Liberals, Conservatives, and Change

by Don Boudreaux on September 10, 2007

in Myths and Fallacies

Here’s a report of research that allegedly finds that the brains of persons who describe themselves as "liberal" are wired differently than are the brains of those persons who describe themselves as "conservative."

I’m incompetent to judge the quality of such research (and, indeed, I’ve read only this one report on the research, not the research itself).  Still, I offer an observation below.  The crux of the research finding is reported in these paragraphs:

Using electroencephalographs, which measure neuronal impulses, the
researchers examined activity in a part of the brain — the anterior
cingulate cortex — that is strongly linked with the self-regulatory
process of conflict monitoring.

The match-up was unmistakable: respondents who had described themselves
as liberals showed "significantly greater conflict-related neural
activity" when the hypothetical situation called for an unscheduled
break in routine.

Conservatives, however, were less flexible, refusing to deviate from
old habits "despite signals that this … should be changed."

Seems plausible.  But I’m very reluctant to draw conclusions from this study if only because of the ambiguity of the terms "conservative" and "liberal."  In the English-speaking world, many people who favor free markets and who are suspicious of top-down planning call themselves "conservative".  And yet these persons generally are much more tolerant of the inherent uncertainties of market processes than are many (most?) persons who call themselves "liberal."  Many modern, self-described "liberals" worry that changes from familiar patterns — for example, changes in the types of industry that flourish in a country; changes in the pattern of "income distribution"; changes in the natural environment — are so likely to cause problems that "liberals" want government to use its powers to try to avoid or, at least, to moderate these changes.  (Modern "liberals," note, are much more likely than are modern "conservatives" to endorse the application of the "precautionary principle.")

I am not saying here that all modern liberals are fearful of markets and that all modern conservatives celebrate, or even tolerate, markets’ dynamism and change.  My point is merely that it is a gross error to suppose that people today who self-identify as "liberals" welcome change while people who self-identify as "conservatives" do not.

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{ 44 comments }

Steven Horwitz September 10, 2007 at 10:11 am

And, in Europe, those same people who are suspicious of top-down economic planning and are tolerant of dynamic, unpredictable economic change call themselves….liberals.

Of course, like all such studies, where libertarians fit when we aren't one or the other remains a puzzle…. as does extrapolating from 43 college students who may not even know what liberal and conservative mean.

daveinboca September 10, 2007 at 10:12 am

Maybe it is as simple as the basic flight or fight reflex: hard-wiring in some is predisposed to fight, in others to flight. Or perhaps a gender differentiation might be useful.

And I'm wondering if there is a control.

My own simple-minded view is that the Jung-based Myer-Briggs test would be useful, but others might have other psychological viewpoints.

At the end of the day, there are too many methodological booby-traps here to make more than vapid generalizations, like mine above.

John Pertz September 10, 2007 at 11:00 am

I understand where Don is coming from in his commentary on the research. I think people need to realize that there has been a serious evolution in the anti-capitalist message as espoused by left-liberals. They no longer argue that capitalism is inefficient or that there are better alternatives in terms of efficiency. Their current argument is that capitalism is too efficient and is literally eating into our democratic, civil, and communitarian values. In a sense, the left-liberal anti-capitalist message has evolved, or more accurately, regressed into the earlier right-wing-aristocratic arguments made during the industrial revolution. I mean how do left liberals reconcile their faith in the monopolistic-oligopolistic competition models and argue on the other hand that free markets lead to too much social upheaval. It can only be one or the other. Either we live in static environment of minimal change amongst economic producers or the world is much more economically dynamic than the left would like us to believe.

The Rational Fool September 10, 2007 at 11:33 am

As David Amodio himself admits, correlation doesn't connote causality. He is rightly cautious about what is inherited in the genotype, and what neuronal pathways may have developed in the phenotype as a result of the environment. Caveats don't make headlines in the popular press.

Self-described conservative and liberal thinkers are not the same as self-described liberal and conservative thinkers in China, India, and Russia. Take it from this immigrant from India: if free-market ideas were not the result radically different, conflict inducing, thinking in India, then I don't know what are!

