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Intro: "Conservativism may be the refuge of the dim. But the room for rightwing ideas is made by those too timid to properly object."

A billboard put up by a 'birther' campaigner convinced that President Obama was not born in the United States. (photo: Bob Daemmrich/Alamy}
A billboard put up by a 'birther' campaigner convinced that President Obama was not born in the United States. (photo: Bob Daemmrich/Alamy)



Right's Stupidity Spreads, Enabled by Too-Polite Left

By George Monbiot, Guardian UK

08 February 12

 

elf-deprecating, too liberal for their own good, today's progressives stand back and watch, hands over their mouths, as the social vivisectionists of the right slice up a living society to see if its component parts can survive in isolation. Tied up in knots of reticence and self-doubt, they will not shout stop. Doing so requires an act of interruption, of presumption, for which they no longer possess a vocabulary.

Perhaps it is in the same spirit of liberal constipation that, with the exception of Charlie Brooker, we have been too polite to mention the Canadian study published last month in the journal Psychological Science, which revealed that people with conservative beliefs are likely to be of low intelligence. Paradoxically it was the Daily Mail that brought it to the attention of British readers last week. It feels crude, illiberal to point out that the other side is, on average, more stupid than our own. But this, the study suggests, is not unfounded generalisation but empirical fact.

It is by no means the first such paper. There is plenty of research showing that low general intelligence in childhood predicts greater prejudice towards people of different ethnicity or sexuality in adulthood. Open-mindedness, flexibility, trust in other people: all these require certain cognitive abilities. Understanding and accepting others – particularly "different" others – requires an enhanced capacity for abstract thinking.

But, drawing on a sample size of several thousand, correcting for both education and socioeconomic status, the new study looks embarrassingly robust. Importantly, it shows that prejudice tends not to arise directly from low intelligence but from the conservative ideologies to which people of low intelligence are drawn. Conservative ideology is the "critical pathway" from low intelligence to racism. Those with low cognitive abilities are attracted to "rightwing ideologies that promote coherence and order" and "emphasise the maintenance of the status quo". Even for someone not yet renowned for liberal reticence, this feels hard to write.

This is not to suggest that all conservatives are stupid. There are some very clever people in government, advising politicians, running thinktanks and writing for newspapers, who have acquired power and influence by promoting rightwing ideologies.

But what we now see among their parties – however intelligent their guiding spirits may be – is the abandonment of any pretence of high-minded conservatism. On both sides of the Atlantic, conservative strategists have discovered that there is no pool so shallow that several million people won't drown in it. Whether they are promoting the idea that Barack Obama was not born in the US, that man-made climate change is an eco-fascist-communist-anarchist conspiracy, or that the deficit results from the greed of the poor, they now appeal to the basest, stupidest impulses, and find that it does them no harm in the polls.

Don't take my word for it. Listen to what two former Republican ideologues, David Frum and Mike Lofgren, have been saying. Frum warns that "conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics". The result is a "shift to ever more extreme, ever more fantasy-based ideology" which has "ominous real-world consequences for American society".

Lofgren complains that "the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital centre today". The Republican party, with its "prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility to science" is appealing to what he calls the "low-information voter", or the "misinformation voter". While most office holders probably don't believe the "reactionary and paranoid claptrap" they peddle, "they cynically feed the worst instincts of their fearful and angry low-information political base".

The madness hasn't gone as far in the UK, but the effects of the Conservative appeal to stupidity are making themselves felt. This week the Guardian reported that recipients of disability benefits, scapegoated by the government as scroungers, blamed for the deficit, now find themselves subject to a new level of hostility and threats from other people.

These are the perfect conditions for a billionaires' feeding frenzy. Any party elected by misinformed, suggestible voters becomes a vehicle for undisclosed interests. A tax break for the 1% is dressed up as freedom for the 99%. The regulation that prevents big banks and corporations exploiting us becomes an assault on the working man and woman. Those of us who discuss man-made climate change are cast as elitists by people who happily embrace the claims of Lord Monckton, Lord Lawson or thinktanks funded by ExxonMobil or the Koch brothers: now the authentic voices of the working class.

But when I survey this wreckage I wonder who the real idiots are. Confronted with mass discontent, the once-progressive major parties, as Thomas Frank laments in his latest book Pity the Billionaire, triangulate and accommodate, hesitate and prevaricate, muzzled by what he calls "terminal niceness". They fail to produce a coherent analysis of what has gone wrong and why, or to make an uncluttered case for social justice, redistribution and regulation. The conceptual stupidities of conservatism are matched by the strategic stupidities of liberalism.

Yes, conservatism thrives on low intelligence and poor information. But the liberals in politics on both sides of the Atlantic continue to back off, yielding to the supremacy of the stupid. It's turkeys all the way down.

George Monbiot is the author of the bestselling books The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order and Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain, as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man's Land. His latests books are Heat: how to stop the planet burning and Bring on the Apocalypse?

 

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+97 # Billy Bob 2012-02-08 08:53
OH THANK YOU! THANK YOU FOR THIS ARTICLE!!!

IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!

Even on these very threads, how many times do we tear each other apart for not being more polite to those nice enough to troll the comment section?

The reason Jesus told us to turn the other cheek was to inherit our reward in Heaven. The meek will NOT actually "inherit the Earth". They will inherit HEAVEN.

That sounds great, but there's no sin in protecting ourselves against a righ-wing that sees us as nothing more than an obstacle.
 
 
+53 # Barbara K 2012-02-08 12:59
The most important thing we can do is what I've been saying over and over:

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !!

our very survival is at stake, kick them out of our government and don't let them in again
 
 
+52 # Billy Bob 2012-02-08 14:29
Of course it won't mean much unless we:

NEVER VOTE BLUE DOG EITHER!!
 
 
+25 # Barbara K 2012-02-09 05:18
Billy Bob: Absolutely. Blue Dogs are just Republicans in disguise.


NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !!

our survival is at stake, and they are stupid
 
 
+18 # Billy Bob 2012-02-09 07:31
So you're willing to get rid of Democrats who act like repuglicans, right?
 
 
+14 # Barbara K 2012-02-09 10:27
Billy Bob: Absolutely!
 
 
+5 # RLF 2012-02-09 05:09
Democrat shill! Bill Clinton gave us a good part of the foundation for this economic debacle and Barack Obama has continued in the mold...and you can't get enough of Dem that act like Repubes. When do we hold them accountable if not in an election? You tell me...when do we force the politicians to do as they say they will in elections and not what they privately tell their banker contributors they will do? Never?
 
 
+1 # Okieangels 2012-02-09 15:07
We need a massive exodus of Democrats to the Green Party. Then we can really clean house on Capitol Hill.
 
 
+9 # Capn Canard 2012-02-10 14:39
Okieangels, we need more than an exodus we need a new gov't, perhaps one that is democratic rather than this oligarchy controlled by wealth. The old gov't is well past it's sell by date.
 
 
+12 # conniejo 2012-02-11 09:14
As Colbert said, the truth has a decidedly liberal bias. The trick is getting the truth to those whose only source of information is FOX.
 
