Is Jesus Liberal or Conservative?

“Jesus: The Original Liberal” said the bumper sticker. “Jesus was a liberal!” screamed another. Liberals love to claim Jesus Christ of Nazareth thinks the way they do, when the opposite is true. (They even have their own website claiming it, apparently…)

jesus_liberal_magnet003-332x239

Modern Western Civilization is largely divided between two competing and diametrically opposed worldviews: the Secular Progressive (the SP’s) and the Judeo-Christian (the JC’s). With some exceptions, most modern liberals conform to the former; modern conservatives to the latter. There are many significant differences in philosophy between the two, but here are some of the most important:

  1. SP’s believe man is naturally and inherently good. JC’s, by contrast, hold that man is naturally evil and corrupted.
  2. SP’s believe that man is perfectible through social reform: it is just a matter of finding the right form of government and the right person/people to lead it. JC’s believe that human nature is fallen and not perfectible without outside intervention.
  3. SP’s believe that man is the center of the universe and subject to no higher code than his own whims; JC’s believe that God is the center of the universe and that mankind is accountable to Him.

No Thanks I'm a Liberal

Let’s try to remember – history’s most murderous regimes were officially atheist: the USSR, Maoist China, Nazi Germany, the Khmer Rouge’s Cambodia, etc. Such regimes saw no moral problem with slaughtering those who did not conform to their vision of utopia. And slaughter they did – by the millions. None of them espoused views that were in any way compatible with conservatism. They were socialist – in other words, leftist. Like modern leftists, they adopted gun control and dozens of other policies today’s liberals support. And yet the modern Left wishes to claim Christ as its forebear?

What is very ironic is that most of those who sling the “Jesus is a liberal” slogan probably don’t even believe in God, much less in the divinity of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Rather, this statement is used as a club to attempt to shame Christian conservatives into silence, especially on the social issues of our time. The thinking goes that liberals are closer to the example Jesus set, simply because they favor more income redistribution (“welfare”) by the government. Their specious logic tells them that they are more compassionate than are conservatives, simply because the latter believe that charity for the downtrodden should:


  1. Come from private rather than public sources
  2. Be accompanied by a plan to return recipients to a productive role whenever possible.

Liberals foolishly believe themselves to be more like Jesus, because they just love love love everyone as Jesus did – conveniently forgetting that Christ also demanded personal responsibility and moral accountability, as conservatives do today. As an example, let’s look at liberals’ favorite Biblical quote:

John 8 (NIV)

8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

See? Jesus loves, yes, but He also requires a certain standard of behavior. It’s got nothing to do with this “Be whomever you want to be – God loves you!” stuff we hear from liberals today.

Later in the New Testament (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12), the Apostle Paul builds on this by requiring a work ethic, something else favored by more conservatives than liberals. Liberals use federal public assistance to subsidize sloth and shiftlessness. Any conservative who suggests we ought to take another look at that is called heartless…and his Christian credentials are questioned, if he claims to be one.

The problem is that the teachings of Christ (and the Apostles) are not at all consistent with modern liberal prescriptions.

Here’s the core issue: Liberals think Jesus would have favored government’s forcible income redistribution programs, when He really meant private voluntary charity. When Jesus exhorted His followers to help the poor, He did not say, “Advocate for government to confiscate the possessions of others and give that money to the underprivileged.” Rather, He said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” (Matthew 19:21, emphasis added) Do you see any impetus for that among modern liberals, or is it conservatives you find giving of their time and money?

Liberals do not understand this simple distinction – that voluntary charity is a completely different ball of wax from the government’s involuntary welfare state. Charity or compassion, funded by taxes taken forcibly from an income earner, has no soul. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to the sort of giving which Jesus preached to His disciples. Read it for yourself:

Luke 19:8-10 (NIV):

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

If a taxpayer wished to voluntarily help the poor and downtrodden, that person should be able to contribute his excess wealth to private charitable organizations set up for this purpose, instead of acting through the government. This is better in two ways: first, private organizations tend to be more efficient at servicing the needy than are government entities, which means that more of the dollars given will reach the intended destination. Second, and more importantly, this provides the taxpayer with a means of helping the poor, without forcibly imposing the same burden on other taxpayers who would not have voluntarily made the same financial choices. Honestly – would you prefer that the IRS just help itself to your paycheck and use the proceeds to fund food stamp programs, or would you rather write a check directly to the Salvation Army when you want to, and for the amount you can afford?