Flash Gordon September 10, 2007 at 11:36 am

Ludwig von Mises called himself a "liberal" but he certainly didn't mean anything like what we know to be the tenets of liberalism today. The classical liberalism of von MIses was based on tolerance and openness to change whereas modern liberals and the most intolerant and resistant to change people on the planet.

In the face of the failure and coming collapse of social security and medicare, it is liberals who cannot stand the thought of making the slightest change to these programs. This is just one example among many.

Another would be to compare the Northeastern high tech industry to silicon valley. The latter has outpaced the former by being resilient to factors incapable of being known in advance while the former has tried to anticipate every possible outcome before embarking on a new idea. You might say they are both liberal and silicon valley certainly votes that way, but it is the Northeastern liberals who are truly committed to the ideology. Silicon valley liberals are actually conservatives who just don't know anything about politics, in my view. The ones who take time out from inventing new technology and start to think about politics end up voting conservative.

This so-called "study" seems to be like most studies which either tell us something we already know or is just wrong.

no fortunate son September 10, 2007 at 11:51 am

As I read the article, the words 'liberal' and 'conservative' are not used in describing the experimental protocol. Participants were college students whose politics ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative." I'm guessing that means they self-identified their politics.

no fortunate son September 10, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Sorry, on re-reading I see that I didn't make myself very clear.

What I was trying for was that there was no mention of an attempt to identify where the students lay on a liberal-conservative spectrum by, for example, using a questionnaire on political topics. Rather, they trusted the students to identify their own mind set, which identification would undoubtedly include a considerable amount of feedback from their poliical peer group.

It is entirely possible for a conservative to support Social Security for what the person perceives as conservative reasons.

And didn't Hayek favor a certain amount of government help for those in need?

Flash Gordon September 10, 2007 at 12:38 pm

And didn't Hayek favor a certain amount of government help for those in need?

The liberals recoil at the idea that social security is a welfare program. And it isn't. There is no needs test. You pay into the damn thing your whole life and get a lousy return on your investment.

Sam Grove September 10, 2007 at 1:35 pm

There is no needs test.

Aside from the presumption that those after a certain age are no longer working and thus require supplemental income, all those below that age that receive SS benefits are needs tested.

Dave September 10, 2007 at 1:36 pm

The findings would make more sense to me if they were classified as socially conservative and liberal rather than economically conservative and liberal, but the article doesn't specify. Perhaps they simply defined "conservatives" as those who prefer the status quo.

Brad September 10, 2007 at 1:52 pm

This research throws a wrench at the long recognized common sense position that liberals are stupid and conservatives are evil.

Caliban Darklock September 10, 2007 at 2:55 pm

The classical liberal/conservative divide (in my understanding) is that when presented with a new proposal for a law, the liberal thinks it should be passed if it does no harm, while the conservative thinks it should be passed if it does compelling good.

This leads the conservative to be viewed as "evil" when he inevitably decides the compelling good of some law outweighs the clear and inevitable harm it does.

It leads the liberal to be viewed as "stupid" when he inevitably decides some law should be passed which, while doing no harm, falls into that category largely because it does not do anything at all.

Both camps have been fighting to fix this problem for several years and overcompensating. This is why it sometimes seems they have traded positions.

That's my perspective, anyway.

TLH September 10, 2007 at 2:56 pm

In the English-speaking world, many people who are suspicious of what moral choices a free people would make and favor top-down planning by those in authority call themselves "conservatives."

The U.S. president Bush says "dictatorship would be easier, so long as I'm the dictator." Does not that match closely an experimental result that self-described "conservatives" prefer a setup that allows them to eschew doubt?

Gil September 10, 2007 at 4:00 pm

I think the more interesting division is along the dynamist/stasist line rather than liberal/conservative. That division was explored in this book: The Future And Its Enemies

I suspect that this is the distinction that the experiment was detecting, if anything.

Dick King September 10, 2007 at 4:35 pm

There is no needs test [for social security].