 
+65 # artful 2012-02-08 08:57
Ahah .. . suspicions confirmed. The only low-intelligenc e group unmentioned is the Christian Taliban. Rock on idiots . . .it's the end of the American era. It was fun while it lasted . . . it just didn't last long enough.
 
 
+88 # moreover 2012-02-08 09:24
Monbiot is a beacon of clear headed, reasoned analysis. I got a glimpse into the conservative "mind" - if "mind is the right word" Monday when Newt Gingrich spoke at the Colorado School of Mines: thunderous applause when he offered to demolish the EPA and remove all drilling restrictions in the Gulf of Mexico in his first hour in office, or when he said he'd restrict unemployment payments.

One thing Monbiot didn't mention: The Right never thinks: "What are the consequences of my behavior or policies that benefit me personally for the society at large?" It's always: Me first, screw everyone else.

But with a population above 300 million in the US and world population now past 7 billion politics must look at the Greater Good and limit the freedom of individuals to consume and pollute.
 
 
+41 # marjb 2012-02-08 09:25
Ahhh, but here's the dilemma. Do you rush out there and call those stupid conservatives "stupid" and risk alienating them further? Or do you look for polite ways of engaging them in dialogue to show them the error of their ways without insulting them in the hopes you will win them over to your way of thinking and risk being too nice for your own good.

No one - no matter how stupid they really are - thinks they are stupid or appreciates being call stupid. So now that George Monbiot has made us aware o something we've always known ... how to we use this knowledge to forward our cause. That's what we should really be concentrating on.
 
 
+57 # bugbuster 2012-02-08 10:09
You don't call them *stupid,* you call them *immoral.* Again and again and again. Calling them *stupid* simply gives them cover to call you *elitist.* They have no defense against being called *immoral.*

The Democratic Party has to become as methodical and ruthless as its adversary.

Consultants, preferably Frank Luntz himself, need to be bought and put to work getting the troops into lock step with their own version of Doublespeak as effective as the right has now.

You have to fight fire with fire, but you have to do it intelligently.
 
 
+27 # Art947 2012-02-08 19:12
We don't need to hire Frank Luntz, we already have a good wordsmith to employ to help develop an appropriate message -- George Lakoff has been telling us for years that we need to craft a message and STICK TO IT!

If we can't do this, then just call them out as hypocrites and liars. Just think, yesterday Rick Santorum told his supporters that restricting a woman's access to contraception provides her with freedom! Refusing to require her employer to provide her with contraception promotes freedom of religion. Is he a hypocrite? Absolutely! Does he prevaricate? Every time he opens his mouth!
 
 
+1 # RLF 2012-02-09 05:13
How about craft a POLICY and stick to it...I don't give a damn about anyones message...the proof is in the pudding and that is where Obama failed starting with his appointments.
 
 
+5 # ideazman 2012-02-09 08:44
Obama is a tool like all of our presidents of at least the last 4 decades. He is part of the ruling class and he works for the owning class. The sooner more of us understand how politics in this country really works the sooner we can get on with reform.
 
 
-1 # Capn Canard 2012-02-10 14:43
ideazman, I like that but I also am of the opinion that the system can't be fixed by the same people in charge. New people put in charge will simply become like their predecessors... Remember that "Hope and Change" was thrown out when Obama was voted in.
 
 
+10 # ideazman 2012-02-08 21:43
Considering your comment is actually about framing and not about "Doublespeak" or being misleading is known as "Fraudulent Framing" and of course there it's opposite "Honest Framing".

I think many people that contribute here would enjoy and benefit from (as I have) reading some work by George Lakoff. Most of his writing is about the one thing, framing and how our brains actually work. Framing works on everyone because we all understand things through metaphors and our emotions and we all have strong parent/nurturin g parent sides to one degree or another. Conservatives pay more attention their strong parent side and progressives the nurturing parent side of themselves.

Read the science of how our minds actually work and what this means in politics and why Progressives should stay home on the couch and be quiet if they won't learn this science from both Lakoff and Luntz (the master pollster/lingui st that consults Republicans) as they each know how to best truly reach someone and not just talk at them with facts. It may one of the most important books that any of us will ever read. "The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain" by George Lakoff.
 
 
+3 # Capn Canard 2012-02-10 14:49
The science of our minds! WE ARE SOCIAL ANIMALS!!! if we all started behaving and acting like a herd together then we'd get followers in a heart beat, HELL, I don't think we'd even need to read any Lakoff or that jackass Luntz. Our group action action would sweep up the whole group. The Occupy movement was a great start but it is time to ramp it up several steps. It is possible, but difficult. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 
 
+30 # Billy Bob 2012-02-08 10:30
You can't show them the error of their ways anyway. You can't shame the shameless. All you can do is embarrass them.

Our elections aren't decided by liberals or conservatives anyway. They're decided by those "in the middle", who consider themselves "independant" and have never actually thought about the political implications of their own beliefs. Many of them are impressed by whichever side seems to have more momentum and more passion. That leaves us out.

This is also about winning FIGHTS. YES, FIGHTS. You can "tone it down" all you like, but the nature of politics REALLY IS as newt gingrich said back in the '90s - non-violent WARFARE.

Politics has the same objectives as warfare (like it or not). War is waged when someone with more weapons can't think of a political way to get what they want. Politics is about WHO GETS WHAT AND WHO PAYS FOR IT. That's all politics is.

The narrative is ALWAYS ruled by those with some emotional attachment to the outcome. Conservatives have already pretty much hijacked the American militar, police and organized religion. Now they're after our schools and colleges as well. They stonewall, bully, push, bite, scratch and elbow the left in Congress, the White House and the courts. And, IT'S WORKING FOR THEM!

They aren't doing this because they want to make us see the error of our ways either. They're in it to WIN.
 
 
+36 # bugbuster 2012-02-08 10:34
I think we're way beyond polite. The wing nuts left that behind years ago. They have been waging open war on anything in their path to power.

They way to get to the right wing rabble is to attack their morality relentlessly. They are engaging in willful immorality by willfully ignoring truths.

Knowledge doesn't matter to them. In fact, they deprecate it. What drives them is moral passion. You have to attack them there.
 
 
+47 # lcarrier 2012-02-08 11:10
I tried for nine years to "engage" a right-winger in dialogue. It only made him more furious. The trouble with therse ideologues is that they don't mind committing logical errors in order to hold fast to their beliefs.
 
 
+26 # vitobonespur 2012-02-08 13:56
You are exactly right! I my sister-in-law is a conservative and when I found out my immediate reaction was "Jeez, I thought she was smarter than that."

The propaganda these people "fling" forth (as zoo monkeys with excrement) is anywhere from misleading to down right vile, malicious lies.

I pointed out to her (trying to embarrass her into paying more attention) that the crap she was sending was never verified for accuracy, with some apparently made up from someone's delirium tremens or some other delusions, with most being plain old garden-variety bullshit. Was she deterred? Not a chance!

