January 26, 2015

"Despite their superficial attachment to multiculturalism, our elites don’t really want to think of other cultures as, you know, thinking differently, for fear that it might somehow be racist to take that into account."

Writes Glenn Reynolds, commenting on an "American Interest" piece by Jakum Grygiel on the "folly" of the "modern Western penchant for trusting in the equal rationality of all."

Glenn's remark has an unexamined premise: that "our elites" think that the people in our culture think rationally. I don't accept that premise. Just speaking for myself — and as a law professor, I cop to elitism — I certainly believe that we have an emotional attachment to our belief that we are rational but that all our thinking is inextricably intertwined with emotion. We can only think within our nervous system — brain, etc. — and that's guided by twinges and intuitions of mystifying subtlety.

We love the idea that we are rational, but how are our thoughts deranged by this love? Why did Glenn go toward reacting to "elites" and the imputation of "fear" and racism? Whatever basis he has for that remark, his decision to go exactly there was not determined by facts and logic.

And look at how our elites behave toward us. Look at any political campaign — the "war or women," for example. I'm not seeing trust in the rationality of the people. It's emotion all the way down. I don't think the elites are afraid of looking racist if they portray people in other cultures as irrational. I think they consider their fellow Americans irrational. That's "What's the Matter with Kansas." That's why the elites believe they should rig economic incentives to "Improv[e our] Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness."

The mysterious twinges and intuitions within the elite nervous system create the feeling that none of us think straight. That's one kind of "equal rationality of all" — slim to none.

86 comments:

mccullough said...

Obama understands Julia but not Putin or Netanyahu or Republicans in Congress.

Most men don't understand women but understand other men. Obama is the opposite.

Hal Duston said...

I have always thought of most people as "semi-rational". Sort of rational in most areas, very rational in a few areas and completely irrational in a few other areas.

Bobber Fleck said...

Could it be that the liberal political operatives deliver progressive messages that are focus group tested for the correct emotional influence, while the elites (mainstream media, academics) provide a veneer of rationality with minimal regard for truth?

Conservative messages are, of course, always thoroughly vetted by the elites ( agains with minimal regard for truth).

Robert Cook said...

In my view, we're just monkeys with hypertrophied brains, and we operate much more on emotions and instinct than we recognize, which is to say, primarily.

Or, to describe it another way:

Think of a cake, with but a thin layer of icing on the top: the icing is our reasoning, and the cake is our emotions, instincts, and habitual behaviors.

Smilin' Jack said...

Rationality is the tool we have evolved to justify doing what we want to do and convince others to do it too.

Bob Boyd said...

"I think they consider their fellow Americans irrational."

Exactly. Its their favorite vanity these days.

Sometimes it seems like whenever there's a terrorist attack, like the Charlie Hebdo thing for example, the MSM's biggest concern is that a redneck on a visit to NYC will get drunk and punch a cab driver.

Gahrie said...

Yet another attempt to rationalize the fact that as a woman you allow your emotions to overwhelm rational thought.

Ann Althouse said...

"Yet another attempt to rationalize the fact that as a woman you allow your emotions to overwhelm rational thought."

Analyze the emotionality of that statement.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Althouse certainly does get riled up when her intellectual and web traffic betters show just how shallow and emotional her thinking is by comparison.

"Ugly."

Unknown said...

I read somewhere that reason is used primarily to justify beliefs that we came to through our feelings.

However, what I got out of the linked article is not that other people don't behave rationally, it is that our elites don't want to believe that other cultures have different values than they do.

When judging whether someone is acting rationally you need to understand the values and beliefs of that person. For instance, to an atheist giving 10% of your income to a church is an irrational act. To a Christian it is not.

The atheist will then argue that being a Christian is itself irrational. However, that does not negate the fact that tithing, from a Christian point of view, is rational.

I think that one issue with our so-called elite is that most of them define intelligence as "thinks like me and values what I value" and they see intelligence as a virtue. This renders them incapable of understanding the point of view of someone who doesn't agree with them because those people are, by definition, unintelligent and non-virtuous.

