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Are ‘Modern Liberals’ fit to be free?

Posted by DNW on 2014/05/08

We’ve mooted this issue before in the course of some heated exchanges on the old “Commonsense Political Thought” blog.

So, it’s not a new question, but it remains one worth considering on its own: Are political progressives, those human biological expressions we term modern liberals, in some way radically unsuited for life in the system of political liberty once bequeathed to us by our ancestors? Are they, modern liberals, in some ways and on average congenitally defective, or maybe “just fundamentally different” with regard to the possession of the (“lower case”) kind of self-governance and self-reliance capacity which presumptively (according to our Founders’ theories) makes participation in Self Government in a (“Upper Case”) political sense, a workable proposition?

Are modern-liberal hedonic utilitarianism and values nihilism even, say, the mere result of biological dispositions or attributes, rather than intellectually arrived at conclusions?

Perhaps, as Hoagie suggested the other day, while he was exasperatedly engaging in a bit of unapologetic invective, modern liberals really are, in a statistically meaningful sense, a distinct sub-population within this polity: a politically co-existing but distinguishable population of humans who have certain kinds of distinct behavioral or psychological or even morphological traits (or deficits) which make life in a constitutional polity – a limited republic – very unpleasant, un-meaningful, and even frightening for them.

The answer is probably unfolding before our very eyes.

“Men who are strong are more likely to take a right-wing stance, while weaker men support the welfare state, researchers claim.” Daily Mail | UPDATED: 19:39 EST, 16 May 2013

Given Their Manifest Natures, that is to say the somatic, the morphological and psychological manifestation that constitutes “them”, perhaps a classically liberal constitutional polity suitable for self-directing individuals just doesn’t fit with what they are capable of or able to appreciate in life.

The Depressive and Anxious Liberal

Perhaps the most revealing difference is the enhanced tendency that Liberals have for depressive and anxious disorders. We stumbled onto this phenomenon in our Spring 2005 survey, and filled in some of the details in our Summer 2005 survey.

Liberals report higher rates of major depression, mild depression, bipolar disorder, agoraphobia, OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and general anxiety. This is true for both males and females. Liberals also report higher stress levels and lower confidence levels (both soon to be reported).

Liberals are also much more likely to use anxiolytics and antidepressents. Liberals report more difficulty in maintaining attention during conversations. Liberals on average spend more time in “negative” emotional states. By “negative”, we mean mental states that seem to be contrary to their own self-interest. They also report lower rates of involvement in pair-bond relationships. Neuropolitics.org Ezine February 2006

Now we might take this too far, and certainly racists in the past have. They did so by imagining for example, that they could discern an invariable and universal gene link between somatic expressions and character traits which manifest as morally evaluable behavior.

But that seems to me to be a rather different proposition than to notice that, say, feminized males and masculinized females for instance, tend to identify as political progressives; whereas conservatives are more strongly sexually dimorphic.

Multiple research disciplines have found evidence that our male ancestors used physical aggression to compete for status. The evidence shows how this competition led to the evolution of numerous physical and psychological sex differences. Sell and team’s review highlights the sheer number of physical and mental features that show evidence of special design for physical aggression in men, compared to women. These features include abilities to dissipate heat, perceive and respond rapidly to threats, estimate the trajectory of thrown objects, resist blunt-force trauma and accurately intercept objects.
While fighting ability was undoubtedly essential when man was a hunter-gatherer, how important and influential is it today? According to Sell and colleagues’ work, man’s fighting ability is still a major influence on his attitudes and behavioral responses. Springer Select New York / Heidelberg, 10 April 2012 in “Why are action stars more likely to be Republican?”

Just how that actually works itself out in detail, is another matter.

For example, whether people who are marginalized or who feel marginalized for whatever reason tend to be more politically “liberal” on what are pretty obvious socially motivating grounds, or, whether the physical phenomenon or trait itself is what prompts a “liberal” social attitude, is a question I don’t pretend to have an answer to.

Maybe it is a mixture of both … first, congenitally divergent interests among people who find themselves associating in a political arrangement with strongly divergent others, and second, a particular strategy for jockeying for place, and status, and for the distribution of economic spoils, within that polity.

