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Jonathan Weiler - Authoritarians Versus Reality
Posted: 26 November 2011 09:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Old Hoplite - 26 November 2011 07:39 AM
lpointmpoint - 23 November 2011 02:09 AM

Also, please disabuse yourself of the notion that atheist means left wing.  Would you say that if someone doesn’t believe in Humpty Dumpty that they are left wing?  Is there any difference between Humpty Dumpty and any of the 3000* Gods man has created so far?  I know I don’t fit that stereotype and I believe the same is true of Michael Shermer. 

*Google ‘list of gods’

Absolutely spot on, Ayn Rand was a atheist, yet no one could accuse re of being a leftist.

Rand’s world view, despite its deficiencies, shows signs of becoming a kind of alternative humanism for people on the American right who don’t care much for religion. A mainstream humanist could argue that Rand’s disdain of the common man disqualifies her as a humanist. But then why has Prometheus Books published works by philosopher Richard Taylor which also express contempt for the common man?

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"There was a time before reason and science when my ancestors believed in all manner of nonsense." Narim on Stargate SG-1.

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Posted: 26 November 2011 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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>>Or:  Reducing the Federal Government is a key to creating a more authoritarian local government, without the burdensome Bill of Rights, Supreme Court, or Civil Rights Act.<<

I don’t think so. Authoritarians can do all of the above without resorting to using local governments. In fact, if they have the muscle of the whole Federal system at their beck and call, doing away with things like The Bill Of Rights is a whole helluva lot easier.

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Question authority and think for yourself. Big Brother does not know best and never has.

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Posted: 26 November 2011 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 26 November 2011 10:16 AM

I don’t think so. Authoritarians can do all of the above without resorting to using local governments.

If that were true, abortion would already be illegal throughout the country and evolution would be taught nowhere in the US.  These people have had much greater success subverting local governments because, I presume, they face less scrutiny than the Federal government and there aren’t powerful institutions that can mobilize against them.  Divide and conquer.  Only Federal level laws keep them in check.

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Posted: 27 November 2011 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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If that were true, abortion would already be illegal throughout the country and evolution would be taught nowhere in the US.

With all due respect, you’re putting the cart before the horse with this one.

Authoritarians are trying to do what you point out on a local level because they don’t have that sort of pull on the Federal. If they did, every ban they wanted to impose from water pistols and beer to abortion would have been a done deal by now.

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Question authority and think for yourself. Big Brother does not know best and never has.

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Posted: 27 November 2011 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 27 November 2011 12:49 PM

Authoritarians are trying to do what you point out on a local level because they don’t have that sort of pull on the Federal.

Exactly.  They’ve failed at the Federal level, but winning in the 50 States gives them everything they’ve ever wanted, if they can cripple Federal power.

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Posted: 27 November 2011 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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IMO, the tea partiers are people who want it both ways. They object to someone (feds) telling them what to do, but are personally unable to do what needs to be done.
If the debates by the Republican candidates are an indication of the consequences of what would happen if they came to power, god help us all!!!

Can you imagine a society of some 300 million people without:

•Department of Agriculture (USDA)
•Department of Education (ED)
•Department of Energy (DOE)
•Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
•Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
•Department of Justice (DOJ)
•Department of Labor (DOL)
•Department of State (DOS)
•Department of the Interior (DOI)
•Department of the Treasury

One candidate even wants to do away with Constitutionally mandated federal functions, i.e. Interstate Commerce:

•Department of Commerce (DOC)
•Department of Transportation (DOT)

And the greatest insult of all:

•Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

[ Edited: 27 November 2011 05:35 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 28 November 2011 12:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Exactly.  They’ve failed at the Federal level, but winning in the 50 States gives them everything they’ve ever wanted, if they can cripple Federal power.

I think we’re talking past each other here. I understand what these people are trying to do and why they’re doing it.

The POINT however is that if they controlled the Federal Government, they wouldn’t have to bother making the effort.

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Question authority and think for yourself. Big Brother does not know best and never has.

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Posted: 01 December 2011 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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With regards to the actual podcast:
The author’s characterization of Communist governments as “conservative” sort of gives away the game. They’re conservative because they’re authoritarian and they’re authoritarian because they’re conservative. It is easy to arrive at your conclusion when you define your variables so.

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I would like to thank everyone at CFI for their hard work and all the forum participants for their thoughtfulness and good manners.