Thus we have books such as What's Wrong with Kansas. If Kansas isn't voting according to the values I hold, then something is wrong with it. Its people must be unintelligent and under the sway of the non-virtuous.

In the case of non-western countries the analysis seems to be that those people don't hold different values, its just that the unintelligent and non-virtuous people in our country (and Israel) keep provoking them. If we would stop provoking them they would behave as our "elite" do because they are intelligent and therefore virtuous.

That they are intelligent, but have different values than our ruling class, seems to be beyond our ruling class' comprehension.

Thus we have phrases such as "the wrong side of history" and "acting liking it is still the 20th century.

Fernandinande said...

Robert Cook said...
In my view, we're just monkeys with hypertrophied brains, and we operate much more on emotions and instinct than we recognize, which is to say, primarily.
Or, to describe it another way:


The ordinary modes of human thinking are magical, religious, social, and personal.…Scientific objectivity is a freakish, unnatural, and unpopular mode of thought, restricted to small cliques whom the generality of citizens regard with dislike and mistrust.

Paddy O said...

I think there's a very widespread Habermasian assumption among the educated elites, where everyone is rational and rational people can come to agreement on issues. It's an idealist perspective but one that is coupled with a darker side.

In light of continued disagrement, it is a sign not of irrationality but of actual evil or pernicious intent.

David said...

Elites have difficulty discerning what motivates people unlike themselves. That may be a common trait, but it stands out in a group which is usually telling others how to live.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

Our elites think they ARE our culture. They have more disdain for ordinary, white Americans who are just going through life in a normal way, punching a clock, raising kids, going to church maybe, getting crazy about the air pressure in footballs etc. than they do for the black underclass in the U.S. or any foreign country in which the population has darker skin, or a different religion than Christianity, or in which the population has a government that is more marxist.

Glenn knows this and was comparing elites thinking that THEY are rational and refusing to see the irrationality of the groups I mentioned above.

Wince said...

I don't see the "unexamined premise: that 'our elites' think that the people in our culture think rationally" as in any way invoked by Reynold's point.

Why should elite contempt for the rationality of domestic unwashed masses be mutually exclusive with wanting to eschew the appearance of assigning different modes of rationality to potential international adversaries for politically correct reasons?

In fact, might the down-home "xenophobic" belief that other cultures are different serve as one of the reasons the domestic unwashed are "irrational" in the elite narrative, and one of the factors that separates them from righteous elite thinking?

Rumpletweezer said...

It seems like everybody--and I do mean everybody--has a rational blind spot somewhere. I've heard people with whom I agree on almost everything go off on some tangent that seems completely irrational to me. I'm certain I have such blind spots myself.

gerry said...

Elites' philosophy is based upon a lot of shaky stuff...and still more shaky stuff.

Modernist and postmodernist philosophy is unmoored at its base and subsumes illogic, hatred, and anger into its foundation.

Gahrie said...

Analyze the emotionality of that statement.

You mean my impatience with the fact that you keep on insisting that there is nothing wrong with allowing your emotions to overrule rational thought?

Michael K said...

Subscribers only.

My impression is that elites consider only themselves to be rational. The rest are emotion driven and need guidance.

One worrisome (to me) aspect is that Libertarians seem very dependent on others, especially the hordes of Asia, behaving rationally and by the same rules. They seem to think that, "If we let them alone, they will let us alone."

This is dangerous nonsense and why I am not a "Big L" libertarian.

Owen said...

Ann: you make a good point but I don't see how it alters the point that Instapundit is making. Which is that the elites don't (or can't?) try very hard to overcome the lazy self-referentiality that affects us all. And that habit of the elite, annoying at the best of time as they go about lecturing the rest of us, is particularly dangerous in the context of trying to understand people who are waging war on us. It is one thing to pretend to understand another culture while on a retirement safari. It is quite another when the other culture is trying its very best to destroy you.