But the difference seems to researchers to be as plain as the nose on your face:

” … when it comes to female politicians, perhaps you can judge a book by its cover, suggest two UCLA researchers who looked at facial features and political stances in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Female politicians with stereotypically feminine facial features are more likely to be Republican than Democrat, and the correlation increases the more conservative the lawmaker’s voting record,” said lead author Colleen M. Carpinella, a UCLA graduate student in psychology.

The researchers also found the opposite to be true: Female politicians with less stereotypically feminine facial features were more likely to be Democrats, and the more liberal their voting record, the greater the distance the politician’s appearance strayed from stereotypical gender norms.

In fact, the relationship is so strong that politically uninformed undergraduates were able to determine the political affiliation of the representatives with an overall accuracy rate that exceeded chance, and the accuracy of those predications increased in direct relation to the lawmaker’s proximity to feminine norms. Science Daily
September 27, 2012

Nonetheless, whatever the details, I think we see an interesting phenomenon developing in the United States, as the progressive programmatic invariably passes beyond the achievement of transactional dominance in the public realm, and relentlessly seeks to percolate all the way down to every last private relation and interpersonal transaction.

Who, or whatever these people are, it does not appear they are prepared to recognize any limits.

Now, yes, admittedly, this totalizing impulse on the part of leftism is historically well-known. It even follows from an explicit tenet of Marxist theory: base and superstructure, which rejects the realms of civil society and political society as legitimately distinct from each other – viewing such a distinction as creating a disjunction or a break in the life of the whole man.

It – classical political theory – does this they [Marx] claim[s] by formally granting man the status of a political peer or “citizen” wherein he is entitled to experience the impartial operation of the public law and to participate in public affairs, but nonetheless remains liable to the contempt of and exclusion from others within the private realm. This possibility results from allowing those potentially excluding others [through the concepts of the private family and property, and through other forms of private relations] a socially unregulated access to the material world, and to “selfishly” benefit from their “unearned personal powers”; which, in the end, gives these persons an opportunity to advantage and distance themselves from those whom they may view as unappealing or unworthy of self-sacrificial solidarity, for whatever reason or reasons.

Thus man’s nature, is itself a problem to be socially addressed through social, and other, engineering. Eventually, you may wind up with this:

“So that just as. to assure elimination of economic classes requires the revolt of the underclass (the proletariat) and, in a -temporary dictatorship, their seizure of the means of production, so to assure the elimination of sexual classes requires the revolt of the underclass (women) and the seizure of control of reproduction: not only the full restoration to women of ownership of their own bodies, but also their (temporary) seizure of control of human fertility – the new population biology as well as all the social institutions of child-bearing and child-rearing. And just as the end goal of socialist revolution was not only the elimination of the economic class privilege but of the economic class distinction itself, so the end goal of feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally. (A reversion to an unobstructed pansexuality Freud’s ‘polymorphous perversity’ – would probably supersede hetero/homo/bi-sexuality.) The reproduction of the species by one sex for the benefit of both would be replaced by (at least the option of) artificial reproduction: children would born to both sexes equally, or independently of. either, however one chooses to look at it; the dependence of the child on the mother (and vice versa) would give way to a greatly shortened dependence on a small group of others in general, and any remaining inferiority to adults in physical strength would be compensated for culturally. The division of labour would be ended by the elimination of labour altogether (through cybernetics). The tyranny of the biological family would be broken.” Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex, http://www.marxists.org/subject/women/authors/firestone-shulamith/dialectic-sex.htm

With then, the quote above, we have obviously passed beyond the simple question of whether “modern liberals, [are] in some way unsuited for life in the system of political liberty” to one of whether they are inevitably aiming toward another kind existence altogether. At which point the question of a shared polity becomes perhaps, the least of the questions requiring our attention.

But even the original question seems unlikely to survive as a “moral” question, if the research continues toward the conclusions which it at present seems pointing.

Ironically, the issue may have been most recently framed along these lines by political progressives themselves when they announced that “The personal is the political”

Yes, well, ideology and revolutionary rhetoric aside, we may be on the verge of finding out just how personal the political really is.

Posted in Conservative, Culture, Gender Issues, Liberal, politics, Science in the news | 12 Comments »

The Perfect Martini

Posted by DNW on 2014/01/22

 

Anyone who has drunk, or imbibed since we don’t want to sound as if we are alluding to intoxication, a sufficient number of martinis to use the term “perfect martini” also knows that there is really no such thing as a perfect martini. Even martinis made to your favorite recipe will obviously vary to some significant degree with the care which one takes – or doesn’t – in making (proportioning) the drink and with the particular brands of ingredients used.

