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Full v. Empty

I was over at Gerbil Report™ engaging in a thread where the birther states the familiar “Obama is destroying the country” meme. Just a few days ago I watched Obama’s final press conference of the year where he laid out a number of things in the US economy that were going quite well. Certainly for a retired person like me who lives off investments, the soaring stock market is personally good for me. I said that if that is “destruction,” we need more of it. Nevertheless, the birther maintained an extremely gloomy view of the economy and the state of the nation.

I ran across one of my articles from this past summer while putting together the end of year retrospective. The article, “Negativity merchants,” cited some psychological studies on the difference between conservatives and liberals, including the observation that conservatives are disgusted more easily than liberals. There as another finding in that research that says:

…we argue that one organizing element of the many differences between liberals and conservatives is the nature of their physiological and psychological responses to features of the environment that are negative. Compared with liberals, conservatives tend to register greater physiological responses to such stimuli and also to devote more psychological resources to them.

Perhaps that explains why the national debt weighs more heavily on the commenter at GR than it does on me.

To some extent, the entire publishing effort behind this blog comes out of the tension between how I see things and how some others see them. The birther sees the glass as half empty and I see it as half full. I see the evidence of Obama’s eligibility as overwhelming and the birther sees the smallest lack as overwhelming. Fundamental differences in psychology aren’t going to be overcome by argument at a birther blog.

Putting differences aside, I wish a Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year1 (unfortunately it won’t seem as happy to the birthers).


1Last month the second most frequent browser language group to visit the blog was Russian. So for those folks: С новым годом.

16 Responses to Full v. Empty

  1. avatar
    Janny December 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    The conservative, in my opinion, is always seeing the sky falling, communist under every bed, etc. What a horrible way to live. We only go around once. Their pessimism is pitiful.

    Happy New Year to all the obits! We are the world!

  2. avatar
    Lupin December 26, 2014 at 3:00 am #

    I think one can have doubts as to the health and robustness of the US economy without being a crackpot.

    A further discussion would likely quickly devolve in an off-topic mess, so I’ll leave it at that.

  3. avatar
    bovril December 26, 2014 at 4:07 am #

    Other seemingly defining characteristics of the birther in particular and many RWNJ’s in general

    They have no discernable sense of humour
    They have difficuty in grasping the concepts of irony and sarcasm
    They are highly gullible when presented with an item that supports their prejudices
    They are prone to blind acceptance of spurious authority

  4. avatar
    The Magic M December 26, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    The birther sees the glass as half empty and I see it as half full.

    No, rather what you see as half full, the birther sees as empty, never going to be full again, poisoned and about to explode at the same time.

  5. avatar
    Joey December 26, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    It makes sense to me that if one is a birther, admitting that any positive outcomes have occurred during the Obama administration would undermine the birther movement. Therefore, nothing that happens while “the usurper” is in the Oval Office can be good for any patriotic American.
    President Obama currently has an 86.7% positive job approval rating among Registered Democrats, the majority of the people who put him in office in the first place.

  6. avatar
    Woodrowfan December 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    plus the Birthers have immersed themselves into a media environment where almost everything is bad news. They have no counter-narrative to their regular diet of doomsday-sky-is-falling “news.”

  7. avatar
    Suranis December 26, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    No, a true Conservative sees the world as interconnected and even small things affecting the fabric of society for good or for ill. Those private things affecting how you interact with others, and that affects how they interact. And the laws as the glue that fastens everything together. So the Kindness you push out means that kindness will come back to you, and if you work to keep the fabric of siciety strong everyone benefits.

    A radical however sees the present society as sick and everything must be torn away and their vision plastered onto the world.

    The RWNJs are not conservative in the classical sense or really in any sense. They just use the word as a propaganda recruitment piece and dogmatic Liberals have been working to paint all conservative people with that brush.

    Janny:
    The conservative, in my opinion, is always seeing the sky falling, communist under every bed, etc.What a horrible way to live.We only go around once.Their pessimism is pitiful.

    Happy New Year to all the obits!We are the world!

  8. avatar
    alg December 26, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    I have lots of conservative friends and associates, most of whom are perfectly rational and reasonable people. I don’t consider the denizens of Birther Report to be “conservatives.” Frankly, that’s giving them too much credit. I think most of them are just plain dysfunctional, unhappy people who have made bad choices in their lives and have found Obama and “the liberals” to be convenient parties upon which to blame their unpleasant circumstances.

  9. avatar
    Notorial Dissent December 27, 2014 at 2:42 am #

    Alg, I think you are pretty much on track with regard to the Rodent droppings crew. I don’t think they qualify as as conservatives either, except possibly for the levels of hypocrisy they exhibit that I have found as part of some conservative groups. I would have to agree with you that they all seem to be malcontents, continual and systematic failures, and people who have accomplished nothing in their lives, except possibly to make someone elses life miserable. Their mantra is my failure is someone elses fault, it’s not my fault.

  10. avatar
    Jim December 27, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    Joey:
    It makes sense to me that if one is a birther, admitting that any positive outcomes have occurred during the Obama administration would undermine the birther movement. Therefore, nothing that happens while “the usurper” is in the Oval Office can be good for any patriotic American.
    President Obama currently has an 86.7% positive job approval rating among Registered Democrats, the majority of the people who put him in office in the first place.

