The stupid definition of conservatism as "opposition to change" is still something of a reality-defying mantra among Leftists -- despite conservatives often being major agents of change -- from Benjamin Disraeli to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. And if George Bush's movement of American power into two countries of the Middle East is not a major policy change, I would like to know what would be. It is Obama who hasn't changed that, for all his talk of change.
The idea of conservatives being opponents of change is quite laughable, in fact. Every single conservative that I have ever met has got a HEAP of things he would like to see changed in the society about him. Conservatives are opponents of the brainless ideas of Leftism but that is far from being opponents of change -- much though Leftists might like to think otherwise.
But, in terms of the stupid Leftist definition, it does make some slight sense to describe Islamic fundamentalists as "conservative" -- though one could argue much more reasonably that Islamists are in fact reactionaries: Far from opposing change they want the major change of a sudden and violent return to 7th century ways.
However you look at it, however, the violent authoritarianism advocated by Islamists has NOTHING in common with the individual liberty orientation of American conservatives. So it is just Leftist propaganda to claim some basic similarity between American Christian conservatives and Islamists. But calling Christian conservatives "Taleban" is in fact a fairly common Leftist form of abuse -- dare I call it "hate speech"?
This is all brought to mind by the following academic journal article:
Arch.europ.sociol., L, 2 (2009), pp. 201-230.
Why are there so many Engineers among Islamic Radicals?
By Diego Gambetta & Steffen Hertog
This article demonstrates that among violent Islamists engineers with a degree, individuals with an engineering education are three to four times more frequent than we would expect given the share of engineers among university students in Islamic countries.We then test a number of hypotheses to account for this phenomenon. We argue that a combination of two factors - engineers' relative deprivation in the Islamic world and mindset - is the most plausible explanation.
It turns out that the "mindset" they identify is religious conservatism. In a summary of the article we read: "Statistical analysis of poll data on US faculty shows that the odds of being both religious and conservative are seven times greater for engineers relative to the odds of a social scientist. Engineering as a degree might also be more attractive to individuals seeking cognitive “closure” and clear cut answers – a disposition that has been empirically linked to conservative political attitudes."
So they explicitly conflate American conservatism with the mindset that drives Jihadists. They also incidentally accept the junk-science claim that conservatives have a rigid cognitive style.
I am not going to comment on any of that right now. I already have a large historically-based paper on what is central to Anglo-Saxon conservatism here and I have a large number of academic journal articles on the claim that conservatives are mentally rigid oversimplifiers here.
But what I have said so far is criticism and there is an old axiom that bad science is driven out only by better science. So I am going to propose what I think is a better explanation of the phenomenon in question. I think it is all "cognitive dissonance"
It seems to me that engineers get intimately involved in a world of great rationality and logic. You can't afford to let ideology dictate your design of a bridge, for instance, or the bridge might fall down. Christians are used to living in both worlds: The secular world about them and their private religious beliefs. But Muslims are not. The engineer's mental world is quite opposed to the intense religiosity and scant regard for rationality that permeates the Muslim world. So the Muslim engineer is put into a situation of great conflict. He is thrown into a mental world that runs counter to all his religious assumptions and ways of thought. And sometimes he relieves the pressure of that -- in psychologist's terms he "reduces his cognitive dissonance" -- by reasserting his Muslim identity in an explosive or extremist way. The violence of his reaction is a testimony to how great has been the dissonance and mental conflict he has been subjected to in an engineering environment
Obama's Actions don't match his Words
Daily, it dawns on ever more Americans that the man in the White House is not the one they thought they met when he waltzed onto the stage and stole their hearts at recent Democratic National Conventions. At that time, Obama intoxicated the masses eager for hope and change with his punch of smooth oratory, soaring rhetoric and promises galore. Now he's left Americans high and dry. Barack Obama's hypocrisy is bubbling to the surface and his well built facade is crackling and crumbling.
Pledges to clean up government and ban lobbyists evidently only applied to lobbyists of his choosing. His pledge to bring transparency to healthcare dealings and televise them on CSPAN, actually boiled down to an hour on CSPAN with hours on end conducted behind closed doors. How about promising to usher in bipartisanship and closing Guantanamo Bay? With honesty that matches John Edwards', a year later, Guantanamo Bay is still open and bipartisanship is a thing of the past. Signs of the American people's Obama-hangover are evidenced by his poll numbers and the repudiation of his policies as seen in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia.