The fact that our rationality is a thin cortex on top of a huge engine of emotions seems to me to reinforce Glenn's point: intellectual humility requires that we do everything possible to observe the Other clearly and carefully, and test every assumption on which our "theory of mind" is based.

buwaya said...

The original article does not address reason as such, or reason alone. Its an interesting take, though not original.
Its a common observation that Europeans, beginning in classical civilization, had an interest in learning the ways of their ancient rivals in the east, that was not reciprocated. I don't know how true this is, because of course pretty much the whole of ancient Persian literature, presumably including whatever such scholarship on foreigners there was, was destroyed in the Muslim conquest. The non-Roman parts of the ancient Near East suffered an almost total eradication of higher civilization at Muslim hands (see Naipaul). There may well have been a Persian Herodotus or Aeschylus, but we will never know.
It was certainly true that in the great days of colonialist the Europeans were far more interested in foreigners ways than the various foreigners of Europeans. There was no African Charles Mangin or Indian Robert Clive.
This seems to have reversed in the course of the late 19th-20th century as the entire world developed an intense interest in European culture. Gandhi arguably understood the British even better than the British understood the Indians (which they did, famously well). Even the Philippines produced a Jose Rizal, who was cited as a great Spaniard by Unamuno.
As for western elites, yes they do seem a very parochial lot. I suspect that arguments from racism or multiculturalism are just there to cover laziness or distaste.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I don't know about rational, but our elites certainly believe that they are objective and non-ideological.

Anonymous said...

Ralph Hyatt is exactly right, although I would put it differently. As an economist, my field comes in for a lot of grief for its assumption that people are rational, but I think most people don't understand what economists mean by rationality. We assume that people have preferences (or "values" as Hyatt would say) that are fixed but unobservable. What we mean by rational is that people's actions are basically consistent with their preferences, as well as any constraints they may face. So for example, if you are an ISIS fighter, maybe you derive a lot of pleasure ("utility") from chopping off the heads of foreigners. If it becomes easier/harder to find heads to chop off, you will chop off more/fewer of them. Perfectly rational from an economic perspective. On the other hand, most people seem to think that rational means "your preferences are like mine," which is not necessarily the case.

Robert Cook said...

"The atheist will then argue that being a Christian is itself irrational. However, that does not negate the fact that tithing, from a Christian point of view, is rational."

Why is tithing rational "from a Christian point of view?" It is rational from a non-religious point of view, in that it is the means by which a congregation supports itself, by paying for their meeting place (the church) and the expenses related to that.

As far as their religious beliefs, of course they are irrational, as are all believers in things unseen, unseeable, and unprovable.

Ann Althouse said...

"You mean my impatience with the fact that you keep on insisting that there is nothing wrong with allowing your emotions to overrule rational thought?"

And when did you stop beating your wife?

You expression isn't even in the rational style. You're not even close to posing as rational, so there's nothing to do but laugh at you. Maybe you are trying to be funny. It's not that good as humor though, since you're just taunting. Try self-deprecation. That tends to be funnier. Especially in your case.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't know about rational, but our elites certainly believe that they are objective and non-ideological."

Not the ones I've met.

Anthony said...

I think he was more referring to the "elite culture" itself, rather than "US culture" or "Western culture". He is all to aware of the loathing the elites have for the hoi polloi in their own back yard..

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ann Althouse said...

Not the ones I've met.

How about cruelly neutral? Ring any bells?

buster said...

I think Althouse's comment on Glenn Reynolds' comment is evasive, not to say dishonest. Reynolds' general point appears to be that the elites are unwilling to criticize foreign cultures (more precisely, non-European cultures) for fear of accusations of racism, etc. It's no answer to his point that the same elites take the opposite position with respect to their own culture, and treat their non-elite countrymen with contempt. The stuff about the influence of emotions on reasoning is just intellectual gobbledygook whose purpose is to change the subject.

As to the truth of Reynolds' comment: No less an opinion-maker than Barack Obama refuses to call the most important threat to our country by its name: Islamic extremism. His refusal is typical of the elites in general, with a few exceptions. Why can't they say what is plainly true? Fear of accusations of bigotry. Or perhaps just cowardice. Or perhaps both.