1: If Peter earns twice as much as his twin brother Paul during their entire career [both earning less than the FICA base limit at all times] and they retire at the same time, Peter gets more social security than Paul but substantially less than twice as much.

2: A significant portion of the social security payment is taxable, which means that someone who has other income gets to keep less.

-dk

George September 10, 2007 at 4:36 pm

About a little more than a decade ago I underwent an EEG. One of the first baseline questions I was asked was, "Who is the President of the United States." I answered "Clinton." After a second or two the EEG technician said, "You don't like him, do you!" My answer was, "No."

Gus diZerega September 10, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Given that almost all who call themselves 'conservatives' today have as much in common with classical liberalism as frogs do with mice (both are vertebrates), the amount of concern over these findings using subjects applying self-described labels is sad to see.

When will genuine classical liberals get it through their minds that they are no longer part of what these days calls itself "conservatism"? Today's "conservatives" support imperialist war, torture, legislation outlawing consenting actions between adults, rabid nationalism, caesarism masquerading as the "unitary executive," replacing the rule of law in any form with political operatives, crony capitalism, . . . the list could go on and on.

In my opinion these findings are pretty much what I would expect concerning young self-described "conservatives". And they are hardly outliers in this kind of research.

Greg Decker September 10, 2007 at 5:42 pm

The biggest flaw in their experiment is the assumption they make about WHY the conservatives acted the way they did. They claimed it was because conservatives are "less flexible, refusing to deviate from old habits" Really, how do they know they're being inflexible? Maybe they're simply trying to be efficient by predicting the next letter but doing this creates some level of error whereas the liberals simply followed the instructions. There could be any number of reasons that serve a liberal or conservative agenda depending upon what you chose to do with your junk science.

Varangy September 10, 2007 at 8:50 pm

Could it be that this experiment is simply biased against those 'conservatives'?

Nah…..

:)

Ray G September 10, 2007 at 10:04 pm

The only consistent difference I've noticed in the "wiring" of liberals and conservatives is their emotional makeup.

The liberal is more idealistic, and easily dismisses reality when thinking or planning how things ought to be instead of how they are.

The conservative is more realistic, accepting what Thomas Sowell calls the tragic view.

Compare basic economic outlooks. The genuine conservative is more libertarian than not in such matters, and they are willing to accept that many people are going to fail in a free market, but of course, freedom to fail is better than government dictated equality (think mandated misery).

The liberal hates to think of the poor loser in life, and while never admitting to an ideology that produces equality of misery, they persistently believe that mankind can implement economic plans contrary to human nature, and sooner or later, it might work.

Eric September 10, 2007 at 11:36 pm

I like that phrase, Ray G (mandated misery). My professors, however, still cling to the belief that the quality of life is inherently better in Europe than it is here.

That may be so, but to me, liberty is a far bigger part of happiness than the Welfar Statists will ever allow.

Flash Gordon September 11, 2007 at 12:01 am

The conservative is more realistic, accepting what Thomas Sowell calls the tragic view.

You are of course referring to Sowell's excellent book A Conflict of Visions wherein he contrasted the unconstrained vision of French philosopher Marquis de Condorcet with the constrained vision of Hayek.

It was Stephen Pinker in his book The Blank Slate who dubbed the constrained vision as a "tragic view."

I think Pinker is wrong. While not a hard core liberal by any means, he has too much modern liberal blood running through his veins to be comfortable with the idea that we cannot construct a world in which all people succeed all the time. So the inevitable failure of some even in the best of times is tragic in his mind, while it is merely inevitable to Hayek who recognized that free markets merely make the world better, not perfect.

Ray G September 11, 2007 at 1:14 am

Actually no, I didn't get it from his Conflict of VIsions but one of his articles. It was 5 or 6 years ago, and he made a brief description of the Greek tragedy, and compared it to today's entertainment and how everything in the pop culture has to have a happy ending. And then of course he ties it all back in to the liberal influence of the media, and so on.

Another interesting aspect of the generic conservative mindset is the view that struggle builds.

