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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Enactors of moral order

A book that caught my attention when it was published a few years ago is The Righteous Mind.  It never quite made it to the top of my reading list. Since comments by the author Jonathan Haidt have appeared recently in a number of articles, I was prompted to read it recently. ( This tease  with link is for one of those articles, The Coddling of the American Mind.

There is a  website for the book, full pdffigures, a summary and other summary by other readers that I think are interesting.  I've included several pages of excerpts here and more limited excerpts below.

This is overall a well written book presenting interesting material.  It is one of the most well organized books I can remember reading.  In each chapter and each section the author lays out what he is going to explain, explains it well and then summarizes the key points.  A subset of the aforementioned excerpts follow(emphasis mine):

I study moral psychology, and I’m going to make the case that morality is the extraordinary human capacity that made civilization possible.


But I chose the title The Righteous Mind to convey the sense that human nature is not just intrinsically moral, it’s also intrinsically moralistic, critical, and judgmental.


Our righteous minds made it possible for human beings—but no other animals—to produce large cooperative groups, tribes, and nations without the glue of kinship. But at the same time, our righteous minds guarantee that our cooperative groups will always be cursed by moralistic strife. Some degree of conflict among groups may even be necessary for the health and development of any society.


Part I is about the first principle: Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second.

Part II is about the second principle of moral psychology, which is that there’s more to morality than harm and fairness.

But people have so many other powerful moral intuitions, such as those related to liberty, loyalty, authority, and sanctity.

Part III is about the third principle: Morality binds and blinds. The central metaphor of these four chapters is that human beings are 90 percent chimp and 10 percent bee. Human nature was produced by natural selection working at two levels simultaneously. Individuals compete with individuals within every group, and we are the descendants of primates who excelled at that competition.


Once you see our righteous minds as primate minds with a hivish overlay, you get a whole new perspective on morality, politics, and religion.

I’ll show that religion is (probably) an evolutionary adaptation for binding groups together and helping them to create communities with a shared morality. It is not a virus or a parasite, as some scientists (the “New Atheists”) have argued in recent years.


We’re born to be righteous, but we have to learn what, exactly, people like us should be righteous about.

We do moral reasoning not to reconstruct the actual reasons why we ourselves came to a judgment; we reason to find the best possible reasons why somebody else ought to join us in our judgment.


Anyone who values truth should stop worshipping reason. We all need to take a cold hard look at the evidence and see reasoning for what it is. The French cognitive scientists Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber recently reviewed the vast research literature on motivated reasoning (in social psychology) and on the biases and errors of reasoning (in cognitive psychology). They concluded that most of the bizarre and depressing research findings make perfect sense once you see reasoning as having evolved not to help us find truth but to help us engage in arguments, persuasion, and manipulation in the context of discussions with other people. As they put it, “skilled arguers … are not after the truth but after arguments supporting their views.”


Hume got it right. When he died in 1776, he and other sentimentalists10 had laid a superb foundation for “moral science,” one that has, in my view, been largely vindicated by modern research.11 You would think, then, that in the decades after his death, the moral sciences progressed rapidly. But you would be wrong. In the decades after Hume’s death the rationalists claimed victory over religion and took the moral sciences off on a two-hundred-year tangent.


The remaining three foundations—Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation—show the biggest and most consistent partisan differences. Liberals are ambivalent about these foundations at best, whereas social conservatives embrace them.

Liberals have a three-foundation morality, whereas conservatives use all six. Liberal moral matrices rest on the Care/harm, Liberty/oppression, and Fairness/cheating foundations, although liberals are often willing to trade away fairness (as proportionality) when it conflicts with compassion or with their desire to fight oppression. Conservative morality rests on all six foundations, although conservatives are more willing than liberals to sacrifice Care and let some people get hurt in order to achieve their many other moral objectives.

Until Democrats understand the Durkheimian vision of society and the difference between a six-foundation morality and a three-foundation morality, they will not understand what makes people vote Republican.



