>THE LATEST BIT OF PSEUDO SCIENCE FROM BERKELEY
I suppose I should comment on the latest version of an old Leftist tune – summarized here for the general reader.
Starting in 1950, psychologists have been trying to prove that conservatives are psychologically maladjusted –an effort that was summarized by Jost et al. and demolished here. They never give up trying, however, and the study of 95 children from Berkeley, California by Jack Block and his wife is the latest episode. It’s a bit like shooting fish in a barrel to demolish the “research” concerned so I will just mention a few basics.
What the authors found was that Berkeley children who were rated as unhappy in their kindergarten years turned out as adults to be conservatives. So what do we conclude from that? Do we conclude that conservatives are intrinsically unhappy people? Hardly. The opinion polls repeatedly show conservatives to be the happiest (e.g. here). So what DO we conclude? How about saying that conservatives in ultra-Leftist Berkeley feel uncomfortable in that environment and pass on some of that discomfort to their children? But the children (as most children do) grow up to share their parents’ politics so they turn out conservative in later life too. So conservative parents who were SITUATIONALLY unhappy have conservative children – big deal!
But that is actually putting the best face on the study. It is not nearly as good as that:
1). The children concerned were not a representative sample of any known population. They may not even have been representative of Berkeley, let alone anywhere else. And if you don’t sample, you can’t generalize.
2). The correlation between personality and ideology was often very weak (e.g. .27 or 7% shared variance for the rating “Is self-reliant, confident”) so there were nearly as many confident children who turned out Rightist as Leftist. The reported correlation could in fact have turned on the responses of just one child. That certainly weakens ALL causal inferences from the study. And many of the stronger correlations involve obvious value judgments. For instance “Is visibly deviant from peers” is said to characterize conservatives but why not turn the value judgment around and conclude that conservatives tend to be independent?
3). The measure of conservative ideology is suspect. Block does not list the actual attitude statements he used but, as I have shown elsewhere, Leftist psychologists in general don’t have a blind clue what conservatism is – and what they regard as a measure of conservatism is usually a caricature of the real thing – generally a collection of ignorant and aggressive statements that very few real-world conservatives would assent to. That it was a caricature in this case is suggested by the fact that it showed conservatives as less intelligent. In the general population it is Leftists who are less intelligent.
I could go on to mention the Rosenthal effect etc. but what’s the point? Michelle Malkin has links to various other comments on the study.
There is an incredible outpouring of Hillary mockery here. A small excerpt: “Listening to Hillary’s views about Israel is like reading Hitler’s email. Consequently she has made herself as welcome in Tel Aviv as a Scud missile. Any Jew that supports her for President is road testing the next generation of gas ovens. The inestimable W. Somerset Maugham said, “Hypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-racking vice that any man can pursue; it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit. It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practiced at spare moments; it is a full-time job”. Remarkably, Maugham diagrammed that judgment without ever having met Hillary Clinton, in whom hypocrisy is more profound than just characteristic. It is her signature. She ricochets from one false image to another – wife, mother, do-gooder. Doting liberals are always enraptured when they receive a syrupy Christmas card with a picture of the Clintons gathered at the hearth with Hillary reading excerpts to Chelsea from A Girl’s Life of Ilse Koch. None of this masks the essential Hillary. As a colleague observed of her – if it walks like a bitch and talks like a bitch, it’s not a duck”.
Bureaucracy under attack: “Corporate executives, faced with greater regulatory scrutiny and demands in the wake of corporate scandals like Enron, have for some time moaned that new compliance rules are costing them profits and manpower, as well as cumbersome and probably not that effective. Now a new lawsuit’s adding another criticism: They’re unconstitutional.. “Sarbanes-Oxley is a classic example of government overreaction,” said Mallory Factor, chairman of the Free Enterprise Fund which recently hired former special prosecutor Kenneth Star as one of its attorneys. “We don’t have a problem with transparency but we’ve created a class of people that are just professional bureaucrats that want a larger bureaucracy that’s extraordinarily expensive and cuts down innovation.” A recent study conducted by the Securities Industry Association estimated that the cost of compliance has nearly doubled in the past three years to an estimated annual total of more than $25 billion in 2005, up from $13 billion in 2002.. Factor said costs associated with Sarbanes-Oxley are prohibitively high for small and mid-sized companies that are trying to compete with larger players, creating a barrier of entry for these firms.”
Some Muslim intellectuals get it: “After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global totalitarian threat: Islamism. We – writers, journalists and public intellectuals – call for resistance to religious totalitarianism. Instead, we call for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values worldwide. The necessity of these universal values has been revealed by events since the publication of the Muhammad drawings in European newspapers. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the arena of ideas. What we are witnessing is not a clash of civilizations, nor an antagonism of West versus East, but a global struggle between democrats and theocrats.”
One size does not fit all in diplomacy : “Hooray, I finally found something on which I can agree with the Bush administration: The ‘nucular’ cooperation deal signed recently with India. In cutting the deal, the administration displayed some uncharacteristically nuanced thinking: A one-size-fits-all nuclear policy isn’t sustainable in today’s world, and when it comes to nuclear arms, India is not the same as Iran and North Korea, or for that matter, Pakistan. As someone of Indian origin, I probably don’t surprise you with my thinking on this.”
No Muslim dress privilege in Britain any more: “A young Muslim girl yesterday failed in her two-year legal battle to force every school in Britain to allow pupils to decide their own dress code according to their religious belief. Britain’s highest court ruled to uphold the right of all schools to set uniform rules provided that they consult their local community. The Law Lords ruled that the human rights of Shabina Begum had not been breached when her school refused to allow her to wear a full-length Islamic dress to class and that Denbigh High School had not acted unlawfully. The ruling, which overturned a previous Court of Appeal decision, was welcomed by head teachers.
An interesting piece of hate-speech here from a “defender” of homosexuality.
For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. On Social Security see Dick McDonald and for purely Australian news see Australian Politics (mirrored here). I also post several times a week on “Tongue-Tied”. There is an archive of my “Tongue-Tied” posts here or here
Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country’s labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and “helping” them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.
The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin’s Communism. The very word “Nazi” is a German abbreviation for “National Socialist” (Nationalsozialistisch)