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Politics Science

Is "Left" Vs. "Right" Hard-coded Into Your Brain? 758

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the you-are-a-machine dept.
New submitter kyjellyfish writes "Research published in the journal PLOS ONE, suggests that your parents 'Left or 'Right' party affiliations are not the only factor at work shaping a person's political identity. Differences in opinion between 'Lefties' and 'Righties' may reflect specific physiological processes. In research performed over 10 years ago, brain scans showed that London cab drivers' gray matter grew larger to help them store a mental map of the city." From the article: "Other scans have shown that brain regions associated with risk and uncertainty, such as the fear-processing amygdala, differ in structure in liberals and conservatives. And different architecture means different behavior. Liberals tend to seek out novelty and uncertainty, while conservatives exhibit strong changes in attitude to threatening situations. The former are more willing to accept risk, while the latter tends to have more intense physical reactions to threatening stimuli."
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Is "Left" Vs. "Right" Hard-coded Into Your Brain?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:16AM (#42941701)

    I was a hard-core conservative a few years ago, now I'm a hard-core liberal.

    Did my brain rewire itself?

    Nope, your brain is just fucked up; "hard-core" leanings toward any political party these days is insane.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:19AM (#42941711)

    They certainly cry a lot. Listen to Rush or Glenn.

    Also, they're scared shitless of pretty much everything outside their comfy world--Turrorists, teh gays takin' over teh skools, teh Moo-slims, etc., etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:23AM (#42941731)

    Were that really the case, you'd think conservatives would be for gun control and liberals against it, rather than the other way around.

    Or in simpler terms, bullshit.

  • Structural? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:28AM (#42941765)

    It's not hardwired: If it were, we'd be able to do these scans at birth or an early age and find similar patterns. But we don't. Which means the brain's structure changes in order to specialize in certain thought and behavior patterns. The fact that this applies to politics as well as, say, geospatial, tasks, should be absolutely no surprise.

    It's disengenuous to suggest these things are hard-wired because they imply they cannot be changed. Except they can: I've known many people who, after experiencing a significant emotional event, altered their politics, religious affiliation, and even base personality traits. The human brain is exceptionally malleable. This study only offers a snapshot at a particular point in time and suggests that if certain structural properties are present, the thinking pattern is likely to be of a certain type. It does not say whether that structure was present before, after, or the extent to which it can be changed, and if so, how quickly.

    It's like taking a photograph of a car driving down the road and assuming that it's on that road, and only that road, forever.

  • by XDirtypunkX (1290358) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:30AM (#42941771)

    There is a whole bunch of evidence for Neuroplasticity (your brain rewiring itself due to input, behaviour changes and illness), so it is possible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:30AM (#42941779)

    Liberals don't need guns.

    Regressives clutch their guns because they're afraid of trying to deal with the world without them.

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:34AM (#42941793)
    When you vote for the lesser of two evils, you get ever increasing evil.
  • Two party bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dyingtolive (1393037) <brad.arnett@NoSPAM.notforhire.org> on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:37AM (#42941817)
    Oh look, it's news reinforcing the false premise of the two party system.
  • I don't believe it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stenvar (2789879) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:40AM (#42941831)

    "Liberals" (in the modern US sense of progressives / left wing) are enormously fearful and risk averse: they want governmental protection against unemployment, against medical expenses, against global warming, against guns, and lots of other things. Granted, the nature of these fears are seemingly more rational and plausible than those of conservatives (who seem to fear anything from the wrath of God to being tempted into homosexuality by gay marriage), but they are still driven by fear.

    The only group who isn't driven by fear is libertarians, people who actually have trust in their ability to make a living somehow and survive in an uncertain and changing world, independent of God or government help. Libertarians are often linked with "conservatives", but they are more accurately described as classical liberals.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:43AM (#42941851)

    No, American conservatives are very fearful. They fear terrorists, and demand the government protect them, even if that means loss of rights. They fear criminals, and demand guns to defend themselves, even though statistics clearly show that having a gun in your home puts you at greater risk. They fear gays and Muslims and commies and immigrants and regulations. They're not bad people, they just like life as it is, and are fearful of anything that might cause changes in their current life style.

