Differences between Conservatives and Liberals
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52. Most people understand that liberals and conservatives are two different sets of people -- but I suspect very few people truly understand the underlying patterns of reasoning that make the difference. I recently watched an episode of the O'Reilly Factor (2-22-2013?) that had O'Reilly in one segment confronting Scott Brown and Herman Cain about the politics of Massachusetts. Both men tried to change the topic but Bill was adamant in that his whole reason for the segment was to find out why the politics of that state is so very liberal. He admitted that he did not know himself even though he had lived there for some years and went to Harvard. Bill's topic was quite clearly the 'why' of the liberal bias of Massachusetts and he kept driving home his question and to my surprise, both Brown and Cain did not even attempt to field an opinion on why the politics was so biased in the state and the segment ended with both men specifically answering to Bill that they did not know the reasons for the bias. I can sympathize with Bill as this has been a question for me also -- not specifically the reasons for one state -- but the reasons in general for the very different belief systems of liberals and conservatives. I have searched for years and have only in the last year or so found an answer that makes sense to me. It is all about differences in their patterns of reasoning. I found a book -- a free ebook -- at
Karl Pribram's book 'Conflicting Patterns of Thought'
The book was written in the early 1950's by Karl Pribram (the economist) and is called 'Conflicting Patterns of Thought'. The book appears to be a textbook for diplomats going out into the international world and attempts to prepare them for the expected differences in all aspects of politics and economics. Chapter 1 is titled 'The General Significance of Patterns of Thought' and starts out by stating: 'Mutual understanding and peaceful relations amoung the peoples of the earth have been impeded not only by the multiplicity of languages but an even greater degree by differences in patterns of thought--that is, by differences in the methods adopted for defining the sources of knowledge and for organizing coherent thinking.' This sentence says it all and can easily be changed to indicate the national differences reflected in Bill O'Reilly's question. Before I read the book I did not really understand the defining reasonings behind communism, facism, and even to a degree the differences in religious beliefs. I came to find the book because I was searching the internet for information on the differences between nominalistic and universalistic thinking. I had read a book of collected essays from the magazine 'Etc.' -- the journal of General Semantics. The article stated that a touring frenchman from Paris would have serious complaints about the subway system of New York City. Apparently, in Paris there is a clear understanding (universalistic thinking) that the art museums, and famous attractions of Paris deserve to have subway service between all of them. But in New York City there are no direct subway routes between such attractions. Nominalistic thinking went into the design of the New York system and there is a kind of hub and spoke system there where there are links from all of the major suburbs to a central point in Manhatton. The idea is that there is serious traffic in workers to and from the suburbs to the downtown area -- which makes those lines pay for themselves. The freeway system of LA is similar in that the various freeways are named with the city on the rim -- it is clearly understood that the other end of each LA freeway is somewhere in LA. There would be no freeway from Ventura to Pomona but a driver would get there without leaving the freeway system by going from one of the city-named spokes to the hub and back out on the spoke for the other city. Apparently in Paris there would be many sparcely used lines such as those between famous attractions but it is okay for them to be subsidized and that they don't need to pay for themselves. Pribram's book answered the main questions for me. Essentially it is all tied up in the central problem of philosophy: 'The problem of Universals' and as stated in his first sentence: 'the methods adopted for defining the sources of knowledge and for organizing coherent thinking.' A universal is a hypothetical construction in the mind to aid in understanding something. For a nominalistic reasoner, the hypothetical idea is made to think out the various aspects of the thing or idea and importantly remains a convenient vehicle to name (thus nominalism as the label for that type of reasoning) and describe the ideas and concepts but it remains hypothetical or unproven. The hypothetical idea can be used to come up with ways to 'prove' or 'test' the hypothesis behind it but for a nominalistic thinker there is a good possiblility that it can not ever be proven. This skepticism by the nominalistic thinker is more than matched by the ability of a universalistic thinker to somehow believe the same hypothetical idea is in fact 'real' and 'proven' not by testing or experience but by his own brand of reasoning that proves it to be true by his own reasoning -- and no real testing or skepticism is required.