We are 90 percent chimp and 10 percent bee.93 If you take that claim metaphorically, then the groupish and hivish things that people do will make a lot more sense.


Durkheim argued, in contrast, that Homo sapiens was really Homo duplex, a creature who exists at two levels: as an individual and as part of the larger society. From his studies of religion he concluded that people have two distinct sets of “social sentiments,” one for each level.

Religions are social facts. Religion cannot be studied in lone individuals any more than hivishness can be studied in lone bees. Durkheim’s definition of religion makes its binding function clear: A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden—beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them.3 In this chapter I continue exploring the third principle of moral psychology: Morality binds and blinds. Many scientists misunderstand religion because they ignore this principle and examine only what is most visible. They focus on individuals and their supernatural beliefs, rather than on groups and their binding practices.

In Wilson’s account, human minds and human religions have been coevolving (just like bees and their physical hives) for tens or hundreds of thousands of years. And if this is true, then we cannot expect people to abandon religion so easily. Of course people can and do forsake organized religions, which are extremely recent cultural innovations. But even those who reject all religions cannot shake the basic religious psychology of figure 11.2: doing linked to believing linked to belonging. Asking people to give up all forms of sacralized belonging and live in a world of purely “rational” beliefs might be like asking people to give up the Earth and live in colonies orbiting the moon. It can be done, but it would take a great deal of careful engineering, and even after ten generations, the descendants of those colonists might find themselves with inchoate longings for gravity and greenery.


Societies that forgo the exoskeleton of religion should reflect carefully on what will happen to them over several generations. We don’t really know, because the first atheistic societies have only emerged in Europe in the last few decades. They are the least efficient societies ever known at turning resources (of which they have a lot) into offspring (of which they have few).


Moral communities are fragile things, hard to build and easy to destroy. When we think about very large communities such as nations, the challenge is extraordinary and the threat of moral entropy is intense. There is not a big margin for error; many nations are failures as moral communities, particularly corrupt nations where dictators and elites run the country for their own benefit. If you don’t value moral capital, then you won’t foster values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, institutions, and technologies that increase it.


Nonetheless, if you are trying to change an organization or a society and you do not consider the effects of your changes on moral capital, you’re asking for trouble. This, I believe, is the fundamental blind spot of the left. It explains why liberal reforms so often backfire,43 and why communist revolutions usually end up in despotism. It is the reason I believe that liberalism—which has done so much to bring about freedom and equal opportunity—is not sufficient as a governing philosophy. It tends to overreach, change too many things too quickly, and reduce the stock of moral capital inadvertently.


If you destroy all groups and dissolve all internal structure, you destroy your moral capital. Conservatives understand this point.


The philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrestled throughout his career with the problem of the world’s moral diversity and what to make of it. He firmly rejected moral relativism: I am not a relativist; I do not say “I like my coffee with milk and you like it without; I am in favor of kindness and you prefer concentration camps”—each of us with his own values, which cannot be overcome or integrated. This I believe to be false.1 He endorsed pluralism instead, and justified it in this way: I came to the conclusion that there is a plurality of ideals, as there is a plurality of cultures and of temperaments.… There is not an infinity of [values]: the number of human values, of values which I can pursue while maintaining my human semblance, my human character, is finite—let us say 74, or perhaps 122, or 27, but finite, whatever it may be. And the difference this makes is that if a man pursues one of these values, I, who do not, am able to understand why he pursues it or what it would be like, in his circumstances, for me to be induced to pursue it. Hence the possibility of human understanding.

 Intuitive foundations of morals, multifaceted moral dimensions and competition among groups with identity tied to differing emphasis on these dimensions.  All very interesting.  This doesn't really settle anything, but it does give some perspective on the nature of some pretty deep rooted conflicts in societies.

46 comments:

Barry Meislin said...

This is all hogwash.

The truth is more like this:

1. I am a decent person.
2. I am a progressive person.
3. I am a moral person.
4. Ergo, everything I believe, and believe in, is true---or for the most part true)
5. And if you don't agree with me, then you're a putz (or worse)---or for the most part a putz (or worse).