  • by epyT-R (613989) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:45AM (#42941863)

    ..and liberals are afraid of:

    1. name calling - they want to censor/ban it along with any other critical expression using newspeak/political 'correctness.' Hell, they even do it with science when it threatens that tenet..as dogmatically as the most ardent bible thumping baptist does about gay marriage. How puerile/hypocritical can it get?
    2. physical defense of oneself from an attack by another. guns are their primary target of course, but this extends down through to whitewashing entertainment and brainwashing kids in public schools with, well.. see #3.
    3. self-empowerment of any kind, despite their propaganda, the only self power they tolerate is the kind your kid sister has when she teases your older friends and then runs behind mommy's legs. today's 'bucket filling' programs (search for it). I swear these 'programs' help to trigger columbines.
    4. preferring passive aggression to active assertion, the typical liberal will hide behind their feelings whenever their compartmentalized logic fails to jive with reality, then bait you into 'hurting' them where big-daddy government will (or they think should) come to their aid.

    How often do you hear liberals 'cry' about the 'plight' of all the non white/non-straight/non males out there? Seriously? For every glenn beck, there are many more nancys and hilarys. Dogmatism is usually the result of fear, and both sides of the the ill-conceived right/left scale are full of both. Time to vote them both out, people..

  • by kdemetter (965669) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:46AM (#42941883)

    I was a hard-core conservative a few years ago, now I'm a hard-core liberal.

    Did my brain rewire itself?

    It's more likely that your definition if conservative and liberal changed.
    My people call themselves conservative or liberal, while meaning totally different things.

    Infact, the original meaning isn't left right :
    the normal opposite of "conservative" would be "progessive" ( sticking to what's known to work versus taking the risk of trying new things ).
    the normal opposite of "liberal" , would be authoritarian ( liberalism favoring more freedom , whereas authoritarianism favoring less freedom ( more control by state ) ). Although there is also the distinction between liberal (state should ensure freedom ) and libertarian ( state should be minimized, thus providing more freedom)

    Left : more personal freedom, less economic freedom.
    Right : more economic freedom, less personal freedom.

    For example, you could be a left-leaning conservative liberal, which would mean that you value freedom, with emphasis on personal freedom, but prefer to stick to tried and true policies for achieving this ( just an example, I'm not saying you are ) .

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:48AM (#42941887)

    In the US, the labels are wrong and everything is forced into a false dichotomy. In fact, there are a number of identifiable groups of voters: Christian conservatives, nationalists/fascists, progressives/socialists, liberals/libertarians, and a few smaller ones like environmentalists. A different way of looking at it is the four combinations of fiscal/social conservatives/liberals.

    Fiscal liberals and social conservatives are both motivated by fear, the former by fear of economic disaster, and the latter by fear of social change. The only group reasonably free of fear is those who are fiscal conservatives and social liberals.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:52AM (#42941917)

    That's true Liberals don't need guns, but why even need them when your head is planted in sand.

  • by epyT-R (613989) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:53AM (#42941925)

    yeah because they don't mind having their lives ever more micromanaged and sanitized by big daddy.. see I can stereotype and ad-hom too..

  • by readin (838620) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:56AM (#42941947)
    One of the top conservative magazines in the country, the National Review, has an editorial policy of supporting drug legalization.

    You have a point on gays. That is one of the few areas where conservative rhetoric has been very out of line with the general conservative philosophy. The marriage thing isn't really an issue of freedom - nothing stops gays from having religious ceremonies and making lifetime commitments - it's more an issue of forcing others to agree that gay marriage is good, or at least to pretend to - for example note the recent lawsuits against a photographer and a cakemaker who refused to participate in a gay wedding. However the laws against sodomy were a violation of freedom and too many conservatives supported those laws. (though as a constitutional issue the laws were valid - the Supreme Court unsuprisingly screwed up again - but just because the Constution allows a state to make a law doesn't mean the statue should make that law.)
  • by mianne (965568) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:00AM (#42941975)

    Neither "hard-core conservative" nor "hard-core liberal" refer to any political party. Ideologies perhaps. You could equate Tea-Partiers to the former and Occupiers to the latter, but neither group appears to have much faith in their "designated party" from the 2-party system we've got. Liberals complain that Obama is perpetuating and strengthening heavily criticized policies from GWB. Meanwhile, the conservatives have been throwing their stalwarts (Arlen Spector, John McCain, and now Chuck Hagel, et al) under the bus for not being suitably uncompromising about their core ideologies. And the GOP is torn apart as their try to pander to this group while distancing themselves from nutjobs such as Todd Akin.

