The 2020 elections revealed mind-boggling levels of ‘liberal’ or progressive prejudice in the media, ranging from the growing rise of aroused language, imposed by the thought police, to deliberately ignored questions and information seen as unfavorable to the public. those who dominate the agenda.
To many, it seems that the power wielded against unconstrained and uncensored free speech had metastasized from almost nowhere. However, this ignores the fact that the bias extends beyond the media, to think tanks and ‘research’ devoted to creating ammunition for the left / progressive conclusions that the media like to reach, and this bias has existed for a long time.
The “research” published in 2003, in the American Psychological Association, is a prime example of the production of bias-infusing media bases today. Psychological bulletin. Backed by $ 1.2 million in federal money, “political conservatism as motivated social cognition” is said to have provided an “elegant and unifying explanation” for political conservatism. If you’ve paid attention to it this year, some of its themes will sound familiar.
The authors found resistance to change and tolerance for inequality at the heart of political conservatism. While proclaiming that their findings are non-judgmental, they also concluded that conservatism was “significantly related to mental rigidity and close-mindedness, increased dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity, decreased cognitive complexity, less openness to experience, avoidance of uncertainty, personal needs for order and structure, need for cognitive closure, decreased self-esteem; fear, anger and aggression; pessimism, disgust and contempt.
Scholars also equated Hitler and Mussolini with Ronald Reagan as “right-wing conservatives … because they all preached a return to an idealized past and either favored or tolerated inequality in one form or another.” And the kinds of inequalities that the conservatives allegedly fostered included the Indian caste system, South African apartheid, and segregation in the United States.
Of course, according to the study, this “does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false, irrational or unprincipled.” But its authors certainly hinted at it.
Unfortunately, successful “research” has overlooked crucial distinctions.
“Conservative” and “liberal”, as well as “progressive”, are adjectives that have been converted into nouns. But the adjectives modify something else. This means that issues that need to be addressed to avoid bias include what someone is trying to hold onto, how if we are liberal should be judged, and what should be seen as progress.
The history of America illustrates these distinctions. Our foundation was radical, although it sought to preserve what the settlers saw as their rights. America was liberal in trying to provide the widest possible sweep of individual freedom against government coercion. He was extremely progressive in his recognition of inalienable rights for all (far from the “conservative” divine right of kings). And it was united under a constitution that our founders intended to hold onto this vision, which was seen as a beacon of hope for the world.
Trying to restore or maintain this vision does not logically categorize one with Hitler, nor do all the politicians who have sworn “to preserve, protect and defend [i.e., conserve] the Constitution of the United States ”fall into this category. America’s past proves the folly of a study that makes no distinction between those who wish to retain the power of governments to be massively abusive of its citizens and those who seek to maintain the ideal of a government forced to such abuses, returning to an earlier approach where such abuses were prohibited. When such diametrically opposed positions are both given the same label, it produces misunderstanding, not insight.
In addition to equating political conservatism with some of the most egregious abuses in the history of human freedom, which are patently incompatible with the tenets of conservatism, the study used a sleight of hand to characterize conservatives as tolerating inequality while suggesting that others do not.
Since all men are not equal in all respects, inequality is inevitable. Unequal outcomes are inevitable if people are treated equally under the law – the form of equality our founders championed. However, efforts to achieve more equal results are at odds with the equal treatment of citizens, as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek and others committed to freedom have demonstrated. For the government to give to some, it is necessary to take from others without their consent, which violates their rights to equal treatment. Yet the APA study simply ignored the inequality of treatment inherent in such policies, and thus distorted the conservatives as promoting inequality even when they were in fact fighting the inequality of treatment imposed by the government. government.
The study also disparages conservatives for their staunch resistance to political change, likely unlike more open-minded liberals and progressives. However, rather than closed-mindedness, the reluctance to embrace sweeping changes in government originating from anyone’s imagination might represent the frequently reinforced recognition of the constant failures of policy-driven changes. As economist Paul Heyne put it: “Economic theory often treats proposals for reform of the economic system with such wickedness…[it] draws attention to the unexamined consequences of proposals for change. It won’t work that way, it’s the economist’s standard response to many well-meaning policy proposals. Realism is not necessarily conservatism, but it is often quite similar. And when inherited rights and freedoms are the objects preserved, conservatives and libertarians are fellow travelers.
America was founded to protect the freedoms of every citizen from government coercion. You don’t have to be a genius to recognize the value of keeping this. But this Psychological Bulletin The “research,” which is now nearly two decades old, has completely missed this point, treating any resistance to change as equivalent, no matter how good what is being argued, and distorting US conservative views on inequality. , as well as other cheats. Far from being an “elegant and unifying explanation” of political conservatism, it was just another slander against it.
Sadly, in the seventeen years since the publication of this article, what careful thought would once have recognized as slander disguised as science has infiltrated much of our political culture as truths. almost indisputable. And freed from the need for valid premises, as logic would demand, those who are motivated to change the direction of social cognition “their” direction have dramatically changed their thinking over time. But it is not the same as representing the truth better.
A more specific result of such research would have been that many self-styled conservatives have strayed from the principles they espouse. It deserves criticism. But that does not establish that all of these principles are wrong. However, such a precise and limited conclusion would have forced those who constantly work against attempts to defend our freedoms against encroachment to face the fact that they are further, rather than closer, to the ideal of freedom that led to the creation of America. And that wouldn’t move the electoral needle in the desired direction.
The 2020 election results will be a test of past liberal / progressive “investments” to change the way Americans think about things. But at this point, perhaps the most important will be whether, after the fact, people recognize how much they have been manipulated, which is the first step in thinking more precisely, which must precede learning to effectively resist. to this manipulation.
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