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ProfessorPlum's Journal
ProfessorPlum's Journal
May 24, 2017

Liberal values are principles. Conservative values are subjective.

I grew up in a fairly conservative part of the country, and so my worldview began as fairly conservative. By the time I was about 22, though, my values had shifted quite a bit, and some things that I thought were important when I was young fell away as I thought about the world and how it worked.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the Moral Foundations theory, researched by Jonathan Haidt and others, that posits five main axes of human morality. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_foundations_theory#The_Five_Foundations) Liberals only really care much about two of them, which are:

Care/Harm and

Fairness or Justice/Cheating.

Conservatives care somewhat about those moral axes, but they hold equal importance for three others:

Loyalty or Ingroup/Betrayal

Authority or Respect/ Subversion

Sanctity or Purity/ Degradation

To my mind, the Liberal axes are relatively straightforward to measure and implement as policy. It is easy to see if people are being cared for or harmed, and it is also pretty easy to calculate the maximum good for the maximum number of people, a la the utilitarian philosophers.

In the same way, the principle or fairness and justice is slightly subjective, but it is relatively easy to see if rules are being applied to people equally by imagining the situation applying to others, or a blinded experiment where you didn't know who was who. Again, it is possible to evaluate this relatively objectively and make policy around it.

The additional Conservative axes are much more subjective (at least to my thinking - do you agree?) Conservatives sort of believe in care and fairness, except they use the other three axes to screw over people they don't like. An innocent black man is gunned down by cops? Well, the police have authority over him so don't think about it. A Republican clearly breaks the law? Well, they are in my Ingroup, so IOKIYAR. Brown people get bombed into oblivion? Well, they have an impure religion (unlike mine) so we don't have to care what happens to them.

And Conservatives have shifting definitions of Ingroup, Sanctity, and Authority, too. They can change them at a moment's notice to fit whatever their feelings are at the time. Rich Republicans must have authority over me (they think) because they wouldn't be rich unless they are smart, so I give them my loyalty. But f*ck those Limosine Liberals!

Also, think about a rich white straight American man in a foreign country where he struggles with the language and is starting to feel homesick. In his journeys he meets a woman of color, who is also an American and grew up near his hometown. Suddenly, this Outgroup woman will be treated as his Ingroup, because she connects him to home. But let the same woman be bludgeoned by police for protesting, and he will think nothing of it.

tl;dr? I think Conservative moral axes are subjective and easily used to defend hypocrisy. That is why I moved away from them as a young person, and that is why I don't believe they are good ways to build policy or personal morals.

Conservatives suck, in other words, and are hypocrites. But you knew that.

May 20, 2017

My hope is that Erdogan's bodyguards are met in Turkey by a group of US marines who have newly

made into ambassadors with diplomatic immunity in Turkey.

And they have things explained to them.

May 14, 2017

But what about OUR rapacious criminal oligarchs?

There is something I don't quite understand about this whole takeover of our government by a Russian spy ring. The goal is quite clearly to drain American assets into the pockets of the oligarchs in Russia, the criminal syndicates who have stolen all of Russia's public wealth, by creating discord, deregulating, sowing confusion, basically raising a cloud of anarchy that obscures the massive theft of American public wealth and destroys our institutions. We are being raped, robbed, and pillaged by the Russian Mafia.

But what I don't understand is why this scheme has the apparent blessing from America's own rapacious criminal oligarchs. Are the Koch Brothers just going to stand by and let the Russian mob drink our milkshake? If anyone should be stealing American assets, shouldn't it be American shitheels? Where's our sense of patriotism?

Are Sheldon Adelson, Peter Thiel, Foster Friess, Ken Langone, the Mercers, etc. really just going to stand by and let Putin and his vicious ring of thugs steal the money from American pockets?

I don't get it. They've worked so hard to take away Americans' money, to steal it through the levers of the American government, doesn't it seem weird that they are just going to let Russia steal it instead? Does not compute.

May 9, 2017

Is it possible that all of those Dead Russians included American assets?

during the 18 days of Michael Flynn's tenure as the head of the NSA, this Russian agent had access to almost all American secrets. Are we to believe that he never let the Kremlin know who America's assets in Russia were? And that having found that out, that Vlad didn't immediately eliminate those assets?

I had originally thought that they were people privy to the Kremlin's manipulation of the election, and were eliminated to prevent the west from finding out who was involved and to what extent. But it makes more sense that Flynn simply found out who was talking to our intelligence from inside the Russian hierarchy, and sent that list to Russia.

If this is true, it is treason of the highest order. Even worse than the Valerie Plame scandal.

May 4, 2017

Sam Seder: Jimmy Kimmel Should Have Politicized Healthcare More For His Audience's Benefit

Sam Seder discusses how very political the healthcare debate is, and why it is dangerous to "both sides do it" down
May 4, 2017

Howard Stern Talks Being Right on Donald Trump - 05/01/17

As long as I'm posting H.S. stuff, this discussion of how Stern knew Trump would hate being president is sad and funny.

May 4, 2017

Howard Stern Talks Hillary Clinton's Loss & Stephen Colbert Controversy - 05/03/2017

Thought this was an interesting discussion - I would have loved to heard that interview with Clinton.
May 2, 2017

Trump is the worst kind of idiot

He doesn't know what he doesn't know.

We get to watch the mis-education of Donnie in real time, as he learns (or doesn't! ) about North Korea, the American Civil War, what is involved in creating a healthcare system, how difficult it is to be president.

And, he is a spoiled authoritarian, who will violate more and more laws and norms on his way to what he wants, both because he doesn't know or care about them, and also because they are inconvenient to him. A true disaster.

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