Rather than pointing a finger at "the strategic stupidities of liberalism" I believe most of us Progressives have gotten tired of talking to brick walls and have come to the realization that you just can't argue with stupidity.
 
 
+15 # bugbuster 2012-02-08 16:52
It's not anything to do with ideas or facts. It's tribalism. We don't have real tribes now, so we invent them. In the Middle East it's religious sects. In Ireland it's Catholics and Protestants. In the Balkans it's nationalism. Here it's right vs left politics.

In Oregon there's a move by the GOP to open up primary elections to all comers. *This* is the way to dilute extremism in elections. The GOP will have to do this nationwide to survive.
 
 
+26 # X Dane 2012-02-08 15:51
marjb. If you hit people over the head. You will get nowhere. I believe in being assertive, but not confrontational . I find ways of pointing out some truths to my republican friends, and then I let them think about it.

One woman was lamenting over how bad things are, I know her strong conservative beliefs, so I pointed out, what governor Snyder ? in Michigan is doing, and the way he dissolved city counsels and school boards and put in a dictatorial manager. The people did not have any rights anymore. My friend was shocked.

She is a faithful watcher of Fox, which sure does not inform their viewers of inconvenient truths like this.

She agreed with me that, that was wrong, so I try to point out, what Fox leaves out and get my republican friends to
see the light.

The more calm and factual you are the better you make your point. It's not easy for me because I am a passionate person, but I rein it in, so I can get my point accross.

As I said, the facts are very imnportant. Don't assert something you are not totally sure of.
 
 
+5 # dorianb@fuse.net 2012-02-09 17:44
X DANE: This is the most relevant, humane and sensible comment I've read in this discussion. Thanks for you rational, factual and humanitarian posts.
 
 
+7 # Capn Canard 2012-02-10 14:53
well done X Dane. But the only problem is that it will take a helluva long time and that is why I suggest making those small steps in our own daily lives despite what the Authorities desires. I'd bet you're well on your way.
 
 
+7 # Barbara K 2012-02-10 15:45
XDane, I also am a Michigan resident. We are being taken to the cleaner by the Republican teabaggers who swarmed over our government from the Governor on down. My little city had $200,000 from our property tax money, and that sleazy governor stole it. They also stole a large beach area in Benton Harbor, as they took over that city. Planning to build an expensive, exclusive golf course that with a $5,000 membership fee. Guess who will be the only ones using it.

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !!

our future is at stake
 
 
+3 # X Dane 2012-02-10 23:15
Thank you for the kind words, dorian, Capn and Barbara K. I saw what is going on in Benton Harbor on Rachel Maddow's program. She told all about what you mentioned Barbara. She is a treasure.
She brings out so much information you do not get any other place.

It is disgusting what is happening in your state, and also in Wisconsin. But things may be looking up for the feisty Wisconsonites ? They may be able to kick out their scum of a governor.

Being reasonable and pointing out the republican misdeeds to republican friends sure isn't easy, when you want to shake them and sream that they are crazy, for not seeing what is going on.

Unfortunately many of my very good friends are republican, and I don't want to be a pariah, so I have to use my brain. And I do know that I have made them think a number of times.

One tack that works, is to point out how immoral it is that education now is so expensive, that young people leave college or university with a debt of 25.000--30.000 dollars some even more.
It will take years before they are debt free.
After they agree with me about that, I go on to a few more issues. Patience is not my greatest virtue, but it is nescessary.

RLF, You may be right about the fanatics, but not ALL republicans are fanatics
 
 
+2 # ABen 2012-02-11 18:32
Well said X Dane! Trying to shout down a purely emotional/ideol ogical argument is like shouting into the wind. The only way to counter the emotional froth coming from Fixed Noise and those who swallow that froth is to respond with thoughtful, fact-based argument and do so relentlessly.
 
 
+6 # RLF 2012-02-09 05:11
You can't talk sense to a fanatic. Being a fanatic is an emotional position. You have to talk emotion...or they don't even hear and that is the Democrat's problem for years.
 
 
+42 # maddave 2012-02-08 09:27
George Minbiot - writing for The Guardian - is obviously not acquainted with the culture of modern-day Democratic Party or we (dare I say it in public?) liberals.

Traditionally, at the first sign of resistance or contention from the right, we democrats reflexively - automatically - roll over and play dead. During his first three years in office, Obama practiced this on (almost) a daily basis and for a while it looked like he'd perfected the art of waffling.

However, over the past six months it looks like Obama has grown a backbone and finally knows what a bully pulpit is and . . . more important . . . how to use it effectively.

Based upon his recent performance, I seriously reconsidered and overcame my disappointment over the events of the last three years. and I decided that, despite his past mis-steps, Obama is imminently re-electable - particularly when looking at the GOP's competition. He's the only candidate who gives us any hope at all for the reversal of Citizens United, implementation of banking reform legislation & the consumer protection office.

However, the GOP has proved that if we want any progress on job creation & availability - or anything else - we MUST give him a majority in the House and a filibuster-proo f Senate.
 
 
+2 # Capn Canard 2012-02-10 15:00
maddave, don't give the Dems more credit than they deserve! lol... they are spineless, but they are just following the lead of wealth. If there were 250 dems like a Bernie Sanders or a Kucinich et al then we'd probably be okay. But most just follow the crowd of those in Congress! Keep in mind that Obama has been implementing GOP ideas and he gets very strident opposition! That is astonishing... Congress is just a bunch of impotent automatons. We need widespread non compliance, like a massive general strike where the power is shifted from immoral wealth to moral everyday people.
 
 
+66 # k8carroll 2012-02-08 09:36
We need to do a MUCH better job of educating our public! It is foolish to allow the Right to control the conversation.
 
 
+25 # Billy Bob 2012-02-08 10:03
They control the conversation because they know how to appeal to people's emotions and visceral instincts. That's the only way to do. If we do the same, be prepared for the accusations that we aren't being fair.
 
 
+18 # X Dane 2012-02-08 16:00
Ain't that just too bad, Billy Bob. They will have to realize that we are fed up with playing NICE. We will no longer roll over.
 
 
+16 # Billy Bob 2012-02-08 17:18
I'm with you. Now, if we can convince the mamby pamby left that it's better to win than to lose.
 
 
+3 # conniejo 2012-02-11 09:08
They control the conversation because they control the media. The first thing any dictator does after a coup is shut down the media. Unless we can support independent media, the right wing always will control the message and the framing. People watch Fox because they offer a fair number of reasonably intelligent and entertaining shows. We aren't going to get people to go over the Rachel, Ed, and Lawrence on MSNBC by giving them intelligent conversation. The entertainment is the carrot . . . the message has to be delivered during the breaks.
 
 
+22 # historywriter 2012-02-08 10:27
Where do we start with that? The NCLB business was probably promoted to help dumb down our students. We have to make using facts and information to analyze, to challenge ideas and concepts, to THINK--not just to memorize. Education is not just for getting a job. It is also for helping us make better, more interesting and broader lives, and to make us good citizens through learning and thinking and participating.
I don't know, but I sort of suspect that today's young people are smarter than some of us were back then.
 