Pribram states on page 163: 'Universalistic reasoning was predicated on the conviction that the human mind is able to grasp eternally valid rigid ideas, underlying the order of the universe and existing in reality, thus guaranteeing true knowledge without resort to any other source. The history of western reasoning from about the thirteenth century tells the story of an incessant struggle against the fetters imposed upon the human mind by the belief in a hierarchial system of such ideas.' And on page 171: 'The adherents of nominalism, however, are confronted with a somewhat paradoxical situation: their modes of thought are effectively prevented from reaching the regions dominated by their antagonists, but tolerance toward the spread of the doctrine of materialistic dialectics is imposed upon them by the principles of their own thinking.' The nominalistic pattern of reasoning is more or less 'objective' and resists the 'subjective' and the appeals to emotion rather than reason that characterize much of universalistic reasoning.
The 10 or 15 pages here are in a chapter called 'a challenge' and go to the fundamental problems of how nominalistic thinking is difficult to spread and how universalistic and specifically intuitional and dialectic reasoning have some advantages that allow the universalistic pattern of reasoning to more easily spread. He flatly states that the intellectuals of Germany (his country of origin) will not give up universalistic reasoning and indicates that nominalism automatically makes alliances with their antagonists -- specifically because nominalistic reasoning does not provide proof of morals or ethics thus these concepts are largely imported from the universalistic realm. I believe after reading this that Obama and perhaps all democrats have a large component of dialectic reasoning -- as demonstrated in their belief in 'fairness' and their adoption of many communist slogans relating to fairness and class warfare. They have come to believe in some form of 'liberation theology' -- that the lower classes will be brought up or freed and the rich brought down -- a truly hypothetical idea -- that has become 'real' to them. All brands of univeralistic reasoning eventually support autocratic methods to spread their ideas -- something noministic reasoning does not allow itself to do. I am reminded of Eric Hoffer's book 'The Ordeal of Change' and how he states that intellectuals align themselves with authority. Hoffer was a different type of philosopher -- he taught philosophy at Berkley but his background included some years working as a longshoreman. Hoffer does not state the underlying reasons but rather just the state of these issues -- finally in Pribram's book I have found some info on the real causes for the phenomona.
On page 171 Pribram states: '... the leaders of the Bolshevist party are careful to eliminate any aspects of hyptothetical thinking from social planning. They have required not only their philosophers, historians, economists, jurists, and literary authors, but even their scientists to reason exclusively in terms of dialectic concepts. The monopolistic position allotted to dialectic reasoning extends to all spheres of life.'
Just change the words 'Bolshevist party' to 'liberals in Massachusetts' and -- thoughts of Paul Krugman on economics, Al Gore on global warming, and the solidarity of the elite educators and media people -- come to mind as clearly this is a dialectic method of reasoning. To them Global Warming and Keynesian Economics are proven -- not hypothetical ideas. I want to be clear here that I am not calling liberals communists or socialists but that when examining their politics and general pattern of reasoning they appear to fall into a category of universalistic thinking called 'dialectic reasoning'. The beginning chapters of Pribram's book go into detail on the sub categories of universalistic thinking -- intuitional or organismic reasoning (the type of thinking behind facism and serious nationalism) -- and dialectic reasoning. Dialectic refers to the kind of philosophy of Hegel where people believe things happen in cycles. Just as most people believe in some kind of evolution of species as described by Darwin, serious scholars of communism in the heyday for that idea believed in a kind of economic evolution where the dictatorship of the proletariate (the workers) will follow the fall of captitalism. Pribram states that the original core group of the soviet union were not even planning to write laws or even a constitution. They believed that everyone could be convinced of the truth of their economics and that when everyone was educated about these truths, there would be a kind of cultural pressure to conform without the need for legal documents. See #40 on how anarchy is not really an absence of the rule of law but a more strict set of cultural laws than a written set of laws could be. The hypothetical idea of a Utopian Workers paradise (a universal to them rather than just a hypothesis) had become 'real' and 'proven' in their minds along with their ideas of the inevitability of the fall of capitalism that precedes the Utopia. Just as the communists did not favor written laws but rather a kind of judicial system of committees of properly educated people, the liberal mentality in our era has the left skipping the old precedent of constitutional ammendments and just getting judicial rulings from liberal justices in states and federal venues and rather than changing laws in congress -- the extensive use of 'executive orders' and the writing of regulations (by properly educated liberals) has become a frequently occuring process. This explains their belief in a kind of 'living' constitution rather than the 'literal' constitution favored by conservatives. 