How does the right do it?

If you’re an American and you believe that the government should respect habeas corpus or privacy rights or the separation of church and state, or that invading foreign countries for no reason with no plan is bad, or that torture is bad, then you hate America. If you’re a Catholic and you believe that raping children is bad or that social justice is central to Catholicism or that that it’s okay for a democratically elected representative in a secular government to vote in favor of reproductive rights, then you’re a cafeteria Catholic. If you’re Jewish and you think that nuking Tehran is a bad idea, then you’re a self-hating Jew.

How did the far right manage to do this? These are three different (if connected) arenas with three different sets of issues. Why does the right hold the patriotic/one truth faith/etc. higher ground in all of them?

I believe this is the central question of modern American politics.

199 replies
  1. 1
    RSA says:

    Is it possible you’re slightly over-analyzing the situation, DougJ? One answer is that the specific issues don’t matter–it’s that rightwingers are authoritarians, and someone has told them over and over what to believe is right. They can even turn on a dime when needed.

  2. 2
    DougJ says:


    But how did these memes take hold? They are real.

  3. 3

    I would take issue with your last two examples, especially the one about Jews and bombing Iran. I don’t really think the majoirty of Catholics/Jews would think such things, rather, the problem is that far right-wing Catholics/Jews have a disproportionate platform in the American media.

  4. 4
    Mr Furious says:

    Being willing to lie to yourself and everyone else certainly helps.

  5. 5
    DougJ says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    Yes, I agree. But how did they get that platform?

  6. 6
    Mike in NC says:

    How did the far right mange [sic] to do this?

    I got an e-mail today from, with a link to mega-asshole Sean Hannity’s latest “book”, which had hundreds of favorable four-star reviews. That’s where we are today. This country is seriously fucked up.

    Mike +3

  7. 7
    JCT says:

    I think it’s the old saw about repeating anything often enough and it becomes the “truth” — especially when stated with heated authority and no lack of certainty. Nuance need not apply.

    Couple that to a dumbed down (or just numbed) population and there you have it.

  8. 8
    Martin says:

    I don’t know, how does turning in your Jewish neighbors make you a good German, or your educated neighbor a good Cambodian?

    It’s a mystery!

  9. 9
    beltane says:

    It’s a classic schoolyard bullying technique, helped by a media that wants to stay on the bullies good side. Non-sociopaths do not even think to label their opponents in such a way.

    The recent neutering of the terms “Nazi” and “fascist” is a pretty insidious development in this phenomenon.

  10. 10
    frankdawg says:

    @Brien Jackson:


    I have a few jewish friends & they are all horrified by what passes for acceptable positions on Israel. Several have been there & say there is a much more robust debate about jewish issues in Israel than is allowed here.

    I live in a city with a lot of Catholics and discuss politics with many practicing, active Catholics. While there is a range of attitudes none are 100% in line with acceptable doctrine in the US media.

  11. 11


    The Catholic League and Commentary.

  12. 12
    gbear says:

    Why does the right hold the patriotic/one truth faith/etc. higher ground in all of them?

    Because if they didn’t see it that way, they’d have to shoot themselves.

  13. 13
    racrecir says:

    If it feels good, do it.

  14. 14

    Most right wingers are really into passing judgment. They do it a lot and derive a thrill from it. I don’t know; maybe it’s a power trip.

    And if you spend most of your adult life judging other folks, you might get good at it. You might figure out how to find a person’s vulnerable point and know how to scream and yell about that one point in order to exact the greatest distress from your victim.

    Then again, it is possible that these folks think that going through life with no mercy, no compassion, no understanding, no helping hands, no encouragement, and no camaraderie will make you a Good Person. Even though none of the Esteemed Teachers of any of the religions have promoted this idea.

  15. 15
    frankdawg says:


    Because those positions improve the lot of the rich and powerful so they spend a lot of money on pushing those memes in the media they, or their wealthy friends, own.

  16. 16
    Mike Kay says:

    Beginning in 1968, with Nixon and Agnew, the beat the corporate media into submission. Today, the CM is like someone suffering from spousal abuse syndrome, they walk on eggshells, terrified of triggering another beating. The traditional media has surrendered.

    At the same time, the also built an enormous propaganda apparatus: think tanks, magazines, regerny books, radio, front groups like the catholic league, and fixxed news. They even have space on the internet with the right wing funded Politico, as well as Drudge. They fill the vacuum left by the departed media.

  17. 17
    El Cid says:

    People & politicians often care much more about the crazy right 27% than they do about the sane plurality.

  18. 18
    Toast says:

    Why does the right hold the patriotic/one truth faith/etc. higher ground in all of them?

    Because, for the most part, we’re stupid, tribal, (mostly) hairless apes. And in every case you cite, the correct position relies on intellect, not tribalism or instinct.

  19. 19
    Gregory says:


    Yes, I agree. But how did they get that platform?

    Ooh, ooh, I know! Pick me!

    Liberal media, right?

  20. 20
    Arclite says:

    I think you need to add a new tag to this story:

    “Our Failed Media Experiment”

    A large part of the reason for these memes existing/perpetuating is due to the media reporting but not refuting this kind of wingnut BS. Liberals for the most part don’t put forth these kind of emotionally satisfying but untrue stories, so there aren’t any countervailing memes.

  21. 21
    DougJ says:


    That is probably the right answer.

  22. 22
    gbear says:

    @Mike in NC:

    hundreds of favorable four-star reviews

    ..out of millions and millions of Amazon customers. Wingnut trolls (real and fake) stalk the book comment sections there. I’d bet over half of them didn’t buy the book, and half of the buyers never read it.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Maude says:

    I think that the late, great Ronnie Raygun brought in the current wave of stupidity. He made mediocrity seem okay.
    If you don’t have to learn or think, than whoever makes the most noise gets the coverage and as it gets repeated, it becomes semminly true.
    We are in deep crap here.
    The make believe beginning of the Disney television show with Tinkerbell flying and making magic with her wand is symbolic of what the many of the mainstream media believe.
    In order to ask a good question, you have to have the knowledge to know the subject matter.
    That isn’t happening anymore. Ignorance is King.
    I am still furious about the time Cheney said that there was no doubt about the WMD.
    The obvious question was: Who has no doubt?
    Cheney wouldn’t have been able to answer that.
    Russert used to say over and over again that Clinton was the best ever at politics. If Clinton was the best, how come he made such a fool of himself after he was caught lying about Monica?

  25. 25
    RSA says:


    But how did these memes take hold? They are real.

    True. Other memes (gay people aren’t a threat to civilization, for example) don’t seem likely to catch on. Hmm…

  26. 26
    jrg says:

    The right are very disciplined. They tell the same lies over and over again, and rarely break rank (anyone that does is excommunicated). Since the he said/she said media is completely gutless, reasonable questions are not asked and these memes are allowed to thrive.

  27. 27

    But how did they get that platform?

    Because no liberal is daft/sick enough to argue pissing on the Bill of Rights, needless warfare, child rape and dropping nukes just for the hell of it is a good idea.

  28. 28
    matoko_chan says:

    well….you are totally going to hate on me for this, DougJ, but my hypothesis is intelligence. There is an established correlation between higher religiosity and lower IQ. Religiosity is defined as the quality of being religious and it is measured as church attendence, importance of x-faith in everyday life, prayer, etc.

    The right selects for voters not bright enough to vote their own self-interest, and and not educated or intelligent enough to understand ToE and cell biology.
    The right (in its current instantiation) also selects for voters who value “commonsense” above intelligence, and religiosity above education.
    Nearly the whole of the right are conservative christians, as opposed to liberal christians like Obama.
    That is why I think the TPM is actually a white conservative christian grievance movement.

  29. 29
    mai naem says:

    It’s simple. The right represents the wealthy. The media is owned and run by the wealthy. The wealthy benefit from the right being in power. The media,like it or not, create the basis for opinion. The only reason FDR succeeded in his basic safety net policies was because there was a real fear that this country was going to turn commie pinko if there wasn’t something done to help the vast majority of Americans who were hurting during the depression. Also too, the evangelistic mega churches have turned a good chunk of christianity in this country into supporting the right wing.

  30. 30
    cyd says:

    Another interesting thing to consider is that this appears to be a uniquely American phenomenon. The right in, say, Europe does not appear to enforce such ideological purity.

    One worrisome possibility is that America will begin exporting it. (The evangelicals are already working on this, I believe.)

  31. 31
    Daddy-O says:

    The right has not managed to convince anyone but THEMSELVES that these are ‘true’.

    They got nothin’ but blind faith in bad people. Period.

  32. 32
    mistersnrub says:

    Because the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity…

  33. 33
    JCT says:



    I have a few jewish friends & they are all horrified by what passes for acceptable positions on Israel. Several have been there & say there is a much more robust debate about jewish issues in Israel than is allowed here.

    I had direct experience with this in the past week. My daughter has been studying at Hebrew University for the past semester as her study abroad. She sent me a paper to read and the evolution in her thinking regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue in just a few short months was downright startling. One of her father’s relatives is one of those rabid rightist Israel supporters and I’m toying with the idea of sending it to him. On second thought, don’t want to induce an MI.

    It’s a whole different deal when you live there, apparently.

  34. 34
    Plink Plonk says:

    Yep. Such thinking help lead me away from the church pretty rapidly post 9-11. And Christian talk radio is a whirlwind of hypocrisy. So much of my generation is leaving Christianity behind because we saw the damage caused by a Christian president and the support of the church for that president.

  35. 35

    It wouldn’t hurt to read Charlie Pierce’s Idiot America. There’s an extended interview with Pierce at that Amazon link, and part of what he says rings true:

    I do think that my profession, journalism, went off the tracks when it accepted as axiomatic the notion that “Perception is reality.” No. Perception is perception and reality is reality, and if the former doesn’t conform to the latter, then it’s the journalist’s job to hammer and hammer the reality until the perception conforms to it. That’s how “intelligent design” gets treated as “science” simply because a lot of people believe in it.

  36. 36
    DougJ says:


    Isn’t that the sad truth?

  37. 37
    Brachiator says:

    How did the far right mange to do this? These are three different (if connected) arenas with three different sets of issues. Why does the right hold the patriotic/one truth faith/etc. higher ground in all of them?

    Fear helps. One common idea that comes up time and again is that civil rights are luxuries that should be willingly suspended until we win the war against terrorism, drugs, illegal immigrant Latinos, etc.

    Dovetailing with this is the longstanding, if often unstated, belief of many people that you are supposed to obey authority, that assertions of rights really aren’t needed if you keep quiet, obey the rules and live your life the right way. And this isn’t the special preserve of conservatives, but also of liberals as they grow older, have families and become moral cowards more concerned about protecting their stuff than in doing the right thing.