But what of the notion that Jesus might have been liberal in other ways? This view is also not correct. Let us first define our terms: ‘Liberal,’ according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, means “not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms.” ‘Conservative,’ by contrast, is defined as “tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions.”

We can safely interpret this to mean that liberals generally are the ones who bring about political and social change, whereas conservatives tend to oppose such changes to existing rules and norms. In common use of the terms, however, liberals generally favor more wealth redistribution programs, while conservatives favor less – that is, limiting public assistance to the *truly* needy. (We now have one out of every seven Americans on food stamps, with about half of all households receiving federal transfer payments of some kind. The Left insists that it’s still not enough.)

The fact of the matter is that Jesus, contrary to popular belief, was not liberal but rather, conservative. It is those who opposed Him, such as the Pharisees, who were the liberals of first-century Judea.

Why is this the case? For one, Jesus said as much Himself: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17) A common misconception about Jesus is that He represented some kind of massive sea change in social norms or in the way man relates to God. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Far from being an agent of reinvention, Christ was the missing puzzle piece of an existing picture. He was the key which unlocked the secret of man’s relationship to God, and with it, the gates of Heaven. He completed the Jewish faith by fulfilling the fortellings of its prophets (by appearing exactly when, where, and how, all predicted millennia earlier), and by providing the final and perfect sacrifice which could remedy man’s sinful nature for all time. A rift had existed between man and God ever since that unfortunate incident in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-24); Christ, however, died on a wooden cross and then rose again on the third day, which rectified the situation for all who would accept the gift. (Romans 5:12-19) The old ways of temple priests and animal sacrifices, valid at one time, were now no longer necessary.

By contrast, the Pharisees and teachers of the law of Jesus’ time were the liberals. They were the ones who had brought about change in God’s people by perverting the Law which God gave to Moses, while still remaining in a position of leadership as Jewish religious authorities. The Pharisees had become corrupt and powerful over the years, adding oral traditions to the Law, which God had not authorized, and honoring the letter of the Law while ignoring its spirit. Jesus referred to them as “snakes and sons of snakes,” then further called them on their hypocrisy by stating that they “…clean the outside of the cup and dish, but on the inside, are full of greed and self-indulgence.” (Matthew 23:25-28, Matthew 21:12-13.) The Pharisees clearly were the liberal ones, having heard the Word of God and turned away from it long before.

Jesus came to Earth to, among other reasons, explain to God’s people where mankind had gotten off-track, (John 4:1-26) and much of the rest of the New Testament elaborates on this point. Throughout His teachings, Christ tells us that it is pointless to hew to the letter of God’s laws, but in the process lack love and voluntary compassion toward one’s fellow man. Jesus came to remind humanity of the truth that God did not hand down the Mosaic Law (Exodus 34:1-8) simply for His people to turn right around and treat their brethren with arrogance and disrespect as the Pharisees were doing. It was the Jewish leaders of the day who were the liberals; they were the ones who had changed the Jewish faith into something it was never intended to be. (Matthew 12:1-12)

Besides, what part of the modern liberal agenda is in harmony with Christ’s teachings? Abortion? Euthanasia and assisted suicide? Darwinism: the idea that man is not God’s special and unique creation, but rather just a glorified ape arising from a primordial soup of muck through random chance? Affirmative action in employment and education based on race and gender, rather than character and merit? The rejection of traditional marriage as a social institution? Central economic planning? Moral relativism: the rejection of an objective moral code that applies at all times to all people in all places?

Which of these liberal notions is consistent in any way with Christ’s teachings or with any other part of the Bible? On the contrary, all of Scripture, including the message of Christ, would appear to side with conservatives in opposing each of these liberal crusades.

An honest and objective review of the Old and New Testaments forces a person to one inescapable conclusion. Namely, that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is not liberal, but in fact, conservative.