  • by Ambassador Kosh (18352) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:01AM (#42941983)

    Most of the liberals I know like guns, explosives and all kinds of interesting things. Although it does help that most of the liberals I know are also engineers so I don't know what we qualify as. Although I do know some strange liberals since they also like creating custom lifeforms to do interesting things like bacteria to clean up environmental damage, make medications etc.

    Most see magazine limits as pretty stupid since you can print your own. Most I know are also completely okay with universal background checks since from what myself and others have read most of the weapons used in illegal crimes are coming from legal dealers that are selling without the checks or they come from gun shows where the checks are not required.

    I don't see how universal background checks are at the expense of freedoms anymore than a driver's license, fishing license, hunting license etc is.

    Often I wonder what engineers really qualify as. Most I know end up with the same end results as liberals on many issues but for radically different reasons. They also agree with conservatives on many issues but for radically different reasons. It seems to be more about practically and what works for the given situation. If the situation changes so does the solution but it doesn't matter if someone slaps a liberal or conservative sticker on an idea, So long as the idea is the best we have for the given problem under the given circumstances that is all that matters.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:09AM (#42942033)

    Slashdot is populated almost exclusively by the extreme left.

    You clearly wouldn't know "extreme left" if it bit you in the butt. What passes for "left" in the USA is middle-of-the-road most everywhere else. And in any case, Slashdot has more than its share of libertarian types and go-it-aloners.

  • by onemorechip (816444) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:19AM (#42942063)

    Right : more economic freedom

    Well...Maybe, if you happen to be a corporation.

  • by Ambassador Kosh (18352) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:19AM (#42942065)

    I don't see them favoring the rights of women very much or gays. That is the major reason that I just can not support them.

    It doesn't matter what my views on abortion are. I don't have the right to impose them on someone else.

    My views are the same on gay marriage. It is not something I will do but that does not change that others want to do it and they should have that option.

    The republicans say they are the party of small government and getting government out of peoples lives but they don't act like it. Also I will say the democrats are just as bad but on different issues.

    If the republicans would actually accept these social issues and actually be the party of smaller government it would be much easier to support them. However their history indicates this is just a talking point and not an actual action they take when given power.

    I don't like the democrats either but they have tended to be far more accepting of other lifestyles and choices over the last 20 years or so and do more to push technology. Right now most people still don't realize that many of the jobs are gone and will never be coming back and our society is not really trained for the kinds of work that is needed now.

    I am not saying that everyone needs a college education but there are good jobs that do need trained technicians that we should be teaching people to do and it doesn't matter if you are a democrat or republican. If you can find a program that costs $x and pays back >$x in tax revenue it is a good idea to do it since it puts more people to work and makes them productive citizens.

    It is so tiring to hear ideas painted with liberal or conservative and then automatically thrown out. In many areas we need welders, electricians, etc but the funding is not there to get people out of poverty to train for those jobs and end the cycle. We also have a pretty decaying infrastructure in this company and are losing a LOT of jobs to places like germany with better infrastructure.

  • by Ambassador Kosh (18352) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:30AM (#42942125)

    What about those of us that want a universal health care system because the system we have now costs society more in things like crime, lower productivity and inefficiency that a universal system would?

    It has nothing to do with fear, it is just practicality. The profit motive for medicine is not really working and it leading to pretty poor health outcomes. Based on various recent studies our computer systems give about 40% better patient outcomes at about 50% of the cost.

    I think the medical system is due for a massive overhaul to make it work better and cheaper but I don't see that happening with the corporate system we have now and I also doubt that the kind of universal health care system we can get in this country would get us there either but it would still be better than what we have now.

