Reposted from www.skepticmoney.com
The Santorum family is taking a lot of heat in the press for their “do as I say, not as I do” family culture. Karen considered abortion while hubby worked to deny it. Rick wants the government to restrict access to contraceptives, force schools to educate extramarital sex is a sin, and criminalize abortion providers. Now it’s revealed that Karen lived with a boyfriend out of wedlock for nearly a decade in her twenties. And her boyfriend was an abortion provider.
The press is gleefully ignoring the general historical state of pubcon hypocrisy and hysterically reacting to their transgressions as signs that pubcons cannot differentiate personal belief from public policy. Liberals think if pubcons are to have such a standard they must themselves follow it.
Pubcons have reacted defensively at this attack and in some sort of Jedi mind trick are saying the past is history, people make mistakes, they are repentant, let’s move on, there’s nothing happening here.
But there is and it is an entire misunderstanding of how pubcons and liberals think differently about the world and morality. Their communication to each other, as brilliantly demonstrated by the current DC politics, in posturing and talking past individuals to the ideological bleachers behind. Both sides plead for consistency, purity, and insist they are true to their belief, faith, ideals, reasons, whatever. Obama is stuck like a duck in the middle and it would be no surprise if he were caught late at night wandering the White House halls in hebephrenic hysteria!
The new Tea Party representatives are particularly green as many of them came from nonpolitical backgrounds and haven’t a clue what political maneuvering and compromise means. As if politics were the expression of purity when politics is the dirty and brutish intermingling of disagreeable people feigning politeness to get their constituent’s desires realized.
I saw no greater paradox and irony than Orrin Hatch and the late Ted Kennedy sitting together and sharing a joke, a conversation, and what Hatch called "a tremendous brotherly affection." Politically, it was the most intelligent action both of them could take. If it were sincere all the better. Imagine the required compartmentalization.
All they needed in their coffee klatch was the late Paul Wellstone and Strom Thurmond, the former the most liberal representative in recent history and Strom the arch nemesis of civil rights who led the longest solo filibuster in history.
No, as I am formulating over at www.frontiersofreason.com both sides are reasonable and true to their premises. You cannot approach them using the same logic. But as a tease, David DiSalvo's book "What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite" is liberal balm and does deal with new resolutions against computational malfunctions. I just don't yet see how you get pubcons or liberal intuitionists to care.
Liberals believe in individual rights, fairness, and equality. Pubcons believe in group cohesion, obedience, and certainty. As Jonathon Haidtnotes in The Edge
“People vote Republican because Republicans offer "moral clarity"—a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep seated fears in much of the electorate. Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason with their long-winded explorations of policy options for a complex world.”
Yet, liberals love art reflecting good and evil, from Star Wars to Vampire Diaries; how on earth does an atheist stand the constant, banal appeal to "the force?" Daniel Everett responds to Haidt by relating an interview with John Wayne:
"They tell me that things aren't always black and white. I say, 'Why the hell not?'"
Cognitive science sheds some light on this:
“conservatism is a partially heritable personality trait that predisposes some people to be cognitively inflexible, fond of hierarchy, and inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death.”
This explains why Ron Reagan's son is a gay atheist and why Madeleine Murray O’Hare’s son was a born again Christian. While children are most likely to not fall too far from the tree their genetics have their own mind, so to speak. Perhaps epigenesis as well, the rolling thunder of genetically embodied decisions based on external, environmental factors.
This genopolitcs, for example, has demonstrated that genetic predispositions of conformity versus creativity and their resulting serotonin and dopamine release affect political party and religious affiliation. Republicans because of their genetics are more likely to go to church, join a political party, and vote. Democrats tend to be more creative, more novelty seekers, and hence a little bit more antisocial. Let me put it this way: it really does no good to call pubcons sheep, or liberals extremists. It's not pejorative, they are compliments.
Conservatives feel like they should vote and liberals think they should vote. Conservatives don’t get why they should use reason to overcome their strong visceral sentiments and liberals don’t get why conservatives don’t use reason to overcome their gut feelings. Conservatives use an appeal to authority as moral light and liberals want to think out their choices.
Perhaps this is because conservatives would have to fight an addictive rush to change their gut feeling while liberals are yielding to an addictive rush by thinking out issues.
Interesting how “follow your gut” or “think from your heart” tend to cross the boundary.
The value of group think in corporations is obvious. In situations such as the regimented battlefield instant obedience has merit. In situations requiring creativity, teamwork, cooperation, and conformity kill necessary innovation; as would also happen in guerrilla warfare on fresh terrain.
You can’t be a team player if the goal is to find something different and further from what the team is currently experiencing. Brain storming is social masturbation, and the real creativity comes before or after the meeting with individual and person-to-person communication. Good meetings, if creativity and productivity are the desired goals, are basically rubber stamps of ideas engendered and politicized elsewhere.
Heber C Kimball past president of the Mormon church and considered to be a modern prophet, as they are wont to do, was known to swear freely from the pulpit. This common manner made him one of the most beloved of church leaders though it marked him. His reply: “Hell, they can’t excommunicate me. I repent too damned fast.”
This is key to understanding pubcon inconsistency. When your morals relate to an absolute authority involving obedience, and group adhesion there must be a way to be inconsistent, avoid cognitive dissonance, and yet remain pure and included. The confessional, repentance, and absolution of sins allows anyone to recover from any transgression and remain within the absolutely necessary fold.
It is terrifying for liberals to think someone can do the most heinous crimes all of their life, as an extreme example, and still, at their death bed, ascend to goodness and moral inclusion by asking for forgivance. Liberals think responsibility and truth are important but to pubcons, inclusion and abeyance are important.
If you wonder which side you are on consider Pascal’s wager. Would you repent at death or would you remain true? Now as Bertrand Russell noted it is really quite rare that this case occurs in reality. It occurs much more early in life when an atheist stays in the closet for the sake of family and society as might a gay, a pedophile, or a so called Uncle Tom.
When you read Hitchens' Letter to a Young Contrarian do you have an epiphany or do your say yuck?
Sam Harris in his essay “Lying” chastises sweetly and demurly those who lie for conformity or politeness; that people typically diminish their own well being for this process. He is clear: it is near always better to be honest even if it requires masterful mental gymnastics. For many, this simply does not ring true as Mark Twain says well:
“The lie, as a virtue, a principle, is eternal; the lie, as a recreation, a solace, a refuge in time of need, the fourth Grace, the tenth Muse, man's best and surest friend is immortal."
Mark had his finger on the pulse of the people. Rather than risk familial friction, rather than leave their home, rather than disrespect their society, roughly half of us, if politics are correct, will lie out out their ass, eloquently, consistently, and happily with the rush of inclusion and social love.
The other half listen to a different drummer and follow Thoreau:
“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.
No, for pubcons and closeted liberals, Machiavellianism is the proper way to expand principle while preserving peace, and no good action occurs from within a cell.
These basic differences define personality types expressed politically as liberal and conservative. Without some sort of geopolitical apartheid it is going to be difficult to mediate consensus towards a future requiring just that. I do not have a good answer yet but I also know in better defining the problem we get closer to the solution.
Jim Newman, bright and well