A couple of Mondoville grads who are Facebook friends of mine posted this article from Psychology Today, complete with the disingenuous “Interesting” that denotes agreement from those too passive-aggressive simply to say they agree (in fact, one of the two described it as “Very, very interesting”). Because I believe that education can even take place after graduation, I offered the following comment, which I discovered turned into a post.
[Student], I’m a self-described conservative — registered Republican — and I think any reading of my blog demonstrates that I tend to lean toward the libertarian side of things. Care to compare my IQ with, say, Obama’s? Pelosi’s? The combined Kennedy family’s? (By the way, other slack-jawed mouthbreathers on my side of things include William F. Buckley, George Will, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Antonin Scalia, Ludwig von Mises, Roger Scruton, Robert Heinlein…)
“But [Prof. Mondo]!” I hear you cry, “Perhaps the people you mention (and you) are outliers, the exceptions that prove the rule. After all, the average of any large group says nothing about any particular member x of that group.” OK, fine… let’s take a look at Dr. Kanazawa’s core assumption, to wit: liberalism is “the genuine concern for the welfare of genetically unrelated others and the willingness to contribute larger proportions of private resources for the welfare of such others.” There are two weasel terms here — genuine concern and welfare.
The problem here is one of what one conservative blogger calls “Time Horizons.” Liberals tend to think in terms of immediate outcomes and empirical determinations. Give a hungry man a fish? Problem solved. What? He’s hungry tomorrow? Give him another fish, you stupid, selfish conservative. While this may show genuine concern for the man’s welfare in the short run, it takes no step toward addressing his long-term needs.
A conservative, meanwhile, may think, “Wouldn’t the guy’s needs be better served by helping him catch as many fish as he needs, and to salt/preserve fish for times of scarcity?” Now granted, the fish won’t always be biting — and really, most conservatives (myself included) don’t object to helping people out at those times. It’s called a safety net. However, the fish-a-day method from the previous paragraph is more like a hammock.
Conservatives may also think that the man’s welfare is not addressed in the long run by making him dependent on the kindness of strangers for his daily piscine ration. (They may even believe that a person is more than a materialistic/economic construction of wants, and that people may be damaged spiritually by long-term dependency, whether upon private charity or a paternalistic State.) Is that not also a manifestation of concern? Of course, that doesn’t fit the liberal/short-term empiricist focus on the NOW — not least because it’s harder to measure, so if we’re Kanazawa, we’ll just ignore it.
I would suggest that Dr. Kanazawa’s exercise here is really a simple form of masturbation — a frenzied activity designed to make himself feel good. Unfortunately, as was once believed of the more traditional form, it may lead to blindness.