Kirk Parker said...

A closer reading reveals that this is NOT in fact Reynolds' comment, but rather the subhead of the article he is citing.

buster said...

Having re-read Reynolds' comment, I admit that I misstated it. But I still think that the refusal to question the rationality of foreign ways of thinking is a specific instance of the more general problem that I described.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"I have always thought of most people as "semi-rational". Sort of rational in most areas, very rational in a few areas and completely irrational in a few other areas."

Bingo. And borne out by every moment of human history.

Robert Cook said...

"Thus we have books such as What's Wrong with Kansas. If Kansas isn't voting according to the values I hold, then something is wrong with it. Its people must be unintelligent and under the sway of the non-virtuous."

That is not the thesis or view of Franks' book. Rather, he questions why the people of Kansas (and, by extension, anyplace) would vote into office representatives who will support and vote into law policies inimical to them.

To provide a rhetorical example:
Would it not seem irrational for a constituency who support freedom to bear arms without restriction to vote into office a candidate who promises to tightly restrict (or outright eliminate) the right to bear arms, or who desire a maximum of personal freedom and a minimum of government "interference" in their live and affairs to vote into office a candidate who promises to maximize to the greatest degree achievable just such government interference into their lives and affairs?

This is not about whose values are preferable or "superior," but about people voting for that which will be contrary to their purported interests.

In such cases, one must assume either that the voters are making their choices for other reasons that are not apparent, but that render their choices understandable and therefore, not so irrational, or, that the voters are making their choices unaware that they are choosing that which will be inimical to them. If the latter of these is the case, one must wonder: are the voters misunderstanding what they are voting for through inattention, or because they are being purposely misled by those who wish to gain their votes?

buster said...

And my misreading of Reynolds undermines my criticism of Althouse.

traditionalguy said...

Glen is observing from a distance like a drone camera that Doesn't see earth emotions at ground level. He is therefore correct as an observer. But human Intel senses emotions across the room and attempts to interact and connect as a friend. Glenn cannot do that very well, but he is Rational using the superficial categories very well.

Glen needs a female to balance his team.

Unknown said...

"Why is tithing rational "from a Christian point of view?" It is rational from a non-religious point of view, in that it is the means by which a congregation supports itself, by paying for their meeting place (the church) and the expenses related to that."

True enough, but when I was an atheist I thought tithing irrational because I thought believing in a supernatural being was irrational and therefore supporting a church an irrational act.

The rational thing to do with the money, absent a faith in God, was to put it in a mutual fund.

I Callahan said...

or who desire a maximum of personal freedom and a minimum of government "interference" in their live and affairs to vote into office a candidate who promises to maximize to the greatest degree achievable just such government interference into their lives and affairs?

Oddly enough, the opposite of the above is the thesis of Franks' book. He believes that people SHOULD vote for people who promise to maximize government interference, and for some reason beyond his understanding, they don't. The fact that they don't want government interference seems lost on Franks.

buwaya said...

Franks does not really question his own assumptions about what policies would be beneficial to the people of Kansas. He is rather careless about assuming the benefit of the policies he supports.
It is a very parochial book indeed, which would be dismissed as trivial if the subject had been Burma, the Netherlands or Singapore.

Robert Cook said...

"Oddly enough, the opposite of the above is the thesis of Franks' book. He believes that people SHOULD vote for people who promise to maximize government interference, and for some reason beyond his understanding, they don't. The fact that they don't want government interference seems lost on Franks."

This has to do with how what may be in one's (or a group's) best interests is understood by various parties.

Big Mike said...

In defense of Prof. Reynolds, the "unexamined premise" you (quite properly) hammer is in the article he links to and not in his pithy comment (which is quoted in its entirety in the title of your comment).

mtrobertsattorney said...

What role does emotion play in my belief that the Pythagorean Theorem is true?

Gahrie said...