    For global warming the way I see the problem is companies are allowed to damage private and communal property without paying for it. If companies that damaged underground aquifers by fracking had to actually play the FULL COST to clean up the damage they would do it safely or stop pretty quickly. The entire reason that companies can do all this polluting is they are externalizing the costs to the taxpayer and future generations in return for profits for them right now. Look at BP, the fine they got for polluting the gulf of mexico is insignificant compared to the costs of the cleanup. So long as that remains true they are going to keep doing it because that is the way the incentive structure is setup. You get the behavior you incentivize for, not the behavior you claim to support.

    For guns I just want universal background checks. I don't care about the clip sizes or the types of weapons very much. Especially given that pistols are the most common weapon used to kill people not rifle type weapons.

    I do like government protection against unemployment. Mostly because I like that more than desperate people doing whatever they can to get food for themselves and their family which costs a lot more to the society than just helping them. However I don't think we help people effectively. If you lose your job it would be nice if your skills could be evaluated and training offered for indemand positions. So a welding company that can't fill a position could basically tell a government jobs program about the position and a person could be offered to be trained for that position.

    Sometimes social programs are just the cheapest way to solve a given problem. It is a nice idea to say that everyone needs to stand on their own and deal with their own problems. However humans are also pretty violent when pushed into a corner and if someone has no other way to get food they will tend to just take it which is more expensive for all of us.

  • Not likely... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:36AM (#42942149)

    ... since americans are among the most uninformed electorates on the planet today. The average american, and average slashdot poster is CLUELESS about politics.

    The reality is america is totally hard right, obama would have been not long ago a moderate republican (which is hard right the rest of the world). So you have a bunch of clueless americans who are voting between basically what amounts to the same flavor of hard right ideology with little difference. Many americans then make a big stink about their uninformed political views and opinions.

    Reality is the average american is too ignorant/stupid to have any kind of informed political view of america given the huge amount of propaganda that pervades their media and education system.

  • by baboo_jackal (1021741) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:59AM (#42942233)
    I don't think it's at all reversed. Here's how I rationalized it: At a low level, people with "conservative" brains tend to be risk-averse. As a result they engage in less risky and novel behaviors, and overall have more positive (or less tragically negative?) outcomes. The end result is that they tend to be more self-reliant, and in their higher cognition don't see why one should need an extensive social safety net, and therefore oppose it. Conversely, people with "liberal" brains seek out novelty and therefore expose themselves to more risk. As a result, some liberals end up with tragically bad outcomes, and the ones who don't (i.e., have trained themselves to be appropriately risk-averse) can cognitively understand how one might end up in a bad spot. This, coupled with their tendency towards feelings of connectedness and presumably empathy, result in a greater desire for more extensive social safety nets.

    Put another way, conservative brains are all like, "Well, I would never let myself get into that position. Even if I did, I'd get myself out of it. I don't see why they deserve help." and liberal brains are all like, "Even if that person didn't make the best choices at every juncture in their life (or even made lots of bad ones), I can totally understand how they made the choices they did. At some less wise point in my life, I might have made the same decisions. They deserve our help."
  • by bunbuntheminilop (935594) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:01AM (#42942237)

    I don't come from a country that uses the term 'liberal'. However, I *think* I'm a liberal, and OP is easy to rebuff.

    1. Freedom of speech must be balanced against those that seek to cause harm, i.e. by inciting violence. The state should press charges if you for yelling 'fire' in a crowded movie theatre. This means, don't be surprised if I object to your poorly worded 'critical expression' if I feel as if it will incite violence.

    2. I'm not *for* guns, or else I'd be *for* guns for everyone, especially those that cannot afford them. I don't see anyone argue *for* subsidised guns for everyone.

    3. I'm not afraid of self-empowerment. It just shouldn't come at the cost of not restricting the freedoms of others. The bucket filling program that you write about is probably less a liberal position, but more a tool to manage a classroom. Anything to help kids think about their actions is a good thing.

    4. I don't prefer either. The end of the scale, aggression, is generally a form of coercion. If you need to be aggressive towards someone, you're probably removing their ability to make their own decisions.