'Political Correctness' is not a codified set of written rules but rather a kind of collective cultural thinking that is imposed with cultural pressures and peer pressure rather than by some anacharistic 'rule of law'. Obama has managed to have all of his college transcripts and dissertations put under a seal to perhaps hide some socialistic background but the predominant description of his probable ideology -- other than 'far left' -- would be to describe him as believing in some flavor of 'Black Liberation Theology'. The operating 'universals' affecting liberal thinking must be somehow along those lines -- with the 'black' left out but replaced with a kind of 'fairness' and a general belief in the reduction of the differences between the incomes of the wealthy and the poor. Even the lack of interest in balancing the budget and reducing the debt and deficit can be explained by a hypothetical idea that has become a 'believed' universal -- that the owners of the debt are the rich and somehow there is nothing wrong with beating them out of the bill in the end -- it is a kind of Robin Hood story. Think of the Robin Hood story as a kind of dialectic -- that is an idea that things happen in cycles and eventually the wrongs are righted. Our basic christian religion has a kind of universalistic dialectic flavor when you look at the down-trodden expecting a messiah or the apocalypse and millenium occuring as natural parts of the cycle -- possibly similar to the communist message of the collapse of capitalism and the formation of the 'workers paradise' -- sometimes referred to as the dictatorship of the proletariat. The nominalistic reasoner can create the same hypotheticals -- such as 'the great american economy can eventually pay off the national debt' or 'gun registration laws can eventually be crafted to eliminate gun violence' or 'dialog with the Mullahs of Iran will eventually result in a breakthrough - and peace' -- or 'insert your own hypothetical fantasy here' -- and if it is a 'dialectic' type then add some cycles that are inevitable -- insert your cycles here. The problem for the nominalistic thinker is that the hypothetical idea remains 'hypothetical' for him but easily becomes 'real' and not just 'possible' but 'definitely possible' for the universalistic thinker. A further problem for the nominalistic reasoner is that even though he is not convinced of the validity of the particular hypothetical -- he cannot really disprove it in his own mind and he must allow the 'realist' his freedom to believe his fantasy and can see the possible comfort the 'realist' gets from believing in the bypothetical. Universalistic reasoning is not an exclusive province for the liberal left -- what we would describe as the radical right has its own universalist reasoners with their own brands of hypotheticals that have become real for them such as the black helicopter set or the set that believes the income tax was illegally passed or perhaps they believe they know the end-date for the world or -- insert your own favorite right-wing conspiracy here. In the past there were perhaps an equal number of nominalistic thinkers in both the GOP and Democrat parties -- check out some of the eulogies for Samuel P. Huntington for example -- and possibly we could have labeled moderates of both parties as nominalists but I fear that I have developed my own 'hypothetical' that most Democrat moderates in recent years are just 'posing' based on the unanimous votes for Obamacare and the Stimulus bill. Unfortunately for the nominalistic reasoners -- the basic universalistic reasoner has no doubts about his belief system and has no real qualms at playing 'hardball' against his perceived antagonist with an almost emotional ferver.
I would go further and divide liberals into two flavors based on their origins. One group would be the immigrant derived people who have received their indoctrination into universalistic reasoning in their countries of origin and of course their down-trodden status prior to immigration or even afterward. The more concentrated the immigrants are in the new home area of america is and the shorter the assimilation time has been -- the more resistance there is to the actual blending of these new people into the 'melting pot' of standard america. The second group would be the elites of the area and I would include the educated class, the wealthy, and of course the celebrities of Hollywood. I mentioned Eric Hoffer's book above and his analysis that the elite and intellectual class automatically aligns themselves with authority and of course 'big government' here. This group has other motivations related to power and influence that in some ways resemble a fuedal system -- with the first group as their 'serfs'.