 
+1 # ABen 2012-02-11 18:47
As a retired educator (high school and college), I would suggest that NCLB was a disaster of monumental proportions. While some of those who championed NCLB probably had the best of intentions, subsequent events would suggest that many proponents of the program simply wanted to financially starve Public Education with expensive and useless testing regimes and thereby open the doors to "for profit" schools. Put good teachers in smaller classrooms and we will have better learning outcomes!
 
 
+15 # AndreM5 2012-02-08 10:53
Please note that they also control the educational system.
 
 
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-08 17:38
They have been in charge of ed system for a long time. In 50 years I have not seen good school board just rich ones.
I was hoping the cuts would scare them into intelligence ...oh well
 
 
+15 # AMLLLLL 2012-02-08 10:03
Thank you, George; you give voice to what I have been observing since Dubbya was appointed. Lofgren, who worked for 28 years in conservative think tanks, has a brilliant essay, "Goodbye to all that; Reflections of a GOP Operative who left the Cult". He made a two-day circuit on mainstream news shows last year; wish he'd make a comeback.
 
 
+18 # Bruce Gruber 2012-02-08 10:05
Too bad our screams into the void are not backed by tons of megaphone cash that could drown out the cacophony of "Rushist" propaganda that 'dumbs' us down with its barrage of six pack philosophy, truthless distortions and vengeful fear. Union busting featured these techniques. Dictators have always controlled communication and kept their people divided against one another.
Of course it would be nice if the 'media' were driven by the pursuit of enlightening and considered thought and research rather than advertising dollars and ratings.
The Roman Colosseum crowd is us. We will sweep our underlying values, hope and accomplishments into the dustbin of history under the onslaught of the momentum our well crafted ignorance, racism and greed have wrought.
 
 
+19 # AndreM5 2012-02-08 10:16
"conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics".

"It's turkeys all the way down."

Bingo x 2!
 
 
+4 # dorianb@fuse.net 2012-02-09 17:50
Anti-science and stem cell research, anti-women's rights we won and fought so hard for and now they want to take them back, anti-social programs, SS, Medicare and Medicaid...
 
 
+2 # Capn Canard 2012-02-10 15:07
AndreM5, BINGO! indeed. But I've been harping about the very strong social cohesion of humanity and that is what the GOP/Rove/Luntz' s fear based strategy has done so well. I suggest that in contrast, the nation needs a the act of taking a simple personal action, if it is good, others will follow. Like not paying our taxes or a massive general strike etc etc
 
 
-37 # lnason@umassd.edu 2012-02-08 10:23
The study cited by Monbiot is deeply flawed. Conservatives were classified based on only one scale: how authoritarian were they in terms of social tolerance. I suggest that everyone check the questions asked to the study participants to verify this assertion.

I would grant that the social conservative branch of conservatives are indeed often less educated and probably a bit dimmer than other conservatives but to label all conservatives as dumb seems rather dumb to me.

Especially since people who self-describe themselves as "conservatives" tend to do somewhat better in objective testing on knowledge of political affairs and economics.

I disagree with conservatives at least as often as I disagree with progressives but neither side has a monopoly on stupid or smart.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+21 # vitobonespur 2012-02-08 14:16
The study makes a point of stating, as does Manbiot in this article, that NOT all Conservatives are stupid. However, people with less cognitive ability tend to be conservative in their beliefs.
 
 
+4 # dorianb@fuse.net 2012-02-09 18:04
Vitobonespur: You are correct and this is an important point in the study. To relegate an entire group as unworthy or unintelligent is an intelligent thing to do. However, I have not heard one TEA PARTY member or follower speak in an intelligent manner.
 
 
-11 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-08 17:53
I am tired of labels as they are so off the wall.
I believe if UK or anyone else wants to judge perhaps they should look at their own Government and clean up their own first.
 
 
+6 # Bruce Gruber 2012-02-09 06:53
Quoting lnason@umassd.edu:
The study cited by Monbiot is deeply flawed. ...

I would grant that the social conservative branch of conservatives are indeed often less educated and probably a bit dimmer than other conservatives but to label all conservatives as dumb seems rather dumb to me.

Especially since people who self-describe themselves as "conservatives" tend to do somewhat better in objective testing on knowledge of political affairs and economics.

I disagree with conservatives at least as often as I disagree with progressives but neither side has a monopoly on stupid or smart. ...


You think?!?
How much 'dimmer' ARE social conservatives? Who labeled ALL conservatives "dumb"? (I thought that had to do with an inability to communicate out loud, anyway...). And where did you find this list of questions to 'check'? What 'study' of self-described conservatives shows them "better in objective testing on knowledge of political affairs and economics"?
 
 
+8 # Billy Bob 2012-02-09 08:16
I think she gets most of her info from the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Her blinders are on about information that didn't come from a right-wing "think" tank.
 
 
+4 # dorianb@fuse.net 2012-02-09 18:01
Lee: I don't think anything has shown the Conservatives and GOP to be seen as NON-INTELLECTUA LS as the Tea Party movement and Tea Party Spokespeople such as Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Rick
Santorium, et al, who are uneducated and misinformed in regard to science, the constitution, poverty, separation of Church and State, freedom, equality and a host of other important issues.
 
 
+24 # CCB5er34 2012-02-08 10:23
It is so damn true, it drives me crazy, that is why I can't stand the Democrats, they are too polite, quiet. Me, I would be shouting, " Republicans are immoral, horrible creeps and should be called out for what they are!". You cannot fight facsism with jellyfish! Where is the guts, and the fury? That is what is needed, call the creeps out for the immoral bastards they are!
 
 
+1 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-08 17:56
I am a Democrat and I have been to the wall, in front of media calling the creeps out. I email the creeps. So Polite...when I am with family, at a service, interview but I give politeness when it is deserved no more no less.
Democrat Party vs Republican party...same thing just spell differently
 
 
+4 # Capn Canard 2012-02-10 15:29
CCB5er34, absolutely! Liberals and Anarchists need to push back HARD. The problem is that the FASCISMO are very likely to use violence as an offensive weapon(one need only see what the Campus GESTAPO did to those peaceful students at UC Davis to see how it may go down)This is not an issue of "LEFT or RIGHT" but of "right and wrong".
 
 
+5 # rhgreen 2012-02-08 10:34
Just a cautionary comment. Be assured that my political leanings would very much want me to believe that the prejudiced right is more stupid than the left, but I have spent a long time in designing studies and analyzing data from them, and it is very easy to get confounding with other factors and as a result mistaken attribution of causality. For example, what if low IQ kids tend to be from poor deprived neighborhoods (poorly fed and insufficiently stimulated) and they grow up to be prejudiced and narrow-minded like their adult neighbors (cultural influence)? "Correcting for both education and socioeconomic status" is not going to remove that confounding. Just be careful with this sort of thing. There's a lot of pseudo-science out there and it doesn't necessarily bite left-to-right.
 
