Friday, October 20, 2006

Shocking News

I am shocked, totally shocked, that Heather Mills has (allegedly) charged Paul McCartney with abuse. Okay, so this was as predictable as the fact that this couple would divorce quicker than two shakes of a lamb's tail. I wonder how much he will end up paying to get rid of, I mean, to compensate this woman for being married to him for four whole years?

Early Voting

Well, I just finished with early voting and the turnout looked very promising. The poll workers in Knoxville said the turn out was "like that of a presidential election." That is good news, I hope. As for my votes, they went to three Republicans and one Democrat in the race for Senate (Harold Ford-D vs. Bob Corker-R), Governor (Phil Bredesen-D vs. Jim Bryson-R), State Representative (Stacy Campfield-R vs. Schree Pettigrew-D) and Congressman (John Duncan-R vs. John Greene-D). Can you guess who I voted for in the Senate race? Hint: He might support a bill to require states to recognize each other's gun permits. Who are other people voting for in the Tennessee election, or any other?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Liberal Says Liberals Are More Open-Minded and People who Disagree are Idiots

So I went out to get the mail and in it was my monthly issue of the American Psychologist, which is the Journal of the American Psychological Association. I generally skim over the studies to see if there is anything relevant that I can use as a practitioner, but generally, the journal ends up with the rest of my junk mail (which is rarely as politically correct as the APA journal) in the garbage heap. However, today, one of the articles entitled, The End of the End of Ideology caught my eye.

I noticed that it was yet another social psychologist arguing that liberals had so many more "positive" qualities than conservatives. The tone of the article looked familiar and I noticed it was written by the same NYU professor, John Jost, who was one of the researchers in an earlier article I had written about before, Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition. A more fitting title for the previous article would have been, "If we could just understand the social motivation of those stupid, rigid, close-minded conservatives, surely, we could change their wicked ways." But of course, a professor of Dr. Jost's stature would want to appear as unbiased as possible in order to make that point, so it is best to write in a manner that the APA journal has come to love: a vague, overly-wordy and cumbersome style that leaves most readers asleep before the third paragraph.

Getting back to the current regurgitation article on the same topic, Jost finds in his research that liberals scored higher on openness than conservatives, what a surprise! "Results revealed that all six of the openness facets were associated with liberalism rather than conservatism: openness values (r=-.48), aesthetics (r=-.32), actions (r=-.27), ideas (r=-.24), feelings (r=-.24) and fantasy (r=-.19)" (American Psychologist, October 2006, pg. 663). So liberals are more open to ideas, feelings, and actions than conservatives. Dr.Jost, why not try this hypothesis out in the real world beyond the ivory tower? If you want to find out if liberals are open to new ideas, actions, and feelings, I challenge you to do the following:

1) Post comments around on various lefty blogs such as FireDogLake, The Daily Kos or Alicublog. These comments should disagree with the view of the host or view of the blog or diary; for example, state that you support Israel at the Daily Kos, wonder if feminists who are against sexual harrassment should support Bill Clinton at FireDogLake, and/or politely stand up for colleagues at Alicublog who you feel have been treated unfairly just because they disagree with the views of the host. Now, check back to evaluate scores for these paragons of openness for their ideas, actions and feelings. If your comments have been troll-scored by the Kossacks, deleted by Jane Hamsher, or ridiculed by whoever runs the Alicublog, give an openness score of zero. Negative bonus points if you are called a douche, told to stay in your place so as not to "assail your betters," or have a racial slur thrown your way.

2) Next, talk to the speakers' committee at NYU where you work and see if they will sponsor a Minutemen Forum for the students and faculty. Give a positive score if they agree, negative if they refuse and instead sponsor Noam Chomsky. Bonus negative points if they agree to sponsor the Minutemen but the students attack the speakers and sling racial epithets at them like the tolerant and openminded liberal students at Columbia University.

3) Finally, last but not least, suggest to the American Psychological Association that they publish at least one study by a non-liberal in each issue of the American Psychologist. Positive score if they say yes and actually follow up, negative if they write you back a form letter talking about how they will take your concerns to a higher level, and negative bonus points if they tell you there is no such thing as a non-liberal psychologist. Oh, those open-minded liberals!

Dr. Jost, I would love to see the results of your findings written up in the next issue of my American Psychologist; it will re-affirm my faith that the journal does fair and objective research. Somehow, though, I think I will be waiting a very long time.....

Update: Dr. John Ray has more thoughts on Jost's "study." My favorite line of Dr. Ray's is the following: "Jost and his colleagues don't even know what a conservative is so there is NO chance of their findings having any real-world significance." I have to agree.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Shrinkwrapped has some interesting thoughts on trauma, passivity and the fear of aggression.