Pribram does not specifically address details of how universalistic reasoning comes to dominate minds but does mention the 'monopolistic position allotted to dialectic reasoning' by the elite. I would go further and mention two points -- one that probably most people start out as liberals and some are perhaps 'mugged' into conservatism later in life or have some family tradition or influences of conservatism. I know I believed in the 'hypothetical' of Santa Claus when I was little but sometime later in life the visible peer pressure of knowing that your friends no longer believe and perhaps my parents at some point clarified the truth of the issue. We all grow up with some fairy tales that we believed that make us succeptible to believing in hypotheticals lacking some real experience or training in being properly skeptical. The other point is that 'peer pressure' can be invisible. Note my description in item #5 on how my first wife and her two sisters grew up in a home where English was a second language -- but sometime in grade school all three lost all ability to read or speak French (the language of their parents) but oddly enough could understand it when spoken to them. It was clearly against the wishes of the parents (french speaking immigrants from Switzerland) but a subtle and not even understood process occured when the children of the neighborhood managed to force the girls to conform to the normal condition of the other kids -- that of speaking English only. This may not have happened if the neighborhood had had some other french and english bilingual children. I once heard a radio program on NPR with a linguist interviewed by the radio host. A couple of interesting issues related to my story of the three girls 'unlearning' french due to 'invisible' peer pressure came up on the call-in portion of the show. The first question was what particular dialect or version of english was spoken by the founding fathers? The surprising answer was that they spoke english just as a standard american would today -- not with a southern or northern accent or an 'english' accent. That brought up the questions of why do the english now have a distict accent to us and why do people from the south have their particular flavor of english? The response from the liguist was that it was believed that the southern accent was somehow picked up from the slaves of the south and the english spoken in england at the time of the revolution was just the same as our standard english now. The linguist did not know where the english got their new accent other than that they did it themselves in the years since 1776.
Something similar relating to politics occurs in an area like current New England. Use Wikipedia to look up the topic of 'The New York City draft riots' (July 13 to July 16, 1863). The article states that at that time one quarter of the population was recently immigrant Irish and another quarter was German. Note that they were against the Emancipation Proclamation and that the riots were about a plan to draft New York men to go fight in the Civil War. The rioters were afraid the freed slaves would come to New York and take their jobs and the victims of the rioters were blacks and abolitionists. A recent news item was that Mississippi only recently ratified the 13th amendment -- but look into the details -- there were four states that did not originally ratify that amendment -- Kentucky, Delaware, and New Jersey were the other three states. The point I am trying to make is that most of New England was populated with recent immigrants and represented an immigrant point of view and not a view representative of the rest of the non-slave states which were against slavery. It was the same for the Revolutionary War when New York and that area was where most of the population loyal to England was centered. I suspect that most of the founders of our country were not from the recent immigrant countries. English speaking countries and protestant christians are less universalistic in their general reasoning. The corrupt politics of Tammany Hall and other such issues were due to a population with a majority of immigrants with universalistic reasoning in their backgrounds voting the bums into office. You have to wonder if there is a kind of natural selection of the population with one portion of the people able to leave the urban areas and set up their lives in the west or even today in the suburbs -- I suspect for the freedom and for the company of like-minded people -- while those that chose to remain in the urban areas are more interested in a government that does more for them and that they are in general more risk-adverse. Just as it is logical to look for travelers to be concentrated at ports and terminals -- perhaps the coastal ports remain concentrated with universalistic reasoning immigrants. The power of peer-pressure in the urban areas and perhaps a slower assimilation into the basic american cultural values has always kept New England more liberal with 'non-ports' such as Maine and New Hamphire as exceptions. I did a little research into liberal biographies on wikipedia a few months ago -- specifically looking to see if recent immigrant status for the family history of liberal politicians and journalists was a possible indication of the peer pressure of growing up with immigrants or immigrant parents could show a correlation. I thought I saw a correlation there with many or most of the most liberal people clearly coming from recent immigrant families and areas. I kid people out here in Utah when the subject of politics comes up. Most people know that this general area of the country (Utah and Idaho) votes 60 to 70% for the GOP in recent elections but I like to inform them that only about one third considers themselves Republicans and another third are clearly Democrats (mostly from the urban areas). But what about the last third? Here in the mountain west they are independents who don't really like either party but cannot bring themselves to vote for the Democrat. Just as Bill O'Reilly has pondered the liberal bias of New England, I have wondered about the 'purple' upper midwest states like Wisconsin and Minnesota and suspect the political divisions there are similar -- they put people into office like Jesse Ventura and Al Franken -- I suspect the independent third there cannot bring themselves to vote for the GOP. I suspect that some research into the immigrant history of those states would show some similarities to New England with a less 'seasoned' general population with the average time of the general population as fully American as perhaps a generation or two less than for what we now call 'Red' states. It is all about the subtle effects of peer pressure. I can't even credit the majority of the bias to the liberals in the educational system because of the apparent ignorance about the issues. Look at the Jay Leno and Jesse Watters interviews of the public and see the total lack of real in-depth knowledge of most of the people they encountered. They have more or less absorbed their views from their peers rather than having been 'educated' by the liberal elite. They have absorbed their 'universalistic' patterns of reasoning as part of their immigrant background with the universalistic reasoning of their countries of origin.
