Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Liberals' Primitive Understanding of Fairness

To say that leftists and liberals are primitive in their thinking on issues relating to equality is really giving them more credit than they deserve.  Even primates demonstrate a more sophisticated understanding of equality than do liberals.  Primates understand that merit should enter into their calculations of fairness, and they reject the idea that slackers should get special treatment:

"Brosnan and de Waal conducted four tests, each including two sessions of 25 trials, on pairs of female capuchins. The researchers first gave study monkeys the low-value rewards of cucumbers in exchange for tokens. Then, they measured the study subjects' responses when the higher-value reward -- grapes -- were given to their partners for exerting varying levels of work effort.

"'We showed the subjects compared their rewards with those of their partners and refused to accept a lower-value reward if their partners received a higher-value reward,' says Brosnan, 'This effect is amplified when the partner does not have to work for the reward.'

"The researchers recorded a 95 percent completed exchange rate with the subject monkeys during the equity test, in which both subject and partner received cucumber as the reward for the same amount of work. The completed exchange rate fell to 60 percent during the inequity test, in which subjects observed their partners receiving grapes for completing the same amount of work. A further decrease to 20 percent of completed exchanges occurred in the effort-control test, when partners received the higher-value reward for less work."

Liberal human beings apparently aren't quite as clever as their capuchins counterparts.  Not only do liberals tend to ignore merit in their calculations of fairness, they actively dismiss the issue of merit when it is brought to their attention. If you tell them you believe in a system of merit-based rewards, they will tell you that you have exposed an intellectual flaw and that you are clinging to an unhealthy psychological defense mechanism.  For an example of this line of thinking, consider the recent work of  liberal egalitarian researchers John Jost and Jaime Napier of New York University as reported on

"Individuals with conservative ideologies are happier than liberal-leaners, and new research pinpoints the reason: Conservatives rationalize social and economic inequalities.

"Regardless of marital status, income or church attendance, right-wing individuals reported greater life satisfaction and well-being than left-wingers, the new study found. Conservatives also scored highest on measures of rationalization, which gauge a person's tendency to justify, or explain away, inequalities."

Okay, I see.  If conservatives are happier, it's not because they're psychologically healthier, it's because they are happily delusional.  Here's more:

"The rationalization measure included statements such as: 'It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others," and "This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are.'

"To justify economic inequalities, a person could support the idea of meritocracy, in which people supposedly move up their economic status in society based on hard work and good performance. In that way, one's social class attainment, whether upper, middle or lower, would be perceived as totally fair and justified.  

"If your beliefs don't justify gaps in status, you could be left frustrated and disheartened, according to the researchers, Jaime Napier and John Jost of New York University. They conducted a U.S.-centric survey and a more internationally focused one to arrive at the findings."  [emphasis mine] I understand.  Conservatives are happy because their worldview is contaminated with the idea that it's okay if slackers aren't quite as rich as hard workers.  Liberals' hearts are heavy because they are burdened with the understanding that even lazy people deserve the best things life has to offer.  Liberals know that the idea of meritocracy is a big fat piece of capitalist propaganda.

"'Our research suggests that inequality takes a greater psychological toll on liberals than on conservatives,' the researchers write in the June issue of the journal Psychological Science, 'apparently because liberals lack ideological rationalizations that would help them frame inequality in a positive (or at least neutral) light.'"

The truth is apparently almost too much to bear.

Setting aside the sarcasm, here's my take: Rational, healthy societies allow their citizens to reap the rewards of their good decisions and to feel at least some of the stinging consequences of their bad decisions.  This allows people to learn and grow.  The idea that we should use the force of government to ameliorate perceived inequalities is dangerous and destructive.  When we get to the point where we're using the virtually unlimited power of the Imperial Federal Government to "even the playing field," the government becomes a tool of the envy mongers.  Then we have to hear people like Obama say things like "It's not that I WANT to punish your success...but I'm going to do it anyway.  This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you, buddy"

[Yes, I know those aren't Barry's EXACT words.] 


Peeved monkeys reject unequal pay on the job

Tennessee Woman Accuses Farm of Favoring Foreigners

You can't make this stuff up: Biden says Obama Made A Mistake By Not Consulting Feinstein Over His CIA Pick.

Richardson's Lies Have Finally Caught Up to Him: Libs are dropping Richardson like a hot potato. 

How Will Dems Govern On Their Honeymoon?  Some very good advise for Democrats...I'm not sure I want them to listen.

Republicans Happier than Democrats

The Palliative Function of Conservative Ideology

Words that deserve wider collywobblesfubsy  & sesquipedalian.

Senators Turn Burris Away at Capitol


-suitepotato- said...

Usual liberal thinking. Assume you're right and your opponent wrong, then patronize your opponent by characterizing their thought processes as aberrant or demonize them by characterizing them as evil and then of course always avoid actually discussing the issues because you assume a priori that the other side doesn't have a legitimate side.

RightKlik said...

SP: If conservatives ever hope to swing the pendulum back in their direction, they will need to help liberals understand how UNfair their policies are. Fairness is at the top of the list of liberal concerns, but their understanding of what is fair is warped. There are some good liberals out there, they just need some education.

robert verdi said...

love the poll, I went with who?
The left prefers issues to be "moral" in nature, hence to oppose them makes you amoral.