That rocks glass in your hand on the patio in July, the glass sloshingly filled with cubes and gin and vermouth and a couple of olives, and which you hold in the one hand as you flip steaks on the grill with the other, holds the same nominal drink as that carefully proportioned vodka and vermouth mix poured from a shaker into a coupe glass, and then garnished with a twist of lemon zest.

In the name of decency, there are some limits though.

For example, although either gin or vodka (or both together, Mr. Bond) may be used or substituted, most people would agree that no matter how stingy the application may be,  a “martini” made without any vermouth is just not really a martini as most of us understand it.

Not so much vermouth!

Not so much vermouth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of vermouth, many of us, myself for instance, had become comfortably accustomed to Noilly Prat only to discover a couple of years ago that something awful had happened. I first though I had gotten a bad bottle. Instead of the usual clear liquid I was used to seeing, out came a yellow-greenish fluid with a more pronounced taste, smell, and what seemed to me to be oily character. It tasted like the abominable Gallo vermouth. It made my martini undrinkable. Until recently I could not come up with a satisfactory explanation as to what went wrong. Abandoning my theory of a heat spoiled bottle at the second disappointment, I figured my memory of what I like must have been off … very off somehow.

Turns out that the company had been bought out, and the new ownership of Noilly Prat decided that Americans would henceforth receive the European version of their “dry” vermouth; which was distinctly heavier in scent and taste than that to which we were accustomed. Apparently Noilly had for some years, and long before I ever approached a martini glass, been offering a specially dry version for the North American market. After grimacing my way through those last unwitting purchases of the Euro-style and highly scented version of their “dry”, I dropped any pretense of brand loyalty and grabbed a bottle of Martini & Rossi off the shelf the next time out. According to the blog “The Gray Report” (and Gray himself actually prefers the Euro-version), many others did as well. I certainly hated it. Enough people agreed with me implies Gray, to cause sales to plummet sufficient to get management’s attention and to promise to bring back the American version to this market.

So far, I haven’t seen it. Though I can’t say I have looked very hard.

As far as the mix portions go, I for one, have over the years developed a preference for what some web sites, Vermouth101.c0m for instance, are calling a 1950’s mix … basically 3 measures of gin or vodka to one half measure (I’m not using the technical term for “measure” here) of dry vermouth. So for example, a measure might be one of those ounce-and-a-half shot glasses. Then, three full shot glasses of gin, and one half of that ounce and a half shot glass, of vermouth.

You will notice too that as Mr. Niven above protectively recoils from that bottle of vermouth proffered by the cheerfully smiling pixie, he is simultaneously cradling an almost fishbowl sized snifter, which he’s using as the martini mixing glass.

He obviously wants his martini as dry as possible. And I agree to some extent as I mentioned just above.

But I would not go so far as the version of martini supposedly liked best when I first started drinking them during that late 1980s and 1990’s era sometimes credited with the return of the cocktail to prominence. That version, was reportedly almost pure gin or vodka, and I found it as objectionable to my palate as the early 20th century version said to be preferred by FDR: a two gin to one vermouth mix with plenty of brine added. I tried it. Yech. No wonder FDR had a stroke.

Well, no accounting for the taste of certain statist liberals who smoke cigarettes from holders.

We’ve already addressed what are from my point of view the preferable proportions of the two main ingredients in the mix. How they are mixed together is another matter.

The phrase “shaken not stirred” has become a painful cliche that causes me to actually wince when hearing it. But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t prefer the drink mixed that way. In fact, while doing research – well, while idly scanning various books and other websites for confirmation of my own prejudices – I read that martinis were originally meant to be made that way: shaken.

By the time the James Bond novel Casino Royale was published for Ian Fleming in 1953, in the very year Mr. Niven was saving his bowl of gin in “The Moon is Blue” from the debasement of too much, or almost any vermouth, the mixing process seems to have changed from shaking to stirring. Or at least swirling the mix with cubes.

Which leads us to another painful cliche: one which expresses alarm over the possibility of “bruising the gin”.

I have no idea what that is supposed to mean, so I can’t explain it to you. And when I hear it, I can only picture some dissipated country club type given to the pointless regurgitation of current mythologies as a way of cementing his image as one who is in need of constantly cementing his image. Out of respect to our early 1950s motif here, I’ll include an image of just that type of fellow as portrayed by actor Louis Calhern, in yet another William Holden movie of that same era, “Executive Suite”.