You're not even close to posing as rational,

How am I irrational? I merely pay attention to what you say and attempt to hold you accountable for it.

The only emotion I feel is anger. Anger that LIVs and women fall for crap like the "war on women" and vote for frauds and empty suits like Obama.

buwaya said...

The article does not presume that reason drives all, quite the opposite. The term rationality is used early on, not appropriately given the thrust of the argument.

"Another way to put this is that a great power risks defeat when it lacks figures like Aeschylus, poets who can feel the enemy before they face him in battle. Competition and war are not driven by mathematical equations but are a clash of minds and wills, fears and desires, often only loosely connected to the material capabilities at hand. In the geopolitical competitions that we are facing and are likely to face in the future, do we have our own Aeschyluses?"

Unknown said...

@Robert Cooke

Helps prove my case.

"That is not the thesis or view of Franks' book. Rather, he questions why the people of Kansas (and, by extension, anyplace) would vote into office representatives who will support and vote into law policies inimical to them."

The assumption being that the policies being supported are inimical to Kansas. Inimical according to Franks. As judged according to his values.

"This is not about whose values are preferable or "superior," but about people voting for that which will be contrary to their purported interests."

I never said superior or preferable. You brought that into the conversation, for some reason.

Franks argument as stated by you, seems, to me, to be that people are too stupid to know what's in there own interest and therefore an intelligent elite should relieve them of the burden of deciding things for themselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdZ4oX5nK5I

buwaya said...

What part did the Pythagorean theorem play in Bismarck's gamble that he could get the French to declare war in 1870 ?

tim maguire said...

I think you misidentify Glenn's unexamined premise. The unexamined premise is that you know what he means when he says "elite" and what he means when he refers to what the elite think of us.

The elite in his formulation is the liberal bureaucrat media-educational-government industrial complex that he typically refers to in his 'credentialed but not educated" screeds. The ivory tower pointy heads who have no hesitation about running our lives because they know better than us how to run them.

When he says they assume we are rational, the "we" refers to the ivory tower pointy-headed intellectuals (because the rest of us don't really count, do we?) And they believe (an assumption? Maybe but there are plenty of facts backing it) that everyone lives within the liberal paradigm and anybody who doesn't like us doesn't like us for the same reasons the pointy heads don't like us and if we want them to like us, then we need to behave as the pointy heads want us to behave.

And I think Glenn is more or less right.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

It seems that men and women seeking to consolidate capital and control are only concerned with multiculturalism, equality, etc. as far as it serves to marginalize and neutralize, or manage, their competing interests. That's the only way to logically reconcile their purported human and civil interests with policies that debase and denigrate individual men and women throughout their evolution from conception to death.

They would like to have their cake and eat it too, but a large minority and even majority of men and women recognize their sanctimonious hypocrisy -- bigotry. Perhaps this is the best outcome we can expect from perfectly rational men and women reconciling individual dignity, intrinsic value, and finitely accessible and available resources. It's not a paradox. It's survival of the "fittest".

That said, these "elites" serve the profits of wealth, pleasure, and leisure. Not a few common men and women serve the same profits, and will even sacrifice their children in a secular rite, hoping and dreaming that these "elites" will reward them with material incentives and opiates (e.g. dissociation of risk).

People seem to prefer serving mortal gods who promise a material return, than place their faith in an extra-universal God who promises to judge their moral fitness, or in their fellow men and women who expect to share the load. It's dreams of instant or immediate gratification all the way down.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I've studied economics and read enough liberal-leaning popular nonfiction to understand (deeply) that the elites consider the masses irrational. In some scenarios and using certain metrics this can even be proven (their favorites are things like the paradox of choice), although what those examples actually say is debatable (What's the Matter With Kansas makes sense only if you share the author's beliefs about the values in question, etc).
There is a pragmatic reason for people to cling to the idea of rationality, though, even if they don't fully believe it about themselves. Once you admit you can't think rationally about an issue you cede power to decide that issue to those who claim they can think rationally about it. As Americans maybe we (rationally or irrationally) don't want to be ruled by others, and don't want to cede that power even if we might agree that it'd be better for us in some certain instances. I guess that's an example of bounded rationality, but to me the bigger problem is one of recursion--if I accept that I am irrational and that other people are irrational, why should I give up any decision making power to other people? How could they be more rational than me? Usually it's argued that they (the elites) are more rational because they're not emotionally involved in a given issue, but how does that prove they're any more rational in general? If the argument is that a given system or algorithm will be more rational and thus I should let it decide for me, I have to ask who designed the system and who programed the algorithm? If you accept the premise that people are irrational I'm not sure how you can later conclude that the irrational fault can be cured by other people.