Despite Obama promising to usher in a new era of politics, in practice he behaves like a Chicago Machine politician. In true mob fashion, he's exacted retribution from moderate Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak by eliminating the $1 million funding for the B. J. Stupak scholarship that supports aspiring Olympians at Northern Michigan University. It's named after Stupak's son, who tragically died as a teenager. Obama's message is clear: Stop being a thorn in my side by insisting that Obamacare not fund abortions. And you other congressmen better watch out and not step out of line either, or you'll be next. This is the modus operandi of his controversial chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. As Obama told Rep. Peter DeFazio in true mobster form, "Don't think we are not keeping score, brother."
Obama's most recent bit of political chicanery is his proposed "spending freeze." He knows that this empty promise will have the net effect of increasing the government over time. Obama likes to claim he inherited record deficits from Bush. The only problem with this assertion; Obama's party controlled Congress the last two years of the Bush administration and then-Senator Obama supported the bank bailout which is the single largest aspect of the Bush deficit legacy. Obama fails to take credit for his massive economic stimulus, and other bailout programs that ran up the deficit in his first year in office. He proposes to "freeze" federal spending at 24 percent of GDP through fiscal year 2020. This is opposed to the historic average of government spending hovering around 20.5 percent of GDP. So while Obama claims that the deficit is temporary and he's "losing sleep over it": Americans beware. He wants to freeze spending all right, but freeze it at a higher level than ever before.
His doublespeak continues. When lecturing Republicans on bipartisanship, he means: Abandon your principles and vote for my policies, no matter how liberal. He claims Republicans need to stop rehashing disproven talking points, yet when it comes to rehashing talking points, Obama is the master. He does it on an almost daily basis. Obama lied in the State of the Union about a Supreme Court decision, claiming it eliminated 100 years of precedent and would allow foreign businesses to contribute influence to American political campaigns. And without batting an eyelash, Obama deceitfully claims that "our healthcare plan does not fund abortions."
Obama's lie that he is not an ideologue does not match with reality. When running for office, Obama positioned himself as the most liberal of the candidates on healthcare and on the Iraq war. Currently, he is running the most leftist administration in American history. The Federal Government payroll will balloon to a record high of 2.15 million employees in 2010. His administration is ramming a radical agenda of bigger government with no end in sight. Sen. Judd Gregg, the same Senator who nearly gave up his seat to work in the Obama administration before he realized that Obama was all talk, calls Obama's colossal budget an "unsustainable disaster."
If that doesn't make him an ideologue, we don't know what does.
Obama speaks about all the right things. The problem is, and continues to be, his radical actions. Our only hope is that Americans will watch what he does, and not be deceived by what he says.
Palin to tea party: It's revolution time: "Sarah Palin declared "America is ready for another revolution" and repeatedly assailed President Barack Obama on Saturday before adoring "tea party" activists, a seemingly natural constituency should she run for president. "This movement is about the people," the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee said as the crowd roared. "Government is supposed to be working for the people." Noting Democrats' recent electoral losses just a year after Obama was elected on promises of hope and change, she asked: "How's that hope-y, change-y stuff workin' out for you?" Her audience waved flags and erupted in cheers during multiple standing ovations as Palin gave the keynote address at the first national convention of the "tea party" coalition, an anti-establishment, grass-roots network motivated by anger over the growth of government, budget-busting spending and Obama's policies. Filled with Palin's trademark folksy jokes, the speech amounted to a 45-minute pep talk for the coalition and promotion of its principles."
Budget Buster Express: "Members of Congress must feel a bit shortchanged by the amount of playtime they received during childhood. Their ongoing fascination with one of the world's most expensive model-train sets, Amtrak, otherwise defies explanation. Politicians continue to treat the heavily subsidized operation more like a prized toy than a solid business operation. The time has come to stop shoveling money into this runaway choo-choo. Congress allocated nearly $10 billion to shore up Amtrak over the next five years, plus $1.3 billion in "stimulus" funding intended to make up for decades of deferred maintenance. Even these sizable amounts fall short of the rail giant's claimed need for $20 billion to clear a backlog of essential projects. Proudly wearing the conductor's hat, Congress is having too much fun to worry about numbers. Legislators routinely reject the most common-sense of reforms"
Uganda Rejects Obama’s Pro-Homosexual “Change”: "Ugandan Christian minister Martin Ssempa has issued a strong rebuttal to President Obama's criticism of his country for considering passage of a law to discourage and punish certain homosexual practices. "Sodomy is neither the change we want nor can believe in," says Ssempa, who runs the Family Policy and Human Rights Center in Uganda. Ssempa, a major player in the country's successful anti-AIDS program, says that Obama has an "obsession with the spread of sodomy in Africa," in contrast to the efforts of the George W. Bush Administration to help Uganda resist the dangerous sexual practices which facilitate the spread of the deadly disease. The Ugandan anti-AIDS program has emphasized abstinence and monogamy."
