Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I've wondered for a long, long time, both during my life in the UK and since I arrived in the USA, how it can be that humans see matters of political importance in such diametrically different ways.....the black and white of it - the liberal and conservative of it, to attach available labels.

I attempted to write about the topic in April last year, in a post Political Preference - Brain Differences? Astrology in there anywhere?

If astrology "works", even at the most basic of levels, planet Saturn and/or its sign of rulership Capricorn (and possibly even its sign of rulership before Uranus was discovered, Aquarius), would have to be in some way more prominent or in a stronger position and without heavy conflict, in the natal chart of a dyed-in-the-wool right-wing conservative type. I don't have a view on what would likely be prominent in the chart of a strongly liberal left-winger, it's not as clear cut. Perhaps simply the absence of such astrological indications mentioned above would set political preference in the other direction?

Yesterday, How the Right Brain Works and What That Means for Progressives - an essay at Alter Net by Chris Mooney approached the topic (minus any astrology, of course). The essay draws on the author's book due to be published in April (The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality ) and on certain interviews.

The essay is interesting. I found several comments in the thread beneath it excellent assessments also. Two especially caught my eye:

From Perry Logan
A good way to frame it is to say conservatives in the U.S. have an incredibly strong herd instinct, whereas lefties tend to be weak or deficient in this area.

The Right are profoundly tribal. This intense group instinct affects both the emotions and the thought processes of conservatives.The most notable cognitive difference is that the Right's concept of truth itself is tribal--that is, conservatives only accept information/disinformation from conservative sources. Liberal or lefty sources of information are rejected out of hand. In addition, righties will categorize any unwanted or threatening information as being "liberal" or tainted.

That's why the Right can reject an entire scientific discipline--atmospheric science--for the simple reason that the information is unacceptable. Those scientists--hundreds of them, from all nations, all over the world--must be lyin' libs. The whole thing must be a plot.

Likewise, when I offer years of research and reviews from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, which one might have thought an unimpeachable source, showing that guns are just as deadly and dangerous as common sense would predict, the gun guys just snort. "Harvard? What do they know?" and trot out some stats their cousin cooked up in the basement, which are more to their liking.

Lefties are not clear-eyed, objective observers, by any means. But in my experience, they are rarely capable of such a profound degree of cognitive bias.

The result of all this reality-filtering is that the Right literally have their own facts about everything. It's as if they lived in a parallel universe, where liberals are the cause of all our problems, if the world could only see. Those are some weird brains they have over there.

When I say the left are "deficient" in herd instinct, I don't mean it as a criticism. Our relatively weak herd impulse is one of our virtues, it seems to me. At the same time, it puts us at a distinct disadvantage in politics. We're not the great followers our rightward brethren are.

The Obots are very tribal, by the way. Obots--Obamacrats--are strikingly similar to wingnuts in their thinking and behavior. That's because Obots are not true lefties, but are members of personality cult centered around the Bammer.

And..... from a different angle:

Along Came Jones
I found this article interesting from a philological prospective but I am not so sure of it's practical use. While there are certainly differences in the extremes, those difference begin to dissipate when considering the total attitudes between the extremes. There has always been this difference and likely always be a difference. I also suspect that civility has had it's ups and downs and will continue to ebb and flow. However, I don't believe these differences account for the problems we face now or similarly in 1890 or 1920.

There is a percentage of a group somewhere between 5-10% that either works at cross purposes, is unsuitable, is delinquent, or what have you. If you start with this premise it becomes clearer the nature of most problems. The problem society faces is how to justly isolate this percentage so as not to impede the group.

