Thursday, October 13, 2016

Toward a More Perfect Union

“Scene at the Signing of the Constitution” by Howard Chandler Christy (1940)

In the preamble to The Constitution of the United States of America, the reasons for establishing the document are set forth.  One of those reasons is “to form a more perfect Union.”

This particular justification is often subordinate to those lofty ideals of insuring “domestic Tranquility” or promoting “the general Welfare.”  However, as the Constitution indicates in the Preamble, “We the people of the United States” want to do all these things “in Order to form a more perfect Union.”

It seems that “a more perfect Union” was a very important purpose of our Constitution.  Contrast that with more recent political efforts; those activities we’ve seen in the last 100 years.

In the decade from 1935 to 1945, German citizens worked to form “a more perfect race.”  Those efforts to achieve a Master Race for Germany didn’t work out well for a large group of people.

In 21st century America, we are working to form “a more perfect society.”  It seems that the current generation of Americans is less concerned with forming perfect governing systems than with forming perfect groups of people.

I think our Founders would be appalled.

Forming a more perfect system of governance has a singular benefit not shared by the other efforts: It results in a system that can be sustained in the absence of human intervention.

Contrast that with forming a more perfect society.  For that purpose, we must have a group of people dedicated to the definition and adjustment of the society.  We must embed a permanent group of Social Justice Warriors to ensure the perfect society is properly maintained.

Take a look at American academia.  In our current academic system (at the post-secondary level) we have university administrators who dedicate themselves to setting the right mix of “diversity” in the student body.  That might be a student population 60% female, 20% black male, and 20% Oriental, Hispanic, and other male students.

Those percentages would need to be tweaked from time to time, and the monitoring and administration of the system would be a full time job for the diversity experts.  Deciding on the definition of perfection and maintaining it requires a lot of work!

Imagine that this college initiative becomes so successful that we need to implement those percentages in our popular institutions.  Government agencies, entertainment industries, media organizations, etc. would all be encouraged (forced?) to set up employment pools that match the look of the “perfect society.”  The all-encompassing need for perfection would trump any other organizational purpose.

This is a seductive goal, and dominates American culture.

The dark side of the proposition is that it fosters the requirement for a governing class of people.  It would require administrators to mete out the punishments and rewards associated with achieving societal perfection.  Those activities would need to be directed by an authoritarian oligarchy.

There would be no room for democratic adjustments.  The systems put in place would sustain and promote the power and authority of the governing oligarchy.  In fact, it might appear that the quest for a “perfect society” is simply a tool for maintaining control by the oligarchy.

Our Founders showed an elevated sense of enlightenment when they chose to seek out “a more perfect Union.”  They understood that human nature is attracted to the creation of societal perfection, and the unintended consequences can be dire.

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Malicious Extrapolation

Filmmaker Ken Burns delivers the Stanford commencement address. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

The current Republican Party nominee for President is characterized as having extremely negative personal characteristics.  We hear repeatedly that Donald Trump hates women, Mexicans, and disabled people.

The technique used to create these characterizations is called Malicious Extrapolation.  Here’s how it is employed:

--Donald Trump criticizes his political adversary, who happens to be female.  Donald Trump hates women!

--Donald Trump accuses District Judge Gonzalo Curiel of having a conflict of interest as he presides over a civil fraud lawsuit against Trump University.  (The judge is Hispanic.)  Donald Trump hates Mexicans!

--Donald Trump makes fun of a journalist who is critical of him.  The journalist has a physical disability.  Donald Trump hates people with disabilities!

In each case, a particular incident is extrapolated to become an expression of extreme prejudice toward a particular identity group.  Coincidentally, in these examples, each identity group is aligned with the Democratic Party.

Let’s put all this in context.

Kristen Wiig is an entertainer known for her sketches on “Saturday Night Live.”  She has portrayed several characters, one of whom is “Dooneese.”  Dooneese appears to have various physical impairments, but never has Kristen Wiig been accused of mocking people with disabilities.  Instead, our culture seeks out Donald Trump.

