but what else would we expect from the NYT’s readers?
A summary from the original research:
Results indicate that people at all points on the political spectrum are at least intuitively aware of the actual differences in moral concerns between liberals and conservatives: they correctly predicted that liberals would care more than conservatives about the two individualizing foundations and that conservatives would care more than liberals about the three binding foundations. The results also confirm previous studies of partisan misperception (e.g. Chambers, et al., 2006) by showing that, in general, people overestimate how dramatically liberals and conservatives differ. Remarkably, people even morally stereotype their own ingroup, with liberals overestimating liberals’ strong individualizing concerns and underestimating liberals’ weak binding concerns, and conservatives exaggerating conservatives’ moral concerns in the opposite directions.
Our results go beyond previous studies, however, in finding and explaining an otherwise puzzling result: liberals were the least accurate. We presented three competing hypotheses about accuracy: 1) We found no support for the hypothesis that liberals would be most accurate; liberals were the least accurate about conservatives and about liberals. The largest inaccuracies were in liberals’ underestimations of conservatives’ Harm and Fairness concerns, and liberals further exaggerated the political differences by overestimating their own such concerns. 2) We found some support for the hypothesis that moderates would be most accurate, which they were in the case of the binding foundations. However, and most crucially, partisan inaccuracies were not mirror images of each other. On the contrary, liberals and conservatives both tended to exaggerate their binding foundation differences by underestimating the typical liberal and overestimating the typical conservative. 3) Finally, we found some support for the hypothesis that conservatives would be the most accurate, which they were in the case of the individualizing foundations. In line with Moral Foundations Theory, liberals dramatically underestimated the Harm and Fairness concerns of conservatives.
So why do we care?
Of course there’s the reassurance that we as conservatives can take from the fact that liberals are provably inaccurate in their stereotyping of conservatives’ moral positions. But more important is the confirmation of the fact that conservatives do care about those issues that liberals claim we do not (not that we didn’t know that already…).
As I have mentioned previously on these pages, most, if not all of our policy positions originate largely from our beliefs about these core value issues. In many respects, social conservatism maps into the other “legs” of the conservative stool. Fiscal conservatism, defense conservatism, immigration policy, foreign policy, etc. – all stem from the values we hold in these categories. The fact that liberals seem to be sorely lacking in the “binding values” may (probably, IMO) explain how their positions on many/most policy areas differ from ours. One of the most contentious points made by Haidt is brought out by Kristof:
“Moral psychology can help to explain why the Democratic Party has had so much difficulty connecting with voters,” writes Haidt, a former liberal who says he became a centrist while writing the book.
Ouch. The liberals commenting on Kristof’s article didn’t like that one a bit. But it does explain a lot. If one accepts the theory that America is a center-right nation, I would say there’s a pretty significant likelihood that the difference lies in this disconnect in these core values that are shared – and not shared – between liberals and conservatives.
Yes, we are all values voters.
David Koch, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist, says he was the target of 100 credible death threats last year alone because of his opposition to unions in the United States.
The influential conservative, who founded and funds the tea party-friendly group Americans for Prosperity, told The Palm Beach Post that he’s no “bully.”
“They make me sound like a bully,” Koch told the Post, complaining of press coverage. “Do I look like a bully?”
The Post detailed a charity dinner that Koch and his wife, Julia, hosted recently at his Palm Beach home for the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
In 1990s, Koch discovered that he had prostate cancer. The Anderson Center successfully treated and cured him.
Koch said he is remaining active in political battles despite the criticism and threats he has received.
He told the Post that Americans for Prosperity is helping Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who faces a recall election after taking on public employee unions.
“We’re helping him, as we should. We’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years,” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.”
Americans for Prosperity reportedly is spending about $700,000 on television ads supporting Walker and his reformist union policies.
But the Post notes that Koch and his brother Charles, who share the No. 4 rank in the Forbes billionaire list, have broader charitable interests than just politics. David “holds board seats with 23 nonprofit groups and has pledged gifts totaling more than $750 million for cancer research, the arts and cultural institutions, according to his foundation,” the Post reported.
Read more on Newsmax.com: David Koch Faced 100 Death Threats Last Year
Important: Do You Support Pres. Obama’s Re-Election? Vote Here Now!