I know lots of liberals that believe that for their personal view, but they do not believe that the inherently poor and downtrodden can be built up at all, so why allow them to struggle. The typical limousine liberal, do what I tell you to do for your own good mentality.

Tim Shell September 11, 2007 at 2:29 am

I think Hayek would have called this 'scientism'.

kurt September 11, 2007 at 3:31 am

How can interpersonal valuations of political nomers be compared? There is nothing to suggest, that if person A call himself conservative and person B as well, they are talking about the same thing, even if you start increasing sample size and assume these self-descriptions to be 'normally distributed'.

LowcountryJoe September 11, 2007 at 10:21 am

Gus, what is imperialist war?

Is there ever ANY justification for one nation to use violence to overthrow anothers nation's government?

If so, what are circumstances that allow for the justication?

If not, then what would you propose as a proper response to such aggression [who gets involved and details on the action that should be taken], if any?

True_liberal September 11, 2007 at 10:52 am

Tom Jefferson, I believe, considered himself both conservative AND liberal (in the classical sense), and saw no contradiction between the two.

Nor do I – and so I remain,
very truly yours,

Scott September 11, 2007 at 11:55 am

This is ridiculous. Like the "scare of the week" global-warming stories that keep coming, it seems like every couple of years, the pinheads in acadamia like to release another study which "proves" how reactionary the average conservative is.

Here's Jonah Goldberg humorously responding to an exact copy of this study, but back in 2003.

Disclamer: I dislike conservatives almost as much as liberals, and both can be highly intolerant of many many things.

Flash Gordon September 11, 2007 at 12:03 pm

One way to know someone is a liberal is when they claim that "liberal" and "conservative" are worthless labels with little meaning. They do this only because liberal has become a dirty word, rightly so, and they don't like to be called liberals. Conservatives do not react that way to being called conservative. In fact, a conservative is usually someone who proudly proclaims himself so.

The reason liberals profess to believe impossible things is because all liberalism is about self-aggrandizment. Liberals need to talk about how some people are poor and have no hope at all, and liberals need to wear ribbons supporting some tear-jerk cause, in order to show that they really care about such things, much more than you do because you are probably a heartless and cruel conservative.

So they can ignore the reality of a pluralistic and mobile society where many many individuals spend some time in their lives below an artificial poverty level only to rise from it and do very well for themselves. They must ignore this reality because otherwise they would have to find some other way to make themselves feel morally superior to the rest of us. Like say, some study purporting to find that conservatives are mentally defective. Probably some psychological projection going on in these studies.

SaulOhio September 11, 2007 at 1:32 pm

With these kinds of studies, I often wonder if the cause-effect relationship is reversed. Maybe people who intellectually realize change is often a good thing train their minds to accept change easily. Maybe people with manic depressive personalities or other mental disorders have neurotransmitter imbalances BECAUSE of their emotional state (Or more likely, one is an aspect of the other, and they have another cause.)

I don't know the specifics of the study, but there is the fact that correlation doesn't automatically mean causation.

vidyohs September 11, 2007 at 9:11 pm

Quoting from the report:

"Conservatives tend to crave order and structure in their lives, and are more consistent in the way they make decisions. Liberals, by contrast, show a higher tolerance for ambiguity and complexity, and adapt more easily to unexpected circumstances.
The match-up was unmistakable: respondents who had described themselves as liberals showed "significantly greater conflict-related neural activity" when the hypothetical situation called for an unscheduled break in routine.
Conservatives, however, were less flexible, refusing to deviate from old habits "despite signals that this … should be changed."

For my part, the very wording of the report as exemplified by the first paragraph quoted above is such that one gets a general sense of bias on the part of, if not those who conducted the study, then the one who is writing the article. Notice that conservatives are said to "crave" (think obsession) and liberals are said to show "tolerance" (think accepting). So, in my view we are dealing with an article that is written portraying a view created in bias.