    This is especially true of liberals who right checks for causes but who would never put their asses on the line to defend their supossed high principles. This actually makes it easier for tea baggers and other goons to make noise and get attention.

    There has always been a conflict in America (and other countries) between authoritarian and liberal impulses. The Bush/Cheney regime had a hard on for disproving the 1960s hippie ethos which they thought was behind our “defeat” in Vietnam. They were going to show Americans and the world how no-nonsense hard-headed conservatism could bring the Iraqis to heel. And their neocon puppet masters had bold dreams of undoing everything that has happened in the US politically and socially since the Roosevelt Administration.

    The rise of Obama (and even Hillary) has been one of the few rays of hope to oppose the specter of conservative nihilsm, which is personified by Sarah “Americans don’t need to know a goddamned thing in order to be the bestest country ever, thank you baby Jebus” Palin.

    The battle has just begun.


    There is an established correlation between higher religiosity and lower IQ. Religiosity is defined as the quality of being religious and it is measured as church attendence, importance of x-faith in everyday life, prayer, etc.

    Kinda reductive, but it reminds me of conversations that I used to have with my NPR crowd friends, who would disdain Bush as an ignorant cowboy, with all the condescension and snobbery that they could muster.

    But they missed an essential point.

    If you got the power, you don’t have to be intelligent. However you want to measure intelligence, even if you want to make a fetish over irrelevant crap like IQ.

  38. 38
    Citizen Alan says:


    That is why I think the TPM is actually a white conservative christian grievance movement.

    I assume by “TPM” you mean “Tea Party Movement” and not “Talking Points Memo,” because otherwise, that statement confuses the hell out of me.

    Also, if you would be willing to substitute “education” for “IQ,” I agree with everything you said. I know a lot of very smart people who are gravitating towards the Tea Partiers because they have spent an enormous amount of time and energy deliberately keeping themselves ignorant on a number of important topics. The idiots who are rewriting history down in Texas aren’t doing it because they are mentally retarded and just don’t know any better. They’re doing it because they have deliberately chosen an ignorant but comforting world-view and are bent on brainwashing the next generation into accepting their beliefs mainly because they are terrified of being someday being challenged on those beliefs by someone more educated.

  39. 39
    mclaren says:

    No, the central question of American politics is: How many witches will we burn when we finally abandon the last vestiges of reason and common sense, and where will we find them?

  40. 40
    Doofus says:

    I think that you are nearly right. This is very close to the central political issue. And I think the answer is that the Movement doesn’t care what they destroy. This frees them to pursue methodologies that most traditional political players can’t use. They’ve brought the country to the edge of ruin and they have shown that they would happily do so again. That recklessness is why I think they get their way on defining patriotism.

  41. 41
    fucen tarmal says:

    its real simple, once they get a taste of the bit, they never tire of it.

    the dirty hippies of the world want to move on to something else…sarah palin is a moron, but we’re sick of talking about her, dead eye dick and the turd blossom posse commited war crimes, yabut, we just want them gone, we don’t want to hash out every detail for the next decade…the previous george bush pardons cappy weinberger and white washes what was left of iran-contra, lets move on to something new, rand paul is a racist with a good chance of being a united states senator, not a week later and the appetite is sated…..

    we just don’t have it in us to hold the grudges necessary to make these things stick, the way the right wing does.

  42. 42
    Corner Stone says:


    How many witches will we burn when we finally abandon the last vestiges of reason and common sense, and where will we find them?

    While I feel that is an important question, I just hope the answer does not lie in the strip clubs I frequent.

  43. 43
    Tim I says:

    Doug, double down on the antidepressants. It’s all gonna be okay.

  44. 44
    Citizen Alan says:

    @fucen tarmal:

    we just don’t have it in us to hold the grudges necessary to make these things stick, the way the right wing does.

    Speak for yourself. When Bush dies, I’m pissing on the mutherfucker’s grave.

  45. 45

    Well, one thing these meme’s have going for them, and is probably why they have been so easily entrenched, is that they’re predicated upon an offensive (pun intended) survival of the fittest instinct – that says winning is the (only) ultimate goal. And everything contrarian is defensive, weak, and subject to being manipulated or devoured by the powerful. So best be alpha male top dog mafia don while you still have the chance.
    I think the right was able “to do this” because this is what the right has probably always done, seen that the right is formed out of the vestiges of authoritarian war-lord culture of older times.” Liberalism”, by comparison is a recent cultural phenomena, rooted more in the labor demands of post industrial revolution society.

  46. 46
    nitpicker says:

    The key ingredient is fear.

    If you want to fight against someone who believes in reasonable things, figure out how you can twist those beliefs to scare the shit out of some clueless mom with a couple of babies and you will win. Figure out how you can convince some white dude he’s going to lose his job and not be able to feed those babies because of some people who are obviously different and you win. Figure out how you can make people believe they’re defending their faith (and, quite possibly, their own immortal souls which are connected to that faith) by excusing pederasty and you win.

    Right wingers are bunch of scared motherfuckers and they know there are many others who are afraid that everything could be taken from them at any moment.

    They win because they exploit that fear.

  47. 47
    Ailuridae says:

    @Mike Kay:

    Seriously the corporate media does not have spousal abuse syndrome as their treatment by the Right doesn’t really compare to spousal abuse, right? So, yeah, you can stop that analogy whenever you want.

  48. 48
    Corner Stone says:


    If it feels good, do it.

    Thank you.

  49. 49
    Neutron Flux says:

    The media certainly are culpable.

    The Regan Revolution still has staying power.

    It is impossible to overestimate the influence of pentecostal religious groups and the willingness of the flock to be led.

    However, in my view, the conservatives understand the morals and attitudes of the Baby Boomers better than any other group and know how to frame ideas in that manner. I say this this as a Boomer who interacts mostly with Boomers.

    Have hope though, we will die soon and as far as I know there is no replacements for the crazy.

    (Edited for spelling and punctuation.)

  50. 50
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    better wait like 30 days or so, he will get the full revisionist burial with all the pomp and circumstance that makes people who actually remember, want to fuck shit up…

    the other thing, if you go back to plato’s view on rhetoric as the art of appearance rather than truth, the simpler argument to understand usually wins.

    the whole bit about the physician and the rhetoretician have to argue to a crowd, about which one is actually the physician, the arguments that convince a person to believe some one is a doctor are different that trying to prove you are a doctor, because anyone can memorize a bunch of boring detail, as the story goes. you have to convince people that they can figure it out, and that they can figure out why its you.

  51. 51
    matoko_chan says:

    @Brachiator: lawl.
    do you also deny the positive correlation between IQ and SES (socio-economic status)?
    as for Bush, he was the overlord class. the conservative elite who run the 40percenters with fear and racebaiting and IQbaiting and appeals to god and country.

  52. 52
    ItAintEazy says:

    I know a number of people touched on it, but I just want to say three words: lizard brain mentality. Sometimes reason just can’t compete with base emotions. The only thing stopping the left from exploiting people’s baser instincts is that we find having another Bolshevik-like revolution repellant. Think about it, how many modern-day Robespierres do we have now, and how many of us would be very quick to smack him down?

  53. 53
    DougJ says:


    You know…I’m not usually crazy about these kinds of analogies, but I think Mike Kay is right on this one.

  54. 54
    jl says:

    Money, main force, intellectual thuggery, threats, and insinuations of some kind of violence if they don’t get their way.

    Their grassroots troops are fine with it because they feel cornered and threatened. Which is understandable when reason and experience conspire to squash your worldview like a bug on a windshield at 80 mph, in a strong headwind.

    Next question please.

  55. 55
    Jeff Darcy says:

    In politics, words speak more than actions. Those who put their energy into actually applying a noble principle – patriotism, free enterprise, devout religious belief – never become as visible as those who put all of their energy into shouting about those same principles. It should not surprise us that the most vocal proponents of war never served, that the most vocal fans of free enterprise never had to compete, and so on. It is precisely *because* they don’t believe in putting words into practice that they feel they can just shout whatever comes into their heads, and shout it as loudly as they please. Wisdom enters quietly; the loudest voices are never the ones we should heed.

  56. 56

    It has come to this because “the left”, i.e. the democrats, refuse to push back forcefully. They don’t fight, so they implicitly concede ground. Over and over again.

  57. 57
    Citizen Alan says:


    Before this thread gets derailed with a lengthy and heated argument on the propriety of using the term “spousal abuse” as a metaphor used to describe the long term social conditioning of our media culture, can’t we just compromise and call it “Stockholm Syndrome”?

  58. 58
    cat48 says:

    Let’s ask Haim Saban:

    His greatest concern, [Saban] says, is to protect

    Israel, by strengthening the United States-Israel relationship. At a conference last fall in Israel, Saban described his formula. His ‘three ways to be influential in American politics,’ he said, were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.”

  59. 59
    JCT says:


    control media outlets

    I thought Jews already did that. It’s all in that book….

  60. 60
    matoko_chan says:

    @Citizen Alan: erm….its more like rubberband theory in game theory.
    game developers make the game more attractive by giving skillups to bad players…..the worse you play, the better the skillups you get.
    it is skill leveling.
    in RL america, college educations and intelligence are valued in a meritocracy. college-education and intelligence correlates with lifetime earning potential and SES.
    the right levels the game by valuing commonsense and godsmart over intelligence and education…its merit leveling.

    The idiots who are rewriting history down in Texas aren’t doing it because they are mentally retarded and just don’t know any better.

    you are right there…..the idiots in texas are trying to take culture back by rewriting history. you hear this a lot, taking culture back, taking “their” country back. they believe they are fighting a culture war where a near pure liberal academe indoctrinates their children with liberal ideology.
    But there is no culture war…..there is only an evolution of culture event…like glaciation or the extinction event at the K-T boundary.
    the white protestant culture that informed america 200 years ago is eroding rapidly under the pressure of demographic and cultural evolution.
    The reason that academe is painted blue is that prospective teachers go to college. individuals that go to college have higher IQs than the general population on average.
    There is no college of “commonsense”.

  61. 61
    Martin says:

    @matoko_chan: There is an established correlation between higher religiosity and lower IQ.

    Well, you’ve said similar things correlating race and IQ. By extension, that should correlate religiosity and race. Considering where the authoritarians are (the white people side) I don’t feel the least bit bad about saying that either in this argument or the other argument (or both) you are full of shit.

    Germany was in a period of declining religiosity when they went all full-tilt authoritarian, and in the US, we’re in a significantly lower period of religiosity, even among the extremist groups, than we were 50, 100, 150 years ago.

    Ultimately you keep trying to tie these things to genetics – to suggest that certain populations are predisposed to this. That’s just bullshit. Sure, some people are predisposed to authoritarianism, which is what undercuts all of this nationalistic patriotic right-wing junk that Dougj is describing. At least part of what we’re seeing is that the right is specifically targeting those people that are predisposed to yield to authoritarian attitudes who then self-select themselves into the movement. The left right now isn’t down with that – and a fair part of it is attitudes like Obama who isn’t interested in making any group of people (even Wall Street CEOs) into pariahs for political gain, so the left is SERIOUSLY not predisposed to it right now with him at the helm, which is part of why Congress is working the way that it is.