The Chinese Dragon Dance of “Science”

By which I mean

The basic skills are simple to learn, however to become a competent performer takes dedicated training until movements become second nature and complex formations can be achieved – which rely not only on the skill of the individual member, but on concentration by the team as a whole to move in co-operation.

For some six or seven years or so now, I’ve had in my glossary two definitions of “science,” a classic one and a modern one. The classic definition places emphasis on the learning objectives and the method, and the newer definition places the emphasis on the institutions, the phony consensus, and the elitism; the choreography, the “Chinese dragon-dancing.” Sad to say, I think that’s still correct. The word is undergoing a change. It would be dishonest to insist that it means what it has always meant, when it is abused constantly.

Around the time of entering those glossary items, I wrote:

I keep on hearing that science is in danger of being destroyed by politics. I believe this has already taken place.

President Obama, early in His first term, showed how concerned He was about this too (hat tip to Goddard).

When President Obama lifts restrictions on funding for human embryonic stem cell research today, he will also issue a presidential memorandum aimed at insulating scientific decisions across the federal government from political influence, officials said.

“The president believes that it’s particularly important to sign this memorandum so that we can put science and technology back at the heart of pursuing a broad range of national goals,” said Melody Barnes, director of Obama’s Domestic Policy Council.

That was then, this is now.

President Obama angrily blasted climate change skeptics during his energy policy speech Tuesday at Georgetown University, saying he lacked “patience for anyone who denies that this problem is real.”

“We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society,” Obama said. “Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.”

This is a perfect exercise of anti-science:

Anti-Science (n.)

Whereas real science is a disciplined accumulation of knowledge, toward a more useful and complete understanding of the world around us, this is the exact opposite. It starts at the opposite end and runs perfectly backwards. The conclusion comes first, and then as evidence arrives it is compared to this conclusion. If the evidence doesn’t support the desired conclusion, an elaborate anti-treatise will be prepared giving reasons why the evidence has to be discarded.

In anti-science, it’s all about the consensus; the consensus is the product. And, just as you get a sharper point to the pencil by whittling parts of it away, as opposed to fastening on something new, anti-science works according to a subtractive process. You get rid of whatever doesn’t belong. Anti-scientist Barack Obama did a great job of showing how.

When no one is left with any authority intact, save for those who can repeat back the catechism, then you have a good dancing-dragon and your choreography is complete. That’s a successful (anti) science-ing. Quoting myself yet once more:

I think we should just cut the crap and go straight to the point.

[Anti-] Science is not about learning the nature-of-nature. It is not about accumulating any kind of information at all. It’s about arriving at a consensus and making it so that “everyone” agrees. This is done by conversion or else by some sort of obliteration/defenestration, that part of it doesn’t matter too much, the important thing is that everybody arrives at the same conclusion.

This metastasizing is long and slow, I can tell, given that I was making notes about it that now have six years of dust on them, and it isn’t hard to find some more examples three or four times as old. Some of the influences driving this, I believe, have been around since the very beginning. Scientists are human. It’s in the job description to fight the demons within, to resist the human temptations.

Think about when a prison guard or sheriff’s deputy is accused of being a bully. There is a certain air of immediate legitimacy to such a charge; if you are a bully and have yet to settle on a lifetime vocation, well…these are good jobs for you to have. So it isn’t unreasonable to suppose, within the ranks of such employment, you might find some bullies. Well, for similar reasons, scientists can be “bullies” too. The labels “science” and “scientist” possess such a positive appeal for those who detest debate, just want to say what’s so and impose an obligation on everyone else, near & far, to believe. If it really is science, you have to, right? It’s science!

But this situation is more hazardous than the prison-guard thing. A prison guard who is a bully, can get the prison-guarding done. At least, at the end of the day, the prison is guarded.