 
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-02-08 18:08
Most of the prejudice I found is in upper class and middle class neighborhood.
Poor neighborhoods hated society treatment of them, some rightfully so.
Diet bs is the New Fad crap. I was from middle class. Difference of the 40/50's is the refrigerators. We had small ones with tiny ice boxes for ice.
Parents bought food by the day on way home from work or on the daily stroll. Our food was fresh made. Hamburger ground to order. We knew the smell of food, grocers showed you the fresh or gave a discount on the wilt.
Today unless you grow your own, you are buying harmful chemicals. So I am not buying diet. Most poor neighborhoods have been growing hood gardens more than the rich are growing their own unless a gardener is doing it for them.

We do not know when to speak in front of kids, when not to. Kids hear to many things and we do not clarify. Churches well, guess they are not teaching Faith, Hope or Charity. People go to Church and come out wanting to lynch someone...that has been for centuries.
Education begins at home. We are responsible for seeing that the teachers we have for our children are doing their job, same with the Schools.
Having baby doesnot a parent make. You must come from a good family in order to continue. Leaving kids in front of TV or PC to go cell talk or to Malls doesnot a Parent make. Dad comes home, and then they all play video games killing people. Cannot blame neighbor, you moved there.
 
 
-25 # dick 2012-02-08 10:34
I wish people would stop referring to birther, etc., idiocy as "conservative thinking." I often disagree with actual conservative thinking, but I respect it. If Keith said O'Reilly was actually born on Mars, would we call that "liberal thinking"? If Rachel said she was monitoring Iranian air space from her back porch, would we call that "liberal thinking"? Hope not.
 
 
+18 # Billy Bob 2012-02-08 11:48
No. We'd call them "crazy" and demand they were taken off the air and replaced by someone not crazy.

The right says things just as crazy as that all the time. The difference is that the only ones calling it "crazy" are on the left.
 
 
+3 # Richard Raznikov 2012-02-08 23:52
I hate to reopen fresh wounds, Billy Bob, but you're nearly right... except that when you check out what he actually says about this stuff –– or watch the debates if you can keep the nausea down –– Ron Paul calls these guys crazy on war, civil liberties, drug war, and a host of other issues. We can decide he's not supportable due to some of his positions, but the contrast with the likes of Santorum and Gingrich is quite stark. Paul's a conservative. These other people are ignorant, sanctimonious toads. They've perverted real conservatism and that needs to be pointed out.
 
 
+5 # Billy Bob 2012-02-09 07:00
So, it sounds to me like what you're looking for is a "REAL CONSERVATIVE" who also wants to end the wars for profit.

Well, if that's all you want, paul's your candidate. But, here's the problem:

MOST OF US ARE NOT CONSERVATIVES ("real" or pretend)

I'm a LIBERAL and PROUD OF IT. Therefore, paul will NEVER be my candidate. Luckily THERE IS A LIBERAL WHO WANTS TO END THE WARS FOR PROFIT TOO.

ROCKY ANDERSON.

In fact, unless paul starts winning some repug primaries soon, you won't even have him as a choice anymore.

ROCKY ANDERSON is running as a 3rd party candidate. If paul changes his mind later and decides to re-run as an "independant" it will only be because HIS party (the repugnicans) didn't choose him. He's still a repugnican. If you're a repug, then by all means, vote for paul in the primaries.

If you're a liberal, you know paul has NO BUSINESS near the White House.
 
 
+15 # kelly 2012-02-09 07:35
Perverted is when you say you're for smaller government and yet you tell the states they have the right to tell people with whom they may sleep and that a woman's body is no longer her own.
 
 
+2 # dorianb@fuse.net 2012-02-09 18:13
Richard: Doesn't it bother you that Paul is a bigot? Please, don't say you're not sure I'ts true bcause the facts are published on RSN and other places,also. The reason "White Supremist members are followers of Ron Paul is because they think alike and are from the same ilk.
 
 
+1 # lincolnimp 2012-02-08 12:49
[quote name="dick"]Wha t you talkin' about, Willis?
 
 
+20 # Sophie 2012-02-08 12:49
@Dick--Birtheri sm IS conservative thinking. The point of this article is how low the right wing has sunk. Re-read this:" two former Republican ideologues, David Frum and Mike Lofgren, have been saying. Frum warns that "conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics". The result is a "shift to ever more extreme, ever more fantasy-based ideology" which has "ominous real-world consequences for American society".
Also Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow do not repeat stupid, idiotic nonsense, unlike their "conservative," counterparts. How can you possibly "respect," anything the rightwing has to say when the vast majority of it is utter lies, and total gaslighting via FUX.
 
 
+15 # Billy Bob 2012-02-08 14:31
"How can you possibly "respect," anything the rightwing has to say when the vast majority of it is utter lies, and total gaslighting via FUX"

HINT: Dick agrees with them.
 
 
+2 # Capn Canard 2012-02-10 15:36
dick, the whole birther stuff started with conservatives. Hmmm, to my understanding that would make it conservative thinking whether you think it is or not. Sorry if the truth hurts...
 
 
+14 # uglysexy 2012-02-08 10:35
We need some hardcore hellraisers on the left that are the equivalent of Rush Dimbaugh on the right and Michael Savage
 
 
+6 # 1984 2012-02-08 10:38
I've always realized that most "normal" people would even seriousy want to be President, senator, legislator..... want to be powerful so that they can bully the general population and enjoy the fruits of power....money and sex. The people who do like the taste of this political blood are our republican "representative s." Normal people are not out for this kind of blood. They are not interested in hurting other people to get ahead. That is why we have Hitlers and Bushes in office. That is also why the left seems so meek in handling the republican
outrages. They do not desire to lie incite fear and divisiveness.
OK, nevertheless I fully believe that they have to learn to do the same kind of thing the republicans do even though it is against their nature, in order to save us from the Hitlers, Bushes and Republicans!
 
 
+23 # humanmancalvin 2012-02-08 10:41
The articles premise is hardly a surprise. I recently began my "pounding back at the far-right" campaign on facebook. Up until this change, I watered down what I posted so as not to offend the political sensibilities of all my various friends. Bah-humbug to this being polite, I am now posting articles exposing the stupidity of the GOP and if some of my "friends" do not like it, tough. Fighting fire with fire, not to mention facts, something that is in short supply on the right, I refuse to back down from this stand. Screw the right and all of their nonsense, it is well past time to fight the good fight.
 
 
0 # jky1291 2012-02-12 03:23
Previously reserved to be shared only with the choir, the Republicans behavior the last 3 years has made my "Republican Perspective" painfully obvious to anyone capable of intelligent thought.

The Republican Perspective
After having been abused, exploited, and worked to death creating the wealthy, and having had their last dime stolen by a society the wealthy have perverted for their own devices, the poor should at least have the common courtesy to die quickly without complaint.
 
 
+24 # lpod 2012-02-08 11:06
I believe liberals, including myself, should be more involved in the political environment. If every liberal attended 1 event a month concerning an issue that they deem important, such as: environmental repair, global peace, poverty, education, etc..., then more positive results would follow. To be non-violent is to be applauded and I will never want it otherwise. But there is a force in non-violence that has liberated many people and nations more than any military or violent actions. I think actions speak louder than words and "casting your pearls before swine" just leads to empty arguments because conservatives of today will not understand past the rhetoric they have come to recite and believe. Action is very much needed though and OWS is on the right track. More peace, love and understanding but NO backing down or giving up.
 
