Monday, August 28, 2006

Conservatives Without Conscience

Just finished this book today. I admire John Dean's straightforward writing. While the book wasn't really anything in-depth at all, it painted an interesting picture of the type of character a man must have to make it to the upper tiers of modern conservative politics. Frankly, it's a scary sort of amoral authoritarian character who believes that the end justifies the means.

I would like to refer to myself as a conservative, because I am conservative. But since I believe that science and reason trump faith in issues of practicality and the development of an accurate worldview, I am not a member of today's form of "conservatism", which has essentially been whored out to the religious right to win elections (without which they wouldn't win jack-shit). Today's conservatism is at odds with not just aspects of science, but mainstream science. It's infiltrated by a lazy minded contingent of the faithful who could not care less about a double blind study unless it had something to do with viagra side-effects. The end of the book is a quote from Bob Altemeyer:

"Probably about 20-25% of the adult American population is so right wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do would change their minds. They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result. The problem is that these authoritarian followers are much more active than the rest of the country. They have the mentality of "Old-time religion" on a crusade, and they generously give money, time and effort to the cause. They proselytize; they lick stamps; they put pressure on loved ones; and they revel in being loyal to a cohesive group of like thinkers. And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything that they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going to go away."
John Dean Videos

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