Science suffers, though, when people who loathe dissent and discussion, just want things done their way with no questions asked, start to saturate the ranks of those who are authorized to call themselves “scientists.” They may say that’s what they are, they may have the proper credentials, they may do some of what has classically been called science. And, on a wholly separate topic of discussion when they drift away from the scientific method, and start Chinese Paper Dragon Dancing and repeating the conclusions of others without understanding any of it, like David Suzuki did, they can certainly still reach the correct conclusion; the authority on whom they were relying, may be properly exercising the scientific method and the “web of trust” system may work beautifully here and there.

The fact remains. Dragon-dancing is not science-ing.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes and Right Wing News.

New Improved Settled™ Science!

Stories have come out this week ahead of today’s expected new IPCC report that this one is it.  There’s no doubt at all.  The Science™ is now Sooper Dooper Settled™ and you can take that to the Carbon Credit Bank.

Of course, the report doesn’t really say that, which is why you have Mother Jones softening up the ground with “Five Climate Myths You Will Hear This Week”.  Yeah.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.  Don’t read the report.  Just read the Summary For Policy Makers.  Which is written by … political people.   And whatever they say, that’s what 95% of Scientists™ say.

Recently, Severian made the observation that science is not a social construct.  This has a tendency to make your modern “educated” dyed-in-the-wool progressive’s collective head explode, since they’ve been taught that everything, including truth, is a social construct.

It’s a great battering ram, though, and I’ve made it a point and will continue to make it a point to use it on conversations about science that bring up concensus as their lynchpin.

Others are apparently picking it up, too … I mean … Zing!  From Michael Barone.

The religious analogy is appropriate because belief in global warming has  taken on the trappings of traditional religion.

Alarmists like to say the science is settled — which is nonsense, since  science is a series of theories that can be tested by observations. When  Einstein presented his theory of relativity, he showed how it could be tested  during astronomical events in the next decade. The theory passed.

Saying the science is settled is like demanding what religions demand — that  you have faith.

Religion has ritual. Global warming alarmism has recycling and Earth Day  celebrations.

Ted Cruz as the GOP’s Obama

I saw this on Ace’s overnight thread and thought it worthy of a comment.  Is Ted Cruz the GOP’s Obama?

Quoting Ed Driscoll quoting Jonah Goldberg:

National Review editor Rich Lowry put his finger on one plausible source of elite liberal hatred for Cruz: betrayal. “Cruz is from the intellectual elite, but not of it, a tea party conservative whose politics are considered gauche at best at the storied universities where he studied. He is, to borrow the words of the 2009 H.W. Brands biography of FDR, a traitor to his class.” (I hate to correct my boss, but Brands didn’t coin that phrase).

Which is especially rich coming from Rich “the ultimate cocktail-party conservative” Lowry, a guy who seemingly constructed an entire identity around being the Robin to William F. Buckley Jr.’s Batman, but whatever — stopped clocks and all that, and he’s unwittingly made a good point here.  The reason Ted Cruz is going nowhere — the answer is “no, he’s not the GOP’s Obama, because Obama actually stood a chance of winning a presidential election” — is precisely that elite betrayal Lowry’s talking about.

Liberals are flagrant elitists.  Just ask ’em — they deserve to run everything because they’re just so obviously superior people.  You’ve got a far better chance of rising higher and faster on your merits in the supposed Party of Privilege…

…except when you hit the big time.  Once a person hits the elite (and getting elected to national office obviously confers elite status), he soon discovers that he likes being elite.  He falls quickly into that projective mode so common to well-meaning monarchs everywhere — what’s good for me is good for the country as a whole.  After all, did they not elect me to represent their concerns?  Whatever liberties I take, whatever privileges I enjoy, they’re only what I deserve for working so hard for the people.  I’m privileged for the people.

It takes a man of rare principle not to fall into that mindset.  (I doubt Ted Cruz is one of them, because I’m not sure it’s even possible anymore with the degraded state of American character).  Elites will always act to protect their privilege.  Elected elites will do it in good conscience, because they can’t separate their privilege from “the will of the people.”

This is why I think some form of fascism is inevitable (I’d argue that we’re basically soft fascists right now).  It’s obvious that principles, like rules, only apply to the little people.  Get your hands on a lever of power, and you’re king of your own little domain.  Elites believe this, because they have it confirmed for them every day.  They’re very obviously a class apart.  All it will take to transition from soft to hard fascism is for somebody to say so.