    I finish off my post with some sweeping generalisations, and then a emotive, rousing call to arms. Just kidding.

    Note that being 'out-numbered' isn't an excuse to be an asshole.

  • Not odd at all (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:06AM (#42942261)

    conservatives want you to take individual risk, but tell you exactly what you can and cant do

    Incorrect. Conservatives are for individual risk, and ALSO states rights which are inherently letting people do what they want to do.

    liberals on the other hand want you to live your live as free as possible

    HA HA HA HA HO HE HO HA HA HA HO HE

    Oh yeah, that's why they like regulation so much, because it grants you so much "freedom" - freedom from being able to choose anything but a "safe" path the government agrees is best for you.

    No, liberals are the party of Control - always have been [amazon.com], always will be.

    Until you figure that out you'll keep voting in people you think are making you more free while they turn the screws tighter each year.

  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:07AM (#42942265) Homepage

    Are you trying to tell me that most of everywhere else in the world considers the level of retarded behavior and thought process in somewhere like San Francisco is "middle of the road"? I'm glad I don't have a visa...

  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:35AM (#42942371)
    Unfortunately, marriage has many secular and economic implications that religious ceremonies and lifetime commitments do not in of themselves encode. For equal protection under the law, marriage (the legal institution) is necessary. People can wring their hands all they want about how homosexual unions may be legally equivalent to heterosexual marriage but, if the two should be identical legal constructs, it begs the question why different language should be needed to describe them. If not the word marriage, why not not simply reword all legislation with the more neutral 'civil union' as the norm and remove contentious words such as "marriage" altogether?

    Yes, I know I'm just setting it up for the "omg teh gays r destroying ur marriage, see!! see!!" response. :)
  • by Vaphell (1489021) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @03:26AM (#42942517)

    i don't see anything about the rat race in his post. The deal is simple - if it's your choice to be more social and grind less at work, accept the consequences (eg lower standard of living, low disposable income) like an adult. The choice is fine, but the oversized sense of entitlement would be wrong, as it would have to be funded by people who might hate work just much as you if not more, but don't skip the hard parts of life, who have the fruits of their labor taken from them.

  • by GauteL (29207) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @04:21AM (#42942709)

    The only group who isn't driven by fear is libertarians, people who actually have trust in their ability to make a living somehow and survive in an uncertain and changing world, independent of God or government help.

    Interestingly enough, you didn't once consider concern for the plight of others in your post, but managed to make it all about the trust in your own abilities. Is it not possible that some may feel perfectly safe in their own position, but believe even the bum down the street has a right to medical care if he gets sick?

  • Are you trying to tell me that most of everywhere else in the world considers the level of retarded behavior and thought process in somewhere like San Francisco is "middle of the road"? I'm glad I don't have a visa...

    The problem is actually that the WAY that "middle of the road" is implemented in such places is retarded.

    Both traditional "left" (as practiced in parts of Europe) and traditional "right" (the US Conservatives) have their advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I lean significantly more "left" than "right", but I can certainly see some disadvantages to my preferences and some advantages to the other way of looking at things. However, when you take a "right" stance and then implement ONLY SOME "left" policies, you end up with a complete shitstorm that fails to work at all.

    You can't have "a bit" of public transport and then ignore your road infrastructure - you need a LOT of WELL PLANNED public transport in order to even consider reducing your investment in roads. Likewise, you can't have a half-hearted attempt at a public health system and expect it to help everyone as it should. Nor can you simply throw in free education without changing a lot of the systems around it in order to compensate for the financial upheaval it would cause.

    Now, I'm in favour of good public transport, public health-care, and free education; but to me, the way such things get discussed in the US miss the point entirely. The European left and the US left both share the goals of having these things, but the European left at least pays attention to how it can be achieved without fucking everything else up badly in the process; something I feel the US left ignores on the vast majority of occasions.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:37AM (#42942983)
    And SF is one of the most prosperous places on Earth. (The New England states are more prosperous but they have also had a lot longer to develop.) It seems that being run like a circus and being full of lazy people works. That, or your generalisations weren't worth the bother of writing down because they are just lazy Conservative stigmatising of anything new.
  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:46AM (#42943023)

    And some liberal would point out that they shouldn't be saying such things, then the conservatives would scream freedom of speech.

