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View Diary: NY GOP Candidate Calls Melissa Harris-Perry a "Damned Dirty Ape" (237 comments)

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  •  The fact that Cons can no longer (5+ / 0-)

    raise their children exclusively in the bubble is their greatest fear. Evangelical teenagers are reportedly fact-checking sermons on their smart phones, according to Evangelical Pollster (Yes, I know!) Barna Group. They are losing a few million young people every year now.

    Much of the motivation you are looking for was explained more than a century ago in The Theory of the Leisure Class, by Thorstein Veblen. It originated the phrase Conspicuous Consumption, but it goes in far deeper on the notion that the rich are under no greater imperative than to demonstrate that they are richer and therefore smarter, more moral, and more important than you, and that they do not do productive work, but the far more honorable display of prowess—force and fraud.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:54:36 PM PDT

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    •  I think I'm reluctant to equate the behavior (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rmx2630

      with the motivation.
      Why are some people obsessed with ownership and accumulation and making a spectacle of themselves while the majority is quite content to be creative and productive and sharing of whatever surplus results from that?
      My inclination is to argue that people obsessed with having material objects with which they identify is evidence of an absence of self-awareness. In other words, they see themselves in material belongings because they have no perception of themselves as having substance.
      In other words, the accumulation of material assets, even ones as ephemeral as electronic currency, is evidence of a cognitive deficiency. And, if they see themselves in their belongings, then just the possibility that the belongings will be taken, has to be perceived as a serious threat. Which means that the promise not to take wealth in the form of taxes isn't aimed at normal people, but at people obsessed with keeping what they've got. Which also means that ordering such people to transfer more dollars to people who take care of their material comforts is just as onerous as collecting those dollars as taxes. Worse, because there are no practical consequences to challenging Washington, while ostentatiously stinting workers risks retaliation on the spot. Letting Washington redistribute the dollars is actually safer, from a physical security perspective.
      And security is what it is all about. Any interference with their obsession to accumulate makes the accumulators feel insecure. For a while, it was common to identify a bird's agitation whenever an intruder neared the nest as evidence of territoriality--i.e. it was thought the bird was defending an area from which it derived sustenance or, even more man-centered, protecting the eggs and/or young in a nest. However, given the number of nests that get abandoned half-done and that both eggs and hatchlings are routinely consumed by snakes and larger birds, it seems pretty clear that birds, like humans, perceive threats to themselves that aren't and ignore real dangers.
      Which is not to say that being insecure and easily agitated doesn't have a positive effect in the long run. What I'd argue is that red wing black birds, for example, are more successful when it comes to reproduction, if they are hyper vigilant to any mobile creature in their vicinity because being vigilant enables them to ensure that the female they have impregnated will stay close to the nest, her eggs and the eventual hatchlings, rather than take off for other climes. In other words, I'd argue that the male birds are not engaged in chasing intruders away, but in keeping the female under control. If she flies, he chases her until she gets back on the nest. Moreover, since two are obviously more effective than one, it is not unusual to see two males keeping tabs on one female and, as scientists have now demonstrated through DNA sampling, share in the reproductive effort.

      http://hannah.smith-family.com

      by hannah on Wed May 07, 2014 at 03:29:15 AM PDT

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