Bastiat’s Conundrum

Claude-Frédéric Bastiat, a 19th Century economist and political philosopher of the French Liberal Schoolthink proto-libertarian – was more than a little concerned about society turning its back to what is good and embracing what it is evil.

When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.

— Frédéric Bastiat
Economic Harmonies (1850 AD)

Not, of course that this is new thought or warning. It goes back to at least Biblical times.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah 5:20, The Bible (KJV)

But, inherent to these very thoughts and proscriptions in the conundrum. Who are the misguided of the public? Who, indeed, have chosen to call evil good, and good evil? When a society – truly, at this point more of a population than a society – cannot even agree upon what words mean, much less what are examples thereof, it becomes almost moot to try to decide this. And yet, from the standpoint of both utility and primal, existential need, decide this America must do.

Related Reading:

How to Debate Leftists and Destroy Them: 11 Rules for Winning the Argument
The Saga of Tanya the Evil, Vol. 3 (light novel): The Finest Hour
Trump's America: The Truth about Our Nation's Great Comeback
Ethics: The Essential Writings (Modern Library Classics)
Tell Me I'm Wrong: A gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist

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Beauty Is Right

The meme that liberal women are on average far less attractive than conservative women is fairly mature. And now, the hypothesis that beauty is right and the right is beautiful gets some scientific research to back it up.

Beauty Is Right And The Right Is Beautiful

Dr. Rolfe D. Peterson PhD of Susquehanna University and Dr. Carl L. Palmer of Illinois State University conducted a study to determine if beauty influenced political engagement, perceived political efficacy, and core political beliefs. What they found was that when it comes to the level of mass politics, controlling for socioeconomic status, more attractive individuals are more likely to report higher levels of political engagement, political efficacy, identify as conservative, and identify as Republican. Their results were consistent across datasets, measures of attractiveness, and persisted even when controls for socioeconomic strata and demographics were applied to the base results.

Personally, I think the anecdotal evidence I’ve presented above should be considered proof enough that beauty is Right and the Right is beautiful, but this is science and science demands that one disbelieve one’s own experiences unless they’re tested, proven, and the results found to be repeatable.

Peterson’s and Palmer’s Findings In A Nutshell:

Engagement

Peterson and Palmer found that more attractive individuals were more likely to more confident and, hence, more likely to participate in politics, to seek redress for grievances, and/or to exercise their political rights than the less attractive members of their peer group or demographic.

Efficacy

Frankly, this isn’t limited to politics. Political efficacy is just one of myriad arenas in which more beautiful people are more effective and impactful.  Throughout their lives, the more attractive among us have both benefited from preferential treatment and endured higher expectations. As such, they are more likely to believe they have a greater ability to affect the world around them, and that their decisions will be influential.

Alright; so far, nothing even remotely earth-shattering in the way of revelations, epiphanies, or scholarship. But also nothing outre or just plain wrongheaded. Anyone with any background in- or exposure to sociology and/or psychology knows that beauty plays a deep-seated and pervasive role in the social world. Even those without such academic knowledge normally have enough empirical and/or anecdotal evidence to under that the Beauty Premium is quite real, if probably misunderstood, overly and wrongly lamented, and not as universal as some might think.

Political Ideology

According to the two Political Science professors more attractive people tend towards more conservative / right-wing political views and, hence, tend more towards being Republicans because they’re privileged and don’t understand the plight of other people who don’t have such privilege. Messers Peterson and Palmer believe that attractive individuals have a blind spot that leads them to not see the need for more government support or aid in society because, as attractive people, they haven’t had to suffer as much as others.

And there was have the intrinsic bias that we Americans have come to expect from what passes for the Clerisy in modern universities. Of course these two believe that conservative political views and the GOP are based upon not caring about the “Have Nots,” and of course they believe that attractive people gravitate to those positions because of their “privilege” and lack of empathy for those who lack such.

~*~

So, there you all go. A bit more than the pure snark and prurience that one probably expected. 😉

Related Reading:

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex
The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out
How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job
Whole Beauty: Daily Rituals and Natural Recipes for Lifelong Beauty and Wellness

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Americans vs. Liberals

There are a lot of differences between Americans and Liberals.

If an American doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one.
If a Liberal doesn’t like guns, ze wants all guns outlawed.

If an American is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a Liberal is a vegetarian, ze wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If an American is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If an Liberal is homosexual, ze demands legislated respect.

If an American is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
If a Liberal is down-and-out ze wonders who is going to take care of him.

If an American doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
If a Liberal doesn’t like a talk show host, ze demands that they be shut down.

If an American is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
If a Liberal is a non-believer, ze wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

If an American decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
If a Liberal decides he needs health care, ze demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If an American reads this, he’ll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
If a Liberal reads this, ze’ll delete, block, or report it because ze’s “offended.”

Yes, there’s a lot of differences and those differences are fundamental, incontrovertible, intractable, and unlikely to be resolved through any peaceful means.

Related Reading:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
America: A Narrative History (Brief Tenth Edition) (Vol. 2)
Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics
The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
Trump's America: The Truth about Our Nation's Great Comeback

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