However my objective observation from too many years of looking, listening, and discussing is that "yeah conservatives like order and structure because that is where you find property rights, morals, responsibility, and accountability, while, "yes liberals show tolerance for ambiguity and complexity because in ambiguity is found irresponsibility, immorality, and in complexity is found the hidey-hole they can run to to escape accountability."

Exactly what is "conflict-related neutral activity" and what does it say about a person? Sounds to me like saying "nothing is worth fighting for, except my right to stick my hand in your pants pocket."

I am a true conservative and yes I am inflexible, the socialist religion will never convince me that it is okay to steal from Peter to give to Paul, honesty and self responsibility is a "habit" with me. I am not alone, there are many others like me out here. I won't mess with your property and you won't mess with mine. Is there any need to flex on that?

I could whip this horse all night but you all know what I am saying, and for the select few that hate what I am saying, you're irrelevant to this conservative anyway because I know that the faithful will die or kill before waking up to reality.

vidyohs September 11, 2007 at 9:17 pm

TLH,

"In the English-speaking world, many people who are suspicious of what moral choices a free people would make and favor top-down planning by those in authority call themselves "conservatives."

The U.S. president Bush says "dictatorship would be easier, so long as I'm the dictator." Does not that match closely an experimental result that self-described "conservatives" prefer a setup that allows them to eschew doubt?"

It is true that people can call themselves anything they want but it is their actions that count and anyone seeking or approving of top down planning and direction is not a conservative….whatever else he may be, he is not a conservative.

I crack up when I see someone quote the prez on that one about dictatorship as if his honesty was an announcement of an actual desire. But, that is typical of those practicioners of the socialist religion, distort, quote out of context, and push conclusions that are not justified by words or circumstane. In other words, flat out lie in any and every way possible.

David P. Graf September 11, 2007 at 10:10 pm

Having spent some time in academia, I wouldn't waste much time worrying about a study based upon only 43 college students. The sample size is far too small to be meaningful.

Gus diZerega September 13, 2007 at 3:24 pm

Off topic-

Lowcountryjoe asked me on Sept. 11:

"Gus, what is imperialist war?

"Is there ever ANY justification for one nation to use violence to overthrow anothers nation's government?

"If so, what are circumstances that allow for the justication?

"If not, then what would you propose as a proper response to such aggression [who gets involved and details on the action that should be taken], if any?"

Imperialist war is when one country's government invades another that has neither attacked nor seriously threatened to attack it, in order to subordinate those people to its will rather than respecting them as an independent entity. Imperialism is bad for the victim and bad for the aggressors – in our case it weakens political liberty because it replaces a democratic ethic of tolerance for differences with the mindless jingoism of Bush, Coulter, and their enablers. Right wing American imperialism has led to weakening habeas corpus, torture as a matter of policy, and more.

I think the only justification to overthrow a government is self defense. This is for two reasons. First, anything looser opens the door to hell.

Second, as Hayek for one well knew, countries are complex. The preconditions for particular political regimes cannot simply be ignored the way the NeoCons and their enablers did. Their error was identical to the error made by socialist planners – assuming that complexity is manageable.

I was one of many who predicted quite accurately what would happen. The foundation for my prediction was Hayek.

I can think of one other justification for possible intervention in another country's affairs – preventing genocide. I supported intervention in Bosnia. The killers need to be stopped – but that need not involve overthrowing a government. The point is not to take over but to stop the killing. If it is civil war rather than one sided organized slaughter, then stay out. Sad as the situation is in such cases, we will not be in a position to do much if anything to help. They have to work it out themselves.

LowcountryJoe September 14, 2007 at 5:57 pm

Gus,

I am very glad that you have responded.

I have a follow-up question now: given the fact that Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, August 2, 1990, cannot reasonably be classified as a civil war, can it fall into the realm of a genocide? In other words, did the US, in your opinion, do the correct thing in liberating Kuwait from a tyrant with imperial ambitions?

If your answer is "yes" then be prepared for another follow-up. If it is "no" then please explain the difference of opinion because it seems somewhat contradictory. Assuming that you'll answer in the negative then where do the differences lay, in scope and magnitude?