    That tolerant attitude that Democrats have been encouraged to follow may make HCR a bit weaker but it also makes it so the left isn’t even remotely interested in bringing shotguns to the door when the census people show up. It’s cultural. We chose a non-authoritarian leader (not that any of the other Dems were particularly inclined toward it either) whereas the right is always dodging that bullet (McCain largely isn’t, but miss Sarah seriously is.)

    But from what I understand, it’s often seismic cultural changes that trigger authoritarian responses, and the country has largely been going through that. In spite of all the GOP presidents and our center-right nation, the Democrats are winning the long war. No safety nets have been curtailed to any large degree. Civil rights marches ever onward, with only minor retreats. Government is ever more regulatory over the long term, BP and Goldman disasters not withstanding, a Republican president and Congress could only nibble at the edges of Roe v Wade. The GOP hasn’t been able to make any lasting headway nationally, and local attitudes of an aging generation are getting ever more out of whack with where the nation is heading. Nothing is working for them and they’re getting desperate for a victory and with every Democratic accomplishment (fuck you Jane) they get ever willing to back a radical to get them out of this.

    There’s nothing genetic or inherent in this on the large scale – it’s cultural.

    Dougj – it’s happening on the right because they’re losing. Obama is winning. Too bad the left will fuck it all up because they’re insane for other reasons.

    Sorry if this is rambly, I just retextured the bathroom and that stuff isn’t mixing real well with the gin. I feel really stoned. I made all the red squiggles go away so I did my part.

  62. 62
    Ailuridae says:


    Alright. So the argument then is that the modern corporate media suffers from something akin to spousal abuse syndrome despite never having been abused by the Right? You’re a pretty good thinker. You can’t think of a better reason the media might not report accurately on the Right. and its lunacy?

    Explaining corporate media’s treatment of the Right isn’t complicated: as journalists became more wealthy it became in their own best interests to favor enacting disastrous long term economic policy at the expense of the non-wealthy. But maybe you and Mike Kay are still interested in why Al Gore keeps wearing those troublesome earth tones?

  63. 63
    Martin says:


    Explaining corporate media’s treatment of the Right isn’t complicated: as journalists became more wealthy it became in their own best interests to favor enacting disastrous long term economic policy at the expense of the non-wealthy.

    Yeah, maybe. Doesn’t explain why so many people follow that media though. I think it’s simpler than that though. Media’s job is to sell ads. They cater to the people that show up. We’re on a blog, not watching cable news right now. Guess who cable news is geared toward? Who reads newspapers? Old people not on the internet. The media is a business no different than GM or Apple or BP or Goldman. Stop thinking there’s some more noble ideal there. They sell what their customers want to buy. End of story.

  64. 64
    DougJ says:


    I think that Stockholm syndrome/abused spouse syndrome truly is part of it, yes. Corporate ownership is part of it too.

    It’s not either/or. I read certain things from “liberal columnists” that sound exactly like abused spouses. Yes, there’s just no denying it.

  65. 65
    DougJ says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Sure, sure, call it Stockholm syndrome. That’s what I normally do.

    But I’m not going to jump all over someone who calls it abused spouse syndrome, not when a lot of it sounds like a friend of mine who was an abused spouse.

  66. 66
    Alex K says:

    Well, that’s a good question, because they’ve even got Frank Rich drinking the Rand juice:

    There are, I suppose, a few compliments you could pay Rand Paul if you searched hard enough. “Articulate” would not be one of them.

  67. 67
    va says:

    IMHO The right’s discursive monopoly on the “right” positions has something to do with the simplicity of their narratives, and something to do with money and influence. But mainly I think it comes from the way they do politics. They’re exclusionary and sadistic. If they want to carve out some discursive space as “right,” they find some actor to scapegoat and they relentlessly throw them against a wall. They have their long-term boogeymen (immigrants, hippies, the media) and their boogeymen of the week. All innovations in right politics have to do with finding ways to hate somebody.

    Left politics are about dialogue and openness. This are valuable, but “questioning” and “problematizing” and “re-framing” (ugh) ultimately fail to be political acts, and as practices and habits of mind they repel people for whom uncertainty amounts to a narcissistic wound. So there you go: the right’s politics are sadistic, narcissistic, and atavistic. In America, that’s how one sounds “right.”

  68. 68
    Ailuridae says:


    People follow that media because they want to believe in a sentimental version of a grand American past. The Right has managed to control the narrative in this country largely via the media’s complicity. The media is complicit because it is both owned by for profit corporate interests and the disastrous economic policies of the Right favor the journalists themselves. Its really not complicated. There may also be a racial component to it but its much smaller. You can that this on MSNBC where many of their left voices like Mika and Matthews think that America is for straight white people who don’t live in major urban areas. But the racial and sociological component is much smaller than the economic one.

    You can argue that doing actual reporting is not in a for-profit media businesses best interests and I tend to agree. But the eyeballs argument is really problematic as we have an entire generation of people under 35 that largely don’t subscribe to newspapers or magazines and never watch local or national news who are incredibly informed precisely because they stopped eating the fish filet the cafeteria was serving. Given the traffic patterns if, say, the Washington Post were actually concerned about selling newspapers they would have already given Ezra Klein Roger Cohen’s column.

    Its really nothing more than a ignoble lie. Television anchor A make 10M a year so he’s more sympathetic to concerns about a rising deficit when his tax rate will increase to pay off some of that deficit and completely ignores economists at the time of the tax cuts saying that it would create fiscal problems.

  69. 69
    Patrick says:

    This seems like a no-brainer to me. Since Ronald Reagan, corporate MSM and cable have actively promoted these memes. It’s merely “The Big Lie” in action…for thirty + years. Case in point, I think we can all agree now that Newt Gingrich has become completely synonymous with the right-wing lunatic fringe. But will that stop Sunday morning talk shows from continuing to book him?

  70. 70
    Cassidy says:

    I think the right was playing “Smack My Bitch Up” when they were abusing the right. It isn’t a question of whether the media has some sort of abuse syndrom. The question is whether or not “the right” was wearing a wife-beater.

  71. 71
    Silver Owl says:

    If you’re a white conservative with money and want something from the christian rubes you can be the biggest f*cking hypocrit you want to be. Just be white male preferably only f*ckable white women, have money and be some form of trendy christian.

    Religious leaders created more play-doh morons than Hasbro produced containers of play-doh.

  72. 72
    Cassidy says:

    Abusing the media I mean.

  73. 73
    Martin says:

    What’s the difference between this ‘Stockholm syndrome’ and the actions of a dying industry, desperately trying to demonstrate relevance to a customer base?

    The WaPo is packing on right-wing retards onto their op-ed board hoping that the last people in this country still willing to consider buying a newspaper will sign up. The left has moved onto the internet.

    Reagan and Nixon didn’t do anything. 24 hour cable news showed up right after Reagan left and that’s been killing print media. The left jumped on the internet much moreso than the right did, which pretty much leaves the right as the last market worth plumbing for subscribers. The right calls the NYT a left-wing rag and won’t buy it as a result, so as they run out of money they have no choice but constantly run right. Fox News and talk radio only pushed more of the left onto the internet.

    Your best evidence is CNN. Ever since their viewership started falling off because they got off of proper news and into sensational bullshit (Lou Dobbs didn’t help), they’ve gotten desperate. Does hiring Erick fucking Erickson sound like anything other than the act of a desperate organization to anyone else?

  74. 74
    Ailuridae says:


    If I knew somebody (here the corporate media) that sounded exactly like an abused spouse but who I knew was certainly not abused I probably wouldn’t describe that person as suffering from spousal abuse syndrome.

    The media is cowardly because their cowardice is in their best immediate economic interests. Sometimes I wish it were more complicated but, sadly, it is not.

    And people confuse liberal columnists with actual liberals. Find me a prominent columnist (not economist) who went to the mat for EFCA. Heck find me an honest editorial on Social Security in major media. Almost everyone who passes for a liberal in major media is more of a social libertarian than an actual liberal. So yeah, they support gay marriage and ending DADT but they have no interest in their own taxes or the taxes of their friends at the country club rising. That’s not being a liberal – that’s just a side effect of doing your journalism degree at Medill.

    Seriously we had a year long debate on health care in this country without a single major “liberal”columnist mentioned that the primary driver in costs is doctor and hospital compensation something that is a basic, central verifiable fact to the discussion.

    I feel like Bob Somerby.

  75. 75
    matoko_chan says:

    @Martin: ah, the “full-of-shit” argument.
    so verry persuasive.
    Dr. Lynn
    Dr. Nyborg
    let me ax you Martin….do you agree that there is a positive correlation between IQ and SES?

    The present study examined whether IQ relates systematically to denomination and income within the framework of the g nexus, using representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY97). Atheists score 1.95 IQ points higher than Agnostics, 3.82 points higher than Liberal persuasions, and 5.89 IQ points higher than Dogmatic persuasions. Denominations differ significantly in IQ and income. Religiosity declines between ages 12 to 17. It is suggested that IQ makes an individual likely to gravitate toward a denomination and level of achievement that best fit his or hers particular level of cognitive complexity. Ontogenetically speaking this means that contemporary denominations are rank ordered by largely hereditary variations in brain efficiency (i.e. IQ). In terms of evolution, modern Atheists are reacting rationally to cognitive and emotional challenges, whereas Liberals and, in particular Dogmatics, still rely on ancient, pre-rational, supernatural and wishful thinking.

    you bio-luddites never give meh any linkage to refute my data.

  76. 76
    aimai says:

    Jeezus, Matoko Chan, are you a complete idiot? One link (the Lynn link) is to the fucking wiki for a “controversial” book making the extremely weak claim that IQ is “part of the determinant” for the wealth of nations but by no means the only one. How you even measure IQ and its effects on something as huge and complex as, say, Saudi Arabia with its oil and its history of exploitation and the US with its complex, multi racial population I can’t begin to guess. The second link is to a tiny study done entirely in Denmark within an ethnically and culturally homogenous community? What the fuck? You don’t have to be a bio luddite–whatever that means–to know that both these pieces of research are meaningless.