Best Idea I’ve Heard Yet

Buy your own damn franchise.

So, thousands of fast-food workers are out on strike against the national burger chains, demanding that their wages be doubled to $15 per hour. But the national chains don’t control employee wages; how much to pay their people is in the hands of local franchise owners,

Therefore, if you are one of the concerned, caring, and vastly indignant activists behind this strike, I’m here to tell you that your social-justice problem has a simple solution. Take out a loan (or put together the money from your like-minded activist friends), buy a franchise from one of the chains, and hire workers at $15 an hour.

There, that was simple, wasn’t it? You’ll make money hand over fist and demonstrate to all those eeevil corporations that they can too pay a “just wage”; they just don’t want to because they’re greedy.

[via David Thompson].

We have a vast subset of people in this country — a coalition of liberals, the shiftless, the lazy, the ignorant, the undergraduate (I’m sure I repeated myself a few times in there) — who feel that the first, last, and only solution to any problem is to complain in public.  The idea that they themselves might contribute to the fix in some meaningful fashion is simply beyond them.

I hereby vow to ask any kid who complains of this or that problem, “ok, junior, what are you, personally, gonna do about it?”

That should at least shut ’em up, and get ’em off my lawn.

A Meta-Blast from the Recent Past

Still trying to figure out why this bugs me so much.

saywhatI think it has something to do with The Lonely Crowd.

The Lonely Crowd is, with C. Wright Mills’s White Collar and William Whyte’s The Organization Man, the holy trinity of 1950s sociology.  You know how The Fifties ™ were all boring and stodgy and horribly, soul-shrivelingly conformist?  Yeah.  You know that from these three books.

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

[The book] described a shift in the way Americans followed society’s prescriptions, from a 19th-century “inner-direction”—behavior internalized at an early age from parents and other elders—to a mid-20th-century “other-direction,” flexibly responsive to “peer groups” and the media…. Inner-direction provided moral stability in a rapidly developing society. Unlike “tradition-directed” people, dependent on external rules in older, more static societies, inner-directed people could carry their precepts anywhere. But other-direction was more suited to a bureaucratic age of sales, services, and “human relations.”

The book spoke to middle-class concerns about conformity and softness in the new, standardized suburbs of postwar America. For all its moralistic rigidities, the inner-directed type looked more individualistic, hence more attractive to many Americans, though Riesman insisted that in other-direction he did not depict more conformity but rather a change in “modes of conformity”—the way people were induced to conform.

The other-directed man, like the Mills’s white collar drone and Whyte’s organization man, is a fearful creature, always calibrating his precise social standing to a thousandth of a decimal place.  He seemingly has no inner resources, no hobbies, no interests; at night he goes home, mixes a highball or seven, and plunks down in front of the tube with his (undoubtedly abused) trophy wife and 2.5 (alienated, soon to be hippie) children.  He’s Don Draper minus the infidelity (not because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t).

the organization man

the organization man*

You don’t need to be a shrink, or even play one on teevee, to see some kind of quasi-Oedipal drama here.  People who think The Lonely Crowd or The Organization Man nailed it are worried that this is what Dad is like; they’re scared of becoming Dad.**

Problem is, one doesn’t avoid becoming an Organization Man by not joining an organization.  By rejecting the trappings of success — you know, conformity, maaaaaan — our would-be free thinkers set up their community as the sole judge of value.  The Organization Man’s car and house and teevee and golf clubs and wife and kids might be stifling to his gray flannel suited soul, but at least he has them.  They’re real, tangible markers of his worth.  The free thinker, by contrast, has no way of knowing where he is, no signposts in life to direct him.  His self-concept is entirely negative — he’s so obsessed with being not-Dad that he has no way to judge what he actually is.

By striving so hard not to be Organization Men, in other words — by worrying so much about the stifling conformity of other-directedness — our friends the liberals have become nothing but Organization Men.  They’re completely other-directed.  What is success but temporary one-upsmanship?  And since we’re not allowed to compare houses and cars and wives and kids anymore –what are we, Republicans? — we have to measure each other by our public expressions of virtue.