 
+5 # Onterryo 2012-02-10 08:09
You are absolutely right. I was cautious not to "rock the boat" at work, but now I look for the right time and articles to expose Republican immorality, lies and deceit. I have already moved two colleagues towards a middle ground and they are more willing to listen to reason and the facts.
 
 
+27 # Todd Williams 2012-02-08 11:27
I think that's the point of the article, uglysex. We have intellectual liberals who argue sophisticated, intelligent and nuanced points until they're blue in the face. Then Rush, Beck, Coulter and others blast away with factually incorrect rantings that are easily understood by even the most dimwitted, conservative pinheads. The right wing, by its very nature, is incapable of opening themselves up to alternative ways of viewing politics and our society in general. I'm not sure how they can be changed and I fear it's an impossible task. My only hope is in young people and their inherent openminedness. In part, the social media and the internet may help shape a more liberal future. One can only hope....
 
 
+11 # Majikman 2012-02-08 12:35
Spot on!One may be innately intelligent, but if one has a fear based view of the world caused by a narrow and limiting social milieau the resistance to alternative views and change is overwhelming. The answer is socialization, i.e. exposure to different cultures, etc. via education, reading, travel, dialogue.
I can only imagine the hate and anger one must feel living in a fear based mentality.

In animal training, those unfortunates that cannot be socialized are put down as being too dangerous to be trusted with humans or are left to a marginalized lone existence where they cannot cause harm.
 
 
+12 # Sophie 2012-02-08 12:53
You're so correct, Todd. With FUX, and other rightwing ownned media blasting falsehoods, and the ignorant masses gobbling it all up, there is little chance for any sort of intelligent dialogue. How many progressives have family members who have been podnapped by FUX? I already know it is impossible to change their minds.
 
 
+17 # Todd Williams 2012-02-08 14:08
One glimmer of hope for me are the political views of my 23-year-old son, his 20-year-old girlfriend and all thier buddies. All these young people are liberal and voted for Obama. They all believe in equal rights for everybody in our society. They also are basically color blind. And they are all holding marginal jobs while trying to struggle through college (unlike Newt who had his way paid through college and grad school). And I should note that they DO NOT envy the wealthy, but understand the importance of the rich paying their fair share of taxes. All these young people study hard, work very hard and love America, yet they areall liberal. Go figure.
 
 
+15 # lincolnimp 2012-02-08 12:55
This article and the comments by my fellow polite progressives are pointing the way to me. I must muster the strength and energy to enter the comments section of a regular news article and take one of the haters to task. I've never done it because they are so abusive and I don't like to encourage abusive people. I'd like to give it a try...but I probably won't. Too polite.
 
 
+13 # X Dane 2012-02-08 16:44
GO FOR IT, lincolnimp, live up to your "name" Lincoln had guts. Take your cue from that. We all have to overcome the concern of confronting haters. I am rooting for you.
 
 
+14 # Billy Bob 2012-02-08 17:27
From your profile, I can see your reticence is a symptom of your intelligence. You're just not used to people who don't argue in good faith. Believe me from experience, they're bluff doesn't stand up to the light of day. Your words against their words. It's not really an even match intellectually. People like you are representatives of the tide that's turning.

By the way, the threads on this site offer great target practice. We have our own trolls to provide you with practice in the art of counter-aggressiveness.

I met one of Santorum's campaign guys at a gas station in Iowa last summer. It was hilarious, because he caught me off guard and asked if we were all going to go meet Santorum.

Due to the practice I get arguing about these things constantly, I was EASILY and WITHOUT HESITATION able to take him to task right in front of his target "audience". It was pretty fun. More people agreed with me than him and even those who didn't laughed at my one-liners. I felt like a heavyweight champ being harassed by a drunk at a bar.

Just remember, when you have the facts on your side, most of the work's already done for you.
 
 
+10 # X Dane 2012-02-08 21:16
OH, Billy Bob, I cab understand you enjoyed setting those people straigt. I can feel it reading your words you really had a blast.
I am curious. Where do you get that practice arguing?

I also enjoyed informing my very conservative friend about what Snyder is doing, For when she mentioned how upset she was. I knew we were upset for very different reasons. She is very big on the constitution, so to hear that a GOVERNOR took away the right of citizens,
really horrified her.
As you mentioned Billy the facts were on my side, and it felt great to show her what some republicans are dooing.
 
 
+7 # Billy Bob 2012-02-09 07:03
It's pretty easy, really. Of course I used to work in the meat packing industry. I've lived all over the midwest and southwest. Even now, although I no longer live in those areas, I'm in a nice suburban neighborhood.

You really don't need to look hard to find conservatives. They LOVE spouting off as though everyone agreed with them. They'll find you. Most of my own family is right-wing conservative. I can get practice over Thanksgiving turkey. It's become a family tradition.
 
 
+5 # kelly 2012-02-09 07:51
If you want to argue about Republican governors taking away the rights of citizens, ask her what she thinks of Haley Barbour's recent treatment of his denizens in Mississippi during the last few weeks of his term, oh, I don't know was it last month. When he completely pardoned criminals who had been working in the mansion, some of whom were multiple-murder ers. And he did it without notifying the families he was going to do it. One had killed his wife/girlfriend as she held their child in her arms. It was awful...it's still awful. Of course, Barbour says that the reason there are protestations about it now is because there is a (D) in the AG's office. None of those affected are calling it political--they just call it a nightmare.
 
 
+1 # X Dane 2012-02-12 01:56
Kelly I agree with you, but I am totally baffled. Republicans always say they are for law and order. And they want the longest sentences.

So why in the name of heaven did he pardon MURDERERS? Barber is a real redneck and racist.
He has said so many racist things, that he realized, he could never get the republican nomination.
He WAS seriously considering running for the presidency, and he has raised so much money for the republican party, that he would be a shoo in......but then he started shooting off his mouth with all the racial junk.

Isn't it great how the republicans kill their own chances?
 
 
+6 # Harpoon 2012-02-08 12:00
Yeah, fine. All correct. But just calling everybody stupid doesn't do much to deal with the problem, sir. The conservative powers that be have learned very well how to appeal to the FEELINGS of the uneducated masses. People are not motivated or moved by truth, but by feelings. It is how we FEEL about issues that is of central importance. So alternate realities can be created, and people will buy into them, because they make them feel good. And give us educated intellectual progressives some credit. There's an old saying "you don't hit crazy with a stick." We are smart enough to know that calling the other side stupid is about as productive and teasing a rattlesnake. If you are smarter still and have a solution to this conundrum, let's hear it. Using a megaphone to call the conservative voting block stupid is not going to help. That's a recipe for even more intransigence. To the anti-intellectu al spin masters, you are offering yourself up as a prime example of intellectual elitism.
 