    This in fact highlights the difference between how the left and right perceive freedom of speech.
    To the left, the most important aspect of freedom of speech is being able to constructively criticise without fear of censure.
    To the right, the most important aspect of freedom of speech is being able to verbally abuse others.

    This is why from the left we get laws against inciting racial hatred, but from the right we get "free speech zones".

  • Re:Not odd at all (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:47AM (#42943029)

    Conservatives are for individual risk, and ALSO states rights which are inherently letting people do what they want to do.

    Then why do they tend to be in favour of banning abortion and opposed to drugs decriminalisation.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:51AM (#42943045) Journal

    The marriage thing isn't really an issue of freedom - nothing stops gays from having religious ceremonies and making lifetime commitments - it's more an issue of forcing others to agree that gay marriage is good

    You know, I'd have no problem with churches banning gay marriage and stopping gay people from having the religious ceremonies. They are free to have pretty much any views - consistent or self-contradictory - that they want, and I'm free to point and laugh at them. The thing I find indefensible is that a gay person who has been in a monogamous relationship with another for 20 years is not permitted to be their next of kin for legal purposes, while a drunk heterosexual couple that just met and stumbles into a wedding chapel can get this - along with certain tax breaks - immediately. These legal rights should be granted to any couple (or even group) that wishes to have them, not reserved for certain combinations of genitalia.

  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @06:02AM (#42943077)

    Libertarians are driven by fear of their fellow man, which is why they rail against democratically elected Government.
    Fundamentally, this is merely a reflection of their own greed and selfishness - they know they'd be happy to screw over their neighbour at the drop of a hat, so they assume their neighbour feels the same way.

  • by sg_oneill (159032) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @06:04AM (#42943083)

    Where does the "extreme Left" in the USA hide ?

    In the terrified imagination of Glen Beck

  • by metlin (258108) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @06:31AM (#42943155) Journal

    All those who scream meritocracy do not know any better, or the fact that the guy who coined the term meant it as a derogatory phrase for the scary future we're headed into. [economist.com]

    Meritocracy sounds great on paper but is terrible in terms of social consequences. It allows entrenched elites to stay entrenched and over time, removed generational mobility. It's a term thrown around so casually in the US that people think of it as a positive trait. It's anything but.

  • by Eddi3 (1046882) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:04AM (#42943231) Homepage Journal
    While average income is indeed high in San Francisco relative to the rest of the US (40-50% higher), the cost of living is also double (100% higher) the average cost of living in the US. Sounds like a net negative to me.
  • Re:Fixed it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GLMDesigns (2044134) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:35AM (#42943341) Homepage
    how is wanting small, constitutionally limited government == goosestepping?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:45AM (#42943405)

    Historically, the Democrat party is the racist party.

  • by readin (838620) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:05AM (#42943513)

    And some liberal would point out that they shouldn't be saying such things, then the conservatives would scream freedom of speech.

    This in fact highlights the difference between how the left and right perceive freedom of speech. To the left, the most important aspect of freedom of speech is being able to constructively criticise without fear of censure. To the right, the most important aspect of freedom of speech is being able to verbally abuse others.

    This is why from the left we get laws against inciting racial hatred, but from the right we get "free speech zones".

    To the left, the most important aspect of freedom of speech is that they get to define what is "construstive criticism" and what is "verbal abuse". To conservatives the most important aspect of freedom of speech is freedom of speech.

  • by endianx (1006895) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @08:51AM (#42943851)

    No, American conservatives are very fearful. They fear terrorists, and demand the government protect them, even if that means loss of rights. They fear criminals, and demand guns to defend themselves, even though statistics clearly show that having a gun in your home puts you at greater risk. They fear gays and Muslims and commies and immigrants and regulations. They're not bad people, they just like life as it is, and are fearful of anything that might cause changes in their current life style.

    What I can't disagree with anything you said, it is incomplete. In addition, "liberals" are fearful of personal responsibility and a free market.