Gus diZerega September 15, 2007 at 6:44 pm

My position on Kuwait at the time was support for the invasion IF and ONLY IF we required as a quid pro quo that Kuwait become a democracy afterwards. Democracies do not attack democracies. Other governments do. Establishing democracies in the Middle East is very desirable – but they need to do it themselves and in their own way. If we do not attack I would bet Iran has the most likelihood of evolving that way.

Given that Hussein had started two wars – against Iran and against Kuwait – if Kuwait were to become democratic and therefore an example to the region, it might have been worth it.

Bush I was no greater a fan of free societies than Bush II, bothy are lying moral monsters. And so we simply used American and other peoples' blood and treasure to re-establish a corrupt oligarchy to assist our own corrupt oligarchy.

I imagine you will now say – you contradict yourself. No – I left out explicitly defending against wars of aggression against others – but I would only defend such wars under certain circumstances that Kuwait could have met, but ultimately did not. Namely that it would have strengthened democratic prospects and because democracies do not war on one another for reasons I have published on, we would be safer with more of them.

muirgeo September 17, 2007 at 11:53 am

Here's a funny bit on the study of political ideologies and physiology.

Listen to the first 3 minutes. He he!

lowcountryjoe September 17, 2007 at 8:25 pm

I imagine you will now say – you contradict yourself. No – I left out explicitly defending against wars of aggression against others – but I would only defend such wars under certain circumstances that Kuwait could have met, but ultimately did not.

This is a strange stance…to accept aggression from one country onto another yet to reject an internal struggle within a nation where bloodshed results. It seems akin to having even more disdain for domestic violence than one would have from violence that is inflicted upon the family from the outside — as though the violence from outside the family does not warrant enforcement (maybe only mediation) while the domestic violence necessatates the authorities coming in and breaking up the family.

Both are very bad, do not misunderstand my argument, but your view seems backward.

…and because democracies do not war on one another for reasons I have published on…

This is a curious observation. There are no known instances of democracies warring with one another?

Gus diZerega September 17, 2007 at 10:38 pm

You misread me. Check again. I said I SUPPORTED going to war against Iraq to get it out of Kuwait –that is hardly accepting aggression from an outside source. But ONLY if in return Kuwait became a democracy. Why? Because democracies practice far less aggression on their own people than do other forms of government. See R. J. Rummel’s path-breaking statistical work here. The statistics are mind-boggling.

War has been with us longer than historians to write about them. (Archaeology takes it back further.) So to kill and have our own people killed just so one set of thugs can later act like thugs again simply doesn’t make sense to me. As a general principle, only if there is a decent likelihood of a democracy replacing the old regime do I think it is in our interest to intervene when one dictatorship or oligarchy attacks another.

There is no good analogy here with families. None at all. For one thing, I supported stopping genocide, but not just plain old bloody nastiness. The only solution to that is democracy, and democracies cannot be imposed. Kuwait MIGHT have worked because they had something in the way of a functioning parliament. I thought it was worth the risk.

For another thing, most external conquest does not result in genocide, and when among undemocratic regimes, simply replaces one thug with another – hardly worth killing or dying over.

As to democracies and war, there are no examples of democracies warring on democracies. None. There is a substantial literature on the subject now. R. J. Rummel was the first to notice and then publish about it. He and I have come to a common understanding of why this is the case – that democracies are spontaneous orders in Hayek’s sense of the term.

Rummel has a website where you can download some of his studies – and he has lots of books. He supports (or did, anyway) our Iraq travesty because, alas, he is not enough of a Hayekian to appreciate how much a culture needs the underpinnings of civil society before democracy will have a chance. But that error does not wipe out the value of his work.

You can find my most easily available stuff by going to my website and clicking the politics button at the top (not the upper right),. That takes you to articles you can download, and one from 'Review of Politics' is what you will be looking for.