Malicious extrapolation is wildly successful in the realm of political theater.  Two public figures recently demonstrated how malicious extrapolation became a transformational event in their personal lives.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.  She aligns with the liberal wing of the bench, but tries to maintain an air of impartial objectivity.

That broke down in July of 2016.  NY Times reporter Adam Liptak wrote an article describing her as thinking she would move to New Zealand if Donald Trump were to become president.

Her remarks, while heartfelt, were impolitic.  Members of the judiciary are expected to avoid taking sides in political campaigns.  Justice Ginsburg was overcome by the impact of malicious extrapolation.  It transformed her.

Another example comes from documentary film maker Ken Burns.  He is well respected in his field, and took the opportunity of a speaking engagement at Stanford University to illustrate the transformative power of malicious extrapolation.

Mr. Burns (pictured above) was asked to speak at the graduation ceremony for the class of 1916.  He began his remarks with information on his work over the past few decades, but felt obligated to display his extreme prejudice against Donald Trump.

His remarks were well-received by the attendees.  Nonetheless, his comments were well outside the norms for a graduation speech.  Malicious extrapolation moved him to inappropriately lash out against a fellow American.

Malicious Extrapolation helps diminish and isolate its targeted victims, but as Mr. Burns and Justice Ginsberg have learned, it also causes people to mistrust the authority figures that use the technique or come under its spell.

This week another example came from a blog by Scott Shackford at  Mr. Shackford describes how various reporters have styled the content of a speech by Donald Trump as being anti-military.

The actual transcript of the speech doesn’t support this notion, but those reporters chose to portray Mr. Trump’s remarks in that fashion.  They practiced malicious extrapolation.

Political Religious Movements tend to use this technique to a greater degree than other entities.  It serves them as the vehicle for instilling hatred against a particular identity group.  Our cultural leaders simply repeat the malicious extrapolation over and over until it becomes Truth.

Malicious Extrapolation: It just works.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Stupid Party

San Bernardino County Sheriff's office image of vehicle driven by Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik on 12/2/2015.

Use your browser to search for “The Stupid Party” and you will get over 90,000 results.  The vast majority of the hits link the phrase “The Stupid Party” to the Republican Party in America.

Many Americans don’t understand why this is the case.  A traditional political party in America considered “stupid?"

To bring clarification, we must understand the concept of a “Political-Religious Movement.”  These are organizations that begin either as religious or political entities, but evolve into something more.  A political party acquires a religious fervor, or a religion acquires territory and authority over the people within that territory.

Either way, the resulting structure takes on increased power over what it would have were it simply a political or religious organization.  Examples that come to mind are the Irish Republican Army and the Palestine Liberation Organization.  They are identified by two central tenets of a Political-Religious Movement: They possess a unifying dedication to a particular ideal, and they manifest a consuming hatred toward a particular identity group.  The Irish Republican Army had the ideal of an independent Ireland and a hatred for British people.  The Palestine Liberation Organization has an ideal of restoring the Palestinian homeland and a hatred for Jewish people.

Political-Religious Movements appear with startling frequency in cultures around the world.  They range from the trivial to the genocidal.  (Yes, genocidal!)

At the trivial end of the spectrum is the “Soup Nazi.”  Jerry Seinfeld created the character, and he brings entertainment value to the early stages of Political-Religious Movements.  Most of us know a person who has a position within a group that uses his or her position to acquire extraordinary power.  It might be the person in charge of a Girl Scout Cookie program or someone at a local PTA.  These people enhance power by bringing a religious quality to their efforts.  The program takes on a set of heightened ideals and the members of the opposing team or outside group become demonized.  The central tenets of a Political-Religious Movement are there.

At the other end of the spectrum is a world leader who acquires influence over millions of people.  National Socialism in Germany during the 1930s began as a political party but evolved into a Political-Religious Movement with devastating consequences.  The ideal of a perfect human race was matched with a hatred for the Jewish people, and millions of Jews in Europe were put to death.

Political-Religious Movements dominate world cultures.  We see them in the governments of Syria and North Korea.  We see them in the drug cartels of Mexico.  They are the driving force for street gangs in our major cities.  They appear in cults of one form or another.