    Both sides are based on fear of freedom.

  • by nametaken (610866) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:25AM (#42944177)

    Conservatism is the politics of fear. What you describe is typical. They're not opposed to what's actually being proposed, they are opposed to where they fear it might lead. Their imaginations always follow the worst case imaginable, even if it's improbable, and assume that's what will be.

    Interesting. I'd say the whole issue is defined by fear. The left is using fear, the only tool at their disposal, to sell changes to the constitution for political points. Gun owners are simply afraid, and it's because they've actually watched this happen before. In their lifetime.

    So tell me again how it's a one-sided affair. Then tell me which is worse.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:31AM (#42944229) Homepage Journal

    At the end of the day it has to be a complete lack of confidence in yourself and your country that makes you want to own these kinds of guns.

    You had me until you blamed me, the victim. I have plenty of confidence in myself. The only confidence I have in my nation is that it will misbehave. This nation was founded upon genocide and we continue to treat the scattered remnants like subhumans. Illegal acts are par for the course for our government, on a daily basis. Police commit crimes at at least the same rate as the general population.

    Either you need a clip full of "do over" bullets because you need to feel good about your lack of shooting skill

    Everything is wrong with what you said here.

    or you need to stock up on weapons to protect yourself from the boogeyman because you don't believe in the local, state and federal law enforcement to keep your property and life safe.

    Why would I?

    I get the last one.

    So why did you use the inlammatory word "Boogeyman"? Oh right, simply to discredit your imaginary opponent, because you know you have no valid argument with which to do so.

    However by making high powered auto rifles legal and available at all you make it nearly impossible for them to do their job

    What? [citation needed]

    You shouldn't need more than a handgun at most to protect against a similarly armed bad guy.

    You don't understand the second amendment, and should cease commenting on this issue until you do. It's not there just for self-defense or for hunting. It's there for defense against enemies foreign and domestic.

    Regardless of whether they are responsible for a majority of killing or not there just isn't a defensible reason for civilian owned auto style rifles. Get them off the streets and out of homes.

    Again, you don't understand the second amendment. Those of us interested in preserving freedom would prefer that people like you who are only interested in putting your head in the sand and trusting proven criminals to protect you and server your interests would stop dispensing advice intended to turn others into malleable cowards to justify your own irresponsible, cowardly decisions.

  • by Zordak (123132) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:47AM (#42944397) Homepage Journal

    Or as Stephen Colbert famously put it [youtube.com], "Reality has a well-known liberal bias!"

    As we see from the resounding success of social policy in Europe, where every country has coffers full of tax revenues and a vibrant, healthy workforce to support the millions upon millions of pensions.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @10:10AM (#42944703)

    The left is using fear [of guns], the only tool at their disposal, to sell changes to the constitution for political points.

    No, the left is using actual massacres and gun death statistics to oppose what actually is. It's not some fear of what might be.

    Gun owners are simply afraid, and it's because they've actually watched this happen before. In their lifetime.

    It's impossible to tell which of the many value of "this" you mean here. What gun owners are afraid of is other gun owners. How do we square that circle?

  • Re:Fixed it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dragonslicer (991472) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @10:13AM (#42944737)

    Nobody here thinks the Democrats are far left.

    Sadly, I think the Fox News pundits have convinced a lot of people in the United States that the Democrats really are communists. Out here in the real world, though, there are very few members of Congress who are even borderline socialists.

  • Re:Fixed it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GLMDesigns (2044134) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @10:33AM (#42944951) Homepage
    Neither the left nor the right respects the concept that one has a right to ones own's body. Without that concept there is no right to an abortion. Witness that the intellectual monstrosity that one cannot determine whether or not to wear a seat belt (and get fined for it) while driving to the abortion clinic to remove a fetus. Clearly the topic of abortion is tricky: if you come to the conclusion that abortion is murder then you ought to try to prevent said murders.

    Re the military - surely you're not saying that is a right v left thing are you? Which party was the isolationist party for generations? Under which party in the white house has the anti-terrorism war expanded to many new countries?