I think that about covers it.

Hold on: for the more "intense" among us, there is:
6. And if you don't agree me with (cont.), then you deserve to be ridiculed, shunned, ostracized, brutalized, destroyed (or worse). Though try to understand: it's all for the sake of a better, more moral world, of course.

File under: Voltaire who?

Howard said...

6. And if you don't agree me with (cont.), then you deserve to be ridiculed, shunned, ostracized, brutalized, destroyed (or worse). Though try to understand: it's all for the sake of a better, more moral world, of course.

Yes, it does seem to work that way!

Harry Eagar said...

I like his mot about chimp and bee, but it is hardly original. Evolutionists have long emphasized that humans are social animals. Some even have asserted that there is no such thing as an individual human; bad news for libertarianism if correct.

But I don't think much of this: 'We’re born to be righteous, but we have to learn what, exactly, people like us should be righteous about.' Particularly in the context of early civilizations. Wittfogel, "Oriental Despotism," offered a non-moral context for that/

It has not maintained favor among students of the subject, but Wittfogel's idea is (despite his Marxism) more congenial to the libertarian project.

It is surprising that he is not an icon of the movement. He is more Randian than Rand.

Hey Skipper said...

[Europe] They are the least efficient societies ever known at turning resources (of which they have a lot) into offspring (of which they have few).

I've never thought of it that way. Add Japan to that list.

[Harry:] Some even have asserted that there is no such thing as an individual human; bad news for libertarianism if correct.

That sentence is bad news for logic, in as much as libertarianism asserts that the most moral society is one with government intervention limited to only those areas where it is necessary.

Collectivism, after all, has a uniformly lousy track record.

[Barry:] The truth is more like this ...

I visit a few progressive blogs, and they are all exactly what you describe.

To number 6 you could add "banned". There is nothing easier in this world than to get banned from a progressive blog. In the space of two comments, I got banned for suggesting communist East Germany was not, in fact, a workers' paradise, but rather a very miserable place. In the space of two comments.

That sort of thing is, in my experience, unique to progressives. They do love themselves an echo chamber.

Harry Eagar said...

'in my experience, unique to progressives'

Really? You don't know any Christians?

'libertarianism asserts that the most moral society is one with government intervention limited'

http://www.salon.com/2014/04/29/10_insane_things_i_learned_about_the_world_reading_ayn_rands_atlas_shrugged_partner/

Harry Eagar said...

I dare you to find a progressive or liberal or leftist of any stripe as certain of truth and as intolerant and punitive as this guy:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/10/23/the-synod-has-been-a-sham-faithful-catholic-leaders-should-walk-out/

Barry Meislin said...

The problem is, the "moral order" assumes an overall environment of (more or less) social "order". That is, it assumes a universe (or context) of reasonable laws and enforcement of said laws.

That is, it does not assume a Hobbesian environment (or universe).

When the environment becomes increasingly Hobbesian (as seems increasingly likely)---and the context becomes one (or is perceived as one) of personal survival---then all bets are off.

Put another way, when the legal mechanisms of a society break down (or are sabotaged by the political system itself), then it's every man for herself....

It would stand to reason(!) that all political parties, no matter what their political differences, should stand together to protect the legal mechanism of their society.

(Which, no doubt, is one reason Obama is devoted to shredding the Constitution.)

File under: darWIN-darWIN

Peter said...

No, the real problem is that nobody will be persuaded to adhere to a faith-based morality merely because it's good for social cohesion and resilience. That's like expecting folks to balance the family budget because it's good for the national accounts.

Apparently one of the last French kings once asked Talleyrand how he could go about establishing a new religion. The answer was "Perhaps, Sire, you could arrange to have yourself crucified and then rise again on the third day."

OTOH, in my more cynical moods, I am fond of the Oxford don who quipped that he was a strong supporter of the Church of England because he saw it as a bulwark against religion.

Hey Skipper said...

'libertarianism asserts that the most moral society is one with government intervention limited'

I read the book, didn't much like it.