The universalistic patterns of reasoning include religious backgrounds where of course what some people would call 'hypothetical' ideas that are the basis of their religions and have become 'real' At the same time most religious people would easily believe that the religions that are not their own are unbelievably hypothetical. The dialectic division of universalistic reasoning could easily explain the fairness and income leveling or redistribution tendencies as a hypothetical idea of that kind of 'utopian' vision somehow becoming real for those thinkers and of course affecting the general peer-pressure to conform to that thought process.
One last item of interest that bears on the reasoning patterns of areas of the country was something I read about years ago in a book about the Glomar Explorer. The Glomar Explorer was a deep-sea drillship platform initially built for the United States Central Intelligence Agency as a means to secretly retrieve a sunken russian missile submarine near Hawaii. All of the laborers hired to operate the ship were specifically recruited only from a kind of traditional 'good old boys' type mostly from the south. Loyalty to the country was important to keep the secret and oddly enough -- that particular set of workers apparently kept the secret. Could the same have been said of workers from an area of more recent immigration? Check out this link for recent immigrant issues:
The Hispanic Challenge
-- The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages.
-- note the similar issues of the makeup of the founding fathers and the concentrations of new immigrants. Note that the article states that the founders were mostly from english speaking and protestant countries. As an engineer for many years I had some cartoons on my cubical wall but only one motto -- 'If you cannot measure it, you cannot understand it'. Perhaps some pollster could devise a poll to measure the 'seasoning level' of the general population -- that is generations as fully american. I suspect it would almost exactly match the 'Red and Blue' states maps.
I feel like this segment is incomplete if I am unable to clarify the details of why people have their particular pattern of reasoning. I mentioned the two types of liberals -- those who learned the universals they believe from their parents or their priests or professors. The second type is as I have indicated above -- not truly educated on the concepts related to their believed universals. I have in other essays used an analogy to illustrate a difficult concept. I used the word 'absorb' above to describe how this second type of liberal comes to know the universals by a kind of 'osmosis' and that they have come to believe it but do not appear to have been 'taught' the universal since they appear oblivious to the details and history of the idea that they should know if someone in the home, school, or church had actually 'taught' them the universal. Further thinking would indicate that there are the additional issues of personality types and reinforcing mechanisms in the brain that may differ between individuals. On the issue of personality types -- consider that since the dawn of history people and things have been divided into groups -- usually of four -- such as earth, air, fire and water -- or the four humours of the body -- blood, phlem, black bile, and yellow bile. These ancient classifiers usually associate the 'conservative' personality with the 'earth' or 'phlem' category -- but remember that history is usually written by a liberal and as detailed in #2 above, everyone puts a 'spin' on things. But let me go into the analogies a little here. To pursue the 'absorbtion' analogy -- perhaps different people with their unique personalities correspond to different 'absorbtion' qualities in the manner of different brands of towels or tissue papers. Some are like Bounty brand and absorb more -- others absorb less. Perhaps a better analogy would be that of magnetic fields and metals that can or cannot be magnetized and there are of course factors involved that set up polarities -- north or south -- and strengths -- strong or weak magnets. As a person goes through life he is exposed to the particular polarity and field strength -- related to patterns of thought -- of that person's family, friends, and the 'educators' of his life. The type of magnet I am suggesting is the 'permanent' magnet rather than the coil-type of magnet of relay switches that is a magnet only when current is running through the coil. A permanent magnet is formed by heating a 'ferrous' metal such as iron and maintaining the strength and polarity of a magnetic field around the metal as it cools. The high percentage of 'non-seasoned' immigrants in the coastal or port city areas of our country makes the developing pattern of reasoning of a maturing person in that environment likely to 'set' in the magnetic polarity and field strength of the corresponding patterns of reasoning. In Massachusetts it would be of a universalistic type due to the reasoning of their immigrant ancestors in the urban areas but in the rural areas the nominalistic patterns may prevail -- if they do not go off to a liberal university and lose the polarity of their family or perhaps marry someone of the opposite polarity and gradually change to match that person's polarity. I personally grew up in a conservative household and I and my three brothers were originally all conservative but all three of my brothers married liberal wives and have changed their polarities to match their wives. One of my favorite authors -- Robert A. Heinlein -- was a conservative until he married his second wife -- you can see it in his books. To carry this analogy further -- consider that a magnet is formed under heat and if the magnet is for example thrown into a fire -- it can lose all of its magnetic properties. Perhaps this is what happens when a liberal is mugged by life and becomes a conservative in old age. The average american does not give much thought to personality types and how they can be programmed or changed but the original Soviets spent a lot of effort investigating the possibility of changing or reprogramming individual personalities -- that is their patterns of reasoning to conform to the universalistic dialectic pattern of reasoning that is communistic. Everyone has heard of Pavlov and how he performed experiments with dogs -- for example by ringing a bell while feeding the dogs and then noticing that the dogs would later salivate at the sound of a bell. What most people don't know is that Pavlov developed his methods as he learned of the different personality types of his dogs. He found some dogs easily trained and untrained to tricks and others were more obstinate -- perhaps the easily changeable type corresponds to the 'fire' or 'blood' type and in the magnetic analogy -- a metal more highly pure in iron. The less trainable types would correspond to the 'earth' or 'phlem' type and in the magnetic analogy -- less iron in the alloy.
