The Upside of the Election of @$&#%

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Rather than allow myself to sink into a deep depression following the election of a certain sociopath* (whose name I’d rather not mention for fear of nauseating all the kind people who read this blogpost**), I’ve been looking for any silver linings that might have attached themselves to this catastrophic event.  So far, I’ve found three:

  1. People will have the opportunity to see what happens when Republicans are in control of all three branches of government. If the past is any guide, Republican policies will drive us into a ditch. This time, however, the Republicans will have a hard time blaming Democrats for their failures; they will be held accountable for just about everything.
  2. During Obama’s presidency, rank-and-file Democrats have generally been passive, trusting that Obama will do the right thing most of the time, and feeling that activism has been unnecessary. With @$&#% as president, more progressives will realize the importance of getting involved in politics and fighting back.
  3. Given that @$&#% denies the existence of global warming and has promised to undo Obama’s environmental regulations, the chance that the U.S. government will address global warming—as long as @$&#% is president and Congress is under Republican control—is near zero, and that, of course, is bad news. But here’s the silver lining: When the government refuses to act and the ecological consequences become increasingly apparent, a growing number of individuals will, of necessity, take responsibility for their own ecological footprints. And that’s good news because bringing the planet back from the ecological cliff will take all of us doing our part whichever party is in power. Besides, the more actively we’re involved, the more likely it will be that politicians will have the courage to do the right thing.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

*  Is @$&#% really a sociopath, or am I exaggerating for comic effect? I don’t have the credentials to say for certain, and I don’t know if http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html has the credentials either, but here’s some of what I found at that website:

Profile of the Sociopath

  • Glibness and Superficial Charm
  • Manipulative and Conning

They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

  • Grandiose Sense of Self

Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

  • Pathological Lying

Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

  • Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt

A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

  • Shallow Emotions

When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

  • Incapacity for Love
  • Need for Stimulation

Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

  • Callousness/Lack of Empathy

Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

  • Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature

Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

  • Irresponsibility/Unreliability

Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

  • Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity

Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

Do you think that profile fits @$&#% to a tee?  I do.

** Henceforth, I shall refer to the unnamed one as @$&#%.

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A Language-Spinner Sees the Light?

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In today’s New York Times, Frank Luntz counsels the winner of tonight’s presidential election to appeal to the common ground that unites us and bring the American people back together.

If you haven’t read his article and would like to, here’s a link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/08/opinion/how-to-begin-the-healing.html?emc=edit_th_20161108&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=26749800

I’m glad to see that Frank Luntz is counseling the winner of the election to seek common ground, but I can’t forget that for years he has advised Republicans to use poll-tested phrases to spin arguments to their advantage. Care for an example? He told Republicans never to say “estate tax,” but to say “death tax” instead. Why? Because “estate tax” sounds like something only the rich pay, and “death tax” sounds like something everyone pays — even though the tax only applies to individuals inheriting over $5.45 million. Luntz’s Machiavellian twists of language have been influential in driving Americans into hostile camps. I hope he now turns his talents and attention to coming up with phrases that will help bring Americans back together.

POLITICALLY INCORRECT BRAINS

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Here in the U.S., we’re in the thick of the presidential-primary season, and differences between Democrats and Republicans are stark. During Thursday night’s Democratic debate, for instance, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders praised Barack Obama’s leadership. In last night’s Republican debate, on the other hand, the candidates agreed that Obama is destroying America; they merely disagreed about whether he is destroying the U.S. on purpose or is simply too stupid to realize that’s what he’s doing.

Clearly, conservatives and liberals see things differently. Noting those differences, social scientists have begun asking why. With the aid of high-tech imaging systems, researchers have found actual differences between the brains of liberals and conservatives.

This is just speculation on my part, but maybe both modes of thinking are important to the survival, in a Darwinian sense, of the human species. If so, we would be wise to respectfully consider the insights that the other party offers instead of automatically rejecting it.

Below, I’ve pasted snippets from and links to several articles concerning the differences in the brains of conservatives and liberals.

 

 

RED BRAIN, BLUE BRAIN: EVALUATIVE PROCESSES DIFFER IN DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS

By Darren Schreiber, et al., February 13, 2013

Liberals and conservatives exhibit different cognitive styles and converging lines of evidence suggest that biology influences differences in their political attitudes and beliefs. In particular, a recent study of young adults suggests that liberals and conservatives have significantly different brain structure, with liberals showing increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, and conservatives showing increased gray matter volume in the in the amygdala.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0052970

 

CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL BRAINS MAY BE WIRED DIFFERENTLY

By Amina Khan, November 3, 2014

Think your political beliefs arise from logic and reason? Think again. A team of scientists who studied the brains of liberal, moderate and conservative people found that … the brains of liberals and conservatives may indeed be wired differently….

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/conservative-and-liberal-brains-may-be-wired-differently/2014/11/03/3903c25e-6057-11e4-8b9e-2ccdac31a031_story.html

 

UNCONSCIOUS REACTIONS SEPARATE LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES: Psychological insights might tone down the bitter feuding between Democrats and Republicans

By Emily Laber-Warren, September 1, 2012

According to the experts who study political leanings, liberals and conservatives do not just see things differently. They are different—in their personalities and even their unconscious reactions to the world around them.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/calling-truce-political-wars/

 

LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES RELY ON DIFFERENT SETS OF MORAL FOUNDATIONS

By Jesse Graham, Jonathan Haidt, and Brian A. Nosek

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2009, Vol. 96, No. 5, 1029–1046

Political views are multifaceted, but a single liberal– conservative (or left–right) continuum is a useful approximation that has predictive validity for voting behavior and opinions on a wide range of issues (Jost, 2006). In terms of political philosophy, the essential element of all forms of liberalism is individual liberty (Gutmann, 2001). Liberals have historically taken an optimistic view of human nature and of human perfectibility; they hold what Sowell (2002) calls an “unconstrained vision” in which people should be left as free as possible to pursue their own courses of personal development. Conservatism, in contrast, is best under- stood as a “positional ideology,” a reaction to the challenges to authority and institutions that are so often mounted by liberals (Muller, 1997). Conservatives have traditionally taken a more pessimistic view of human nature, believing that people are inher- ently selfish and imperfectible. They therefore hold what Sowell called a “constrained vision” in which people need the constraints of authority, institutions, and traditions to live civilly with each other.

http://projectimplicit.net/nosek/papers/GHN2009.pdf

http://projectimplicit.net/nosek/papers/GHN2009.pdf

http://projectimplicit.net/nosek/papers/GHN2009.pdf

http://projectimplicit.net/nosek/papers/GHN2009.pdf