Dan Hossley said...

You missed the point and in doing so, you proved the point.

Every culture has a rational framework within which facts are interpreted. It is a mistake to believe that the Iranians or the Chinese define rational the same way we do.

Remember LBJ? He thought he could persuade the North Vietnamese to stop the war with promises of public works projects paid by the American taxpayer.

He just couldn't figure out why they wouldn't go for it, every other group he needed something from took the bribe.

Obama suffers from the same affliction. He thinks he is negotiating with the Iranians. They think they are building nuclear weapons. He thinks he is punishing the Russians, they think they are winning.

Known Unknown said...

Who the hell are supposed to be the "elites" anyways?

Tank said...

EMD said...

Who the hell are supposed to be the "elites" anyways?

Why, people who read Althouse and IP of course.

Unknown said...

"Who the hell are supposed to be the "elites" anyways?"

In my experience, grinds who got into Ivy League or equivalent universities so they can become part of the ruling class. Mostly unaccountable bureaucrats and academics who know better than the rest of us how we should conduct ourselves. People who deride the constitution as being out of date because it does not convey positive rights and is (get this) over 100 years old.

Mark said...

The question isn't which culture is rational, but how closely the cultures, subcultures, etc. tack into the winds of rationality. "Rational/Irrational" is a false choice.

Your other point, that our elites don't see the masses or our culture as being rational either, isn't germane to the main argument, Our Elites prefer to see the hoi poloi culture as being exactly as irrational as every other alien culture. Tea Party, Boku Harem, at this point what difference does it make?

Sebastian said...

“Glenn's remark has an unexamined premise: that "our elites" think that the people in our culture think rationally.”

No. "Our elites think the people in our culture think rationally" is not a premise, examined or unexamined, for saying "other cultures think differently."

“Why did Glenn go toward reacting to "elites" and the imputation of "fear" and racism? . . . And look at how our elites behave toward us. Look at any political campaign — the "war or women," for example. I'm not seeing trust in the rationality of the people. It's emotion all the way down. I don't think the elites are afraid of looking racist if they portray people in other cultures as irrational.”

The point you attribute to Glenn is not the one he made. But he is right either way. I do not recall any American "elite" figure ever saying that "people in culture x are irrational." In the recent past, few if any ever intimated that "other cultures think differently." (Not the same thing: as other have explained, "thinking differently" can refer to irrationality in ways of thinking or proceeding from different values/assumptions.) Since cultural difference is now often framed in racial terms, and being "racist" is the ultimate contemporary sin, it is at least plausible to argue that elite universalism is motivated by fear of looking racist.

I do agree with your (even more) skeptical take on "elite" thinking, since much of it is cynical, self-serving posture rather than sincerely held Habermasian conviction.

FleetUSA said...

From about my 40's I realized that many people I previously thought were less intelligent are in fact highly intelligent. Some just didn't have the luck to go to the good schools or have parents who encouraged their intellectual growth.

One particular administrative assistant had a powerful memory and great common sense. She just had the misfortune of growing up in an era and a place which channeled her towards mundane work.

hombre said...

When did "rationally" become a synonym for "differently?"

Anonymous said...

Glenn's remark has an unexamined premise: that "our elites" think that the people in our culture think rationally. I don't accept that premise.

No, that's not the premise of his (quite straightforward) point, examined or unexamined.