Better not be bruised!

Better not be bruised!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In any event, I not only have a fictional spy on my shaken side, I apparently have the British medical establishment. You may be thinking I am referring to a recent series of articles based on the premise that James Bond liked his martinis shaken and not stirred because had he been a real person who drank as much as seemingly recorded in the spy novels he, would have had a case of the shakes which made stirring impossible … or something like that.

However, that particular bit of politically motivated kill-joy posturing by the PC crowd is not what I am referring to. What I am citing here is an article in the British Journal of Medicine titled “Shaken, not stirred: bioanalytical study of the antioxidant activities of martinis”.

Shaken martinis were more effective in deactivating hydrogen peroxide than the stirred variety, and both were more effective than gin or vermouth alone (0.072% of peroxide control for shaken martini, 0.157% for stirred v 58.3% for gin and 1.90% for vermouth). The reason for this is not clear, but it may well not involve the facile oxidation of reactive martini components: control martinis through which either oxygen or nitrogen was bubbled did not differ in their ability to deactivate hydrogen peroxide (0.061% v 0.057%) and did not differ from the shaken martini. Moreover, preliminary experiments indicate that martinis are less well endowed with polyphenols than Sauvignon white wine or Scotch whisky (0.056 mmol/l (catechin equivalents) shaken, 0.060 mmol/l stirred v 0.592 mmol/l wine, 0.575 mmol/l whisky).

 

With authorities like that behind you, who needs some comic book spy on your side?

How’s it to be served then?  In what kind of glass? A “martini glass” obviously?

Well, there are different theories. I always specified a rocks glass in restaurants. Occasionally a self-confident middle aged waiter in the tonier kind place would good naturedly admonish me with an “Oh sir! Not really!” and I’d give in and have it in a stemmed glass. I’ve kind of gotten used to them by now. The design is supposed to have a certain logic, and I admit that the drink may taste somewhat better in one. Or at least more like an aperitif to be savored, than a concoction to be guzzled.

Still, I like a squat tumbler  in some situations. Summer evening grilling is good time to load up with ice, in my opinion; and a double old fashioned glass works really well for that.

But the classic martini glass is making a bit of comeback without any assistance from me. That is to say, when I say “classic”, a sub 7 ounce capacity glass with a short pulled stem, rather than one of those 12 ounce glass funnels ill balanced on a 6 inch pillar, which has been the popular version for the last 30 or so years.

As an admirable return to basics, take this well proportioned glass sold this Christmas season as an example. Not a pulled stem coupe with that little extra cusp in the bottom (that is to say not one obviously shaped like a mold of Marie Antoinette’s left you know what …) it’s nonetheless pretty appealing all the same.

Short stemmed, made in Poland, and called "True martini" glass

Short stemmed, made in Poland, and called “True martini” glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, you can still get the champagne coupe/cocktail glasses common in the early 60’s as well. From Germany, just for you: at two for sixty or seventy dollars a pair.

Coupe type glass

Coupe type glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what’s the perfect martini? I don’t know really, and haven’t the authority to say. Make it 6 to one.  Vodka or gin depending on mood. Rocks or Martini glass depending. Two cubes with the former, or just a bit of cracked ice in the latter.  Mix shaken, well, with ice. Poured over a stuffed olive, and a twist of zest added last. Let sit about a minute. Then …

That’s perfect enough for me.

You, are entitled to your own opinion of course.

 

A satisfied customer

A satisfied customer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Culture, education, Entertainment, history, Philosophy, Science in the news | 2 Comments »

Just because …

Posted by DNW on 2013/10/01

From a picture floating around the Internet. Very “60’s”

No particular reason for re-posting it. I just think that the image has a certain atmosphere, and even beauty. In fact I find it almost mesmerizing.

Our friend Ropelight likes boats, maybe he can do something with this.

A calm sea

A calm sea

UPDATE: I deliberately withheld any reference to the subject matter from the title of this posting because although I was fascinated by the image I didn’t want to attract attention to it on the usual grounds of prurience.

I figured it would just appear as part of the “home page” series.

Nonetheless it’s received an unusual number of individual page clicks. A sophisticated readership this one, unless there are lots of people using search engines to look up the phrase “Just because”, and winding up here.