  77. 77
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Alex K:

    what about “clean”

  78. 78
    patrick II says:

    I have since lost the link, but after a lost election 30 years ago or so, some important republican decided that they were losing the narrative and he wrote a book laying down a strategy for corporate involvement in media to change the political narrative.
    Among the acolytes was Jack Welch, chairman and ceo of G.E. who at a party once bragged of turning tweety and russert from liberals into subtle right wingers for money. They both ended up with big houses and Welch and Russert became close friends.
    Of course Rupert started Fox, Disney took over ABC and its news division.
    I hate to sound like some paranoid leftie, but these are business people. They sell brands. ” You’re in good hands with allstate”…”G.E. – we bring good things to life”…”Disney, where dreams come true.”
    If they spend billions on advertising to sell there market products, why does everyone think the same thing doesn’t happen for their political product?
    “Tort reform is all that is needed to fix health insurance” has made corporations more money than “this bud’s for you”.
    We are being managed. They don’t think of their memes as lying, its saying things for a purpose other than telling the truth.

  79. 79
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    How does the right do it?

    Simple. Just do it. What, you think they did six months of focus groups before introducing the “death panels” line? They just say the first goddamned thing that pops into their heads. If there was some kind of trick to it then they’d be more than 40% of the government, right?

    Adults older than 19 are naturally conservative, so selling a conservative political philosophy ought to be the easiest goddamned thing in the world. Just shows you how stupid and inept political conservatism is, the best they can do in a reactionary country like the U.S. is barely over 50%.

  80. 80
    jl says:

    We have two theories going here. One is that Baptists, and conservative dogmatic Christians in general, are stupid.

    The other is that when society is run by rich and ruthless corporations hellbent on gaining power, then those favored by corporations tend to be snot nosed corporate hacks and climbers, kiss uppers and kick downers, who find ingenious ways to believe whatever is needed to advance their immediate interests, and such people have no interest in questioning anything that has led to their worldly success.

    Thise two might fit together, somehow.

    According to the the Nyborg paper above, we would all be living in a more brilliant world if we could all be Episcopalians or Anglicans, who seem to have the best combination of high average intelligence and high proportion of extremely smart people. And Episcopal beliefs are liberal and broadening, which might help our corporate hack overlords out of their little personal roads to Hell.

    I say, let’s get our guns and start forced conversions. Or get Obama to go to an Episcopal church right away, and start a trend.

  81. 81
    jl says:

    Episcopalian Jihad! Today Balloon-Juice, tomorrow the world! Convert or Die!

    Who is coming with me on this glorious crusade?

  82. 82
    patrick says:

    I don’t know how to articulate the answer to your queations, Doug, but I know where it comes from – Right wing radio.

    That is the font of all the right wing insanity. It all originates there.

    For the first time in my life, tonight, I listened to a full two hours of the Glenn Beck show on the radio. It’s a very different beast than his TV show.

    I can’t say I’m shocked – I’ve listened to Rush and Hannity a few times – but I am surprised.

    He comes across affable, likable and human, even as he is vomiting forth the most vile hatred, insane theories and stupid conspiracies imaginable.

    It’s fear mongering at its best. He will use some obscure point, or quote, and use it as a point of departure to weave a web of fear that the Government, or Obama, is crossing some invisible line that only the true believers can see. And then he exhorts his listeners to gird their loins for the coming Obamacalypse.

    Once you are sufficiently terrified, you are instructed to ‘depend upon God, defend the Constitution and stand with the Founders’.

    It’s really quite effective.

  83. 83
    SectarianSofa says:


    I like your answer. Put me in for 50 bucks — I think this is a winner.
    The other comments I agree with flow from this one. Probably less useful in providing any antidote (to the state of things DougJ highlights) than the various points more proximal to modern media-saturated life, but fundamental.

  84. 84
    Martin says:

    @matoko_chan: I think there’s a positive correlation between IQ scores and IQ tests. I think IQ scores are largely bullshit.

  85. 85
    Corner Stone says:


    Jeezus, Matoko Chan, are you a complete idiot?


  86. 86
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Why does the right hold the patriotic/one truth faith/etc. higher ground in all of them?

    I’m not sure if I know exactly what you’re asking here but one answer is: because that’s what ultra-nationalism does.

    That’s what the right in this country has morphed into in case anyone hasn’t noticed, it’s a classic far right ultra-nationalist movement.

    I won’t try to give a treatise on what that means in detail but there’s lots of information around that does, roughly speaking the traits are akin to a sort of national paranoia, with a heightened sense that outsiders (foreigners, other countries, religions, and most especially perhaps, other ethnic groups perceived as outsiders, even though they may comprise a large part of the population of the country) are a real and present threat to the security of the country.

    There’s a lot more to this and the link between corporate finance and media is all part of the story, but if I understand the question to mean “why in particular do they frame themselves as having the more patriotic view?” the answer is this.

  87. 87
    Ruckus says:

    It’s always Money.

    Everything else is how to accomplish the control of the Money.

    Follow the Money. Always follow the Money.

    Is it a conspiracy? Probably not. But once it started working, around the early 50’s with McCarthy using fear and intimidation, the die was cast.

  88. 88
    Ecks says:

    Didja know that worldwide IQ test scores have been rising steadily for decades. Really. I guess that goes to show that our planetary biological stock is improving. Weee! Isn’t jenetics grate!

  89. 89
    Anne Laurie says:


    … my hypothesis is intelligence. There is an established correlation between higher religiosity and lower IQ. Religiosity is defined as the quality of being religious and it is measured as church attendence, importance of x-faith in everyday life, prayer, etc.
    The right selects for voters not bright enough to vote their own self-interest, and and not educated or intelligent enough to understand ToE and cell biology.
    The right (in its current instantiation) also selects for voters who value “commonsense” above intelligence, and religiosity above education.

    And yet the only two genuine credentialled rocket scientists of my acquaintance are both devoutly religious, regular communicants in a Christian denomination. I consider myself quite religious (yes, animism counts) and yet my high school IQ score overqualified me for Mensa membership. Some of my smartest friends are devoutly religious, and some are fanatically atheist; in neither case does their socio-economic ranking correlate very well with their individual IQ scores.

    You are conflating — not for the first time — the concepts of “intelligence” and “scoring well on IQ tests”.

    …there is a positive correlation between IQ and SES..

    There is a positive correlation between scoring well on tests designed to measure an individual’s fitness to participate in the forms of social ranking important to those who designed the IQ tests, and succeeding economically in a culture controlled by those who administer those IQ tests. Tautology!

  90. 90

    shorter everyone: it’s a stupid question. the answer, most emphatically, is that to believe all the stuff enumerated in your post is to be more primitive, stupider, nastier, and generall just worse. if you think that gay people shouldn’t have equal rights, you are following a primitive script. and it’s a perfect example–in the modern era there is literally NO rational reason to fight gay rights. none. nothing but hatred and idiocy.

    either you believe that progress is in fact that–moving us forward as a genus–or you think that we should stay in the cave and be scared of the dark.

    so, to whit, or wit: people who believe the stuff you talked about are either ugly and stupid and ignorant or just ugly and profiting off of others’ ignorance and stupidity. unfortunately, this latter group scares the Useful Idiots amongst us–your moderates, your villagers, your middlebrow college professors–and it scares them enough to do their bidding.

  91. 91
    GregB says:

    Some rightwing nitwit was recently claiming that the conservatives owned the future because of all of the conservative programming in AM and FM radio.

    What a Luddite idjit.

    Radio, it’s what all the kool kidz listen to.

  92. 92
    fug you says:

    The right accomplished this by playing the long game, which the “left” refuses to do because there isn’t a real left in this country. There’s a right, there’s a center right, and on the “left” there’s simple, craven democratic party politics. No left.

    The right has been pushing their ideology insistently for decades, even when no one wanted to hear it, when people thought it was crazy. They fight battles that they know they’re going to lose because in the long run they know they’ll eventually win the war. The “left” on the other hand retires immediately. All you ever hear from the left is this shit: “It’s politically impossible.” “We don’t have the votes.” “If we do that the Republicans will [insert ludicrous tantrum here].” “There’s no support for that.” And so on. The right doesn’t care about any of that shit. They just keep driving and driving and driving until either people are so sick of it that they acquiesce or the opposition gives up and they’re the only ones left standing.

    This is because the left doesn’t really care much about what it purports to care about. It just wants power for democrats. That’s enough. If the “left” ever wants to accomplish anything, cut this fucking shit out. If you don’t believe what you’re selling, why should anyone else??

    By the way, none of you are actual “pragmatists.” That’s just a sweet little euphemism for “uncommitted.” And anyway, pragmatism isn’t a political philosophy.

  93. 93
    frankdawg says:


    Yeah, you would think that in Israel they would be more rabid and less tolerant to disagreement; but no. Here we have to toe the Likud line or we hate Jews.

    In Israel it is ok to say they should negotiate with the Palestinians, or oppose the wall or continued expansion of settlements. In the US if you suggest any of those you are an anti-Semite.

    OTOH – Patty Buchanan can whine about Jews on the USSC or any of the other anti-Jewish sludge he can dredge from his Catholic pre-Vat II upbringing and he is merrily supported by those same clowns that claim to be pro-Israel.

  94. 94
    Anne Laurie says:

    @patrick II:

    I have since lost the link, but after a lost election 30 years ago or so, some important republican decided that they were losing the narrative and he wrote a book laying down a strategy for corporate involvement in media to change the political narrative…

    Are you thinking of Kevin Phillips and The Emerging Republican Majority?

    Like our esteemed bloghost, but on a much more public scale, Phillips has since repented of his Republican “faith”…

  95. 95
    Steeplejack says:

    Just getting home from work and haven’t read all the comments, but I wanted to jump in.

    I think the common thread, DougJ, is the inerrancy of the institution–the United States, the Catholic Church, Israel (as an ally and an ideal). So the beliefs (or memes) are stacked to support that.

    America can do no wrong–or at least the possibility of such is too terrible for the authoritarian, conservative mind to contemplate–so if you make any criticism, no matter how small, then you hate America. And therefore your concerns–bogus though they undoubtedly are–do not have to be addressed. Because you’re just a hater.

    Ditto for the Catholic Church and Israel.

    The central pillar of conservatism is an unwillingness, or at times a complete refusal, to come to grips with change (or the necessity for change). And a powerful way to avoid grappling with change is to deny its necessity through a sort of “kill the messenger” attitude. The problem, or the need for change, is being brought up by the DFH haters, so therefore the information must be wrong and so it can be discounted. Ergo no need for change. The status quo is preserved. Because shut up, that’s why.

  96. 96
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @Alex K: Sigh. After reading that, I left a comment pointing out that the turnout for the Democratic primary between Conway and Mongiardo in Kentucky was 520,412. By contrast, the turnout for the Republican primary between Paul and Grayson was 351,927. In Pennsylvania, the turnout for the Democratic primary between Sestak and Specter was 1,045,520. The turnout for the Republicans, Toomey versus Luksik was 818,604. If that trend continues into the fall, as more moderate Republicans and Independents get turned off by the antics of the nuttier members of the Tea Party, Dems may not have to worry as much as the media seems to think. Not that I think that anyone on the Democratic side should just sit back and take anything for granted.

