Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Here's something that has bounced around the political internet the last few days, warming the hearts of lefties everywhere: How to Spot a Baby Conservative. (Michelle Malkin has the actual "scholarly" paper on her site in full). The lefty internet has embraced it like a Che Guevara plush toy. The gist, expressed in the Toronto Star piece, is that
The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.
The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests.
The study is total crap, of course, because it's full of subjective analysis under the guise of scientific impartiality. What is "visibly deviant," anyway? And the idea of labeling toddlers as "deviant" is in any case a little bit appalling.
But let's take the study on its own merits. Look at the child behaviors the study views as "bright" and "non-conforming," and, more to the point, correlative with future liberalism:
Behaves in a dominating manner (Note that this is the second-highest correlative with liberalism, after "talkative")
Is aggressive physically or verbally
Attempts to transfer blame to others (This is a positive trait?)
Tends to be judgemental of others
Can admit to own negative feelings (We all know this one: The child whose favorite phrase is "I hate you!")
Tends to exaggerate, dramatize mishaps
I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to spin these personality traits as desirable. These are the behaviors, to put it plainly, of bullies.
On the other hand, the traits that the study correlates with future conservatism are quite different:
Appears to feel unworthy
Has a readiness to feel guilty
Anxious in unpredictable environment
Tends to brood and ruminate or worry
Is shy and reserved
Is fearful and anxious
These are the behaviors of, to say the least, children who can be described as sensitive and thoughtful. Note that the Star story that introduced the study to the world summarizes the future conservatives as "whiny." Since when does "shy and reserved" equal whiny? "Tends to exaggerate, dramatize mishaps"--a prime liberal correlate--sounds a lot more whiny to me.
But the biggest problem I have with the study is that it politicizes four year olds, which feels like child abuse. I can't help thinking that people are going to take this study seriously, and are going to punish or ridicule children for being "little Republicans" if they're at all quiet and sensitive. And that infuriates me.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Mr. Reagan says we will protect you
I don't subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me and you
Is if the Russians love their children too
I thought how, today, this song days it seems almost childishly innocent, confronted as we are by:
5000 Pakistani Children from ages 8-12 demand execution of Cartoonists
Maryam Mohammad Yousif Farhat (or Mariam Farahat; born in 1950), popularly known as Umm Nidal, "the mother of Nidal" or "the mother of struggle"...sent three of her six sons on Hamas suicide missions against Israel. She attracted public attention after being filmed preparing and advising her 17-year old son Muhammad Farhat for his March 2002 suicide attack against Israeli civilians. After infiltrating the Gaza Strip former Jewish settlement of Atzmona, opening fire on the students and throwing hand grenades at the school where they were studying, killing five teenagers and wounding 23 others, he was shot dead. Upon hearing of her son's death, she proclaimed "Allahu Akbar!" and gave out boxes of halva and chocolates in celebration.
Lacking the equipment to open secure passages through Iraqi minefields, and having too few tanks, the Iranian command again resorted to the human-wave tactic. In March 1984, an East European journalist claimed that he "saw tens of thousands of children, roped together in groups of about twenty to prevent the faint-hearted from deserting, make such an attack."
The point is, one could imagine that the Russians loved their children too. One cannot make the same assumption with the jihadists we're currently at war with. And that is the most frightening thing about the situation: There really is no deterrence with these people.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
"Like many of their faithful, most imams in the United States come from abroad. They are recruited primarily for their knowledge of the Koran and the language in which it was revealed, Arabic." It's hard to imagine the Times incorporating the tenets of any faith other than Islam into the text of a news story, but there you have it.
That bears repeating. Can anyone imagine a NYT story on Easter telling us that "it celebrates the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead"? Not in a million years.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Well, incredibly predictably, the much-anticipated Iraqi Civil War didn't happen as hoped for, and what little there was of it was exaggerated by a factor of four. I would like to say that last weekend's orgy of "CIVIL WAH NOW!" stories was an example of a ridiculous media nonevent transformed into something we needed to be deathly afraid of.
But, in, truth, the mainstream media has been making this ridiculous pronouncement for a long, long time.