Monday, May 31, 2004


I have had a couple of shots on this blog in times past at George Lakoff -- the Leftist linguistics professor who thinks that conservatives all want to be punitive fathers. There is of course a Mt. Everest of nutty Leftist psychological theories around so why have I given Lakoff special attention? Because what he writes does, when you read it, sound very moderate, balanced and reasonable. It sounds good and it persuades many. But it is still nonsense for all that. In the past I have simply pointed out where and why it is nonsensical and contradicted by the evidence but I don't think that is enough to shoot down his theory. Theories tend to be killed off by better theories rather than by evidence. So I have just added a new introduction to my article on Lakoff that reads as follows:

"George Lakoff is a Leftist linguistics professor whose linguistic theories seem now to have fallen out of favour but who seems to think he knows all about the psychology of politics. Lakoff has written a book (reviewed here) which purports to explain the Left/Right polarity of politics as Mother-oriented politics versus Father-oriented politics -- a book called: Moral Politics : How Liberals and Conservatives Think.

His program is an ambitious one. He rightly points out that there are many "contradictions" (I would call them compromises) in any real-life political program (he describes them eloquently here) and says he has a grand theory that explains how all such apparent contradictions arise -- a theory that shows the real consistency underlying the apparent inconsistency. That is undoubtedly a noteworthy and attractive claim.

I too think I can explain the inconsistencies Lakoff mentions but I think I can explain it, not in a book, but in one paragraph. Does that not trump Lakoff? I think it does. So here is the paragraph:

What I would say that is that the contradictions arise because neither side of politics is in fact much INTERESTED in being consistent. Conservatives don't like theories and just go by what seems to have worked well for people in the world to date -- in all the untidy complexity that the real world has. And Leftists are only interested in what sounds good at the time and are perfectly capable of advocating completely contradictory things from occasion to occasion as long as they sound good on each occasion [John Kerry, anyone?]. The example par excellence of Leftist contradiction is their common claim that right and wrong or good and bad is at least totally arbitrary if not meaningless altogether -- which claim can be followed almost immediately with a self-righteoous sermon on the rightness and goodness of (say) "tolerance". Leftists want to make us "better" while at the same time denying that there is any such thing as "better"!!

So Lakoff's program is foredoomed from the start. What he deals with is intrinsically INconsistent. There is no large-scale consistency there for a theory to describe. But a brief look at what he claims does nonetheless seem in order. His claim is an attractive one so deserves examination of its fit to reality...."



A reader draws attention to this bit of Leftist double standards: "They broke the rules and broke the law. Despite the controversy, some Tigard High School students will still get to participate in graduation. But fellow students are saying, 'Not so fast!' A letter sent to parents a few weeks ago seems to be very black and white, stating that any senior who is involved with drugs or alcohol in the last few weeks of school will not be allowed to take part in commencement ceremonies. But it didn't work. Six seniors were caught intoxicated at prom, but stop the band; they will be allowed to partake in graduation." My reader comments: "Though Tigard, Oregon, is not Seattle, (it's about 200 miles away) it is certainly a soulmate. I laughed out loud thinking about all of silliness regarding zero tolerence in our schools regarding anything that even closely resembles a weapon of any kind. Whether it's a toy gun, a sharp object or dinner utensils, anything brought on campus and discovered by the thought police (teachers) results in automatic suspension. I remember a story about a little boy who was suspended because he used his hand and forefinger like a gun. These students are just lucky nobody had a nail clipper on them. That would have been real trouble".

A reader responded to my post yesterday about Leftists being really interested only in power as follows: "I've got to agree with you on that. I've recently been trying to re-read Atlas Shrugged (not that I am really a libertarian ) because when I tried to read it twenty-five years ago I could not get past the radio speech. It amazes me how much the plot resembles what happened in Chile and what is now happening in Venezuela. Just in case you've never read the book, it describes a leftist government citing compassion in order to create the economic chaos preparatory to a takeover. Does this not resemble Allende's Chile, where the goverment policies drove inflation to over 200% and government policies on business which were ostensibly meant to help actually created more problems, and ended with the confiscation of private businesses and lands? Does this not now resemble Chavez's Venezuela? While Ayn Rand portrays the industrialists as implausibly noble, her portayal of the well-meaning idiots led by the unscrupulous does not seem at all far from the mark. The stories from France about the 15,000 dead in last summer's heat-wave, and the recently built Paris airport terminal falling down, also seem to agree with her plot-line of an increasing sacrifice of competence in leadership for political correctness."

Leftists excuse Stalin and hate Hitler, YET: "From 1929 to 1939, in peace time, Stalin and the Bolsheviks killed about 20 million Soviet citizens, for no predictable reason. Hitler and the National Socialists ruined the businesses and careers of hundreds of thousands of German citizens, but the number of people killed by them before the outbreak of the war was only a few hundred, most of them fellow Nazis and all of them for a predictable reason. Even immediately after the onset of the war, when it became known that the Nazis had begun to engage in mercy killings of the incurably insane (euthanasia), the Catholic bishops, led by Bernhard von Galen, openly protested, and German public opinion compelled the Nazis to halt the program. Bishop (later: Cardinal) von Galen survived the Nazi regime. Under Stalin and the Bolsheviks, any such opposition was impossible and Bishop von Galen would have been quickly disposed of." So what does that tell us? Easy: Stalin was even farther Left than Hitler so he was more murderous. Leftists love humanity -- it's just people they can't stand. It may be worth noting that Israeli historian Aryeh Unger long ago showed that Stalin was much more totalitarian than Hitler.

Bureaucratic idiocy: Butchers can no longer give the dog a bone: "Butchers across the UK are to be banned from giving left-over bones to customers' dogs. Under new EU rules bones are classed as a waste by-product and butchers must pay for them to be incinerated, says The Sun. Britain's 10,000 butchers are being sent letters by local councils warning them they face fines if they pass left-over bones to pet-owners in the traditional way."

Wicked Thoughts has been visiting a Greek Orthodox blog and even found some jokes there!

For more postings, see GREENIE WATCH and POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH. Mirror sites here and here


The Left cannot face the fact that the American intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq is fundamentally humanitarian. The most effective response to the 9/11 events and the one in America's own best interests would have been a retaliatory strike using nukes to take the whole of Afghanistan off the map -- followed by a threat that Mecca would go sky high if there were any further Islamic attacks on the USA or its allies. That would have made Islam a religion of peace overnight. But GWB rightly rejected that easy road because it would have involved the death of millions of innocents. He chose instead to go after just the bad guys -- an extremely difficult task. And its difficulty is causing continuing American deaths in Iraq to this day. But Americans have always given their blood in order to be humane. They did it in two world wars and in Vietnam and they are doing it now in the Middle East. The only alternative strategy that the Left have is to do nothing -- thus inviting more and more attacks.

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