  97. 97
    Martin says:

    So, a couple of ‘sovereign citizen’ Beckerheads killed two cops in AR, and a woman threatening a census worker with a shotgun is dead in California.

    I don’t think this movement is winning, guys. And I don’t see them getting much sympathy from most of the public.

  98. 98
    BethanyAnne says:

    I skipped a few responses, sorry if this is a duplicate at this point. I gotta ask – did they ever not? One thought that I return to is that I think our perspective is frequently skewed. Remember the Red Scare? The Gilded Age? Robber barons? The rich and powerful have always been authoritative in America, and probably everywhere else, too. It takes massive suffering for folk to wake up and grab a pitchfork. I sure don’t want the suffering, but dammit I was hoping for some pitchforks from the latest financial fiasco.

  99. 99
    BC says:

    Well, I think people on the right just believe what they believe and ignore any facts to the contrary. Case in point: tea partiers rally against Obama for raising their taxes. They get the fact that the stimulus bill lowered taxes on those making less than $250K/yr. They refuse to believe it. Same with any other facts or data that get in the way of their beliefs – they are completely ignored. Slacktivist had several posts on this, he says the right is becoming intentionally stupid. My reading of history says this too shall pass, it’s just our dumb luck to be living through it.

  100. 100
    BethanyAnne says:

    @Steeplejack: That’s a good call. That plus the media simply looking out for their friends goes a long way toward explaining it, I think.

  101. 101
    MBSS says:

    the invading foreign countries part is easy to explain. leaders since neanderthals were cracking rocks have exploited the reptilian part of their constituents brains by creating enemies which need to be vanquished, and stoking fears.

    this process is not rational at all, that’s why we cannot rationally explore it. it happens on a very primal level.

    therefore, it becomes very easy to point to those who are so not so easily roused and manipulated to violence as people who a violating the tribal pact, and as benedict arnolds.

  102. 102
  103. 103
    MBSS says:

    Some rightwing nitwit was recently claiming that the conservatives owned the future because of all of the conservative programming in AM and FM radio.

    i can see the future, and it is radio.

  104. 104
    kuvasz says:

    The Far Right was able to do this because too many liberals are pussys, e.g., Saul Alinksky once stated; “A liberal is the guy who leaves the room once an argument turns into a fight.” You can trace the loss of spine in the Democratic Party directly with the decrease in the power of organized labor.

  105. 105
    MBSS says:

    quick everyone!

    imagine andrew breitbart and ann coulter having sex in wizard of oz outfits in the middle of a poppy field.

  106. 106
    joeyess says:

    Why does the right hold the patriotic/one truth faith/etc. higher ground in all of them?

    4 words: Media. They own it.

  107. 107
    Bill E Pilgrim says:


    America can do no wrong—or at least the possibility of such is too terrible for the authoritarian, conservative mind to contemplate—so if you make any criticism, no matter how small, then you hate America.

    Which is again the very definition of ultra nationalism. Substitute “Yugoslovia” or “Germany” or “Italy” for “America” and you’ve got lessons to look at all over the world and throughout modern history.

    This really isn’t anything very puzzling or new in many respects. It’s a response to perceived threat, for one thing. People in Yugoslavia/Serbia actually rallied around Milošević much more once they saw themselves under attack from the outside, before that his support wasn’t nearly as solid.

    Sean Hannity jutting his chin out and pointing his finger bears a similarity to other historic figures for a very good reason. The fear, once it’s there, responds to all that belligerence very well, it’s what comforts it. Some of the fear is human nature, a response to threat, its the same as I say all over the world. A lot of it however is expressly manufactured, and once you’ve created the fear, half the battle is won already.

    Get the people terrified, or see that they’re already half-terrified and increase it, then exploit it all and take power. It’s been done and done and done.

  108. 108
    Bruuuuce says:

    @DougJ: It helps to own or have controlling stakes in the media.

    It also helps when you have no conscience and lie at will, as well as changing positions as necessary, and projecting all of these things onto your political opponents so that they can’t call you on them.

  109. 109
    jl says:

    Inspired by the B-J chyron of the moment, my final answer is ‘because freedom isn’t free, but I can get it for 30 pecent off at Walmart’.

  110. 110
    patrick says:

    @patrick II:

    Jeebus, that “Media Cover Up” piece is a good read.

  111. 111

    In DougJ’s original query, two of the narratives were based on religion and one on politics. Interesting that a common denominator between them should be right wing infiltration, toward right wing ends using, using the same right wing methods of character defamation.

    Again, contemporary right wing power is essentially the modern day incarnation of archaic authoritarian based honor societies using basically the same structure and methods to enforce the narrative.

    Religion, in many ways the natural co-conspirator for right wing identity politics, because it’s basically the same thing as right wing identity politics. It also functions as a perfect ready-made template in that it’s legitimacy is established in such a distant past, by unquestionable authority, that it can attest to a certain unquestionable “truth factor” – in it’s long term sustainability and without the additional burden of proof, evidence or facts.

    There is a strong parallel between the hierarchical structure of major religious institutions and contemporary right wing political structure, both in terms of their mutual ascendancy from archaic times, their methods of ritual defamation as punishment, and especially their deference to occult (in the sense of hidden elite) authority to maintain their respective entwined monopolies.

    Or, to quote Guy Debord:

    “The root of the spectacle is that oldest of all social specializations, the specialization of power. The spectacle plays the specialized role of speaking in the name of all the other activities. It is hierarchical society’s ambassador to itself, delivering its official messages at a court where no one else is allowed to speak. The most modern aspect of the spectacle is thus also the most archaic.”

  112. 112
    nwrain says:

    @Mike Kay:

    frankdawg @ 15 and Mike Kay @16

    Spot on. And, remember that in 1971 Lewis F. Powell (before joining the Supreme Court) wrote an influential memo to the Chamber of Commerce about the need for business to attack support for progressivism and anti-corporatism in the country titled “Attack on the American Free Enterprise System.” Corporatists wrote checks and created groups (such as the Business Roundtable, and in turn, ideological argument machines like the Heritage Foundation) to do what needed to be done. They did it, they won the day, and are still winning. Let’s see if BP ever pays for the damage it has done, if they don’t succeed in cutting Social Security, or the Fed ever favors job growth over cutting inflation. I think the progressive movement as a political force is worse off than at any time since the 1920’s – and at least then there was a militant labor movement.

  113. 113
    LD50 says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people): I think the Teabaggers have peaked. I think they showed their craziness too brazenly last year and with their shenanigans about HCR this spring. Rand Paul’s implosion is the latest symptom, along with them blowing the election in PA’s 12th congressional district last week. They’re still assholes and I expect the summer to be ugly, but they’ve passed their peak popularity, and I see a very slow, violent decline for them now.

    If the GOP fails to flip the House or Senate this fall, they’re through, just like Gingrich’s ‘Contract With America’.

  114. 114
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @patrick II:


    Jeebus, that “Media Cover Up” piece is a good read.

    I second that. Sorry my name isn’t patrick though.

    Excellent piece, that’s going to one friend in particular who always insists that “blaming the media” is completely misguided and says instead “the Democrats are just lousy”.

    Both things can be true, I tell him. And work hand in hand.

  115. 115
    AngusTheGodOfMeat says:

    I believe this is the central question of modern American politics.

    Just because you ask things like this over and over doesn’t make them “central questions.”

    You seem to think that American Politics, as if there were such a discrete thing that could be described in a glib blogpost, revolves around talk radio.

    It doesn’t.

  116. 116
    Steeplejack says:

    Urgent message to Master of Accountancy JMN:

    Dude, I don’t know exactly how–FYWP–but I think your new ‘nym is killing the previous thread. I believe it is the asterisks in your name, but I don’t dare test that theory for fear of rending the fabric of the space-time continuum.

  117. 117
    Anne Laurie says:

    @patrick II: Check the Wikipedia link. I think Kevin Phillips is the guy both articles were treating as the original synthesiser of the “new” (post-JFK) Republican party.

  118. 118
    patrick II says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I don’t know if you caught it, but that link is to a page of a series. All of it is well worth reading.

  119. 119
    Nick says:

    How did the far right mange to do this?

    My ancestors came from England and lived at the height of the British Empire. The story was the same there, because they were raised to know that they were a nationality that controlled so much of the world, the sun never set on their empire. They were better than everyone, so what for everyone else is bad and sinful, for us British was right and moral, because we were superior to everyone else.

    Excessive nationalism and American exceptionalism.

  120. 120
    Steeplejack says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Yes, Phillips’s book The Emerging Republican Majority (1969) was the blueprint for the Republicans’ gains in the Nixon era. (Ugh.)

    He has done a yeoman’s job of recanting and redressing the damage in his books since the Cheney regency Bush regime–Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich (2002), American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush (2004), American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century (2006) and Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism (2007). Heavy reading, but mostly worth it.

  121. 121
    Corner Stone says:


    but I think your new ‘nym is killing the previous thread.

    Nothing to do with his new nym, that’s just sheer force of personality at work.

  122. 122
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN) says:

    @Steeplejack: I think you have the right guy, but it’s probably because I used asterisks in a post in the thread. I went back and edited them out when it screwed up the formatting, but I’m not sure it fixed things. Still, I’m taking them out and we’ll see if it helps. Now I just have to remember to do it on my laptop, too, the next time I fire her up.

  123. 123
    Steeplejack says:

    @That’s Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN):

    It seems to be fixed now. I think it was the asterisks in your posting name. It wasn’t just that one thread, it was the Katrina one, too, and I think one other. I’m still getting caught up after a long, late shift at work, and your filthy spoor is all over everything.

    Just because you have vaulted into the ruling class doesn’t mean you should grind all us peons into the dust. Remember your roots, dude!

  124. 124
    Yutsano says:

    @Steeplejack: I think it should be illegal, but that seriously made me laugh.

  125. 125
    patrick II says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    …By the late 1970s, the cumulative impact of those three examples of “liberal bias” – the battle against segregation, the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal – became the catalyst for an extraordinary historical reaction. Conservatives, led by former Treasury Secretary William Simon and financed by major conservative foundations, began investing first tens of millions of dollars and later billions of dollars in building their own media, think tanks and attack groups.

    William Simon was who I was thinking of.

  126. 126
    Kobie says:

    Remotely related tangent:

    I often see people confusing “media” and “journalism.” In today’s climate, they are not the same anymore.

    Real “journalism” happens all the time. However, by and large “media” is controlled by corporations that exist not to report news, but to sell advertising. And they know the best people to consume their media (and, hence, their advertising) is through fear. And who sells fear better than the right in this country?

    Not fear of anything real, mind you, like losing your health insurance coverage — people don’t want to hear that shit. But putting a bogeyman out there, like Iraq, or teh ghey, or the ACLU, or the gummint comin’ to take your guns, or the DFHs, or the Mexicans, and shit like that. Something they can point at and say “fear that, hate that.”