    Basically, at this time in the country, the definition of “conservative” is “not liberal”.

  11. avatar
    Rickey December 27, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    I agree that the deranged people who post at Gerbil Report™ are not true conservatives. In the seventies the Republican party began to be taken over by evangelical Christians who by and large were uninterested in politics until their opposition to abortion galvanized them. People like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell weren’t conservatives, they were authoritarians who called themselves conservatives. There is an interesting article about how this came to pass in Salon, written by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the evangelist Francis Schaeffer.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/12/24/my_horrible_right_wing_past_confessions_of_a_one_time_religious_right_icon/

    The birthers are probably mostly losers in their personal lives, but that makes them perfect targets for politicians who win by spreading fear, whether it’s fear of Ebola, fear of gay marriage, fear of terrorists, fear of immigrants, fear of the national debt, fear that the government is going to confiscate their guns, or fear of a black Muslim Communist America-hating President.

    Because of their fear of Obama, they can’t give him credit for anything which is going well. Consequently, he was blamed when gasoline prices were hovering near $4/gallon, but he gets no credit as gasoline prices have dropped to their current level. Pick your issue – when things were going poorly, it was Obama’s fault, but when things are getting better he gets no credit whatsoever. But why would you give him credit for anything when the rabble-rousers on the right keep telling you that his objective is to destroy America?

  12. avatar
    Keith December 27, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

    It never made sense to me to argue about whether the glass is half-empty or half-full.

    Whichever it is there is still a lot of room for more wine!

    Feliz Navidad y Año Nuevo!

  13. avatar
    Thomas Brown December 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

    I have a handy litmus test to weed out radicals so’s I don’t waste time talking to them:

    I tell them that unless they agree with the statement “liberals and conservatives both have made positive contributions to America,” there’s no point in talking further.

    Real dead-end RWNJs will never concede to that.

  14. avatar
    The Magic M December 29, 2014 at 4:32 am #

    Rickey: Consequently, he was blamed when gasoline prices were hovering near $4/gallon, but he gets no credit as gasoline prices have dropped to their current level.

    And of course the RWNJ’s have cooked up a conspiracy theory about it (that the Arabs have lowered the price to help their Muslim friend Obama fight his low approval ratings). Because just ignoring an inconvenient issue has never been enough for them.
    You see, all the good things happening to the US are just a clever cover-up for the destruction that’s gonna happen any day now. Or at least when Hillary is elected. For a second time. Or sometime thereafter. Shortly. Maybe.

  15. avatar
    j.d. reed December 29, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    Rickey:
    I agree that the deranged people who post at Gerbil Report™ are not true conservatives. In the seventies the Republican party began to be taken over by evangelical Christians who by and large were uninterested in politics until their opposition to abortion galvanized them. People like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell weren’t conservatives, they were authoritarians who called themselves conservatives. There is an interesting article about how this came to pass in Salon, written by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the evangelist Francis Schaeffer.
    Agree in part and dissent in part. I too had noticed that conservatives tagged Obama with doubling gasoline prices from the tail end of W’s regime to some time in early 2014. Now prices are dipping to near what they were when W left office, and the word from the right is that this is happening despite Obama policies, not because of. OTOH, not all people who buy into all the (false) negatives about Obama’s bio are nut jobs divorced from reality in their daily lives. Recently encountered someone I know to be highly intelligent, well educated, successful in career, seems to get on well with family and acquaintances — and still is adamant that the president’s birth, social security and selective service records are all fakes.
    Go figure.
    with the part a

    http://www.salon.com/2014/12/24/my_horrible_right_wing_past_confessions_of_a_one_time_religious_right_icon/

    The birthers are probably mostly losers in their personal lives, but that makes them perfect targets for politicians who win by spreading fear, whether it’s fear of Ebola, fear of gay marriage, fear of terrorists, fear of immigrants, fear of the national debt, fear that the government is going to confiscate their guns, or fear of a black Muslim Communist America-hating President.

    Because of their fear of Obama, they can’t give him credit for anything which is going well. Consequently, he was blamed when gasoline prices were hovering near $4/gallon, but he gets no credit as gasoline prices have dropped to their current level. Pick your issue – when things were going poorly, it was Obama’s fault, but when things are getting better he gets no credit whatsoever. But why would you give him credit for anything when the rabble-rousers on the right keep telling you that his objective is to destroy America?

  16. avatar
    Rickey December 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    Yeah, as I said the birthers “are probably mostly losers.” Some, such as Peter Boyles, are successful and intelligent. The question is whether Boyles actually believes it or is riding it for the ratings.

    Of course, the reality about gasoline prices is that there is only so much that a President can do to influence them. They were at rock bottom in January, 2009 because of the near-collapse of the world’s economy in the fall of 2008. The people who criticized Obama for high gasoline prices conveniently forgot that the record high price of gasoline was reached in the summer of 2008. Now U.S. oil production is at its highest level in 25 years, OPEC refuses to cut production, and oil consumption has dropped in Europe and Japan. Also, the average MPG of new cars in the U.S. has increased by 20% or so in the past six years.