Are American Liberals Too Smug?

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Post by McLewis Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:42 am

I lean pretty much to the left of many things politically so all in all I probably fall in the liberal category and am pretty comfortable with that. I came across this article on my FB timeline and though the writer is as smug as his source material, I did find it a very interesting read as many of the stereotypes it touches on when it comes to liberals, I find myself reacting to having enforced them in debates I've had with conservatives. In that regard, this did give me some pause after finishing this article. I'm always self-reflecting on myself, looking for ways to improve and although I do not agree with this author on many points expressed in this piece, it has provoked enough thoughts that I'm re-examining just how I approach debates with those who have different ideologies, which is I think the writer's goal.

FYI - This is a pretty long article. Get comfortable.

The Smug Style of American Liberalism
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Post by DuringTheWar Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:14 pm

"A politics that insists it has no ideology at all, only facts. No moral convictions, only charts, the kind that keep them from "imposing their morals" like the bad guys do."

Otherwise known as the "rationalist delusion" -  the false belief that you are an exploratory reasoner when in actual fact you are being guided by emotional affectations. There are objective thinkers, just not many, on either side of the isle, reason as an adaptive function operates more to serve as lawyer than scientist.

(And incidentally objective thinkers are usually psychopaths, or sociopaths; hence the lack of emotions, which ties in well with the research demonstrating libertarians are the most systematic thinkers with the highest IQ on average, AND have the lowest levels of empathy on average, think of an analytical person like Ayn Rand for example)

From the reason website that was linked to -

"In one study, the researchers analyzed the responses of nearly 1,500 undergraduates sorted along the usual liberal-conservative continuum to a questionnaire asking them to think about various social and political issues. Their answers were then coded for integrative complexity and compared. It turns out that conservatives showed more complexity when dealing with topics like the death penalty, socialism, and refugees. Liberal responses were more complex when considering pre-marital sex, biblical truth, and alcohol. Overall, they report that liberals showed no greater complexity in thinking than conservatives did.

A similar study analyzed liberal and conservative responses to a 30-item questionnaire. Again, conservatives exhibited more complex thinking on some topics, including open-door immigration, smoking, castration, and easy access to birth control. Liberals were complex when discussing organized religion, abortion on demand, making racial discrimination illegal, and being assertive.
"


How that is surprising to anyone I can barely fathom. But as I stated the average liberal suffers from the rationalist delusion just because they aren't christians, with a bit of dunning Kruger thrown into the mix, the result being not only someone who is blind to their own dogmatic tendencies, but someone who actually thinks they are a warrior against dogma itself. I see that all the time on this forum. Of course this results in skyrocketing levels of smugness.

And that stereotype of republicans as uneducated/stupid. I mean seriously, how do you continue thinking in generalisations such as that when you look at exit poll data showing democrats dominate the least educated sections of society?

Anyways I am of the opinion American liberalism is in the process of being and will soon be killed by humanistic nihilism, you can see the nasty being ratcheted up day by day.
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Post by Chumlum Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:23 pm

I'd agree that American liberals are often pretty damn smug.

The whole media gamut of Maddow, Hayes, comedians like Stewart & Oliver (though I like them sometimes), the insufferable Olbermann ... they're just awful in their smugness. Online outrage people, with their incessant virtue signalling, can be awful too. It's a horrifying cocktail that one is not only right, and "on the right side of history," but that one also believes that one's worldview is completely scrubbed clean of any magical thinking or ideological bias--as opposed to honest conviction.

(Right-wing media has its own problems, but I wouldn't say smugness is a key issue.)

And yet you can't point out to most of them that their recipes for better policy or a better world might, just might, not be the direct and neutral expressions of "just the facts." As DuringTheWar says, it's a rationalist delusion--so many of these liberals envision a technocracy that just coincidentally happens to provide them with high(er) status.

There's a lot of political theory that argues from a left-wing position that doesn't take this rationalist, elitist technocracy for granted. The work of, or related to, Ernest Laclau and Chantal Mouffe for example ... if dense political philosophy is your jam.

I also recommend looking into Jonathan Haidt, a popular social psychologist who discusses the culture wars and certain differences between self-identified liberals and conservatives.

(Full disclosure: I am an American "liberal," I suppose, and I cast a primary vote for Sanders. For what it's worth.)
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Post by El Messico Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:54 am

Liberals (or is Progressives the correct term?) in North America, particularly in the press, are in general quite smug. It's because they believe so strongly in their facts. Or maybe they use facts as a facade to cloak their smugness.

Anyway, I had written a post in this section before the UK elections which is kinda relevant.