The Salon review, predictably enough, stinks the place right up.

Most of the top comments I looked at rubbished the review in such detail that it makes me wonder why you thought the review was mentioning, unless it was to highlight the extraordinarily superficial analytical skills of Salon writers.

erp said...

Skipper, IIRC from my school days, Rand allegedly wrote the book as a spoof on the sophomoric style of the commie tomes so admired by lefties at the time.

It's doubtful she, or anyone else, thought it would continue to be a ranting point for lefties nearly 60 years later, but then it isn't so surprising because the story is easily comprehended by those with 6th grade (or below) reading comprehension levels. Ya know, those who think "From each according ..." is a marvel of brilliance.

Harry Eagar said...

What was she spoofing in 'The Fountainhead' then?

Skipper may not have liked the book much, but the hardcozr libertarians at, eg, Volokh Conspiracy like it fine. And there was actually a Galt's Gulch development in Chile that attracted some libertarins with more money than brains, but it turned out to be a scam. Imagine that.

Sorry. Libertarians are stuck with Rand. Even, forsooth, Ron Paul admired her. Named his spawn for her, actually.

erp said...

Harry, I don't remember hearing anything about the genesis of "The Fountainhead" and don't remember ever reading it, but I've read thousands of books, so it is possible. I did see the movie recently on TV -- never had seen it before and thought it a bore, but that may be because I can't stand either Gary Cooper or Patricia Neal. The plot didn't make the point very well as movie makers then and now are afraid to make anything that doesn't move the narrative along look good.

A good example of a non sequitur or as Howard so humorously put it, deflect, deflect, deflect is your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs above. Those jejeune tactics only work with know-nothings.

I do have trouble imagining a scam that isn't perpetrated by the left. You guys have really have perfected the art form.

Harry Eagar said...

Are you saying Ron Paul, paladin of private property, was taken in by a spoof that he thought was a libertarian bible? Keep going. This is getting good.

Howard said...

No, the real problem is that nobody will be persuaded to adhere to a faith-based morality merely because it's good for social cohesion and resilience.

How about a more reasonable ambition - to persuade secular types that short of calling for a theocracy, religious people are not the enemy.

Regarding Ayn Rand, isolated quotes are quite good, but overall her view doesn't work for me. You might want to see the old Whittaker Chambers review and this additional perspective. Then again some of the important points therein might be too subtle for some folks.

Harry Eagar said...

But they are the enemy when they do call for a theocracy? Careful, it's a slippery slope toward democracy and liberalism.

As for social cohesion and resilience being a good thing, consider Ireland.

Howard said...

Harry,

I'll just say I'm a pluralist, and let you misconstrue the rest.

erp said...

Harry, if the question about Ron Paul is addressed to me, the answer is I don't answer for anyone but myself. Again, you don't see the non sequitur. You have knee jerk reactions that provoke reflexive responses that make sense only to other fellow travelers.

Harry Eagar said...

It doesn't matter whether you are a pluralist. It matters whether, say, any or all of the leaders of the Republican party are. Some are not. That's reason to worry.

erp, possibly you do not know what non sequitur means. But, sequitur, I wondered idly what leftist tomes Rand could plausibly have been spoofing back then? "Old Mand and the Sea"? "Pather Panchali"? "1984"?

erp said...

Harry, segue to your heart's content. I reported what I remembered was being said about "Atlas Shrugged" back when it was first published.

Whether it was written as a spoof or not, Rand sure hit a sore spot in the collective left's craw because it's remained a lefty bête noire for almost 60 years and counting.

For sure nobody, least of whom, Rand, would have predicted that would happen.

Harry Eagar said...

She might not have predicted it but she wanted it. The book encapsulates the childishness, cruelty and stupidity of the libertarians, and now that libertarian ideas have infected the Republican party, it is hardly surprising that liberal-minded people would ridicule it.

It doesn't hurt that, despite the book's being possibly the craziest political tract written in America, the authoress was a poster child for the hypocrisy of bootstrap creeps and an all-round hateful person.