Posted on March 30, 2011 at 6:53pm by Emily Esfahani Smith
That conservatives outnumber liberals nationally is not exactly news. But this is: according to a new poll from Gallup, even traditionally liberal states are drifting rightward.
Business Insider explains that “Conservatives now outnumber liberals in deep-blue bastions like Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Oregon.”
Mississippi is the first state with more than 50% conservative identification, with Idaho, Alabama, Wyoming, and Utah approaching that level, and Arkansas, South Carolina, North Dakota, Louisiana, and South Dakota (the rest of the top-ten conservative states) 45% or higher. Conservatives outnumber liberals in even the most liberal-leaning states (excluding the District of Columbia): Vermont, (30.7% conservative to 30.5% liberal), Rhode Island (29.9% to 29.3%), and Massachusetts (29.9% to 28.0%).
What explains this trend? Some might point to a conservative backlash against Obama’s liberal policies. And while that certainly may be part of it, Richard Florida, an urban theorist writing in The Atlantic, has a different theory. His explanation is economic:
Conservatism, at least at the state level, appears to be growing stronger. Ironically, this trend is most pronounced in America’s least well-off, least educated, most blue collar, most economically hard-hit states. Conservatism, more and more, is the ideology of the economically left behind. The current economic crisis only appears to have deepened conservatism‘s hold on America’s states. This trend stands in sharp contrast to the Great Depression, when America embraced FDR and the New Deal.
Interesting food for thought.
In my last article (Part 3) I evaluated the two presidential candidates from the 2008 Republican primary, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney, giving Romney the edge on both his business experience and his governorship. Today we will look at the remainder of my favorite candidates, Jon Huntsman, Sarah Palin, and Allen West, ending with a ranking of my favorite five potential candidates.
Jon Huntsman, Jr. Huntsman gave the vice-presidential nominating speech for Sarah Palin, and has all but been endorsed for a presidential run by John McCain. To most of America Huntsman is an unknown. He has been an insider in Washington since the 1980s serving in the Reagan, G.H.W Bush, and G.W. Bush administrations as (respectively) White House Staff Assistant, Deputy Secretary of Commerce then Ambassador to Singapore, and Deputy US Trade Representative. He is currently serves in the Obama Administration as Ambassador to China.
He was Governor of Utah for two terms, winning the second term with almost 78% of the vote. The Cato Institute rated him the top governor on tax policy, and the fifth highest on overall fiscal policy. During his administration Utah was listed as the best run state government by the Pew Center on the States.
His business experience includes an executive with the Huntsman Corporation, an international Chemical Company with annual revenues topping $8 billion and over 10,000 employees; and CEO of Huntsman Family Holdings Company. He has also headed major philanthropic organizations including the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, the Utah Opera, Envision Utah, and The Family Now Campaign.
His stand on fiscal matters, taxation, and business is strongly conservative. He is more mixed on his social positions, being strongly conservative on abortion, and gun rights, but he has liberal positions on climate change, same sex domestic unions, the Department of Education, and the Obama Stimulus. He signed Utah up in the Western Climate Action Initiative, basically a western states cap and trade arrangement. He has shunned the Tea Party conservatives but has broad appeal to old school Republicans.
Sarah Palin The candidate for vice-president on the 2008 McCain ticket has a strong appeal to deeply conservative Republicans, the religious right, Libertarians, and the Tea Party movement. The fact that she shared the ticket with McCain has given her some standing with moderate and old-line Republicans.
Upon becoming Governor of Alaska, Palin embarked on two gutsy missions: To clean out corruption in Alaska politics and to cut spending; she did this with gusto rooting out criminal activity and cronyism not just from the state government, but even within her own party. She pared back government programs, size, and waste starting with getting rid of the perks of the office of the governor.
Besides being governor, Palin served on the town council, then as mayor of Wasilla, and as a member of the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission.
Her time on the commission gave her a good practical insight into natural resource issues. Her political position is solidly conservative on both fiscal and social issues. She has experience in operating family businesses and has worked as a correspondent on Alaskan TV Stations. She has shown a great sense of fiscal responsibility and is business friendly.