The original experiments of Pavlov were done before the revolution in Russia but the Soviets employed him well into the 1930s because they saw a particular value to his line of experimentation. We may prefer to think of these early communists as bloodthirsty radicals but in reality they had their own rationalizations for what they were doing and in reference to Pavlov -- they were looking for a way to convert obstinate personality types to their way of thinking and to not have to resort to extreme measures such as gulags, salt mines, or executions. I am sure they loved their mothers too but the line of research that Pavlov pursued for them was in trying to find ways to 'fix' difficult personalities. I read about this in a book called 'The Battle for the Mind' and it was written by a british doctor who was involved in treating 'shell shocked' army men after the Normandy invasion in 1944. He was looking for methods to help these victims to return to normal thinking and he had just read a translation of Pavlov's research and recognized the similarities in goals -- in his case to get them back to normal but for Pavlov it was to reprogram them as needed. If you remember your history -- this was a period when the Soviets were our allies and the translation of Pavlov's book must have been part of the collaborations between the nations in that limited window of time. What the doctor found and what was in Pavlov's research was that the mind can be reset by stress just as a magnet can be reset when heated and just as the magnet can be re-polarized as it cools the Soviets were looking to re-program obstinate people to their way of thinking. The stress factors could be intense fear such as caused the 'shell shocked' men but most strong emotions such as anger, sorrow, and chemical injections of insulin or adrenalin could also put the mind into a condition where it could be 'reset'. Oddly enough, the emotional states associated with laughter and happiness did not create the chemical processes in the brain that allowed re-programmming which is perhaps why the hero in the action movies always is cracking jokes while the bad guys try to brainwash him.
I want to go into more detail on the 'reinforcing mechanisms' mentioned above that keep people in their particular pattern of reasoning and appear to leave them impervious to your attempt to enlighten them to your particular logic or reasoning. When I worked in engineering for 25 years a co-worker went back to college at the age of about 40 to get a batchelor degree and I had many conversations with him about what was being taught to him at that time. I remember discussing religion and what a college course on psychology or philosophy might say about the subject. We came to the conclusion that in the evolution of mankind that there was a natural selection that favored believing in something. Consider the primitive man who could not conform to the beliefs of his clan or tribe. If he left the tribe to live on his own or with perhaps a wife and children -- they would lose the protection of the greater numbers of a tribe or clan and in the extreme environment of primitive times -- they would be picked off by predators -- human or otherwise and their 'flawed' genetic material became extinct. Those that could believe in whatever mumbo-jumbo the rest of the tribe chose to believe had a better chance to survive and pass on 'believer' genes. Over the thousands of years of human development the normal pattern of reasoning became the universalitic thinking that allowed belief in the universals developed by each group of humans. The type of reasoner who could not convert the particular hypothetical idea that his group believed into a truly 'believed' universal like the majority -- did not prosper and it is only through the subtle randomization of genes that occasionally produced the 'non-believer' type and at least some survived at all provide some diversity of thought. Historically as we approach modern times the protestants and in general the english speaking peoples have had a decreased 'believer' cohort and as mentioned above -- the original founders of our country were from societies holding less 'rigid' beliefs. See #20 above for Will Durant's letter to the famous people of the early part of the 20th century. He goes into much greater detail on the hole ripped in the hearts of believers by science -- I suspect the modern liberal movement may be an effort to fill that void.