@El Messico wrote:Atleast press-wise, things are better in the UK than in North America. The US is basically a land mine if you're looking for impartial analysis. Fox and it's groupies are so ridiculous most people don't even take them seriously. But it's the papers that lean liberal that are far more dangerous. They're insidious enough to appear intellectual and evidence-based yet have some of the most polarizing opinions around. This is because their understanding of the limitations of statistics and study methodologies is not strong enough to accurately inform their readership of the facts.

However, their facade of rigorous analysis and knowledge (not to mention the common liberal theme of moral superiority) is very convincing, especially to readers in my demographic (early 20s, urban student). The new-age digital newspapers are prime examples - Slate, Daily Beast etc.

In Canada, it's definitely better - the Globe and Mail and National Post stick to reporting news and limit the number of op-eds (or atleast have op-eds that are more centrist).

Also, if anyone's got the time, could you explain why the Liberal Democrats in the UK are so roundly dismissed? Is it the current leadership that's weak or do people genuinely not agree with their policy stances? I have limited context into the history of British politics, but having read up on the Lib Dems and 'Orange Bookers' in particular, I fail to see why they are not a stronger presence.

My views generally co-incide very well with those expressed by the Economist, and if I were a British citizen, I'd probably give Cameron a second term. Obviously, being an outsider, I don't have a particularly informed opinion, but I'd like to see him again, if atleast for the bantz. Laughing Genuinely wonder if he has a comedian write his lines at PMQ's or whether he's just that spontaneous.


It's funny because liberals from elsewhere (in my experience) are really chill and genuinely behave according to the definitions of liberalism. I am one of those liberals and so are many of my friends from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America. Meanwhile, North American liberalism can seem authoritarian and paternalistic.

Edit: After some consideration, I'd replace all instances of liberal in my post with progressive.

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Post by VivaStPauli Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:21 pm

They are smug. They're also mostly right, which makes it infuriating for both sides of the isle.
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Post by FennecFox7 Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:18 am

@VivaStPauli wrote:They are smug. They're also mostly right, which makes it infuriating for both sides of the isle.


Exactly. I can be smug if I use facts. Deal with it. Honestly, I can't respect an opinion if a fact contradicts it (religion), you have to earn my respect, and if anything, liberals in the US are too quiet about a lot of things.

Now that they're talking and speaking up, conservatives want to use that card. Please. Conservatives have been smug the entire time
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Post by Thimmy Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:56 am

@DuringTheWar wrote:"A politics that insists it has no ideology at all, only facts. No moral convictions, only charts, the kind that keep them from "imposing their morals" like the bad guys do."

Otherwise known as the "rationalist delusion" -  the false belief that you are an exploratory reasoner when in actual fact you are being guided by emotional affectations. There are objective thinkers, just not many, on either side of the isle, reason as an adaptive function operates more to serve as lawyer than scientist.

(And incidentally objective thinkers are usually psychopaths, or sociopaths; hence the lack of emotions, which ties in well with the research demonstrating libertarians are the most systematic thinkers with the highest IQ on average, AND have the lowest levels of empathy on average, think of an analytical person like Ayn Rand for example)

From the reason website that was linked to -

"In one study, the researchers analyzed the responses of nearly 1,500 undergraduates sorted along the usual liberal-conservative continuum to a questionnaire asking them to think about various social and political issues. Their answers were then coded for integrative complexity and compared. It turns out that conservatives showed more complexity when dealing with topics like the death penalty, socialism, and refugees. Liberal responses were more complex when considering pre-marital sex, biblical truth, and alcohol. Overall, they report that liberals showed no greater complexity in thinking than conservatives did.

A similar study analyzed liberal and conservative responses to a 30-item questionnaire. Again, conservatives exhibited more complex thinking on some topics, including open-door immigration, smoking, castration, and easy access to birth control. Liberals were complex when discussing organized religion, abortion on demand, making racial discrimination illegal, and being assertive.
"


How that is surprising to anyone I can barely fathom. But as I stated the average liberal suffers from the rationalist delusion just because they aren't christians, with a bit of dunning Kruger thrown into the mix, the result being not only someone who is blind to their own dogmatic tendencies, but someone who actually thinks they are a warrior against dogma itself. I see that all the time on this forum. Of course this results in skyrocketing levels of smugness.

And that stereotype of republicans as uneducated/stupid. I mean seriously, how do you continue thinking in generalisations such as that when you look at exit poll data showing democrats dominate the least educated sections of society?

Anyways I am of the opinion American liberalism is in the process of being and will soon be killed by humanistic nihilism, you can see the nasty being ratcheted up day by day.