But with Political-Religious Movements so common, why aren’t they recognized and studied?  Why do we not see the terminology in our popular lexicon?

One reason is that increased understanding removes the mystique from the underlying organizations.

ISIS is one organization that benefits from this mystique.  Imagine that we come to understand ISIS as a Political-Religious Movement.  Suddenly the media attention associated with the “disenfranchisement” of Muslims becomes inappropriate.  People no longer view ISIS as a type of religion.  It certainly started as a religious organization, but when it achieved power and authority with the acquisition of territory and property in the Middle East, it evolved into a Political-Religious Movement.  It maintains the Koran as its source of idealism, but its hatred of “nonbelievers” secures its status as a Political-Religious Movement.

While National Socialism started as a political party, ISIS began as a religion.  They each started at opposite ends of the spectrum, but are now emblematic of Political-Religious Movements.  If we simply classify them as such, they take their place alongside the Pathet Lao, the Khmer Rouge, and the multitude of Political-Religious Movements throughout history.

Political-Religious Movements focus our attention on one other significant issue.  They abundantly display the attractor that is associated with Political-Religious Movements.  That attraction comes from The Hate.  We are drawn to it.

This is the most interesting factor of all.  The common idea is to associate those drawn to Political-Religious Movements as being from a minority, being disadvantaged, having a difficult childhood or having nowhere else to go.  That is absolutely incorrect.

It is simple human nature.  Human beings are drawn to The Hate.

It is a common feeling.  We like to know that a particular identity group can be singled out for hate.  Maybe it’s “The One Percent” or (as with those associated with Black Lives Matter) people in law enforcement.  Maybe it’s the hierarchy of the Catholic Church!

If we are taught to hate a particular identity group, it makes us feel good.  It is “Othering.” We are not a part of that other group.  We are a part of the accepted group.  We like that.

And that is why it is important to understand Political-Religious Movements: They exploit human nature.  They increase their power and authority by appealing to our human instincts.

I believe the human attraction to The Hate is linked to a Left-Brain / Right-Brain analysis.  If your Left Brain is dominant, you tend to be more accepting, more amenable to ideas that are repeatedly taught to you.  Right-Brain people tend to be more inquisitive and will look for outside validation rather than automatic acceptance.

How does all of this relate to the title of this post?

Here in America, we have our Democratic Party becoming more than a political party.  It is working to fashion a sense of idealism around the notion that it is the political party that wants to bring an end to human suffering.  The call to “End Suffering” takes on a religious quality – similar to a desire to perfect the human race.  It becomes the touchstone of a new Political-Religious Movement: Our Democratic Party in America.

But idealism is not enough. The Democratic Party fosters a hatred for Republicans. You know the characteristic refrain: Republicans are racist, homophobic bigots.  Republicans want to destroy the environment, harm our children, turn the economy into a catastrophe, shred the Constitution, etc.

The idea of being dedicated to end suffering, along with a visceral hatred for Republicans, has allowed the Democratic Party to evolve into a Political-Religious Movement in a very short period of time.

What does the Republican Party do about this?

Those crickets you hear chirping are the reason the Republican Party is characterized as “The Stupid Party.”