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Posted: 01 December 2011 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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If communists in the former Soviet Union counted as right-wing authoritarians to Altemeyer, what did communists in the United States of an authoritarian mindset, supporting the Soviet Union, count as?  Both right-wing with respect to the Soviet Union and left-wing with respect to the U.S.?

I wonder to what extent the thesis of motivated reasoning/authoritarian reasoning contributes to the success of conspiracy theory, creationism/intelligent design, AGW denial, etc., in the following way:  it seems to me that it is often the case that advocates of these views are better informed about the details of relevant theory and evidence than most of the people they end up clashing with, which they find as confirmation of their views’ correctness.  The genuine experts consider them crackpots and refuse to engage, which they also find as confirmation of their views’ correctness.  Their most common critics don’t know the details of their crackpot theories and how to refute them, which they also find as confirmation of their views’ correctness.

To the extent that labeling their views as “motivated reasoning” or the product of an authoritarian mindset is used as an excuse to avoid investigating and rebutting the details of their claims, it is potentially counterproductive in persuading them (or inoculating others from such views)—as well as itself an example of motivated reasoning to avoid contact with potential counter-arguments and evidence.

[ Edited: 01 December 2011 10:41 AM by Jim Lippard ]
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Posted: 02 December 2011 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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First post here, thought I’m active on both the JREF and SGU Forums.

I was considering writing this as a private message to Chris Mooney, but I don’t see any harm it posting my concerns publicly.

Point of Inquiry is one of a handful of skeptical podcasts I listen to. I have been perceiving a gradual politicization of the podcast, to what I feel is its detriment.

I am an atheist. I am a conservative. I am a Republican.

I don’t see why a skeptical podcast has to become so political. I just listened to the podcast that’s the topic of this thread, and came away with two observations:

1) Chris tried repeatedly to get his guest to come to conclusions beyond the scope of his study. While the guest was linking political stance and authoritarianism, Chris tried to get him to come to more sweeping conclusions which would reinforce Chris’ beliefs about the right in general. I think bias like this harms the quality of the interview and the show in general.

2) Chris seemed flummoxed about how those racist Tea Partiers, you know, the ones who call Obama a socialist and question his country of birth, how they can be so racist and still get behind Herman Cain? Wow! Might one obvious answer be that for the most part, the Tea Party is not racist, and the concerns of its members have a different genesis? Of course there are some racists in the Tea Party - there are racist everywhere, and on the right and the left.

I really hope Chris can get a handle on his political bias and attempt to keep it out of the shows. I stopped watching Chris Matthews a couple of years back when he became too biased. I’d hate to have to swear off of this podcast as well, but I will if it continues down this path.

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Posted: 02 December 2011 02:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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FastEddieB - 02 December 2011 08:04 AM

First post here, thought I’m active on both the JREF and SGU Forums.

I was considering writing this as a private message to Chris Mooney, but I don’t see any harm it posting my concerns publicly.

Point of Inquiry is one of a handful of skeptical podcasts I listen to. I have been perceiving a gradual politicization of the podcast, to what I feel is its detriment.

I am an atheist. I am a conservative. I am a Republican.

I don’t see why a skeptical podcast has to become so political. I just listened to the podcast that’s the topic of this thread, and came away with two observations:

1) Chris tried repeatedly to get his guest to come to conclusions beyond the scope of his study. While the guest was linking political stance and authoritarianism, Chris tried to get him to come to more sweeping conclusions which would reinforce Chris’ beliefs about the right in general. I think bias like this harms the quality of the interview and the show in general.

2) Chris seemed flummoxed about how those racist Tea Partiers, you know, the ones who call Obama a socialist and question his country of birth, how they can be so racist and still get behind Herman Cain? Wow! Might one obvious answer be that for the most part, the Tea Party is not racist, and the concerns of its members have a different genesis? Of course there are some racists in the Tea Party - there are racist everywhere, and on the right and the left.

I really hope Chris can get a handle on his political bias and attempt to keep it out of the shows. I stopped watching Chris Matthews a couple of years back when he became too biased. I’d hate to have to swear off of this podcast as well, but I will if it continues down this path.

And you would start listening to Fox?  It is unavoidable that politics enter the discussion, it is the overriding political topic of the entire nation. The Tea Partiers are political motivated, no? That the skeptical community is discussion this with some passion and urgency is a good thing. Else no one would listen to these dry intelligencia who live in ivory towers. Witness the current crop of republican candidates, who appear to be living in imaginary bubbles.