Am I wrong in assuming that you are a smug, hypocritical, conservative christian with a complete lack of introspection?
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Post by FennecFox7 Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:21 am

Thimmy I can't stand close minded people. Seriously, I wonder if people who actually have a brain use it. Duringthewar is in his own world of sadness tbh.
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Post by Thimmy Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:47 pm

@FennecFox7 wrote:Thimmy I can't stand close minded people. Seriously, I wonder if people who actually have a brain use it. Duringthewar is in his own world of sadness tbh.


Me neither. I try to avoid them, but DuringTheWar's elitist attitude and tendency to assume a moral high-ground in discussions really annoys me.
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Post by DuringTheWar Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:57 pm

@Thimmy wrote:
@DuringTheWar wrote:"A politics that insists it has no ideology at all, only facts. No moral convictions, only charts, the kind that keep them from "imposing their morals" like the bad guys do."

Otherwise known as the "rationalist delusion" -  the false belief that you are an exploratory reasoner when in actual fact you are being guided by emotional affectations. There are objective thinkers, just not many, on either side of the isle, reason as an adaptive function operates more to serve as lawyer than scientist.

(And incidentally objective thinkers are usually psychopaths, or sociopaths; hence the lack of emotions, which ties in well with the research demonstrating libertarians are the most systematic thinkers with the highest IQ on average, AND have the lowest levels of empathy on average, think of an analytical person like Ayn Rand for example)

From the reason website that was linked to -

"In one study, the researchers analyzed the responses of nearly 1,500 undergraduates sorted along the usual liberal-conservative continuum to a questionnaire asking them to think about various social and political issues. Their answers were then coded for integrative complexity and compared. It turns out that conservatives showed more complexity when dealing with topics like the death penalty, socialism, and refugees. Liberal responses were more complex when considering pre-marital sex, biblical truth, and alcohol. Overall, they report that liberals showed no greater complexity in thinking than conservatives did.

A similar study analyzed liberal and conservative responses to a 30-item questionnaire. Again, conservatives exhibited more complex thinking on some topics, including open-door immigration, smoking, castration, and easy access to birth control. Liberals were complex when discussing organized religion, abortion on demand, making racial discrimination illegal, and being assertive.
"


How that is surprising to anyone I can barely fathom. But as I stated the average liberal suffers from the rationalist delusion just because they aren't christians, with a bit of dunning Kruger thrown into the mix, the result being not only someone who is blind to their own dogmatic tendencies, but someone who actually thinks they are a warrior against dogma itself. I see that all the time on this forum. Of course this results in skyrocketing levels of smugness.

And that stereotype of republicans as uneducated/stupid. I mean seriously, how do you continue thinking in generalisations such as that when you look at exit poll data showing democrats dominate the least educated sections of society?

Anyways I am of the opinion American liberalism is in the process of being and will soon be killed by humanistic nihilism, you can see the nasty being ratcheted up day by day.


Am I wrong in assuming that you are a smug, hypocritical, conservative christian with a complete lack of introspection?


yes
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Post by FennecFox7 Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:06 pm

Great argument. Sums up your shitty posts really
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Post by DuringTheWar Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:15 pm

I don't argue with questions, I answer them.
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Post by Peccadillo Mon May 02, 2016 4:31 am

Bill Maher makes me want to become a fascist.
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Post by Lord Awesome Wed May 04, 2016 12:31 am

I'm smug cause facts state that I'm right, mostly.

Deal with it, creationists. :coffee:

Spoiler:
Am I doing this right?
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Post by DuringTheWar Wed May 04, 2016 6:07 am

Smug american liberal Vs English conservative



I think the American right has psychologically skewered her perception of reality. Boris Johnson like Trump ? She's going to start seeing Trump in her toast soon, assuming bread doesn't make her "break out in hives".
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Post by Guest Wed May 04, 2016 11:55 am

@DuringTheWar wrote:Smug american liberal Vs English conservative



I think the American right has psychologically skewered her perception of reality. Boris Johnson like Trump ? She's going to start seeing Trump in her toast soon, assuming bread doesn't make her "break out in hives".


She's a comedienne.

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Post by Peccadillo Mon May 09, 2016 4:22 am

Anyone got any views on milo yiannopoulos?

I watched him on the Joe Rogan podcast and found him to have an interesting perspective, despite coming across as slightly contradictory & overly provocative.

His bashing of the new mainstream psuedo-liberalism that exists today is fun to watch. Whilst I am sure he is just being outrageous for the publicity and probably doesn't believe everything he says I do agree with his over-arching position that many of those who identify as liberal need to be called out for their BS.

I don't consider myself right wing at all but the attitudes of the left nowadays probably nudge me further to the centre than I actually am.
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Post by Guest Mon May 09, 2016 12:30 pm

@Peccadillo wrote:Anyone got any views on milo yiannopoulos?