  127. 127
    Bill E Pilgrim says:


    “The radio will be to the twentieth century what the press was to the nineteenth” -Josef Goebbels, 1933

    Not to go all Godwin on this but sometimes it’s completely appropriate.

    Nazi Germany was the first totalitarian state to use radio as a propaganda tool and, uniquely, brought out a series of affordable radio sets – the Volksempfänger, or people’s radios – so poorer Germans, who generally did not have radios before 1933, could listen to Nazi propaganda and the infamous Nuremberg rallies, and little else.

    In all of the hand-wringing and soul-searching about that time, this aspect is under-represented, IMO. The common thread is not so much whether it’s done by “the government” or not, it’s the playing on the fears of ill-informed people.

    Maybe it’s partly the perspective of watching all of this from afar, but sometimes I don’t think people Stateside quite grasp why the rest of the world was so appalled the last number of years. They’ve seen this before, is one reason. It wasn’t just that Bush was strangely goofy and seemed almost illiterate, it was this other aspect that was all too familiar.

    This stuff is right on the verge of breaking out all the time, the election of Obama notwithstanding. It’s amazing to watch.

  128. 128
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Meant to include the link.

  129. 129
    Yutsano says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Methinks you may need some café. You have a point, though, domination of the flow of information directly relates to the perceptions of the people and their relationship to their government. The fact that Glenn Beck is trusted as a news source (and for that matter, Jon Stewart) doesn’t speak well of our country right now.

  130. 130
    BethanyAnne says:

    If there are any moderator type folk still on, halp! The last thread about seedlings is all broked. ty :)

  131. 131
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN) says:


    Just because you have vaulted into the ruling class doesn’t mean you should grind all us peons into the dust. Remember your roots, dude!

    Fuck that. I plan to crush the proletariat. Just as soon as someone gives me a job.

  132. 132
    AngusTheGodOfMeat says:

    So, I posted this to somebody’s Facebook page a while ago, under circumstances that must remain undisclosed, to the wall of a person who used to be quite a dashing figure here on these pages but has now gone on to a more respectable period in his life.

    True story. Some guy walked up to me at the Safeway parking lot the other day and said “Man, if I had your looks I coulda been a movie star!” I still have no idea what he meant or who he was or why he said this. The thing is, I have my looks, and mostly people have just laughed at me all my life. So, what the hell? I feel cheated.

    I think this is important.

  133. 133
    Yutsano says:

    @That’s Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN): Aha. Moleing your way into the hierarchy of the opposition. I admire your style tovarishch.

  134. 134
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN) says:

    @BethanyAnne: Sorry. My fault. It didn’t realize that WordPress not bolding things in the name slot didn’t mean that it wouldn’t blow up if I put asterisks in there.

  135. 135
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN) says:

    @Yutsano: Mostly, it’s just hard to break the back of the working class from the unemployment line.

  136. 136
    Steeplejack says:


    Apologies for my inattention. Went to drink some champagne and got caught up in Ghost in the Shell on Adult Swim. Always love that show. Need to rig up something so I can do screen captures for desktop wallpaper.

    Steep + champagne.

  137. 137
    Steeplejack says:

    @That’s Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN):

    Glad to see that you have detoxified your ‘nym. Things seem to be working okay now. Having said that, nothing to say. Hmm. Back to Ghost in the Shell.

  138. 138
    TenguPhule says:

    How did the far right mange to do this?

    Step 1: Throw out any morals or shreds of decency remaining in the soul.

    Step 2: Sell Soul for Money.

    Step 3: Break the Law.

    Step 4: Blame Liberals for Steps 1-3.

    Step 5: Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

  139. 139
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN) says:

    @Steeplejack: Hey, I’m dumb, but I do try.

  140. 140
    AngusTheGodOfMeat says:


    You forgot to mention the human sacrifice.

  141. 141
    Steeplejack says:

    @That’s Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN):

    Might actually try to get some sleep. My brother’s significant other is supposed to deliver a “credenza” tomorrow morning that is allegedly going to revolutionize the deployment of my big-ass TV (and cable box and DVD player), currently squatting over two pushed-together end tables. Progress! Look for me in the pages of Dwell sometime soon.

    Again, kudos on the academic success. Let me know where to send the nickel-plated abacus.

  142. 142
    Yutsano says:

    @Steeplejack: I am, of course, on the Left Coast, so I’m in the middle of some Bleach (Orehime just discovered her powers, you either know what I’m talking about or you don’t) and just watched the other incarnation of Full Metal Alchemist (not sure how I feel about it, more slapstick and a bit harder to follow) so I’m good. More Bleach until the clothes are dry then off to bed.

  143. 143
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Yutsano: Well that may all be true but it wasn’t my point.

    You have to remember that people like Jonah Goldberg started this whole practice of misusing terms like fascism because, as Goldberg stated, he was just sick and tired of people calling him a fascist.

    So in Rovian fashion, he just turned it around and called anyone to the left of him a fascist, in the most famously convoluted collection of sheer bullshit seen in quite some time.

    There was a very good reason that people were comparing his views to those of fascist and right-wing authoritarian regimes, however. The fact that it’s all become so watered down and meaningless (“Look, we can sit here all night and argue about ‘who illegally wiretapped who'”) is really sort of unfortunate.

    The Tea Party rallies I’ve seen on video have all the hallmarks, it’s nationalistic paranoia, stirred to a fever pitch. Rand Paul’s recent remarks that Obama “was going around apologizing for America” because he didn’t rattle sabers like Bush places Rand squarely in the ultra-nationalist camp, despite whatever he wants to call himself.

    We’re just lucky that it’s a relatively small group right now, but it’s dangerously close to being larger, all it takes is the wrong spark, like what happened in 2001, then all reasonable restraint goes down the tubes.

  144. 144
    Yutsano says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: I keep looking at this comment wondering if we’re agreeing and just talking past each other. I do agree with what you’re saying however.

  145. 145
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Yutsano: I looked at yours again and realized the same thing. Back from coffee now, I think you were right about that.

  146. 146
    Yutsano says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: It’s almost 2 AM and I’m indulging in one of my several guilty pleasures, anime. Episodes I’ve already seen but worth the watching again. Hopefully the café is delish.

  147. 147
    Kobie says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Not gonna argue with that in the slightest. Spot on.

  148. 148

    May I say, I agree with everyone? Well, except a certain IQ fetishist who shall remain nameless. I mayn’t? Well, I’m going to, anyway. Power, determination, repetitiveness of lies, media members mostly being from the upper-middle class and aspiring to be corporate overlords, nationalism, fear, etc. It’s all part of the huge mess.

    Hey, mah bitchez. Who’s still up besides the French guy and my fake hubby number two?

    P.S. Bill E Pilgrim, I know you’re not French. It just amuses me.

  149. 149

    Well, I’m up. And I would co-sign your agreement with everyone except the IQ correlator.

  150. 150

    @arguingwithsignposts: YAY! How you doing? Lady Smudge is looking gawjus!

    P.S. Anne Laurie, you up? I can’t comment in the Open Thread just below. I think whatever JMN did to fix his asterisks broke the comment box. Or something.

    I just wanted to say about the Washington Post piece about Elena Kagan looking dowdy and not crossing her legs–bite me. I don’t always cross my legs when I sit. It’s much more comfortable.

  151. 151
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Believe me it amuses me too.

    I actually saw that they’re having a “mime festival” in the park today as I walked by. And it occurred to me that I have never, not once in all the years, seen a mime here. Not once. I saw plenty in the US over the years, by contrast.

    That’s the problem with damn stereotypes, they just won’t behave.

    However they’re having a whole festival today apparently. To catch up I guess.

  152. 152

    @Bill E Pilgrim: I guffawed. I really did. Mime festival? To catch up? Man. How was the cafe? I might have a mug of some myself. Or go to bed. Haven’t decided.

  153. 153
    bago says:

    Take the desire for identity and work it for all it’s worth.

    “You’re special, you get it, you’re not like those liberal elite”.

    Repeat this message for three hours during Rush’s show, then have the wannabes re-iterate the message, and create an apparent Manichean dichotomy between “real americans” and people that might have a different view.

  154. 154

    Just chillin and sleeping weird hours (8 pm to 3 pm), for instance.

    And WaPo, I agree with the WTF? Who cares if she crosses her legs or not? This might possibly be the most stupid WaPo evah. Only, there’s still time ahead. sigh. And, oh, if you’re going to do such an obvious B.S. article, put your fucking name on it, hack.

  155. 155

    @bago: Yeah, that, too. A way to be elite from the elitists. Ugh.

    @arguingwithsignposts: Wait, you’re sleeping those hours or Lady Smudge is? I am sleeping weird hours, too. From 8 am to 2 pm, for example.

    FH#2, are you up still?

  156. 156
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @asiangrrlMN: Have you ever read Woody Allen’s books? He’s as least as funny in prose, if not funnier, than the movies.

    He did one called “A little louder, please” that was about a character who could never get mimes. I can’t find any quotes online but I remember some lines:

    “Okay, so right off the bat I’m confused. A man comes out dressed in black, spreads out a picnic blanket, then proceeds to take off his shoes. Except they can’t be his shoes, because he drinks one, and mails the other one to Pittsburgh.”

    The best part is when he ends up trying to help the guy by yelling out “Cushion? Pillow! Big pillow? Looks like pillow!”

  157. 157

    @Bill E Pilgrim: I think you are funnier than Woody Allen. Heresy? Maybe, but I’m feisty like that.

  158. 158

    Well, i did last night (that should have been 3am, not pm) – still trying to keep Lady Smudge off my chest while doing so.

    Also this: Imagine if the WaPo spent the money they’re paying this no-talent hack to write crap like how Kagan doesn’t cross her legs on actual journalism.?

    Also, the online article says “Washington Post Staff Writer” but some of the comments seem to think it’s Robin Ghiven (sp?). Whoever it is needs to be fired.

  159. 159

    @arguingwithsignposts: I was wondering about the 3 pm bit. Yeah. That would be one looooooooooong sleep.

    WaPo. You know, I can write shit like that for half the price. I wonder if WaPo will hire me? I’ll cross my legs for the interview.

  160. 160


    I’ll cross my legs for the interview.

    Based on that POS article, I think the opposite might help (i.e., Sharon Stone). Jeebus, reading that shite, I swear it took points off my IQ.

  161. 161

    @arguingwithsignposts: But but but only the big lesbos don’t cross their legs. I thought that was the point! I am so confused. Re: IQ point. So, now you’re a rightwingnutter?

  162. 162
    Keith G says:


    I don’t always cross my legs when I sit. It’s much more comfortable.