I am glad that you decided to post to the general forum.
You sound very intelligent and you make a good points, but to consider dropping the only non-biased forum where the issues are actually debated from different perspectives seems self defeatig. At least here you do have a serious, generally well informed audience which tries to skeptically analyze what is being advanced by a variety of guest speakers.

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Posted: 03 December 2011 04:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Write4U - 02 December 2011 02:54 PM

And you would start listening to Fox?

I no longer do. I listened to Rush Limbaugh on my car radio for years, and even watched his TV show for the short time it was on. I used to watch Chris Matthews on Hardball every day, followed later in the day by Bill O’Reilly. Watched Crossfire when it was on. And the TV would be on Fox News or CNN in the background all the time.

A couple years ago I went “cold turkey” on the news. Now my wife and I just watch the NBC Nightly News, and I tune in Meet The Press on Sundays.

It is unavoidable that politics enter the discussion, it is the overriding political topic of the entire nation. The Tea Partiers are political motivated, no? That the skeptical community is discussion this with some passion and urgency is a good thing.

Of course. Discussion is good. Blatant bias by a podcast host not so much.

Witness the current crop of republican candidates, who appear to be living in imaginary bubbles.

Suppose I paraphrase: “Witness the current president, who appears to be living in an imaginary bubble”. I think I could make a case for that, but does it really move the discussion forward?

You sound very intelligent and you make a good points, but to consider dropping the only non-biased forum where the issues are actually debated from different perspectives seems self defeating. At least here you do have a serious, generally well informed audience which tries to skeptically analyze what is being advanced by a variety of guest speakers.

Thank you. I’m not really addressing the qualities and the perspectives of this forum - I just joined and don’t have a handle on that yet. My point was that it was difficult for me to listen to a supposedly skeptical podcast, where the host seems to feel Republican=Conservative=Religious=Fundamentalist=Anti-Science=Racist. He’s written a book on anti-science Republicans, so his stance should come as no surprise. I just think he’d be a better podcast host if he could at least attempt to keep a lid on his biases for the duration of the podcast.

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Posted: 03 December 2011 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Fair enough, though I would recommend looking at MSNBC for accurate reporting even though it has a liberal bias. At least the facts are accurate, backed by evidence. Hardball is still on MSNBC, but has been joined by some knowledgeable heavies, who do not shy away from exposing the truth, even if it is critical of Obama. At least they don’t try to assasinate the character of candidates and people in the news, unless of course they do so themselves. The recent crop of republican candidates are in the class of Beavis and Butthead.

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Posted: 03 December 2011 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Write4U - 03 December 2011 07:10 AM

Fair enough, though I would recommend looking at MSNBC for accurate reporting even though it has a liberal bias.

Thought you might be interested in a letter I sent to MSNBC some time back:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Dear Hardball,

I’ve attempted to watch Hardball with Chris Matthews pretty much every day for many, many years, either recording it for later viewing or listening to it on satellite radio (when available). I also recorded the Chris Matthews Show every week for later viewing.

I’m somewhat conservative, but always found his point of view interesting. But recently Matthews has drifted further and further left, and has left me behind.

First, it was denigrating the Tea Party as “tea-baggers” and heaping derision on them whenever possible.

Second, it was his attacking Sarah Palin for giving speeches written by someone else. This from someone who was formerly a speechwriter for Jimmy Carter.

Now, this exchange from the May 3 Hardball, regarding the Times Square attempted bombing:

MATTHEWS: Well, two questions. First of all, how do you rule out just a right-wing attack by somebody on the right who‘s mad at the establishment? How do you know for sure it‘s not an American versus America situation here?

CRESSEY (NBC News terrorist analyst): Oh, you don‘t. And you could easily find out that this wasn’t someone who was—either had a right-wing agenda or was mentally disturbed or had other things that were driving—driving it. My caution on a—on the right-wing extremists is that, typically, they go after symbols of authority, symbols of power. Times Square is a symbol of American culture, American society.

Why right-wing? Hasn’t as much violence been propagated by left-wing, or even anarchist groups/individuals? Not to mention the obvious first choice, Muslim terrorism, which again turned out to be the case.

Anyway, goodbye Chris - its been fun.

_____________________
Ed Benson
Mineral Bluff, GA

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Posted: 03 December 2011 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Write4U - 03 December 2011 07:10 AM

The recent crop of republican candidates are in the class of Beavis and Butthead.

And our current president is in the class of…

...no, I won’t go there.

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