The “conservatives” who are trying to convert us from a democracy to an elective dictatorship with the president as subject to the rule of law as Kaiser Wilhelm II are doing their damndest to give us an elective monarchy. If they do we will have wars, lots and lots of them. And sooner or later we can kiss what remains of American democracy good-bye. Courtesy of the “conservatives” and “patriots.”

LowcountryJoe September 19, 2007 at 6:42 am

Yes, I did misunderstand your distinction between civil war and agression brought on by outsiders. I had to read what you wrote very carefully because of how you chose to word that particular portion of your previous post.

There is one item that I am not misreading from you, though. You claim that liberating Kuwait would have been a good thing providing that it formed a democracy post war yet you correctly note that democracy cannot be forced. So, how would anyone know prior to military action whether or not a country will opt for democratic reforms in war's aftermath?

As for the rest of your points, i will skip them here as I have decided to debate you in your own forum and respond to your own blog entry and replies…if you have the stones to filter and post my comments there, Gus.

Gus diZerega September 19, 2007 at 2:41 pm

I think if you read what I said about Kuwait all your questions would be answered.

I made the following points – not necessarily in this order.

1. Societies cannot simply have democracy imposed on them – they need to develop it from their own institutions and practices. This is a Hayekian point.

2. War has been with us a long time and the only thing that seems to prevent it is democracies – they do not fight each other.

3. Therefore democracy is good and should be encouraged, but it requires preconditions if it is likely to work.

4.Kuwait was a possibility in this regard because it already had proto-democratic institutions – a parliament.

5. The only times it is worth going to war is when we are attacked or to protect our security which for me includes protecting democracies because they can be trusted not to become threats to us, or to prevent genocide.

6. We could legitimately protect Kuwait because it had the possibility of becoming democratic – and we should have made that a condition of our actions against Iraq.

Finally – Your personal insults are a real good way to get you kicked off my site. If you can write with respect, we'll communicate. If you don't you can write to yourself. I have a zero tolerance policy for right wing trolls. Zero.

LowcountyJoe September 19, 2007 at 5:00 pm

Personal insults? The only supposed insult that I've lobbed in your direction was that tactifully worded suggestion that your a chicken-shit and would not likely post my comments on your blog. And though you eventually did post my comments, your reply to me referencing your zero tolerance for right-wing trolls shows that I may have touched a nerve in the accusation I lobbed.

You probably should kick me off of your site and erase those comments of mine that I posted. Your unwillingness to even accept Hussein's refusal to comply with Resolution 1441 as our primary rationale for going to war with Iraq can only be explained by an irrational stubborness and decticated partisanship.

Gus diZerega September 19, 2007 at 6:26 pm

This will be my last post on this subject here as we have gone far away from the subject that initiated this discussion. I suspect only LCJ will read it as most people have lives to live. I certainly do.

LCJ sent an email to my site asking me to respond to his response to me here. I did. He also asked why I had not put his initial post on my blog – and I answered because it did not address any of the issues I raised there – and so I addressed them at CafeHayek. Case closed I thought.

No – that means I suppress messages.

I monitor the messages because nearly 100% of what comes in is spam, sex ads or drug ads. About 50 a day. But for the paranoid that I monitor at all is a sign of bad motives. LCJ has never been kept from posting to me – but if he sends another abusive screed that (as usual) avoids the issues, he will be – I promise.

Neither my post on my own blog nor my initial message here had anything to do with the UN resolution, nor am I in the slightest bit interested in it as of now. But I wonder a little if Joe has a similar love of other UN resolutions? Somehow I doubt it.

I have plenty of time for people of any view who genuinely want to discuss issues. I suspect ol' Joe does not qualify. We'll see.

Lowcountryjoe September 19, 2007 at 7:50 pm

Then I'll be done too. I cannot debate and discuss issues with someone who projects their own views onto me as much as you have just done. I answered your post in a relevent manner and most of your reply did not even relevently address my response…yet you insist it is the other way around.

It's in this spirit that you can write with a straight face when you speak of trolls on blogs (and not having a tolerance for them)…yet you troll on this blog. We will never get anywhere.

Now, if you'd like the last word, I promise you it is all your's if you want it.

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