Hence Whole Foods and all that crap.  It doesn’t matter whose laundry is whiter, so long as you achieved whatever whiteness with an environmentally-friendly product.  Cars are rated on their fuel efficiency.  That these are all much more expensive than the alternative is, of course, a feature not a bug.  Don Draper, he of the huge car and the trophy wife and the unapologetic conspicuous consumption, would understand perfectly, and completely approve.

Which brings us back to this:

nice catch

nice catch

This is making the rounds on the left side of Facebook.  To call the commentary nauseating is an insult to E coli.  I’ve seen this woman described as “awesome,” “cool,” “strong,” “ass-kicking,” and, of course, “hot.”  As a comment on her action — catching a ball, with a glove, something that every male American child can usually claim by about age six — it’s ludicrous.  But as an expression of other-directed status seeking, it’s perfect.  The only way to get ahead in liberal society is to be more conspicuously liberal, and so some lady at a baseball game, who obviously came prepared to catch fouls, is now a cross between Jackie Robinson and Xena Warrior Princess.

Straight from the Nifty Fifties, it is.  At least Don Draper could smoke on the train.

 

 

*That The Organization Man and Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders don’t seem to show up in a brief google search for Mad Men reviews tells you a lot about American cultural literacy.  Draper’s sexism is bad, you see, but it’s contextless — the point of Mad Men is, as always, We’re Better Than You.

**n.b. while this is probably true of C. Wright Mills, and maybe Packard, William Whyte was a combat veteran with the Marines in WWII; The Organization Man, at least, appears to be quite a bit more complex than the caricature.***

***no, I haven’t read it all the way through, or read any of these other books.  But that’s the point — the Cliff’s Notes versions of their theses are so much a part of the American intellectual atmosphere that you don’t need to read them.  The idea of “the organization man” or “the hidden persuaders” is much more important, culturally, than anything Whyte or Packard had to say.****  The commentary about Mad Men season 1, for example, constantly hovers around these books without mentioning any of them.

****You’ll be shocked, I know, to learn that the antidote to all of the problems described in White Collar, The Hidden Persuaders, etc. is:  “more socialism.”  Is there anything it can’t cure?

This is It

This is what I’ve been trying to put my finger on:  cognitive misers

In a democracy, the intellectual “center of gravity” drifts from a society’s best and brightest and, instead, finds its home amongst in the mind of the cognitive miser, who forms the bulk of humanity. The net effect is that there is an inevitable “prole drift’, not only of political debate, but of culture and morals, everything eventually gets vetted by the people (within their cognitive limitations)  But there is another factor that needs to be considered here, namely economic democracy, i.e the free market. In a free democracy, cognitive misers do not just exert their malign effect through political power, but through economic power as well. Elitist activities–activities which represent the high point of civilisation– such as opera, classical music and and art, esoteric academic disciplines, and libraries struggle to survive economically in a market where the proles do not appreciate their intrinsic worth.  The is not an argument against the free market, but an argument against the notion that everything has to pay for itself, it’s this latter notion that ensures that prole economies of scale overwhelm  everything which eludes their comprehension.

I’m so stealing this.

The only thing I’d like to see added — and I’m going to grab the book to see if it’s already there — is a term for, and analysis of, cognitive misers who fancy themselves intellectuals and behave accordingly (i.e. all American liberals).

.

D3: Spliteral

Spliteral – a technique of refudiation, in which a metaphor or other rhetorical trope is split from its context and taken literally in order to “disprove” a speaker’s broader point and / or “prove” a different assertion.

An example:

When they signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the Founding Fathers were committing themselves to the principle of representative democracy.  Now, with agitation over voter registration laws, Progressives are threatening the integrity of the process…

To which the spliteralist would reply

Ha ha wingnutz!  As everybody but stupid RethugliKKKAns knows, the Declaration wasn’t signed until August 2.

Often followed by the implication, or outright assertion, that the case for stricter voter registration laws (or whatever) is therefore conclusively disproven.

See also crimestop:

The faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. In short….protective stupidity.