To cut this short and offer a quick summary of today's conditions:
1. 95% of people will obey safe driving rules either by choice of peer pressure, while 5% will not. Thus the need for traffic laws to protect the 95%.
2. We have allowed a small percentage of people, many of which are psychopaths or sociopaths, to game our political, economic, and social systems. When judged by wealth alone many are at the upper levels of respectability.
3.This small percentage of wealthy misfits uses distraction to confuse the other 95%.
These periods of the 1890's, 1920's, and today are similar in this case and I am sure there are other similar periods in history. If I had to guess, it is generational in nature, ie: one generation of abuse followed by one of reform, one at rest. and one diminishing group diligence. It starts over again as the last generation that remembers dies off.
" generation of abuse followed by one of reform, one at rest. and one diminishing group diligence. It starts over again as the last generation that remembers dies off. That proposition would benefit from some research, astrological and otherwise - as would the original conundrum of why people seem to naturally gravitate left or right politically. Perhaps more posts on this, sometime, if I can get my head around the best way to do it.


Anonymous said...

GP: A really strange coincidence just occured: I was at this instant reading a text by Collin Wilson (a British excentric and friend of the Huxleys) about "Left and Right" - then I see your post T. Collin's text is about left and right side of the brain!

What my reading has in common with your post, I think, is that left wingers (politically) are taking much more risk in their live than conservatives (almost by definition, conservatives keep to their often well - off families )
craddles, or cosy cubicles, i.e. churches etc.).

Lefties, more probably because of some non-conformist element in their make-ups, are out for change, and even radical change.

From my own astrological observation of about 1000 maps I must have studied of people I know, I am led to think that to be more of or for the left has little to do with sun-signs (any sign can be hat), but much more with "interesting planetary situations at birth:

Lenin had Mars conjunct Neptune in Aries, squared by Uranus and NN.

If that's not telling, I would have to doubt "my science".

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

GP: sorry T. "IT" posted twice, you will hav to take off one of them.

I suspect that Aquarians are generally more inclined to be on the left, but so is Pallin...

Twilight said...

Anonymous/Gian Paul ~
Synchronicity at work!

True non-conformists are going to be at the extreme element of "leftness", I think. They'll oppose something even when it doesn't need to be opposed.....Uranus strong in their nativity. Rebels without a cause.
Less extreme leftness has a more rational approach, I think, and opposes only when the situation, as they see it, demands.

Yes, Sun signs are not relevant (I mentioned Capricorn as a zodiac sign capable of having planetary emphasis - not a Sun sign!)

I suppose we won't find any cut-and-dried formula - there are too many possibilities which could add up to conservative or liberal thinking - not to mention background, parental and other influences etc.

Lenin is a bit more extreme than i had in mind to investigate though GP. LOL!

I want to know why two ordinary individuals, men/women in any street, in any town, see the same situation in diametrically opposite ways, and cannot be convinced otherwise.

Maybe the Fixed signs at work?

Re Aquarius and Palin (and Cheney and others) - we have to remember that Saturn is traditional ruler of the sign. though Aquarius tends to draw its natives into political interests, it doesn't necessarily dictate left or right.
Aquarius is supposed to be a humanitarian sign though....perhaps that is a mistaken notion?

Anonymous said...

GP: re. your wondering why the people in the streets (American streets, I guess) are either left or right, astrologically explained - if that is possible, I would address what seems to be one of your mental obstacles, given that you are Brittish and spent time defending miner's rights in a then still deeply injust English capitalistic environment:

Take Obama's wife: She once said that she was not happy about America's social justice. That was before she became a First Lady.

Since then what has she done for the poor, the disadvantaged who are scores???

Visibly very little. Why?

My subjective explanation: she (as most American underpriviledged who manage to get out of their inferior positions), caved in. Switched boards to join the priviledged (realized her part of the American Dream). To the point were she now negates having ever said that she was unhappy with America. Her right to deny. Ours to see how ambition (she's a Capricorn) tends to work out in most cases.

Back to your wonderings and America. It's still the land of opporunity (and plenty). The system there, letting the gates of imigration open, (no personal opinion of mine), feeds the notion of the American dream being a reality. For that reason, no true left can ever come into existence

We have a very similar situation here in Brazil. Lula's son is already a multi millionaire, and so are many "left" politicians and their close ones. Look at China: it's become a FACTORY OF BILLIONAIRES (and most are members of the communist party there)...