And whatever your memories are, they're wrong. The tireless Nathaniel Branden was not out spoofing the left.

erp said...

Wrong. My memory of that period is very vivid. Like it or not, you'll have to wait until all us geezers die and then burn all the all the old books and records, before your side's rewrite of history will be complete and even then somewhere will be records you missed and with any luck some future generation will resurrect the rule of law and freedom.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Skipper may not have liked the book much, but the hardcore libertarians at, eg, Volokh Conspiracy like it fine.

As literature, the book sucks. However, books often serve as something more than literature. In this regard, Rand nailed collectivism's inevitable drive towards mediocrity and sloth.

Examples abound. There was an article in the NYT last week (for some reason, I couldn't find it before my patience ran out) about the tussle between taxi medallion holders and Uber.

Harry is on the side of the medallion holders. No surprise, the medallion system dates roughly from the New Deal, and collectivizes the market within the all knowing, protective embrace of government.

So I'm sure Harry can explain to us how taxi medallions are such a wonderful idea that it needs protection from individualist — Randian — Uber drivers.

And, while he is at it, I'm sure that Harry can also explain to use how the collectivist government employee unions bankrupting of states and municipalities across the land is also a huge advance over Randian individualism.

Libertarianism suffers from free-rider problems.

Collectivism suffers from everything.

Also, the characterization of Volokh Conspiracy as hardcore libertarians is right up your alley: devoid of evidence.

And there was actually a Galt's Gulch development in Chile that attracted some libertarians with more money than brains, but it turned out to be a scam. Imagine that.



It doesn't hurt that, despite the book's being possibly the craziest political tract written in America, the authoress was a poster child for the hypocrisy of bootstrap creeps and an all-round hateful person.


Harry, you are nothing if not predictable: Every sentient being should be aware that a core unquestionable intellectual underpinning of progressive Internet modernity, one as undeniably certain as that A is A, is that Ayn Rand was an idiotic villain and all her fans are malign, childish bozos.

No doubt, Rand had issues. However, you are standing hip-deep in ad hominem's stench if that is all you can address.

However, perhaps the hypocrisy is even more stenchy. Hillary Clinton is a bald faced liar and rapist enabler. Funny, RtO never seems to mention that.

Hey Skipper said...

Here is a couple thousand words of a progressive completely not getting it.

(And an excellent example of hatchet journalism. The title of the piece is "One nation under Galt: How Ayn Rand’s toxic philosophy permanently transformed America". Half the article amounts to nothing more than a personal attack that, whatever it's merits, is irrelevant. The rest is comically inept.)

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

I don't think Rand was a villain, nor are her fans malign. But they both look a bit childish indeed. But notice that is not necessarily a demeaning charge: sometimes children make the best questions, just not the best answers.

Harry Eagar said...

I say she was a horrible person:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Marion_Parker

And just because you haven't heard about Galt's Gulch Chile doesn't mean it wasn't a scam:

http://www.salon.com/2014/09/16/ayn_rands_capitalist_paradise_lost_the_inside_story_of_a_libertarian_scam_partner/

Hey Skipper said...

Harry, when attacking her ideas, who the hell cares how horrible a person she was?

After all, plenty of collectivist intellectuals were possessed of gruesome personalities.

So, instead of conducting a campaign composed equally of ad hominem and pointlessness, how about picking a specific element of Rand's objectivist philosophy, and tell us why it was so horrible?

And, when it comes to horribleness, I doubt Rand has anything on Hillary.

Harry Eagar said...

Hmmm. Well, she wasn't the only horrible person who also preached horrible ideas, but her horrible ideas were closely linked to her horrible behavior.

Branden, Branden, Branden.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

Instead slinging insults, how about giving us some details about which of her ideas were horrible, and why.

Harry Eagar said...

I recently saw a commenter say something like, how could anyone be surprised that an ideology celebrating greed and cruelty would turn out badly. That sums it up.

As I said, Branden, Branden, Branden

Hey Skipper said...