Because of her run for vice-president, authoring two books, hosting an excellent documentary series on Alaska, being supportive of and responsive to the Tea Party movement, and being a frequent topic of conversation and controversy on talk shows and news commentary she is now well known. In fact, she might be too well known; she is as disliked by the left as she is liked by the right.
While I really like her positions on all the issues, she doesn’t have the level of leadership that most of the other candidates have, and certainly not the degree of financial education and experience of most of them.
Allen West The newly elected congressman won his seat on the strength of Tea Party support. Some would point to this, his only elective office, as being not enough political experience. However, one does not work as a battalion commander in a war zone without learning a lot about practical politics. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Kansas State and a master’s degree from the Military Command College in political theory, military history, and military operations. So is probably better versed in political processes and institutions than 90% of congressmen.
He served twenty-two years as a commissioned officer in the military including both Gulf Wars serving in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He earned a bronze star, Meritorious Service Medal (2 oak clusters), Army Commendation Medal (2 oak Cluster, Valor Device), Army Achievement Medal (1 oak cluster), Valorous Unit Award, Air Assault Badge, and Parachutist Bade, as well as ten service medals. After his retirement he worked as a high school history teacher, a college ROTC instructor, and a regional director for a military consultancy to the Afghan army.
West is both a fiscal and social conservative. He sees the last fifty years of liberal social programs and policies as trapping the poor in a culture of welfare and dependency. He has an overriding respect for the U.S. Constitution and is a deeply committed patriot. He has probably the clearest understanding of any person in Congress of the Muslim religion and the threat of both conquest by migration and conquest by aggression that exists from the radical elements of the faith. He has great clarity of thought and a direct and unapologetically sincere mode of speech. He is a motivator and is himself very motivated – he is able to think on his feet, does not need a teleprompter, and is unafraid of debate and discussion.
So the way I rank my favorite five candidates is:
1. Mitt Romney
2. Allen West
3. Sarah Palin
4. Mike Huckabee
5. Jon Huntsman
I could happily support a ticket that has any two of these five on it, but feel the strongest ticket would be Mitt Romney and Allen West, because they nearly perfectly complement each other with their individual strengths. Romney is excellent in economics, business, fiscal responsibility, Administration, and practical day to day politics. West is excellent in international politics, national security, the military, crisis management, and Middle East issues, a critical gap in the current administration. It is important that the ticket have truely qualified candidates, that they form a strong team, and that they appeal to voters accross the broad spectrum of Republican politics. To win the must pick up independents, Libertarians, and Democrats.
If this ticket should come about, I could see Palin as Secretary of Interior, Huntsman as Secretary of State, and my preferences for Huckabee include chairman of the FCC (this wouldn’t be possible if he still has ownership in radio and TV stations), or as a white house assistant for reducing government, combining and eliminating cabinet positions and moving functions that belong to the states back to the states, or as transitional Secretary of Education or Energy to transition the department out of existence.
The final segment, part 5, of this series of blogs, will look at those not on my list who are considered or are considering becoming candidates.
By Matthew Boyle – The Daily Caller | Published: 6:30 AM 03/08/2011 | Updated: 12:09 PM 03/08/2011
A man who appears to be a National Public Radio senior executive, Ron Schiller, has been captured on camera savaging conservatives and the Tea Party movement.
“The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian – I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird evangelical kind of move,” declared Schiller, the head of NPR’s nonprofit foundation, who last week announced his departure for the Aspen Institute.
In a new video released Tuesday morning by conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe, Schiller and Betsy Liley, NPR’s director of institutional giving, are seen meeting with two men who, unbeknownst to the NPR executives, are posing as members of a Muslim Brotherhood front group. The men, who identified themselves as Ibrahim Kasaam and Amir Malik from the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) Trust, met with Schiller and Liley at Café Milano, a well-known Georgetown restaurant, and explained their desire to give up to $5 million to NPR because, “the Zionist coverage is quite substantial elsewhere.”
On the tapes, Schiller wastes little time before attacking conservatives. The Republican Party, Schiller says, has been “hijacked by this group.” The man posing as Malik finishes the sentence by adding, “the radical, racist, Islamaphobic, Tea Party people.” Schiller agrees and intensifies the criticism, saying that the Tea Party people aren’t “just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”
Schiller goes on to describe liberals as more intelligent and informed than conservatives. “In my personal opinion, liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives,” he said.