Twilight said...

Anon/Gian Paul ~~ Thanks for your thoughts on this.

While mindsets of people in the US are at the front of my wonderings, really people everywhere tend to fall into two camps, in some countries it's more extreme -USA is one of them, UK not far behind.

Michelle Obama got her American Dream, and if she still does tell her husband that he should be doing more to alleviate poverty etc. we never get to hear of it!

Similar thing happens with "celebrities" - or most of them. They forget what it was like to struggle, they join "the other side", or if not, they don't have much to say about what ails the country outside of their comfortable bubble. Or, like Tom Hanks and co. they cannot see the wood for the trees in blind loyalty to the Prez they voted for in 2008, and who has let all but the celebs down badly.

One of my favourite quotes from one of shakespeare's sonnets:

The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

The American Dream was a "come-on" a cliché, advertising , and pretty meaningless at that. Opportunity to do well if you work hard, can and does happen in other countries too, but it's not known as "the Danish dream" or "the British Dream"......and so on.

Don't get me started. I could rant all day. :-D

The situation in Brazil seems sad too, but I don't know enough about it to comment.

Wisewebwoman said...

Most interesting post, T. yes it would be interesting to pursue this left and right thing, I've always detested the terms. And now liberal has become a dirty word too.
Put anyone in power and they tend to throw their old principles in the trash heap. Along with their promises.
Power truly does corrupt even so-called "lefties".
PS A couple I truly admire are Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Activists, philanthropists, etc. Have you done a post on them? It is staggering to me when people have all that fame, beauty and wealth and still get down and dirty in New Orleans and Africa.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~~ I don't think I've done anything on Brad Pitt and Angelina - maybe I touched on Brad Pitt when posting about the movie "Benjamin Button".

I'll put 'em on my list of stuff "to do". They do set a good example. I wish more of them would concentrate on what's wrong in this country too though - just by their words would be enough, people listen to them. But the "celebs" are so afraid of losing half their audience or upsetting their bosses I guess.

Sean Penn is one who is not afraid of speaking out about the wrongs here. Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo too. Good on 'em!

Rossa said...

From my perspective it appears to be more of a divide and conquer situation by the PTB that has certainly got out of hand. But then it sure has worked by distracting most people from what is really going on. Keep the 'masses' busy fighting each other while we all lose sight of the amount of control that is being put in place to our detriment not 'safety' from things like terrorism. Fear of the 'other' or 'unknown' is clearly doing more damage than good.

Basically I believe most people want the same things it's just the method of how we get there that is different.

I suppose I would be considered to be on the 'right' but I do agree with most of the 'left' wing point of view. I just don't believe you can impose on people a big state to achieve the outcome most people want. Same goes for corporations having too much control. Most people I know on the 'right' agree that the whole system has become used and abused. It isn't the system that is wrong it is the people who we have allowed to control it that are wrong.

After all a gun doesn't do anything by itself. It is the human pulling the trigger who is in control. And the current 'system' could 'kill' us all if we don't overcome these issues soon.

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Thanks for your nicely balanced comment, with which I agree almost entirely although I consider myself to be farish left when compared with most in the USA (only moderately so by UK standards). :-)

What has gone missing is balance. That's the key to most things (along with a good helping of love for one's fellow-men).

The PTB's divide and conquer method has worked - so far. I think more and more are waking up to the ploy now though - especially the younger generation.
It'll take maybe a couple of generations to re-balance - before things go too far t'other way.

Human nature ! - We've just gotta love it and live with it. :-)

James Higham said...

Often it's not so much a difference of opinion but that some folk see what is coming and why it came ... and people on the other side can't. Therein lies political difference.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~~ But there are some on both Right and Left who see "what's coming and why it came" where they differ is on the "who dun it!"