    Leg crossing always seemed to me to be an unnatural affectation. I notice western power politicians seem inclined to such posing. Leaders from other regions, not so much. Every time I see Obama seated (sans table), he is crossed.

  163. 163

    Well, re: IQ, it apparently didn’t take *that* many points off my IQ.

    BTW, I sometimes sit with my legs crossed, and sometimes not. I guess I’m frumpy that way. The stupid. It burns!

  164. 164

    @Keith G: Well, women are taught to do so from a very young age. I taught myself to sit with them uncrossed later in life, just as I taught myself not to automatically smile while talking.

    I don’t know why western pols do it, though (them of the male persuasion).

    @arguingwithsignposts: I’m glad you retained more than two brain cells after reading that post. Did you make it through the whole thing? I could only stomach the first paragraph.

    Oh, and I, too, sometimes cross and sometimes don’t.

  165. 165

    Only skimmed it. If I’d read the whole thing, I would have self-immolated from the idiocy.

  166. 166

    @arguingwithsignposts: I can lend you a rusty pitchfork if you prefer that way to go.

    All right. I’m outie, and I’m turning off the lights.

  167. 167
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @asiangrrlMN: I’m blushing.

    Actually I’m defrosting the freezer, so it’s probably freezer burn, but let’s pretend I’m blushing.

    But I should be more precise that his books were as funny as his moves were. I haven’t found much to laugh at in his last, er, several hundred I think it’s been.

    I also have a CD of his early stand up work, my favorite line was about his time in Europe, when his Italian girlfriend left him, went to Venice and became a street walker, and drowned.

    This was also great from that same era, scroll down to “The Moose.”

    Oh and “The Deep South” is funny also. Have to read that.

  168. 168
    Maude says:

    The natural law, nature abhors a vacumn is disproved if you open the heads of right wing radio hosts and have a peek inside.

    If you turn on your side, Lady S will either slide off your chest or hang on for dear life. The latter requires kevlar as part of the sleeping outfit.
    She’s smaller than Tunch.
    I’d say she’s about a Half Tunch.

  169. 169
    WereBear says:

    The right wing created an evil mirror of societal institutions; think tanks, “colleges,” pundits, radio “shows.” This alternative universe appeals to people for whom reality has done no favors.

    The downtrodden have a dead end job, messed up kids, and parents who are still the same authoritarian jerks they always were; that’s how the downtrodden got that way.

    Why should they do reality the favor of believing in it? Far better that they hear soothing lies.

    They should be King! They should be treated like a Queen! The only reason their life sucks is X!

    After that, it doesn’t matter what they are told to do. They have to keep the soothing lies coming.

  170. 170
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    The open thread below is broken, and our hosts haven’t put up a new one yet for Sunday morning, so I’ll hijack this one just long enough to mention that an email arrived in my inbox about half an hour ago announcing that my Cafe Press order has shipped! W00t!! Two mugs, two tote bags and a t-shirt. I haz a fine old happy.

  171. 171
    Cat Lady says:

    The power elite have attained their status by being sociopaths. Maintaining economic power requires exalting selfishness over sacrifice. The Left has a much bigger task convincing the average low information citizen who is told over and over who to hate and fear that sharing resources has an equal payoff. It’s impossible to articulate that message in a sound bite, which is where the Media comes in. The Right started out by working the refs – Eric Alterman explained all that the best – and then the right wing think tanks provided more and more extreme sound bites and outright lies, which greased the skids for the wholesale grifting of the fearful rubes. Essential to the process was allowing media consolidation (thanks Clinton!), then paying the producers and on-air newsreaders and pundits a lot of money in exchange for their skepticism and their souls. And here we are.

  172. 172
    scav says:

    Krugman had a good quote from Keynes that seems apt:

    The completeness of the Ricardian victory is something of a curiosity and a mystery. It must have been due to a complex of suitabilities in the doctrine to the environment into which it was projected. That it reached conclusions quite different from what the ordinary uninstructed person would expect, added, I suppose, to its intellectual prestige. That its teaching, translated into practice, was austere and often unpalatable, lent it virtue. That it was adapted to carry a vast and consistent logical superstructure, gave it beauty. That it could explain much social injustice and apparent cruelty as an inevitable incident in the scheme of progress, and the attempt to change such things as likely on the whole to do more harm than good, commended it to authority. That it afforded a measure of justification to the free activities of the individual capitalist, attracted to it the support of the dominant social force behind authority.

  173. 173
    harlana peppper says:

    It doesn’t really matter how they do it anymore, as long as we crush them to a pulp. They are rocketing towards their own demise as we speak. The have “come undone.”

  174. 174
    harlana peppper says:

    It’s been quite a while since I have been to this site. Who is this Rand Paul fellow anyway?


  175. 175
    roshan says:

    I believe these memes persist coz the liberal talking mouths have yet to cross the line and say conservatism is a false ideology. I have never heard anyone articulate that very clearly.
    I have heard over and over and over again how liberalism and progressivism are the plague and how FDR, Carter and Clinton fucked the American free markets.
    Anytime you resist something in media a meme fails a little and when you keep doing it the meme gets relegated to the sidelines instead of becoming all powerful like the “liberal” media myth.

  176. 176
    Jado says:

    I think what it comes down to is denial on an epic scale. For thirty years we have been told, and we have believed, that the conservative Republican ethos is the best path for America. And in that belief, we have done horrible things, and allowed horrible things to be done in our name. And so, if we now disagree with the stated Republican ethos (as you so adroitly described), does that mean that the previous reprehensible Republican ethos we embraced were wrong? What does that mean, if the awful bargains we made were indeed NOT worth it? They MUST be worth it. If they are not, we are monsters. We can’t be monsters. Nazis are monsters; Soviets are monsters; terrorists are monsters – WE CANNOT BE MONSTERS.

    Please. Tell us we aren’t monsters. We’ll agree to whatever convoluted self-contradictory rationale you put forth, just tell us we aren’t monsters.


  177. 177
    matoko_chan says:

    @Anne Laurie: im sorry, but i was taught anectdotal data is non-significant. You don’t understand how statistics works. To validate a hypothesis about a population you have to have a random sample. What you are talking about is rasmussen statistics.….the idea that anectdotal data or what you WANT to be true somehow conforms to the scientific method and confirms your “magical thinking”.
    You want genetic differences in IQ to be non-significant between groups. That is magical thinking, bio-luddite thinking.
    IQ is just a metric describing intelligence, used for quantitative studies, not some sort of demonic magical evilfake measurement.
    You guys better cowboy up for some hard data revelations you are not going to like…..we are getting better at measuring all the time.

    The neuroscience of human intelligence differences
    Ian J. Deary, Lars Penke & Wendy Johnson
    Neuroscience is contributing to an understanding of the biological bases of human intelligence differences. This work is principally being conducted along two empirical fronts: genetics — quantitative and molecular — and brain imaging. Quantitative genetic studies have established that there are additive genetic contributions to different aspects of cognitive ability — especially general intelligence — and how they change through the lifespan. Molecular genetic studies have yet to identify reliably reproducible contributions from individual genes. Structural and functional brain-imaging studies have identified differences in brain pathways, especially parieto-frontal pathways, that contribute to intelligence differences. There is also evidence that brain efficiency correlates positively with intelligence.

  178. 178
    matoko_chan says:

    Thompson et al–

    here’s a summary of a bunch of current articles.
    g is a measure of brain efficiency that appears to be neuroanatomically based AND heritable.

    Heres a good book that i have….it is gettin kinda dated because of many recent advances in MRI tho.

    To many geneticists, general cognitive ability (g), usually called “intelligence” or “IQ,” might seem to be a most unlikely trait to take seriously. More than any other trait, it is associated with controversy, both scientific and political, which was seen most recently after the publication of The Bell Curve (Herrnstein and Murray 1994). How can something as nebulous as g be measured? How can it possibly be useful in genetic analyses?…
    Mackintosh’s book is a good introduction to this field, in its description of the evidence for g’s validity, reliability, stability, and heritability. The book also includes a good summary of what we know (and, mostly, do not know) about environmental effects on g; it tackles the fraught issue of group differences and is especially helpful in its attempt to bring together g and cognitive psychology, two fields of mental functioning that have kept their distance. Because the book provides a broad overview of these areas, it does not discuss all issues related to genetics (see below), nor does it address neuroscience research on learning and memory, as seen in synaptic plasticity such as long-term potentiation, an area in which rapid progress is being made in genetic analysis (Migaud et al. 1998).
    Measures of cognitive abilities as diverse as spatial ability (Mervis et al. 1999 [in this issue]), verbal ability, and memory intercorrelate moderately, with correlation coefficients of ~.50. However, it is not known what lies at the core of this general cognitive ability, whether it is a general process, such as executive function or a speedy brain, or whether it derives from overlapping component processes. Mackintosh favors the latter view. Regarding genetic research, Mackintosh agrees with other reviews in concluding that g is substantially heritable. More quantitative genetic research is available for g than for any other dimension or disorder—not just for behavior but for any domain of the life sciences. Dozens of studies, including >8,000 parent-offspring pairs, >25,000 pairs of siblings, >10,000 twin pairs, and 100s of adoptive families, all converge on the conclusion that the heritability of g is ~50% (Bouchard and McGue 1981). Sorting the results by age suggests that heritability increases from ~20% in infancy to ~40% in childhood, to 60% later in life (McGue et al. 1993), even for individuals 80 years of age (McClearn et al. 1997). Nearly all of the genetic variance is additive—that is, genetic effects add up rather than interact across loci and, thus, “breed true” from parent to offspring.

  179. 179
    Steeplejack says:


    I am aware of all anime traditions.

  180. 180
    jake the snake says:

    @Corner Stone:

    To some extent the counter-culture’s “if it feels good, do it” was a reaction to the Calvinist, “if it feels good, it is a sin.”
    The Christian right is trying to restore that as cultural value.

  181. 181
    matoko_chan says:

    hey… definition of rasmussen statistics in the UD is up.
    drop by and give me a thumbs up, plz….help make rasmussen a dirty word.
    i was inspired by Kos and Nate and by the viral success of the UD attaching teabagging to the tea parties.
    i hope to memetically-engineer rasmussen from a positive meme into a eumeme meaning faked poll data and lying with statistics.

  182. 182

    So the fact that you’re an IQ-idiot – we can blame that on your parents?

  183. 183
    matoko_chan says:

    @aimai: more links, see my responses to Anne Laurie.
    may i point out, that not a single IQdenialist or bio-luddite has posted a link refuting me?
    There are statistically significant heritable between group differences in IQ and g. These have been studied extensively with quantitative analysis in the past, and are being studied more currently in MRI with neuro-anatomical analysis…..form and function.
    So no, aimai, i am not a complete idiot.
    IPOF i am not an idiot at all….idiot have IQs =!< 70 and that is functional retardation.
    I am more and more convinced that a lot of BJ commenters are liberal bio-luddites and for some reason threatened by discussions of the science of intelligence.
    i have been called crazy, an idiot, a moron, a racist, “full-of-shit” and i assure u i am none of those things.

    adhom is the refuge of the losing side.
    i learned that in grad school.