Finally I want to discuss the reinforcing mechanism that appears to have developed along with this concentration of 'believer' genes. This is just another one of my hypothetical ideas and you can choose to go along with this line of thinking or not. If you have a better hypothetical or analogy to explain the reinforcing mechanism -- please let me know of it. I read a 600+ condensed biography of Sigmund Freud and in his development into a famous person he had come in contact with some of the original formulations of processed cocaine. He was a doctor of neurology experimenting at a university in Vienna and we may have never heard of him as he ran into a huge problem with his cocaine studies before he switched his studies to the 'talking cure' of psychiatry that made him famous. Just as the randomizing process of DNA produces variety in physical appearance and other characteristics -- Freud missed the fact that cocaine affects individuals differently. Freud was using the cocain on himself as an experimenter and later in life he used it extensively for the cancer that eventually destroyed his sinuses and killed him. Apparently he could take cocaine and enjoy the effects on pain reduction -- but not become addicted. Freud missed the effects the early users of the processed cocaine that we would call addiction and almost did not survive the controversy. The point here is that the effects on different individuals can vary greatly in respect to chemical levels in the brain. My hypothetical idea here is that some people can have a change in their chemical levels in their brain when they for example recyle something rather than just chuck it in the trash bin. I suspect that they get a little 'rush' by the action or thought at a higher chemical level than my damaged DNA allows. Clearly Prozac, alcohol, and a variety of drugs can make a person happier through chemical levels in the brain. To tie this back into the politics of liberals versus conservatives consider this odd fact of both of Obama's presidential elections: in the inner city areas of Philadephia, Chicago, and Cleveland there was a block of voting precincts that totalled about 30,000 thousand voters that in both elections had not even one vote cast for McCain or Romney. You might want to assume some kind of vote fraud by the authorities but I think the more likely cause is in the lack of education to the actual issues of this inner city area. I suspect an investigation would show that they have no real idea of the true issues of low graduation rates, high unemployment rates, or whatever particular fact or detail politically. But they would all know who Obama is and my guess is they definitely have their own belief of what he stands for -- that is that he is for them -- for the poor -- for immigrants -- and against the rich and wealthy oppressors. The mental action of thinking about the democrat party and how they are 'for' them must have some effect on the brain like the 'rush' of a mind altering drug. Instead of being 'unhappy' because of their actual situation the 'believer gene' allows them to be happy with the thought that someone is looking out for their interests. My hypothetical idea here can also explain the mental actions of the other cohort of the liberals -- that of the educated and somewhat informed liberals of the intellectuals of the universities, the celebrities of Hollywood and elsewhere, and even those with limited information on politics that align themselves with the liberals. They get the same mental 'rush' when they think of how they are helping the poor and down-trodden and they get a similar rush when they think of the hypotheticals that have become 'real' to them such as helping the environment or in thinking of civil rights for all the various flavors of humanity. Read #20 above -- Will Durant's letter to the elites of his day -- asking them how they cope with the hole in their hearts caused by science removing the belief systems of centuries. My suspicion is that their need to believe in something has caused them to fill that void formerly held by formal religions with the liberal secular belief systems associated with environmental issues or being 'against war' or believing in creating 'fairness' in the world. Perhaps the ability to focus on intentions and ignore results can generate a level of happiness sufficient to allow the apparent suspension of good logic. Wendell Wilkie wrote a book called 'One World' in 1942 or so after he had travelled around the world as a kind of good-will ambassador for FDR. In his chapter on Russia, he made the fantastic statement that all people then living in the Soviet Union could point to a real improvement in their financial status. How could this be true? He goes on to state that in reality -- anyone who had wealth had been killed or exiled and all of their accumulated wealth had been redistributed to those remaining in the country. A few generations later the Soviet experiment failed when most people could not point to any improvement in their lives as the confiscated wealth had been redistributed too many years ago for them and more than that -- the advent of videos and other sources of real information on the real conditions of the free world made their communist paradise suspect. One of my co-workers recently brought his mother back from Ohio to Utah. She had been living on welfare and medicaid but consider some of the benefits living on government aid could bring. She had had food stamps, a welfare check, and all medical needs covered. She had a free cell phone from the government and her rent was subsidized and all utilities limited to $50 out of pocket from her. I suspect this is the same situation for those 