FYI then, the lady is/was a model and actress in Italian new wave type films.

Regardless of her looks, she’s as you might expect, also Italian by nationality.

The photo is probably, I would guess, from the late 1950’s to possibly the mid 60’s.

I came across her while wracking my mind for alternative movies my folks might be interested in watching, rather than the brainless and unamusing crap they pay for in their monthly satellite bill.

If anyone can “guess” her name, I’ll post an image of a combustion turbine as your reward …

I’ll throw in an image of a copy milling machine too, if you can name one of her movies.

Second update: A PRIZEWINNER!

The contest only lasted a few hours and is well over. Yet commenter out-of-the-blue Tom Hamilton comes in late and wins a prize nonetheless, because: a, he used the word “existential” in his comment, and b, I had a couple of pictures left over.

Therefore, as an anodyne for government shutdown boredom, or in order to more fully celebrate it,  let’s review 1960’s female style, Italian style

A sixties look

A sixties look

Call the cigarette police

Call the cigarette police

Blonde

Blonde


 

 

Posted in Culture, Entertainment, history, Photography, Politically Incorrect, Science in the news, Travel, Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

What Man Made Climate Change

Posted by Yorkshire on 2013/05/30

Who Da Thunk! We’s wuz right afterall. All the time we lived in reality, and Algore’s of the world wuz wrong!!!!

Oops! UK Climate Change Czar: Humans May Not Be Responsible For Global Warming After All

Michael Miller
On May 30, 2013

Holy carbon offset, say it ain’t so, Al! The UK’s Energy and Climate Change czar said this week that although he still believes the earth’s temperature is rising, “natural phases” may be to blame.

Translation: We didn’t do it. (Al Gore unavailable for comment.) From The Telegraph:

Ted Yeo, an environment minister under John Major, is one of the Conservative Party’s strongest advocates of radical action to cut carbon emissions. His comments are significant as he was one of the first senior figures to urge the party to take the issue of environmental change seriously.

He insisted such action is “prudent” given the threat climate change poses to living standards worldwide. But, he said, human action is merely a “possible cause.”

Read it all (plus cartoon)
http://www.ijreview.com/2013/05/55695-uk-climate/?utm_source=EmailElect&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=Subscriber%2338993&utm_campaign=05-30-2013%20IJ%20Review

Posted in crime, Environmentalism, Global Warming, Politically Incorrect, Real Life, Science in the news | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Who’s who?

Posted by DNW on 2011/08/25

A little light lunchtime reading, confirms that there is always something new in the world of science.

This is because the science fact of yesterday, which replaced the science fact of the day before, is now jettisoned in favor of the science fact of today.

So, Whoooo are You …

From the BBC:

DNA study deals blow to theory of European origins

“A new study deals a blow to the idea that most European men are descended from farmers who migrated from the Near East 5,000-10,000 years ago.

The findings challenge previous research showing that the genetic signature of the farmers displaced that of Europe’s indigenous hunters. …The extent to which modern Europeans are descended from these early farmers versus the indigenous hunter-gatherers who settled the continent thousands of years previously is a matter of heated debate.

The results vary depending on the genetic markers studied and are subject to differing interpretations.
Family tree

The latest study focused on the Y chromosome – a package of DNA which is passed down more or less unchanged from father to son.

The Y chromosomes carried by people today can be classified into different types, or lineages, which – to some extent – reflect their geographical origins.

More than 100 million European men carry a type called R-M269, so identifying when this genetic group spread out is vital to understanding the peopling of Europe.”

Hunter killer, or peaceful farmer?

“R-M269 is most common in western Europe, reaching frequencies of 90% or more in Spain, Ireland and Wales.

The latest research leans towards the idea that most of Europe’s males trace a line of descent to stone-age hunters.

But the authors say more work is needed to answer this question. …”

The matter above of course is widely recognized as an unsettled issue (no pun intended). Other questions of origins and development however, have generally been considered as more or less put to rest.

However, if the assertions contained in the following link are correct, all you horse fanciers may find your accepted narrative subject to a rather radical revision too.


Saudi Arabia discovers 9,000 year-old civilization

Just in case there are any city dwelling youth who might stumble across this blog and be uncertain regarding the concept of a horse, from Wiki:

Also: “Early horse domestication in Neolithic Arabia (?)

Posted in Evolution, history, Science in the news | 1 Comment »

 
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