Wow, Harry, that is perhaps emptiest response possible.

Pick an element of objectivism, and describe, in some detail, why it is horrible.

erp said...

Harry, do you mean "Brandon Brandon Brandon"?

When being obtuse if signifies if you at least spell it correctly.

Hey Skipper said...

erp, Harry's spelling is correct.

And his track record of substituting ad hominem for an actual argument remains unbroken.

erp said...

Branden?

Skipper your mention of singing threw me off track and as Google found an obscure "musician" named Brandon, I assumed that was the reference because there's no way Harry would refer to Rand's personal life in a collective household where sundry people were identifying as one or another of the documented 59 sexual mix and matches -- as horrible -- because ya know, that would be judgmental.

s/off

Harry Eagar said...

Like Thom Hartmann, I always smile when I read this:
http://www.thomhartmann.com/users/halrager/blog/2011/04/ayn-rand-other-course-involves-orcs

Skipper. I considered that the Salon column I linked to said plenty about the evils of objectivism.

Hey Skipper said...

Skipper. I considered that the Salon column I linked to said plenty about the evils of objectivism.

Harry, you once again miss the point. You argue by link, when you bother to provide them, then scuttle off when challenged.

So the challenge before you is to pick an element of Rand's Objectivism, and demonstrate why it was as awful as you say.

That Salon column is laughable, consisting of equal parts incomprehension and ad hominem.

And it is old, to. A para from the column:

One of the heroes of part I is the tycoon Ellis Wyatt, who’s invented an unspecified new technology that allows him to reopen oil wells thought to be tapped out, unlocking what Rand calls an “unlimited supply” of oil. Obviously, accepting that natural resources are finite would force Rand’s followers to confront hard questions about equitable distribution, which is why she waves the problem away with a sweep of her hand.

his trend reaches its climax near the end of part I, when Dagny and Hank find, in the ruins of an abandoned factory, the prototype of a new kind of motor that runs on “atmospheric static electricity” and can produce limitless energy for free. Rand sees nothing implausible about this, because in her philosophy, human ingenuity can overcome any problem, up to and including the laws of thermodynamics, if only the government would get out of the way and let them do it.


Apparently, the columns author had never heard of fracking, a consequence of human ingenuity, possible only because government forgot to get in the way.



Harry Eagar said...

Skipper, you badly misunderstand my purpose. I don't go after Rand because she was evil and her ideas are crazy --although those are helpful antecedent parameters -- but because she is funny.

Clinton is not funny.

I went after Carson before I realized he was evil -- although, not entirely to my surprise, it turns out he too is evil and crazy -- but because he is funny. And in a particularly stupid style: http://gawker.com/ultimate-trickster-ben-carson-claims-he-was-named-most-1741171913?trending_test_a&utm_expid=66866090-62.H_y_0o51QhmMY_tue7bevQ.1&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fgawker.com%2F%3Ftrending_test_a

No doubt if Lindsey Graham ever starts beating head lice in popularity polls, I'll swipe at him. He's funny.

I doubt I'll ever have occasion to mock Kasich. Not funny.

Even Christie fails to be consistently funny: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdYMx7sycW4

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] I don't go after Rand because she was evil and her ideas are crazy --although those are helpful antecedent parameters -- but because she is funny.

I'm calling shenanigans:

[Harry:] She might not have predicted [Atlas Shrugged would remain perpetually stuck in collectivist craws] but she wanted it. The book encapsulates the childishness, cruelty and stupidity of the libertarians, and now that libertarian ideas have infected the Republican party, it is hardly surprising that liberal-minded people would ridicule it.

It doesn't hurt that, despite the book's being possibly the craziest political tract written in America, the authoress was a poster child for the hypocrisy of bootstrap creeps and an all-round hateful person.

...

Hmmm. Well, she wasn't the only horrible person who also preached horrible ideas, but her horrible ideas were closely linked to her horrible behavior.


You made your purpose perfectly clear. And, as usual, when challenged you scuttle.