    Re building walls around are border - are you saying that a state cannot dictate who crosses its borders? Are you saying that anyone can cross anytime, for any reason, walk over other people's property and nothing can or should be done about it?

    Re the jails - I see both the democrats and republicans increasing gov't control. If the government regulates you and you don't follow the regulation - what happens? You get fined. If you don't pay the fine what happens? You go to jail. I don't see the democrats legalizing drugs, prostitution, gambling. I don't see the democrats fighting back against ever encroaching gov't micro-management (don't buy these large-sized sugary drinks, put on your seat-belts, wear your helmets.) Instead the left - ie the democrats are in the forefront of an ever larger, ever more intrusive government.

    And you call those opposing this government intrusion goose-steppers? Talk about Orwellian double-speak.

  • Re:Fixed it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neurovish (315867) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @10:36AM (#42944961)

    How is giving preferential treatment to the highest corporate bidder == small, constitutionally limited government? Or banning gay marriage? Or limiting women's choices? Or cutting entitlement programs to shift funding over to the military? I'm ok with the small, constitutionally limited government that conservatives always talk about, I just don't want the social and moral legislation that always seems to be mentioned in the next breath.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @11:22AM (#42945477)

    They tend to try to use the police power of goverment to force people to live the way they dictate they should live.

    You just described Republicans AND Democrats.

    The problem with your points:
    1) Almost none of these behaviors are limited strictly to Republicans or strictly to Democrats;
    2a) Republicans are not particularly "conservative" these days, except in the religious sense: they're happy spending money on a bunch of useless shit, as long as it makes their conservative religious base happy.
    2b) Democrats are not particularly "liberal" these days, except with spending money on entitlement programs that make their liberal minority base happy.
    3) For almost all of your examples, Republicans & Democrats are both in favor of using the "police power of goverment" to "force people to live the way they dictate they should live." Republicans argue against a strong federal government and for states' rights because they know that if the choice is left to the states, SOME states will enact laws that tell people how to live in a way that is consistent with Republican values. Democrats, by contrast, want to leave everything to the all-powerful central government, so they can ban behaviors they think are particularly repugnant.

    Neither of these parties give a SHIT about the individual. Neither of them really give a SHIT about freedom or choices - they simply want to enact their vision of "paradise" by government fiat. Until and unless we understand that, and start breaking the 2-party stranglehold, you can expect political discourse in America to continue to decline. Most "liberals" and most "conservatives" would probably be absolutely amazed at how much common ground they have with one another... but they fall prey to the same idiotic wedge issues that the Democrats & Republicans use every four years to determine who gets to continue spending the public's money.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @12:16PM (#42946095) Journal

    As we see from the resounding success of social policy in Europe, where every country has coffers full of tax revenues and a vibrant, healthy workforce to support the millions upon millions of pensions.

    Ah, you mean like Germany? Yes, you are right, they have implemented it very well.

  • by bjdevil66 (583941) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @03:00PM (#42947637)

    Just in case you're inferring that liberal views play a role in wealth generation: The prosperity of SF, LA, NYC, Boston, etc. has very little to do with liberal views. Any arrogant pricks from those coastal cities who think that are kidding themselves.

    Instead, the wealth comes from their geography (i.e. sea ports). Throughout history, cities along important trade routes have always been places of wealth and prosperity. They create wealth just by EXISTING where they do because they steal from... er, add duties to goods bound for... everyone inland who wants those goods, whether it be union bosses and their crony friends, greedy bankers/merchants, "liberal" politicians with their rich friends, etc... And the sea ports in the United States are no different.

    Yes, wealth does lead to education and enlightenment, which can dispel some incorrect notions that poorer, less-enlightened people fall prey to (bad religion, ignorance, prejudice, etc.). However, that wealth also leads to comfort, which almost invariably leads to pride, and eventually decadence - and you can't easily be decadent with a socially conservative viewpoint.

    In other words, wealth from trade leads to liberal views - not vice versa. And if SF (and all of its smug) were picked up and thrown inland 100 miles, it would lose its liberal viewpoint within a generation as the wealth left the city - along with all of the freeloaders at all levels of society who mooched off of it.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

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