 
+12 # Todd Williams 2012-02-08 14:22
Educating young people to question authority, even us as parents is one way to help develop true intellectual, critical thinking. Why do you think the right wing does everything it can to kill public schools and financial support for higher education? Look at Newt's comments about having kids clean the school to develop a work ethic. That wasn't just aimed at blacks either. Remember, slave holders feared books in the hands of their slaves more than anything else on the plantation. Educate a slave and you've got trouble on your hands. Educate a free-thinking, curious young person and you might just have a liberal on your hands!
 
 
+9 # Majikman 2012-02-08 15:08
One way to start is to call out their crap for what it is. For example: this new diversion the right has started that there is a "war on religion" by the left because of birth control. Idiocy, for sure, but the antidote is to attack it for what it is: war on women's health and destruction of the family. Look how far Komen got when they were smacked down with a truth attack.
When the liberals stop allowing the repugs to frame the issues, like Alan Grayson did with his attack on the repug "death panel", we'll get somewhere. The left needs the KISS principle, used liberally.
 
 
+5 # HerbR 2012-02-08 12:29
Having said all that, the questions remain: "What is to be done", and "Who is going to do it ?"
 
 
+16 # Todd Williams 2012-02-08 14:28
We need to push hard for free public education. And not just career-oriented math and science. History, social sciences, art and phyisical education must again receive the funding to help make our youth well rounded. I'm not saying every educated young person will be liberal. However, most will make rational decisions based on their education rather than predjudices. For example, as an educated liberal, I always enjoyed reading William F. Buckley although I often didn't agree with him. We must teach the youth to question authority, study histroy and savor the critical though process.
 
 
-15 # lnason@umassd.edu 2012-02-08 20:19
Todd

I agree that education is very important but we are already paying an average of over $10,000 per kid in the el-hi public systems and in some cases, like Washington DC, we are paying well over $15,000 per kid. We already spend more per student than pretty much anyone in the civilized world.

In the meantime, private and parochial schools are spending roughly half the money and getting much better educational results.

Funding for public education is more than sufficient.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+6 # kelly 2012-02-09 07:57
Whatsamatta, Lee, education costs don't cover maintenance so you're willing to give that funding up at your school? Must be nice to try and add credence to your statements about education with a school address behind your name when there is no punch behind it. Anyone who googles it will find out.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-02-09 08:21
Yes! I wish everyone would google her. She's NO professor. She's a maintenence supervisor. I don't know why she continues the charade.
 
 
+6 # Bruce Gruber 2012-02-09 08:02
Would that the significant sums you proffer were actually spent on educating our populace. As you must be aware, the construction of new facilities, transportation, insurance, and cost of administrative reporting of test scores all lump into the gross amount divided by the number of students to get to your implied 'waste' in public education. If private schools are achieving "better educational results" (whatever that measure means) then it might be a demonstration that students' economic backgrounds and resources contribute 'somewhat' to these purported results. It is surely a "deeply flawed" methodology for asserting your conclusion that "Funding for public education is more than sufficient".
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-02-09 08:23
Thank you for taking her on about this garbage. It's tired and shows an obvious agenda. Conservatives like her love showing tiny snapshots of statistics and then pretending the rest of the picture doesn't exist, because it would undermine their agenda. She does it on nearly every thread. Even her monicker is an attempt to mislead.
 
 
+8 # X Dane 2012-02-08 16:49
YOU ARE Herb. We ALL have to take a stand.
We can't wait for "them" to start, Whoever "they" are
 
 
+12 # pernsey 2012-02-08 12:55
The birth certificate has to be what the prejudice and dim-witted spout because they got nothing else. He showed his BC several times this is just stupidity gone to seed.

The right wing just repeat lies until their faithful Fox News sheeple repeat it to one another like its the truth and then it goes out from there. Sheeple are people who dont think for themselves and they follow the cult of Fox News and their plastic faced broadcasters. Never doing any research or able to put to cohesive thoughts together without Fox and Friends, Bill-O, or Rusch L spinning it for them so they can perceive themselves to have a point. Truth to these people is irrelevant!

They have dim wits to follow, stupid propagates stupid. Its like learning a new language...just listen to the spin and repeat. Whether it holds any merit or not, who cares if said enough you can rile people up over the biggest of lies.

FOX NEWS = The further dumbing down of Americans!
 
 
+8 # X Dane 2012-02-08 16:58
So true Pernsey. Fox is a pox on our society,
On a happier note I want to thank you for recommending the Prickly Pear. It is great, and has helped me a lot. I often think about how lucky I am that you mentioned it. I have used it close to three months and will certainly continue.
All the best to you pernsey.
 
 
+4 # pernsey 2012-02-08 19:06
Quoting X Dane:
So true Pernsey. Fox is a pox on our society,
On a happier note I want to thank you for recommending the Prickly Pear. It is great, and has helped me a lot. I often think about how lucky I am that you mentioned it. I have used it close to three months and will certainly continue.
All the best to you pernsey.


Your so welcome X Dane, Im so glad its benefiting you! That is awesome, Im so glad to hear its working for you too.
 
 
+8 # Vauban 2012-02-08 14:46
Spot on article and of proven relevance in the belly of the beast, Utah, from which I hail where we rank 47th in the country in k-12 education. We have our authoritarian Republican, LDS dominated legislature to thank for our educational shortcomings.

On another note don't you love it when the other side starts to eat their own: Now their base is going after Ann Coulter of all people. I just read an article entitled " Who Castrated Ann Coulter," on the WND's website. If you are inclined, read a few of the comments-pricel ess.
 
 
+5 # ericlipps 2012-02-08 15:42
Quoting Vauban:
Spot on article and of proven relevance in the belly of the beast, Utah, from which I hail where we rank 47th in the country in k-12 education. We have our authoritarian Republican, LDS dominated legislature to thank for our educational shortcomings.

On another note don't you love it when the other side starts to eat their own: Now their base is going after Ann Coulter of all people. I just read an article entitled " Who Castrated Ann Coulter," on the WND's website. If you are inclined, read a few of the comments-priceless.

Er--"castrated" ? Spayed, surely.

When the right wing has gone so far as to attack as insufficiently hard-line someone who has said terror suspects should be killed as a warning to liberals that they could be next, its members might as well pull their sheets and their field-gray juniforms out of the closet and wear them openly.
 
 
+5 # ericlipps 2012-02-08 15:39
Of course, just as not all conservatives ar stupid, not all stupid people are conservatives. But the less intelligent are more easily suckered by ideological propaganda--and in today's America, it's the right which is more aggressive on that front, aided by sympathetic corporate media. So the junintelligent are more likely to be pulled rightward than leftward.
 
 
+6 # historywriter 2012-02-08 17:18
Holyone: (HOLYone!?)
Liberals do too blame Congress. I certainly do.
I think this data on conservatives tending to be not as intelligent as liberals is borne out by a recent report on why so many college professors are liberals. (It may not be the same for engineers and MBAs, but that raises different questions. Most of us experienced that in college. I was a political science major in college; only one of the professors was a republican in a large group of staff.
History, sociology, anthropology, English, the arts, geology, and similar fields draw people who are smart and curious and want to explore "life's important questions," as Keillor says. These curricula are more rigorous in my opinion because there aren't very many definitive answers in many of these fields--and many of us like that. We can go off on our own and find connections and ideas in a variety of places. This is not to say there are not facts. But not like, say, math, where USUALLY there is an answer.
 
