August 28th, 2012

Godzilla, default

Under L sez on morality in politics:

I think too often these days politics is affected by a simple unwillingness to either see or to face up to the factors that mark it for what it is in a crude, effective pattern.
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And it is for that reason I also oppose capital punishment, as it to me is the irrational use of force, where the state is concerned. A state that indulges in the death penalty is given power that it should not have, unless there is a damned good reason for it having it. In a modern society that reason does not exist.

Monthly Topic: Sucked into the Cult of Pharmacopia‏

I got wind that Steven Hassan has a new book out about his favorite field of endeavor: authoritarian religious cults. Hassan has the honor of being attacked by Scientologists for participating in deprogramming efforts. He uses his own experience of being seduced into the Unification Church as effective leverage in assisting others to break away from cult influence. His written work along with his work as a trained psychologist give him somewhat of a cult following in the field of mental emancipation.

As I read his first book in preparation for reviewing his most recent literature, I was struck by the parallels between religious cults and psychiatric treatment. Religious cults give their members a new identity in a fashion that is similar to the way that a psychiatric patient is indoctrinated into accepting a clinical label. Patient Jane Doe ceases to think of herself as a human being and comes to think of herself as a paranoid schizophrenic. Rather than consider the path that led to her state of being, she is taught to believe that she has a genetic flaw that requires a lifetime of chemical addiction to maintain control.

To get to this point, psychiatrists subject her to isolation from friends and family who are concurrently taught to fear a latent potential for violence on the part of Ms. Doe should she ever be separated from her pharmaceutical ritual. They may even be too frightened by psychiatric mumbo jumbo to ever allow Ms. Doe to return home again or to spend time visiting friends like in the old days. In this way, the cult of pharmacopia is far more effective than other authoritarian cults. It is rare for friends and family of Scientology members to fear their return from cult control.

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Do you know of anyone with experience with either the cult of pharmacopia or Chinese Communist indoctrination?

Links: Steven Hassan receives a back-handed endorsement from Scientology. Steven Hassan interviews Robert Jay Lifton. Steven Hassan's book on cult mind control. Robert Jay Lifton's book on Chinese Communist indoctrination methods.

Will MacAvoy on why TEA Party radicals shouldn't even be considered Republicans

Two videos. They're short.

I find this interesting, because it makes a strong comparison to the Rush Limbaugh dittohead view of the left as a monolithic mudheap of dirty, dirty hippies.

In fact, the Democrat=hippie/Yippie/pothead meme is an awkward equivalence at best. Of course there are Democrats who've inhaled, just as there are Republicans who've done coke, engaged in open relationships, and the like. But the Democrats have never really been the Yippies, even if they eventually wanted their votes.

An American Taliban? Maybe. I don't know about "tribal." I would think something more like "nationalistic" or "racist"--which are, in an anthropological sense, arguably subsets of tribalist thinking, so maybe.

So is MacAvoy (and Sorkin) right? Will this reputation stick to the GOP over the next generation? Well, it's substantially already how Southron conservatives were seen by liberals who knew them, so yeah, I suppose so. Does it hurt them, though, if their radicalism is what's popular?
Godzilla, default

Under L has a simple question:

So, I've seen that there are people on this community who hold that the government is the root of all evil and incompetence that there has ever been or will ever be.
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This is also why I have a great deal of difficulty taking conservative rhetoric about the evil government bureaucrat seriously. The evil bureaucrat, if he is indeed evil, does not deserve or retain the power to coerce and to kill when that bureaucrat cannot be trusted to do simple, good, everyday things. To claim that one power is granted and another not is thus an indication that the reality is not that the government having enormous power is evil, merely that government is in the end Shang Yang's great schoolmaster, a government where punishments are numerous and rewards rare.
Godzilla, default

Um, I guess points for honesty?

John Boehner evidently hopes blacks and Latinos won't show up to the election. To judge by the man's own words:

"“This election is about economics… These groups have been hit the hardest. They may not show up and vote for our candidate but I’d suggest to you they won’t show up and vote for the president either.”

But John Boehner is an honorable man and there is nothing to see in terms of GOP predilections to limiting the vote or anything like that, eh? Of course if the actual Speaker of the House is hoping significant portions of the voting bloc that happen to vote for the other side of the spectrum don't show up just conveniently to vote for either side, there is nothing untoward in such a sentiment. There is absolutely no indication that democracy is just a downright chore when it comes to ensuring both sides get a fair shake in voting. Why it's just that the GOP values black and Latino votes so much they hope they er.........never happen.