Friday, March 27, 2015

Death as an Abstraction

Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks

News of the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 creates a familiar refrain: Another person has chosen to end life with the destruction of those in his or her proximity.
Death is an abstraction to these individuals.  It might incorporate an element of fantasy, in that death allows that individual to achieve a higher state of being.  However, it is not something associated with grief, despair, or the more humanist emotions.  Abstract death is devoid of emotion.
We don’t yet know if the Germanwings co-pilot exhibited a penchant for the Hate, but shouldn’t be surprised if it surfaces.  Death and hatred share an embrace.  Abstract death reflects the highest form of the Hate.
I bring this up because our news organizations carefully avoid associating the teaching of hate with its ultimate expression.  Our culture won’t go there.
A recent example is the efforts of Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, in promoting the Race Together initiative.  He tells us that “the promise of the American Dream should be available to every person in the country, not just a select few.”
Mr. Schultz knows that racism exists only with Republicans.  He sees himself as an altruist, working to remove the scourge of White Male Privilege from Republicans.  There is no need to change the wealth and personal makeup of people such as George Clooney or himself.  They are above it all.  It is Republicans who must pay reparation.
People inherently feel uncomfortable (especially Republicans!) when they are being taught to hate under a guise of altruism.  That’s natural.  What’s surprising is that recognition of the technique cannot be addressed in our culture.
Luckily, a free market will drive home reality for Mr. Schultz.  While sales of Starbucks beverages might soar in locations such as Seattle or San Francisco, I would imagine the “Race Together” initiative created significant sales declines in Utah and North Dakota.
Death and the Hate are fascinating topics for discussion, yet our culture fixates on racism.  Dan Henninger, Deputy Editor of the Editorial Page for The Wall Street Journal posted his “Wonder Land” column yesterday.  (Text copied at the bottom of this post.)
Mr. Henninger tells us that it takes some ability to use race in promoting the anti-Republican political message.  He shows how president Obama and Eric Holder are skilled at it.  Howard Schultz is not.
Race, Hate, Death:  Two of these are timeless issues to address in our culture and in human affairs.  One of them is used for political advantage by the Democratic Party.
That’s the one that gets attention in our American culture.

UPDATE 2/16/2016:
Mr. Schultz shows us how Starbucks confronts misogyny.  This from an article in The Washington Times by Tammy Bruce:

A person attempting to be a Starbucks customer was waylaid by the 6th century. Thinking she would get her java at the Riyadh Starbucks, instead she received some tall extra-fat Sharia and encountered a sign which she promptly tweeted. Outside the coffee shop was a notice that read in English and Arabic, “Please no entry for ladies only send your driver to order thank you.”

Social media exploded when “ManarM” tweeted, “#Starbucks store in Riyadh refused 2 serve me just because I’m a WOMAN; asked me 2 send a man instead.”

Confirming the situation, Starbuck’s issued a statement to CNN that was not filled with disgust and outrage, but instead, excuses. It cited “local customs” and “local law” as it explained that the only reason women were temporarily banned from that Starbucks was because they needed to build a gender wall inside the store.

Race After Obama

Redefining the issue to make solutions possible.

Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz took it in the neck from all sides for asking his baristas to chat up half-awake customers about race in America. Mr. Schultz, however, is merely one voice in the conversation on race, which since the Ferguson shooting and Selma’s 50th anniversary has settled on American politics like winter in the East, harsh and unending.
While much of it is predictable or discouraging, others are trying something really new—a positive point of view. We start with the discouraging words.
The nomination of Loretta Lynch, the black federal prosecutor from the Brooklyn district, has elicited comments about her delayed confirmation vote in the Senate.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said, “Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general, is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar.”
North Carolina’s Rep. G.K. Butterfield, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus: “I think race certainly can be considered a major factor in the delay.”
These two members of Congress are saying some Senate Republicans, five decades after a bipartisan vote passed the Civil Rights Act, are opposed to Loretta Lynch because she is black.
When the president of the United States was asked if race was playing a role in the delayed nomination, Mr. Obama replied, “I don’t know about that.”
Eric Holder said, “My guess is that there is probably not a huge racial component to this.” He added that “this is really just D.C. politics.”
A fair parsing of these comments by the president and attorney general also suggests the possibility of racism among Senate Republicans.
Mr. Obama could have said, “No. I do not believe race is an issue in the Lynch nomination.” Instead he said, “I don’t know about that.”
Mr. Holder could have said it was all about Washington politics. Instead he said the racial component “probably” isn’t “huge.”
Others, whose work doesn’t require them to look at all of American life through the keyhole of politics, have different ideas.
Appearing on “The Daily Show” a few weeks ago, the hip-hop singer and actor Common discussed race relations with Jon Stewart. Common had just won the Academy Award, with John Legend, for the title song to the movie “Selma.”
“We all know racism exists,” he said. Then he said, “Let’s forget about the past as much as we can and let’s move from where we are now. How can we help each other? Can you try to help us because we are going to try to help ourselves, too.”
The popular rapper ASAP Ferg said something along these lines in an interview with National Public Radio last week. Rephrasing ASAP Ferg’s words is a tricky proposition, so the interview itself remains the best source for his thinking on race. He did say he thinks the charge of racism has become a cult: “I think it’s a cult-like thing . . . Because whoever is pushing this agenda of people being racist, they like, ‘Yo. Keep doing it. Keep doing it. Yeah. Yeah.’”
In an interview with Oprah last April, music producer Pharrell Williams talked about a “New Black” movement, which he says “doesn’t blame other races for our issues.”
At Vanderbilt University last week, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith said every black person in America should vote Republican in one election: “You [black voters] have labeled yourself ‘disenfranchised’ because one party knows they’ve got you under their thumb. The other party knows they’ll never get you and nobody comes to address your interest.”
As the Obama presidency ends, the status quo on race is in a bad place.
If media coverage reflects reality (a limitless “if”), the country’s racial polarization is as bad as most people can remember. Ferguson, Staten Island, the Brooklyn cop killings, the Oklahoma fraternity—a visitor from Mars might conclude next to nothing good has happened since Selma. On the surface of politics, the left browbeats the right in a bleak, zero-sum standoff.
In some conservative circles, a school of reduction holds that the black vote is gone and the Hispanic vote is a waste of time. The future lies in reanimating the 1980s voting bloc of Reagan Democrats that Ted Cruz identified his campaign with this week.
But just as there is black opinion talking now about getting past the Sharpton race cult and extending a hand, some of the Republican Party’s presidential candidates are doing the same thing.
Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie, in words or with policies (such as Gov. Bush’s early school-choice program), have sought minority support. Gov. Christie has done a lot of town halls in black neighborhoods across New Jersey, and in 2013 got 21% of the state’s black vote. Shaquille O’Neal did commercials for Mr. Christie.
The race issue will remain after the Obama years. Emerging now is a desire to redefine this subject in ways that make it available to solution.
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Friday, February 27, 2015

White Male Privilege

Patricia Arquette, Best Supporting Actress, at the Oscars on 2/22/2015 (AP photo)
White male privilege has come under fire recently.  On February 12th, during a Smithsonian Associates event held at George Washington University, Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended the idea of a “living Constitution.”  The Supreme Court Justice said the Constitution must expand to cover more than the “white, property-owning men” who were “We the People” at the time of the founding.
Ten days later, at the 87th Academy Awards ceremony, Patricia Arquette accepted her award for Best Supporting Actress.  She closed with this comment:
"To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America."

Both of these remarks address the burden that a certain gender and skin tone places on our culture.  If we could somehow restrict white males in America, our country would be a better place.  America needs to discriminate based on race and gender!

It’s a concept that is met with exuberant enthusiasm by actress Meryl Streep.  Ms. Streep was immediately on her feet and applauding when Ms. Arquette delivered her remarks.
Maybe now is a good time to bring justice to this malignant state of affairs.  What would be the best way to start?
My thought is that we could use the Social Security Administration to get things going.  How about cutting the benefit checks for white males?  There are several positive outcomes:
--These are the people who were around during America’s civil rights movement in the ‘60s.  They deserve to pay reparations for being alive during this unsettling period of American history.
--A 50% cut seems appropriate.  People of the male gender tend to die earlier than their female counterparts, so they must pay more up front to keep things fair.
--If the disadvantage accrues too strongly to Democratic Party voters, a Lois Lerner protégé at Treasury could “inadvertently” avoid applying the cuts to those white males affiliated with the Democratic Party.
This action could be done legislatively or by Executive Order.  If done legislatively, it could be introduced by Democrats similar in mindset to the late Fritz Hollings, who along with Charlie Rangel would submit bills to reinstate the military draft, with a provision to draft women.  The bills never passed, but they showcased the dissimilar treatment afforded gender in our culture.
Similar actions could be taken now, to demonstrate the need to force equality in our society.
I don’t think Patricia Arquette would necessarily promote the idea.  Her job is not to bring justice to the social fabric of America.  Her job is to teach the Hate.
(Ruth Bader Ginsburg must be smiling.)