Now, your premise, "that we have an emotional attachment to our belief that we are rational but that all our thinking is inextricably intertwined with emotion" is a fine premise, but I think you saw it where it wasn't, because, illustrating your own premise, you have an emotional investment in the goodness and workability of "multiculturalism", and are rationalizing here because you'd rather think about other things than the damning contradiction at the center of a favored dogma.

tim in vermont said...

It used to be easier to pretend we were rational when we largely shared a common culture with similar emotional triggers which could remain unacknowledged. We were then freed from that discussion to discuss what was rational within the context of our shared belief system. Those days are past. We will have our own Putin some day, and people from the left, the National and International Socialists will be throwing rose petals before his path.

wildswan said...

Kissinger has a new book out called World Order and in it he defines different ideas of "world order" held by different cultures. We believe in the idea that if others were freed from corrupt tyrannies as we freed ourselves from England then they would move naturally toward justice and freedom. In Europe they believe in the balance of power. Islam believes in divinely sanctioned ruler uniting and pacifying the world. The Chinese Emperor was the master of all under heaven and only barbarians did not know it. The Russian had an idea relating to enemies on every frontier so that conquest was the only option. And now, in the our IT shrunk world, these different "world orders" are thrashing about like fish in a pool that's drying up.

It seems to me that American elites nowadays have realized that one or another of these other orders exist and think that we'd have peace if we accommodated one or another of them them. And different people try to accommodate different "world orders" in ways they get from yet other "world orders" and think, for instance, that Americans are Yahoos for not trying to accommodate Islam with the balance of power. They think if they take up some other order then they aren't imposing the American world order on anyone whereas they still are imposing somebody's "world order" on someone, starting with imposing on Americans some other alien world view that no one is going to support.

Whew. Back to "who deflated the footballs?" and will the NFL follow their own rules? and, as a result, make the Super Bowl uninteresting? and then lose money? No.

Anonymous said...

Ann, your right,
check http://www.the-american-interest.com/2015/01/23/know-thy-enemy/
Aeschylus for the importance of
'knowing thy enemy.'

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The other examined premise is that Glenn's comment presupposes that he is not part of the elite while Ann's comments presupposes that she is.

rhhardin said...

I certainly believe that we have an emotional attachment to our belief that we are rational but that all our thinking is inextricably intertwined with emotion.

Cognitive scientists recently reported that people believe what they want to believe.

I call this the cognitive scientist effect.

dreams said...

"I don't know about rational, but our elites certainly believe that they are objective and non-ideological."

"Not the ones I've met."

I think the liberal media believe that they are objective and non-ideological.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"I don't know about rational, but our elites certainly believe that they are objective and non-ideological."

"Not the ones I've met."

Every current democrat politician and pundit I've ever heard of considers him or her self to be non-ideological. Look at Obama, for example.

Michael K said...

"representatives who will support and vote into law policies inimical to them."

A hilarious example of ideological blinders worn with pride.

fizzymagic said...

"I don't know about rational, but our elites certainly believe that they are objective and non-ideological."

Not the ones I've met.


Apparently we travel in far different circles. I'm a scientist, so may be that explains it. But pretty much every liberal I have ever met considers people who disagree with them to irrational, stupid, and likely evil.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Cass Sunstein may be the best example of a liberal elite who believes that his policy preferences are not ideological.

RecChief said...

Sorry, I didn't understand all the elitist... emotional thinking...blah blah blah.

anyway, I had to teach a class on cultural sensitivity, and one thing I found in the research was that there is a certain subset of people who believe that there are no real cultural differences, that we are really all the same, you can get past all cultural differences if you just explain your position.

Fantasy

RecChief said...

Ann Althouse said...

Analyze the emotionality of that statement.


yowza! I think you just made his point for him.

RecChief said...

what is the emotional thinking behind a person who is a champion of homosexuality and gay marriage to never comment on the President stating that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice?

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

fizzymagic said…
pretty much every liberal I have ever met considers people who disagree with them to irrational, stupid, and likely evil.


