Sunday, November 15, 2020

Politics Is Sticking To The Script While Pretending To Fight For Your Base

mises  |   The 2020 election has revealed jaw-dropping levels of "liberal" or progressive bias in the media, from the increasing ascendance of woke language, enforced by the thought police, to deliberately ignored issues and information considered uncongenial to those dominating the agenda. To many, it seems as if the power being exercised against freedom of uncoerced and uncensored expression had metastasized full-blownout of almost nowhere. However, that ignores the fact that the bias extends beyond the media, to think tanks and “research” devoted to creating ammunition for the left/progressive conclusions the media loves to reach, and this bias has been around for a substantial period of time.

An excellent example of the production of the groundwork for the bias infusing media today is “research” published in 2003, in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin. Supported by $1.2 million in federal money, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition” supposedly provided an “elegant and unifying explanation” for political conservatism. If you have been paying attention this year, some of its themes will seem familiar.

The authors found resistance to change and tolerance for inequality at the core of political conservatism. While proclaiming their findings to be nonjudgmental, they also concluded that conservatism was “significantly linked with mental rigidity and close-mindedness, increased dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity, decreased cognitive complexity, decreased openness to experience, uncertainty avoidance, personal needs for order and structure, need for cognitive closure, lowered self-esteem; fear, anger, and aggression; pessimism, disgust, and contempt.”

The researchers also equated Hitler and Mussolini with Ronald Reagan as “right-wing conservatives…because they all preached a return to an idealized past and favored or condoned inequality in some form.” And the types of inequality conservatives supposedly favored included the Indian caste system, South African apartheid, and segregation in the US.

Of course, according to the study, that “does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false, irrational, or unprincipled.” But its authors certainly implied it.

Unfortunately, the hit-piece “research” overlooked crucial distinctions.

“Conservative” and “liberal,” as well as “progressive,” are adjectives that have been converted into nouns. But adjectives modify something else. That means the questions that must be addressed if bias is to be avoided include what it is someone is trying to conserve, in what ways whether we are liberal is to be judged, and what is to be considered progress.