“Unintended consequences”: A feature, not a bug: "It’s misleading, in my opinion, to refer to the ‘unintended consequences’ of legislation. Most of the powers government exercises, and the bread and butter of its functionaries, are probably ‘unintended consequences’ of legislation. Despite the role that industry lobbyists play in drafting legislation, there are still probably a considerable number of idealistic Congresscritters and legislators who actually intend the legislation they churn out to achieve its publicly stated aims. These people may be statists, but they’re sincere; when they pass ‘A Bill to Do X,’ it’s because they want to do x. The problem is, such people are useful idiots for the interests that really benefit from the legislation. And from the standpoint of the latter, the ‘unintended consequences’ are the whole damn point of it. Functionally, unintended consequences are what legislation is really all about.”
More French saying 'oui' to McDonald's: "Would you like a steak au poivre sandwich and some deluxe potatoes, followed by a lemon macaroon and a cappuccino? Welcome to McDonald's, French version. And the French are lovin' it. They've increased spending each year on McDonald's to the point that France is now the U.S. chain's second-biggest market, even in the midst of a global recession. In perhaps the ultimate cultural inversion, McDonald's in the U.S. is taking some notes from the French franchises' recipe for success. McDonald's sales in France amounted to 3.6 billion euros ($5 billion) in 2009, according to numbers released in late January. That was an 8.5 percent increase over the 2008 figure, which was 11.2 percent higher than the previous year. For 2009, McDonald's France marked the sixth consecutive year that sales increased at a more rapid rate than any of the chain's other European subsidiaries."
Mirandize bin Laden?: "At the end of a Senate hearing yesterday, Dennis Blair -- Obama’s Director of National Intelligence -- refused to answer a very simple question. Now, the DNI -- like most people who live behind the walls that protect our nation’s secrets -- is not going to answer a lot of questions. But this question was simple, and didn’t require complex decisions on divulging secrets. Blair was asked whether, if we now caught Usama bin Laden, should the terrorist boss be read his “Miranda” rights. And Blair declined to answer. This, at the end of a hearing at which Blair and other Obama anti-terror “experts” stated clearly that another attempted terrorist attack on the United States is likely within the next few months. This is how far we’ve come. On 9-11, Usama bin Laden’s soldiers committed an act of terrorism illegal under the Law of War. This war crime took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans. Since then, we’ve gone to war in Afghanistan because -- if you will recall -- the Taliban regime that then ruled Afghanistan refused to turn bin Laden over to us when Bush gave them the choice between surrendering the terrorist and war. And now UBL -- who has no right to draw another breath, far less a right to an attorney before we waterboard everything he ever knew out of him -- is, according to the DNI, someone who may be treated as if he were a Beverly Hills purse snatcher."
The New Jersey folly: "Too many of those pain-in-the-neck productive people living in your state, making everyone else look bad? Want to get rid of them? Let the Garden State show you how it's done through the tax code. At one time in the not-too-distant past, New Jersey was by some measures the wealthiest state in the country. No more. Wealth is fleeing at an alarming rate. Between 2004 and 2008, more than $70 billion in wealth headed for the exit, according to a new study by Boston College's Center on Wealth and Philanthropy. Worse, it's not being replaced. Though more people moved into the state than moved out during the period of the study, the net worth of the people who fled was, at $618,300, 70% higher. Those who left also tended to be better educated, more entrepreneurial and more professional. The problem isn't New Jersey's cold winters. The productive are leaving for states where the economic climate is more favorable. Increases in levies on income, sales, property and millionaires have all contributed to the exodus".
Repeal rent control, and sow salt where it once stood : "It is no news that free market economists would oppose rent control, root and branch. It is, however, a bit ‘man bites doggish’ that even economists with sterling left wing credentials would oppose it too, and just about as bitterly. … Why? It is because this law, which supposedly helps impoverished tenants, actually does no such thing. Indeed, its effects are just about 180 degrees off, in the opposite direction.”
Fire the parasites: "Newly seated Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has triggered a firestorm by having the audacity to go on ABC's "This Week" and suggest: "We need to put a freeze on federal hires and federal raises because, as you know, federal employees are making twice as much as their private counterparts." Public employee union bosses, of course, exploded in anger. Public employees swooned and reached for the smelling salts (as opposed to their usual fare of bon-bons and Sominex). And Barack Obama reportedly performed a séance in hopes of raising Ted Kennedy from the dead. But, the fact is: Scott Brown was right – as far as he went. And he should have gone much further. We don't simply need to put a freeze on federal hires and raises. We need to fire federal employees."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)