I'm a moderate, but I want it on the record that I don't think you guys are evil.

Anonymous said...

Althouse cops to being elite. The Republic is dead.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a moderate"

And don't forget reasonable!

CWJ said...

Robert Cook wrote so very very long ago -

"Why is tithing rational "from a Christian point of view?" It is rational from a non-religious point of view, in that it is the means by which a congregation supports itself, by paying for their meeting place (the church) and the expenses related to that."

That is one of the most blinkered near sighted descriptions of tithing that I have ever read. Whether you agree with it or not, I have never heard an exhortation to tithe focus upon the congregation alone. Even in its most mechanical application, I've never heard anything more than 5% to the chruch (writ large NOT the parish or congregation), and 5% to the charitable giving of your choice.

Your interpretation must follow from some personal prejudice or conceit. The ignorance of your comment reminds me of a neighbor who confidently told me that the Pope determined which individual parish the Catholic faithful should attend.

Big Mike said...

I'm a moderate, but I want it on the record that I don't think you guys are evil.

There are lies, there are damned lies, there are statistics, and then there are these two statements.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I am a Lutheran, not a Catholic, but . . .
One of the greatest naturalists of all time was Louis Agasizz (1807-1873). Agasizz was a devout Catholic. Too bad Robert Cook wasn't there to tell him how stupid and irrational he was.

furious_a said...

they are irrational, as are all believers in things unseen, unseeable, and unprovable.

Like how Californians believe that lotto fever is an excellent way to fund education.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

How much have you been drinking lately?

You're never more vague than when you ascribe labels like "elites". I guess living in Madison WI long enough will convince even the most successful professor bloggers that she's not an "elite". You're about as anti-elite as Schicklgruber.

cubanbob said...

Ralph Hyatt said...
@Robert Cooke

at 12.09 it helps to keep in mind that to understand Cook one only needs to remember the vanguard of the proletariat-with him being the vanguard.

Blue@9 said...

"I don't know about rational, but our elites certainly believe that they are objective and non-ideological."

"Not the ones I've met."
Every current democrat politician and pundit I've ever heard of considers him or her self to be non-ideological. Look at Obama, for example.


Yep, the new buzzword to watch out for is "data-driven," as in, "I'm not about ideologies, I'm data-driven." Of course you can reach any conclusion you want if you cherry-pick your data, which is what all these guys do.

I met a very lefty progressive "I'm data-driven" guy at a conference last summer. I lent him my phone charging cable one morning and later discovered that he stole it. As my friend remarked, "That's what you get from people who are 'data-driven.'"

Kirk Parker said...

McChollough,

Au contraire, men understand women just fine.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Blue@9
"Of course you can reach any conclusion you want if you cherry-pick your data, which is what all these guys do."
The elite can now get breakdowns of the Gini Coefficient for every county in the US, daily, and to six significant digits.

Rusty said...

I'm a moderate, but I want it on the record that I don't think you guys are evil.



Again with the irony.

Robert Cook said...

"'I don't know about rational, but our elites certainly believe that they are objective and non-ideological.'

"Not the ones I've met."

Apparently we travel in far different circles. I'm a scientist, so may be that explains it. But pretty much every liberal I have ever met considers people who disagree with them to irrational, stupid, and likely evil.


The same is pretty much true of conservative as regards their view of liberals.

Also, who says our elites are liberal?

Michael McNeil said...

Re the Pythagorean Theorem and its ilk. Whether it (and purely mathematical laws like it) are ‘true’ or not according to their mathematical assumptions/axioms (and whether or not one believes it to be true) can have relatively little to do with whether the ‘law’ actually works in and applies to the real world. The Pythagorean theorem, for instance, does not strictly apply to nor (exactly) work upon a three-dimensional curved surface of a spheroid like the Earth. And the seemingly self-obvious and universal rule that 1 + 1 = 2 does not really apply all over the place in the real world, where mathematical entities such as vectors, tensors, and complex numbers (which are hardly ‘imaginary’ — or at least no more than any other kind of number) rule.