UPDATE 3/7/2015:
The Wall Street Journal has an article in its Opinion section that points out gender equality is best served by free markets, rather than governmental control.  The article is behind the WSJ paywall, so I'll copy it below.  The title of the article is,"For Gender Equality, You Can't Beat Capitalism."

By Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan,

International Women’s Day, commemorated annually on March 8, has become a celebration of women’s achievements in politics, business and the arts. This year, events are scheduled in at least 86 countries, with nearly 180 in the United States alone. These ceremonies, speeches and workshops will examine nearly every aspect of women’s lives, but few, if any, will note International Women’s Day’s origins in American socialism and Eastern European communism.

The day was first declared by the American Socialist Party in 1909 and, in 1917, it set into motion a sequence of events that would become Russia’s February Revolution. Female workers went on strike that day to achieve “bread and peace” in the face of World War I. Leon Trotsky later concluded that this event inaugurated the revolution.

Socialist leaders used International Women’s Day ostensibly to highlight their commitment to gender equity. Yet contrary to its socialist origins, more than 100 years of evidence since the first International Women’s Day suggests that free markets are the single best solution to inequity, gender or otherwise.

On this the data are unmistakable. And the Fraser Institute and the United Nations Development Program have more than enough from which to draw clear conclusions.

In its annual Economic Freedom of the World Report, the Fraser Institute, a Canadian free-market think tank, assesses degrees of economic freedom within countries. The United Nations Development Program, in its Human Development Reports, evaluates countries’ degrees of gender equality. Fraser does not consider equality when ranking economies according to economic freedom, and the U.N. does not consider economic freedom when ranking economies according to equality. But when the two reports are combined, a fascinating pattern emerges.

In countries that are (according to Fraser) more economically free, such as Switzerland and Finland, women have achieved (according to the U.N.) greater outcome equality. In the half of countries that are less economically free, such as India and Algeria, the U.N. measure shows that women experience significantly more inequality (almost 75% more according to the inequality index).
What is the implication? As compared with men, women in economically freer countries hold more elected seats in government, have longer life expectancies, achieve higher education levels, and earn higher incomes than do women in less economically free countries. In short, in freer economies, women’s lives are longer, more prosperous and more self-directed.

This result might not come as a surprise. Rich countries tend to be more economically free, and people in rich countries tend to have more time and energy to be concerned with outcome equality. So perhaps gender equality isn’t a function of economic freedom so much as wealth.

Except that it is. If we restrict our vision to the poorest countries, the same pattern emerges. Comparing the Fraser and U.N. data sets, we find that, of the poorest 25% of countries (as measured by per-capita GDP), the half that are more economically free achieve more gender equality than do the half that are less economically free. According to the U.N.’s own numbers, women suffer less inequality in poor, economically free countries than they do in poor, economically unfree countries. Women in poor but economically free countries hold more elected seats in government (relative to men), are better educated (relative to men), and live longer (relative to men) than do women in poor but economically unfree countries.

Since the advent of International Women’ Day, many, from the common people to presidents and popes, have looked to government control of markets as the solution to the problems of poverty and inequality. A landslide of evidence over the past century shows that, regardless of our good intentions, the more we allow governments to control markets, the more poverty and inequality we experience.

There is no better time to note these facts than on International Women’s Day. A celebration that was once simple Communist propaganda can, and should, be repurposed to celebrate the forces that actually lift people out of poverty and inequality. The evidence suggests that equality doesn’t come at the end of the government’s gun, but at the end of the free market’s handshake.