  184. 184
    matoko_chan says:

    and i’d like to point out….to aimai and dougj especially…that i would have this EXACT same argument defending global warming on a right wing site.
    adhoms, lack of supporting scientific references, and all.

  185. 185


    There are statistically significant heritable between group differences in IQ…

    IIRC, last time this came up, there were links provided that pointed out problems with the IQ test itself.

    Sure, there are probably differences between groups for a test that is geared toward a certain form of “intelligence.”

    Of course, I’m still waiting for “Avatar” to change the way we all look at each other too.

  186. 186
    matoko_chan says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: MRI is not a standardized test.
    read the links

    Intelligence and neural efficiency: Measures of brain activation versus measures of functional connectivity in the brain (Aljoscha C. Neubauer and Andreas Fink). Intelligence 37 (2009) 223–229
    The neural efficiency hypothesis of intelligence suggests a more efficient use of the cortex (or even the brain) in brighter as compared to less intelligent individuals. This has been shown in a series of studies employing different neurophysiological measurement methods and a broad range of different cognitive task demands. However, most of the studies dealing with the brain–IQ relationship used parameters of absolute or relative brain activation such as the eventrelated (de-)synchronization of EEG alpha activity, allowing for interpretations in terms of more or less brain activation when individuals are confronted with cognitively demanding tasks. In order to investigate the neural efficiency hypothesis more thoroughly, we also used measures that inform us about functional connectivity between different brain areas (or functional coupling, respectively) when engaged in cognitive task performance. Analyses reveal evidence that higher intelligence is associated with a lower brain activation (or a lower ERD, respectively) and a stronger phase locking between short-distant regions of the frontal cortex.

    BJ seems to be stuck in an endless time loop where its always 1994 and Murray just published his book.
    ONE MORE EFFING TIME murray’s book != the bellcurve of IQ
    his book is about his analysis and studies of the bellcurve of IQ.

  187. 187
    matoko_chan says:

    I’m still waiting for “Avatar” to change the way we all look at each other too.

    i never said that.
    i said the PG13 year olds that were watching Avatar (the highest grossing movie of all time btw) would be 1st time voters in the 2012 presidential election.
    its evolution of culture reflected in film.
    the right is trying pretty desperately to “take culture back”.
    (see texas schoolboard and text books)
    That is why they hated Avatar so much.

    what has Avatar got to do with the modern science of intelligence?

  188. 188

    I didn’t say MRI was an IQ test. But it still boils down to what is the definition of “intelligence.” For instance, my grandfather was an expert craftsman, could take pieces of wood and make anything – his skills with math in relation to said wood were a marvel.

    I could perhaps hammer a nail in the wall, yet I know far more about computers than he was ever able to understand.

    I know, I know – anecdotes are not data. The point being, however, your idea of “intelligence” is a very narrow one. I’d rather have someone who is “intelligent” in mechanics working on my car than, say, me.

    And I can’t wait to see the “Avatar” effect in reality.

  189. 189
    Cerberus says:

    Well, going back to the OP, why these memes and not others comes down oddly enough to the patriarchy. By which I don’t mean the more common aspect of how the patriarchy keeps women down, but rather how it defines and limits masculinity.

    And stay with me for a second. Masculinity often ends up being defined by the patriarchy as toxic masculinity defined by two things and two things only: 1) avoiding any and all contact with anything deemed feminine except by deriding said femininity and 2) a propensity for violence.

    Such attitudes also latch onto positive conotations we give normal regular masculinity, because it presents itself as “real” masculinity. As such, it lays ownership culturally to notions that it exhibits strength, a chivalrous drive to protect the weak, courage, etc…

    As such, not just being in a military, but merely “supporting” the military by encouraging and cheering on any war for any reason is the pinnacle of toxic masculinity and arguing against it exhibits low strength or intellectual cowardice because of an unwillingness to support violence. Thus the choice of war is the more manly choice.

    This gets interpreted as patriotic, because we see patriotism as something that masculine men possess. An army hero is masculine and patriotic, thus supporting war unilaterally is patriotic. It’s true enough that the patriarchy will help sell the lie because it’s an easy way to be “more manly” and who wants to sell the “feminized” anti-war community with its softy-squishyness. Obviously said “weakness” means that they are less strong against enemies and thus anti-american.

    The catholic one is raw patriarchy. The patriarchy can do whatever it wants with those weaker, women or children, who are the rightful property of powerful men. Thus anyone who questions that hierarchy wants to give more power to women or children and thus is a dangerously feminized persona and needs to be ignored or treated as an unserious Catholic too swayed by squishy female emotions to do what is right by dogma. And sticking with dogma, rock-solid and unerring in your beliefs is a “masculine” trait by the idea of toxic masculinity (See George W. Bush) so obviously they must be right because they are on the side of masculinity.

    Judaism is again, willingness to war. “Those who are against”=weak=women. The sell is in the appeal to toxic masculinity.

    A lot of the unearned power of the right is in this particularly toxic interpretation of masculinity (which I note again has little to do with actual masculinity, only what the patriarchy is hard selling as masculinity). When caring about others and liberalism in general was sold as being too “feminine”, the right was able to quickly seize the mantlepiece of “masculinity” in raw opposition.

    This is why we see people more obsessed with hippie-punching than anything else. That toxic masculinity defines itself with opposition to the feminine and thus opposing anything from a feminine Democratic Party or liberalism is crucial to maintaining a fragile masculinity against attack and thus demonstrating “strength”.

    People also fall into the trap assuming that the demonstration of this toxic masculinity by resistance of the feminine is the same as actual strength or actual moral character, so it’s just assumed that republicans are the “tough guys” who make the “hard choices” like a good daddy figure, despite the fact that they are a bunch of WATBs and that those with the softer “feminine” views tend to be the ones with more psychic scars from fighting the front lines (including actual war front lines) and more internal character.

    In the same way that men are assumed to be able to take more pain, despite child birth being way more pain than any man will ever experience in his life and women in general being better at taking pain.

    Basically toxic masculinity and the patriarchy are the main reason that the right-wing is able to sell specific messages better than others.

    The other piece is definitely having a complicit media that has found doing its job unprofitable and an obsession with “presenting both sides” that ends up privileging the side with less facts as they’ll need the most external pimping in order to make any fight or discussion look even remotely even.

    But most of it is this toxic masculinity leeching and riding cultural positive responses we give the idea of masculinity in our culture for its own ends.

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    matoko_chan says:

    there is no dispute in the scientific community about the definition and psychometrics of intelligence.
    you are describing “woodcrafting skill”.
    “emotional intelligence” also is not judged to be intelligence by the standards of the scientific community.

  191. 191
    matoko_chan says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: And I

    can’t wait to see the “Avatar” effect in reality.

    you already saw it.
    conservatives and republicans loathed Avatar…it was all sneer at Avatar all the time here– and still it grossed higher than any other movie to date.
    Avatar is symbolic of the cultural and demographic evolution that is mercilessly disenfranchising the non-hispanic conservative christian caucs that once embodied american culture and social mores.

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    you are describing “woodcrafting skill”.

    Skill with words, skill with woods, skill with numbers, skill with logic.

    I don’t give a flying shit whether there is “no dispute” within the “scientific community” about the “definition” of intelligence.

    40 years ago, the APA thought homosexuality was a disease. Hundreds of years ago the “scientific community” thought the earth was the center of the universe. So fucking what.

    My point was – “intelligence” is a bullshit construct. Do I think there are people “smarter” than other people about certain subjects? Yes.

    But fuckall if it has anything to do with race.

    I realize I’m talking to a wall, here, and probably swimming against the stream of the “scientific community,” but, honestly, i don’t give a shit.

    bio-luddite out.

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    matoko_chan says:

    @Cerberus: the social compact was White Patriarchy Social Cohesion model. For example the possibility of social condemnation in church or society kept the large part of the bankstahs under control. White paterfamilias got the good jobs and wages, the white nuclear family with family was the universal model…divorce and abortion were shunned by society….single men and single women lived in “boarding houses”.
    Then came civil rights.
    The federal government was forced to intervene to deliver civil rights and civil welfare to black citizens in the south.
    That broke the back of federalism.
    You see Cerberus…..Hayek was wrong. The growth of the welfare state doesnt cause socialism……it causes secularism. The local churches used be the main providers of social welfare, but it came at cost….church attendance, tithing, conforming to behavior standards.
    Federal welfare is relatively cheap…and southern blacks couldn’t get social welfare at all from white churches….so it competed the churches out of the welfare bidness….because not just black citizens went for the bargain price.
    All of a sudden blacks and women could compete for jobs, and women could get divorced and have reproductive control……the WPSC model was destroyed.
    The new social cohesion model that is evolving is social justice…….and boyhowdy does the right ever hate that.

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    matoko_chan says:

    why am i in moderation?
    is White Patriarchy Social Cohesion Model a forbidden phrase?

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    matoko_chan says:

    But fuckall if it has anything to do with race.

    not just race, but religiosity, SES, and a lot of other parameters.
    perhaps the blogname Balloon-juice should be changed to Lysenko-juice?

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    Alex says:


    You obviously require re-education, using the new curriculum approved by the Texas School Board.

  197. 197
    Brachiator says:


    do you also deny the positive correlation between IQ and SES (socio-economic status)?

    Is this thread still on?

    It’s 2010, and still people invoke “correlation” as though this by itself is meaningful. It’s not. Once again, boys and girls, correlation does not imply causation.

    Correlation should be a Godwin word. Like Hitler, when people start talking about correlation, they are pretty much diving into the nonsense section of the pool.

    as for Bush, he was the overlord class. the conservative elite who run the 40percenters with fear and racebaiting and IQbaiting and appeals to god and country.

    By any measure, Bush was a dumb, incurious man, who surrounded himself with equally dumb, incurious people. Look at Brownie of FEMA, with country club status credentials and yet totally unqualified to do the job for which he had been selected.

    Up and down the line, despite the homogeneity of their high socio-economic status, the Bush Administration was characterized by their stubborn refusal to think, and their insistence that they could simply impose their uninformed will on the world.

    And their stupidity appealed to many voters, who willingly signed on.

    Your hypothesis of dumb as shit folks who don’t know what’s good for them signing on to the GOP agenda does not hold up. And your stuff about correlations is irrelevant.

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    matoko_chan says:

    wallah…..of course correlation is not causation….its correlation.
    and the DATA shows a strong negative correlation between religiosity and IQ.

    i think i’ll go hang at PZ’s with the rest of the hyper-sapients.
    you bioluddites are making my head hurrt.

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