 
+3 # Rick Levy 2012-02-08 18:19
Yet I wonder how intelligent progressives are for letting the rethuglicans hijack and run away with America's political narrative in the first place.
 
 
+3 # douglassmyth 2012-02-08 19:05
You have to wonder why progressives, or rather, the liberal parties are so timorous.

I'll give you an answer: they're terrified of the money against them, so they try to compromise just enough to get money on their side, so they'll survive. That means not a populist response, except rhetorically--t hey may actually believe what they're saying; I think Obama does--but they know they can't carry anything out--unless the money powers let them.

Citizens United just made the money power more powerful. In order to counter them, only the largest and best managed mass organizations can possibly have an impact. But the only ones on the progressive side not beholden to moneyed interests are the labor unions; they've been emasculated.

So, what to do? I don't know.
 
 
+3 # photojack53 2012-02-09 06:53
This is the most accurate analysis of the horrid right-wing movement I've seen & the comments following it are... PRICELESS! It is Frank Luntz who enables the "alternative knowledge System" that David Frum talks about. I've got Luntz's book, "Words That Work" where he outlines & gives clear examples of how he twists the language conservatives use to thwart & mislead the masses & indoctrinate their own. This article doesn't even mention their use of "wedge issues" to manipulate & divide the electorate, like abortion rights, the Christian Taliban in America or GLBT issues like marriage equality. I've said for decades that we Progressives need to communicate more forcefully to counter their lies & deceit. The current slate of Republican presidential contenders is truly a sad lot & that doesn't count the absolute kooks who withdrew early, like Michele Bachmann, "the Donald" or Sarah Palin! "Dubya" & his horrid administration ruined everything they touched, waged a "War on Women", a "War on Science", two false wars, gave tax breaks to their wealthiest donors and big corporate contributors, CAUSING the economic meltdown, then lengthened high unemployment & the foreclosure crisis by their unconscionable obstructionism. .. all in a truly EVIL ploy to make Obama look bad for their attempt at political gain. They without doubt, ruined the finances of countless tens of thousands of American families with their devastating strategy.
NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN IF YOU VALUE AMERICA!
 
 
+2 # historywriter 2012-02-09 07:50
Obama is apparently raising a lot of money--again--f rom small donors. Maybe we give the way we did in 2008--albeit with a little less enthusiasm from some of us disillusioned ones. But the alternative is unthinkable.
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-02-09 08:28
The best thing the President has going for him are the repuglican primaries.
 
 
0 # Bruce Gruber 2012-02-09 08:20
I cannot stop laughing over Charlie Brooker reference early in this wonderful logical description of the chaos of RIGHTward RIGHTeousness.
Too often I feel like I'm on a visiting team experiencing an avalanche of home town fanatics at a World Cup event.
 
 
+6 # Windy126 2012-02-09 11:03
I am "Liberal" and I am not timid. I speak out all the time. I started with a couple of letters to the local editor. I signed it in a way I was not easily identified as I was working and did not want to cause a problem at work. People who did identify me immediately gave me a thumbs up and asked for more letters. My spouse thought I was nuts and should mind my own business. When I stopped working the letters became more frequent and more political. I accidentally found out when I joined a local group that I had a very large following and much support. Now my spouse asks me to write about specific topics and basks in the limelight of my notoriety. Please always mention the talking points that the Repugs go by . I drives them crazy.
Like they are a big secret.
Start small and add to the your list. I am very proud to be a part of this site.
My youngest granddaughter has a quote I really like "there is no cure for stupid." Talk, talk, talk to your kids, grand kids and anyone else who you can nail their feet to the floor. I constantly voice my opinions to total strangers who I will probably never see again. I am a Senior Citizen so they usually don't give me lip. But, some are so stupid I give up on them. Especially birthers. I receive a compliment from a cousin the other day. She told me I think like Rachel Maddow. How cool is that?
 
 
+3 # X Dane 2012-02-09 14:34
That is EXTREMELY COOL Windy. I am a big fan of Rachel. She is so well informed, and very intelligent. She brings a lot of facts, that you do not hear anywhere else. And she is fair, also to people you KNOW she totally disagrees with.

Which publications do you write in Windy?
I send letters to the editor of LA Times.
(I live just south of LA.) However, they only publish your letter every third months. So where else can you get your two cents worth in?

Like you, I talk with a lot of people. I particularly encourage my grandsons and other young people to get informed and to VOTE. Since it is their future, they MUST be involved. I think we seniors ROCK.
 
 
+4 # Barbara K 2012-02-10 16:08
Wow, how nice to find people who think like me. I am a liberal and proud of it. I am a Democratic Progressive. I campaign, I fight for, I make calls for, I work endlessly to try to wake up the Dems and let them know that they can fight back, that it is okay. Sometimes we get slammed, but we keep on fighting. We need to tell them not to vote Republican, that is the problem with our government. They won't do anything that is good for us or our country. They worked only 6 days in the whole month of Jan. They, as soon as they took office, passed a rule that they work 2 weeks and have 2 weeks off. Well, they are making lots of money to do nothing, but say NO, if they can't stop progress any other way and it makes it to a vote. They should be paid as part-time workers. The Rs are totally disgusting in what they are doing to us. Yes, I watch the Senate and the House whenever the Senate is in quorum call. Taking down the President is their only goal. They don't want the economy to get better and are doing all they can to make it as bad as possible. We need to fight back, and I am doing my best to do my part. Watch out for the Rs on here pretending to be disgusted Dems.
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-02-09 15:27
EXTREMELY COOL! Please keep commenting here as well.
 
 
0 # cypress72 2012-02-11 11:23
Many Democrats stayed home in 2010, and look what we got !! What was their excuse ?? You can cry NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN forever, but if you don't get out and vote for a Democrat, who's the idiot???
 
 
0 # ABen 2012-02-12 18:07
Quoting lnason@umassd.edu:
Todd

I agree that education is very important but we are already paying an average of over $10,000 per kid in the el-hi public systems and in some cases, like Washington DC, we are paying well over $15,000 per kid.
Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts


Show us the credible study or studies from which you get these figures! I have worked in the field of Education for more than 20 years, and I have yet to see any per-pupil funding rate that approaches those you site.
 
 
0 # Inspired Citizen 2012-02-20 08:55
I am not one of the excessively polite liberals. If this site used Disqus, I would have ample opportunity to demonstrate this.

You see, I am the author of The Glenn Beck Review, and his reactionary minions use the history feature of Disqus to track and attack me. I do not exercise politeness or consideration of their "tender" feelings. They are gullible and ignorant reactionaries that Beck exploits for his own purpose. I don't refrain from letting understand this about themselves and that their cult hero is a liar, hypocrite, propagandist and charlatan.
 

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