Mr. Davies is associate professor of economics at Duquesne University. Mr. Harrigan is director of academic programs at Strata, a free-market think tank in Logan, Utah.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Eschew the Hate

Let's start a conversation on Hate.
Our world is beset with people engaged in beheadings, suicide bombings and other forms of mayhem.  World leaders strive to wipe groups “off the map.”  What is it that attracts these people to Hate?
Authoritarians automatically gravitate toward it.  It mobilizes people.  It gets results!
The rest of us need some guidance.  What is Hate?  How does one teach Hate?  What are the specifics?
I’ll provide a quick primer.  Hate has two specific qualities:
            --It must involve intensely negative characterizations.
            --It must be directed at an identity group.
That means a person who says, “You are a racist!” is using an intensely negative characterization, but it is directed at an individual, not an identity group.  It is not Hate.
A person who says, “I don’t appreciate how Fundamentalists view the right to life!” is taking a specific stance.  It is not a characterization, even though the remark is directed at an identity group.
To be Hate, both of these elements – an identity group and a negative characterization – must be in place.
That means a person who says, “Christians deserve to die!” is expressing Hate.
A group chanting, “Power to the killers of cops!” is expressing Hate.
But if we understand the examples of Hate, what do we do about it?
There were a couple of techniques used during the recent elections of 2014 that can shed some light on this.  Here in Colorado, the campaign of Senator Mark Udall spent a significant amount of time running ads depicting Cory Gardner as a threat to women.  In Iowa, Joni Ernst was subject to a “war on women” accusation.
The Gardner and Ernst campaigns give us examples of two anti-Hate techniques:
            --Elevated Associations
Joni Ernst used the “Trivialization” technique to deflect the characterizations.  Her response was, “I am a woman, and I have been to war.  This is not war.”  She called upon her personal experience to trivialize the accusation.
Cory Gardner used the “Elevated Associations” technique.  He ran ads counter to the “threat on women” accusation, indicating he supported making birth control pills available over-the-counter rather than by prescription.  When voters saw Mark Udall characterizing Cory Gardner as a threat to women, they were reminded of the ad making birth control an over-the-counter product.  The negative characterization was elevated to a positive association for Congressman Gardner.
If you see the characterization of Republicans as a threat to women being a component of Hate, you aren’t far off the mark.  The characterization is “negative,” if not “intensely negative.”  The application of the characterization only to Republicans makes it against an identity group.  It might be considered “politics as usual,” but the elements of Hate are there.
That brings us to the Teachers of Hate.  As noted above, Authoritarians are drawn to Hate because it is an extremely effective way to influence people.  If you can teach people to hate, you are able to control them.  When people believe all their problems are caused by a particular identity group, they will endure unbelievable hardship for a given cause.
Who are the Teachers of Hate?  There are a multitude of candidates from around the world, but I will highlight a few from American politics.  Herewith, the Teachers of Hate:

Arquette, Patricia - Film and television actress.

            02/22/2015 - Republicans are a threat to women.
Cohen, Steve – U. S. Representative from Tennessee’s CD-9.
            01/19/2010 – Republicans are liars.
DeGette, Diana – U. S. Representative from Colorado’s CD-1.
            03/21/2010 – Republicans are killers.
Olbermann, Keith – Sports and political commentator.
            02/24/2010 – Republicans are sub-human.
Sanchez, Loretta – U. S. Representative from California’s CD-46.
            01/13/2015 – Republicans want to separate mothers from their children.

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Friday, January 30, 2015


Mason, from the movie “Boyhood,” played by Ellar Coltrane
Cinéma vérité is a film style that unveils “truth.”
The movie “Boyhood” is a 2014 release that has Oscar nominations for best picture and best director.  It is written and directed by Richard Linklater, and tells the story of a young man growing up in Texas from 2002 to 2013.  Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, is seven years old at the start of the film and 19 at the end.
The movie is distinctive because it uses 45 days of filming over the course of twelve years to cover Mason’s life.  IMDb has more about this extraordinary experience in its Trivia section on the movie.
While the movie portrays Mason with intimacy and sensitivity, it throws in a political message.  Mason’s father (played by Ethan Hawke) takes his son along to distribute Obama/Biden yard signs during the 2008 presidential campaign.  Young Mason meets homeowners who approve of what he is doing and who don’t.
Mr. Linklater showcases a caring, welcoming, female supporter of the Obama campaign.  This homeowner is all smiles when Mason asks permission to install the sign in her yard.
In contrast, Mr. Linklater has Mason encounter a Republican.  The Republican is an angry, menacing, older white male who tells Mason to get off his property.
How do political stereotypes wind up in cinéma vérité?
It’s our American culture, and it’s expected.
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