30,000 inner city voters -- enough of their needs have been met and probably just as the people of the Soviet Union in 1942 -- they can point to other improvements in their lives related to civil rights, etc. This perceived improvement in conditions produces the corresponding 'rush' in both cohorts of the liberal class -- the joy of being cared for and having champions for the poor and the joy of having a group to care about and vote to keep them in power by the educated and elite liberal cohort. Unless the non-elite cohort can be educated about the true results of liberalism rather than the perceived intentions -- there may be a few more generations of the status quo. Perhaps science will do the testing to prove that my hypothetical idea of the 'rush' associated with being 'good' is the foundation of liberalism -- but then I would then know for sure that I have been cheated in the random gene lottery as I did not get the desireable 'rush' generating brain system -- damn -- I have to pay for mind altering medications when the liberals get it for free. As I said above -- this brain rush thing is a hypothetical waiting for verification -- but wait perhaps I do know of at least one factoid that appears to support this hypothetical. I remember something Chris Matthews -- a definite uber-liberal -- said when he had just heard a speech by Barack Obama -- he said he 'felt a thrill go up his leg'. McCain and Romney produced no such thrill for me but check out my article about the post card for an LA Body Shop I found used as a bookmark.
If a genetic cause is not possible for your thought process -- consider a couple of other ways to phrase the differences in basic thinking. One would be to consider a belief in magic -- or not. You have to realize that there is some huge percentage of the population that appears to have an almost infinite capability of being duped -- just consider the political and commercial advertising that continually assails us all and realize that it is clearly directed at gullible people. A second way to think about this division in thinking is to consider a famous quotation : "There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein. It is the central division in philosophy -- on the one hand you can study to be able to name and understand ideas and things -- that is physics and science in general. On the other hand you get into what is called in philosophy -- metaphysics -- that is the study of things not explainable at the present time by physics -- this type of reasoning easily believes in the reality of metaphysical issues -- magic -- miracles -- and all of the extreme theories and conspiracies of the extreme right or left. An important idea here is the issue of possibilities and probabilities and the simple fact that for one type of person there is a high level of scepticism that considers the possibility of a hypothetical idea but leavens the thinking with a serious consideration of the usually low probability of the idea being true.
In this day and age there are sources of verification or at least the data on the probability of a strange hypothetical being true and more importantly -- in the case of the 'spinning' involved in the presentation of ideas -- both sides of the issue can be researched. I use two websites to understand difficult issues. One is Straightdope.com -- a site that originated as a newspaper feature in the 1970s by Cecil Adams and I recommend it to understand most issues. Cecil Adams and the staff are kind of the Ann Landers of science -- but with a lot of humor.
StraightDope.com -- fighting ignorance since 1973 (it's taking longer than we thought)
The other site is best for politics and current events -- especially to find the probabilites of 'magical' and 'conspiratorial' ideas. snopes.com -- the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.
Both of these sites have an exellent search engine that generates a list of articles pertaining to the topic entered in the search box. If you have never been to either of these sites and this is all new to you -- then I have to wonder about the level of due diligence you have used to assemble your particular mind set. As I have added the last couple of paragraphs to this aricle -- bombings have occurred about 11 hours ago in the 2013 Boston Marathon. I typed into the search engine for snopes.com -- 'boston marathon bombings'. Only one article currently comes up -- 1:11 AM 4/16/2013 -- one on the fact that there is at least one Facebook page referring to the bombings and it is apparently two days old. Where the site is useful is in the fact that it states something about the dates of Facebook pages and indicates that there is some question as to how accurate the dating system is for 'joined' Facebook pages. I suspect that as time passes this particular factoid will be expanded into a detailed account of possible flaws in computer dates. I know for example that I can change the date on my computer to show the present time as two days ago -- and when this article is saved it will appear as if I wrote it two days ago -- before the marathon bombings.
The 2008 and 2012 presidential and senate elections indicate a possible permanent shift toward the 'realist' point of view -- who am I to say that the belief in such progressive ideology is something bad. Perhaps the national debt is not a bad thing since we owe it to ourselves. Maybe we should just submit to the new ideology and join the collective as suggested by perhaps the most famous quotation of Locutus of Borg : "I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over. From this time forward you will service us."
I am Locutus of Borg
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