Archive for April 20th, 2011
Ronald Baily of Reason has gathered recent psychological research examining the personality characteristics of libertarians. He notes that Jonathan Haidt has had to revamp his left/right political ideology analysis to accommodate libertarians. They are different from the left and the right.
What did Haidt find?
“Libertarians share with liberals a distaste for the morality of Ingroup, Authority, and Purity characteristic of social conservatives, particularly those on the religious right,” Haidt et al. write. Libertarians scored slightly below conservatives on harm and slightly above on fairness. These results suggest that libertarians are “likely to be less responsive than liberals to moral appeals from groups who claim to be victimized, oppressed, or treated unfairly.”
There is a lot of good stuff in this article, including this additional survey of the ways in which they are different than those on the traditional left and right:
Another survey, the Schwartz Value Scale, measures the degree to which participants regard 10 values as guiding principles for their lives. Libertarians put higher value on hedonism, self-direction, and stimulation than either liberals or conservatives, and they put less value than either on benevolence, conformity, security, and tradition. Like liberals, libertarians put less value on power, but like conservatives they have less esteem for universalism. Taking these results into account, Haidt concludes that “libertarians appear to live in a world where traditional moral concerns (e.g., respect for authority, personal sanctity) are not assigned much importance.”
Haidt and his colleagues eventually recognized that their Moral Foundations Questionnaire was blinkered by liberal academic bias, failing to include a sixth moral foundation, liberty. They developed a liberty scale to probe this moral dimension. Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that libertarians dramatically outscored liberals and conservatives when it came to putting a high value on both economic and lifestyle liberty. Haidt and his colleagues conclude, “Libertarians may fear that the moral concerns typically endorsed by liberals or conservatives are claims that can be used to trample upon individual rights—libertarians’ sacred value.”
Khaled al-Johani decided to speak out at the “day of rage” in Saudi Arabia, even though no one else spoke. He is the 40-year old religion teacher in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the father of a 5-year old autistic boy. He was direct during his speech: Saudi Arabia needs free speech and it needs democracy.
For this outburst, Khaled was imprisoned. He had plainly predicted that he would be thrown in prison during his speech. In the linked article, it was indicated that he would be transferred to the notorious maximum-security Takehi Alhaer prison outside Riyadh. It was suggested that he would be tortured there, and released only after he disavowed what he said about free speech and democracy.
The following youtube video is an excerpt taken from a BBC program about the incident.
Here is a Facebook page dedicated to Khaled.
Have you ever wondered who the United States is killing with its drone attacks in Pakistan? I have. Here’s a comprehensive source of information from New America Foundation. The map will show you the drone attack sites and numbers of deaths. From 2004 – 2011 it is reported that the United States has killed a total of 2,290 people. You can also see that the military claims that 1,829 of these people were “militants.”
The above web page offers this link for an expanded view of the locations of the drone attacks. If you click that expanded view, you’ll see some fascinating information. Click this link for recent drone-killings. The most recent reported attack occurred on April 13, 2011. If you click on it, you’ll see that 4-7 “militants” were killed, and an unknown number of “others.” By clicking on the link, you can then view various news sources regarding the attack.
[More . . . ]
For many months, Glenn Greenwald has documented the many ramifications of the mistreatment of Bradley Manning, including the failures of the U.S. media and the moral failures of Barack Obama. I highly recommend his latest article for the latest information. His final line:
“And it’s quite telling how one must go to to a British newspaper to read about U.S. abuse of a U.S. service member.”
[Addendum of April 21, 2011] Bradley Manning has been transferred out of the military brig at Quantico, and he’s headed toward Leavenworth. As usual, you can learn many of the details from Glenn Greenwald. One can only hope that he is kept in more humane circumstances in Kansas.
Greenwald takes a moment to celebrate the work and success of the independent press, which carried this story along where the mainstream media melted:
[T]his episode should be a potent antidote to defeatism, as it provides a template for how issues that would be otherwise ignored can be amplified by independent voices creatively using the democratizing and organizing power of the Internet, and meaningful activism achieved.