I went after Carson before I realized he was evil ...

What, exactly, has Carson done that makes him evil? Please, for the love of God, be specific.

Clinton is not funny ...

You are right there, she is about as funny as a slab of cracked cement.

But, to be perfectly fair, which you never are, you have made many references to Rand and Carson being evil. Not funny, evil.

Yet not a syllable anywhere for the serial, and serious crimes of Clinton.

Progressivism is a religion, isn't it?

erp said...

... And to be excruciating specific, progressives profess a very non-funny and very evil religion in the process of destroying the only hope humankind has of worldwide freedom and prosperity.

Harry, any remarks on the latest campus killings by a adherent of the religion of peace whose plan for a beheading was thwarted by the police, but not before four innocents were slaughtered by less dramatic, but equally deadly, means.

Harry Eagar said...

Skipper, do you know about Tay-Sachs Disease? It's one of the cruelest of the birth defects. Do you know that Carson endorses Mannatech products which the company claims cures Tay-Sachs?

Is that evil enough for you?

erp, as I have said often enough, I am a New Dealer. I find lots of progressive ideas -- like equality of the law for women -- compelling, but I am not a progressive.

Skipper commonly assumes I hold this or that position, though I have never expressed an opinion about it (abortion, for example), and it isn't worth it to react to each one.

erp said...

Harry,

If Frankie was serious, he could have integrated the military with a stroke of a pen, but all he was serious about was moving the narrative along -- enabling the unions to begin their destruction of our economy and kissing up to Uncle Joe.

You know, your last comment has given me hope. If a die hard lefty like you is denying progressivism, perhaps they've gone over the edge and there's still a chance for us.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Do you know that Carson endorses Mannatech products which the company claims cures Tay-Sachs?

Is that evil enough for you?


Found that out a couple days ago.

I think you accusation is disgusting, thought typical. It claims by innuendo a far stronger connection than actually exists. SFAIK, Dr. Carson himself never claimed, or even hinted, that Mannetach products cure anything, never mind Tay-Sachs.

But let's take your innuendo in arguendo. May we then term as "evil" anyone who has shilled for a company that was found guilty of malfeasance elsewhere? By your reasoning, of course. Every spokesmodel for, say GM, is "evil enough" because GM was unconscionably slow to deal with defective ignition switches. (The "evil enough" for Government Motors to perhaps having received special treatment thereby we shall leave for another time.)

The worst part, though, is that, having used the word "evil" with respect to guilt by association only, you have no words left to describe things that are truly evil.

Oh, and I can't help but notice you are still skuttling.

Hey Skipper said...

Oh, and another thing I can't help but notice.

I have read some very critical pieces on Dr. Carson and Mannetech recently. From National Review.

And a critical podcast, from Ace of Spades.

Yet from our proggy friends, scarcely a word about the astonishing criminality of Hillary.

Harry Eagar said...


'SFAIK, Dr. Carson himself never claimed, or even hinted, that Mannetach products cure anything'

Possibly you should listen to his promo,in which he claims it cured his prostate cancer.

However, this hardly matters to the judgment, since it is uncontested that Carson took big money (minimum $80 thou) to promote Mannatech, and if he knew Mannatech claimed to cure Tay-Sachsm that was evil; and if he took the money without knowing that Mannatech claimed to cure Tay-Sachs, that was evil. Quack doctoring is evil.

And he's still promoting this quack nostrum.

Hey Skipper said...

Possibly you should listen to his promo,in which he claims it cured his prostate cancer.

Then how about providing a link? Sheesh.

Hey Skipper said...

Possibly you should listen to his promo,in which he claims it cured his prostate cancer.

Shenanigans, Harry. And that is putting it politely.

From a CNN article critical of Carson: In at least one of the speeches, he gave a testimonial about how he beat prostate cancer with surgery while taking Mannatech's dietary supplements.

But you were a journalist, so I shouldn't be surprised that you have great difficulty getting facts, even simple, easily verified ones, straight.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry, the crickets want to know when they can go home.