I watched him on the Joe Rogan podcast and found him to have an interesting perspective, despite coming across as slightly contradictory & overly provocative.

His bashing of the new mainstream psuedo-liberalism that exists today is fun to watch. Whilst I am sure he is just being outrageous for the publicity and probably doesn't believe everything he says I do agree with his over-arching position that many of those who identify as liberal need to be called out for their BS.

I don't consider myself right wing at all but the attitudes of the left nowadays probably nudge me further to the centre than I actually am.


He is probably respected more in the UK, but over here he seems a bit of a joke. A clear homosexual preaching transgenders have mental disorders. A man, and I use that very liberally in his case, who in disdain of gamers only joined the gamer gate "movement"(another term I use quite liberally in this context) only because he shared a much larger disdain, or jealously, of women.

I feel he is more of a kardashian figure, sticking his bait into an ocean looking to catch anything to help him remain relevant.

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Post by DuringTheWar Mon May 09, 2016 1:48 pm

I've kept track of milo for a while, seeing as his homosexuality has already been brought up I'll make a comment about that - It is interesting to note the warm reception he's had amongst American conservatives. I think perhaps it shows that a lot of the "homophobia" in those circles is really related to broader issues that get wrapped up in and conflated with homosexuality. If they have no problem with a very extravagant homo like milo who shares similar values to them I suspect the issue is more about the infestation of all round freakazoids in political gay circles like Dan Savage.
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Post by Guest Mon May 09, 2016 2:10 pm

@DuringTheWar wrote:I've kept track of milo for a while, seeing as his homosexuality has already been brought up I'll make a comment about that - It is interesting to note the warm reception he's had amongst American conservatives. I think perhaps it shows that a lot of the "homophobia" in those circles is really related to broader issues that get wrapped up in and conflated with homosexuality. If they have no problem with a very extravagant homo like milo who shares similar values to them I suspect the issue is more about the infestation of all round freakazoids in political gay circles like Dan Savage.


Has the right REALLY embraced him in America? He writes for Breitbart, a conservative platform shunned by not only the mainstream conservatives of fox, but also the far alt right he has recently tried to place himself as the mouthpiece as.

Lets see what the American alt right, a movement he has tried to place himself in leadership role, has to say about him:

Can’t Kike the Alt-Right

He's accepted as much as he writes a column, and plays off the hatred many "gamers" have of women today. Why did his popularity only shoot up when he became a champion for a subculture, which he ridiculed in the not so recent past. He is quite simply a whore for fame. He cares about "Ethics in video games" while saying people who play video games are absolute losers? Lets be real here.

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Post by McLewis Wed May 11, 2016 12:30 am

Interesting discussion.

From my perspective, it doesn't really matter whether one's right or wrong. You can be liberal and be right while still being civil. Smugness gets in the way of that.

To dive deeper into this, I've been listening a bit more to right-wing radio shows on Sirius XM like Andrew Wilkow ( I actually like him honestly though I don't agree with him largely), Sean Hannity (didn't like him before and I still don't) and Mark Levin (super entertaining with that temper of his). I mostly find the conversations uninteresting since most of the callers and hosts are like-minded, but the interesting ones are with those who are liberal and build up a head of steam. Hannity has a tendency to talk down to people who don't agree with him while Levin simply doesn't have the patience to suffer them. Wilkow probably responded the best as he'll at least hear them out before then debating them. Very civil, especially with progressive hosts like Michelangelo Signorile and Mark Thompson.

I then turned onto the left-wing radio and listened to Signorile, Thompson and Thom Hartmann mostly. A considerable contrast. Thompson had a tendancy to shout down right-wing callers whereas Signorile approached those debates with more logic, but a lot more malice behind that. Thom Hartmann was probably the most civil, but I heard condescension in his voice on occasion.

So both sides have a tendency toward smugness. Some discussions were quite civil which made them more of a learning experience to me, but too many were simply angry people shouting at each other. I suppose the emotion is necessary, but the wrong emotions are often on display. Smugness is in that group.
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Post by DuringTheWar Wed May 11, 2016 6:57 am

When smugness leads to outright blacklisting



Great exposé. Fascinating tape recordings of interviews with Hollywood executives and producers.

Some corkers in there:

Susan Harris, the creator of The Golden Girls: "conservatives are 'idiots' with 'medieval minds"

Nicholas Meyer asked ifconservatives face discrimination in Hollywood: "'Well, I hope so.'"

When Schultz arrived for an audition for a show produced by the late Bruce Paltrow, he was told: 'There's not going to be a Reagan a*****e on this show.'


The combination of smugness and insecurity is so cute. You know, because blacklisting your enemies is a real sign of confidence in ones own moral and intellectual superiority....
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