Who Profits from Fear (9/11/07)

Was tagging old entries this evening and looking up current versions of sites I had liked. This is an update from Political Compass.

I took the test and I’m near the center, a bit left libertarian, the quadrant for Nelson Mandela and Gandhi , whom I regard as fine and admirable company. Just to show the state of American politics, I’m way left of any of the presidential candidates except Kucinich and Gravel. Remember that quote about the American eagle needing both left and right wings to fly. Mario Savio attributes it to Jessee Jackson. Or there’s the Pat Paulsen version:

Assuming either the Left Wing or the Right Wing gained control of the country, it would probably fly around in circles.

It’s interesting to see how little difference there is between the Democratic Party candidates other than Kucinich and Gravel. And that Edwards and Clinton are the most libertarian.

An aside about Paulsen. According to his memorial he came in second in the 1996 New Hampshire Presidential Primary (makes me wonder how Colbert would have done if SC Dems had let him on the ticket.) And although I did not find the context for the above quotation, the site includes his political editorials, as well as a now dead link I’ve revived thanks to the Internet Archive to Paulsen’s quite serious answers to the 1996 Presidential Primary Natioinal Political Awareness Test from Project Vote Smart.

Since it’s 9-11, I guess I should have some content devoted to terror. How’s this for Keystone Kops? NYC will deter nuclear attack with concentric circles of geiger counters according to the New York Times today in “Suburban Police Enlisted to Help Protect the City” by Corey Kilgannon. Don’t you feel safer now?

Things didn’t work so well in the latest dirty bomb scare. According to “MTA didn’t tell us of dirty bomb scare: officers,” by Alison Gendar in the NY Daily News on September 10, one officer who works at the Verrazano Bridge complained,

They’ll give us two weeks of training for how to collect tolls, making sure we charge a three-axle truck more than a two-axle, but no field training on what a bomb might look like, how to stop cars or use this radiation detector.

Meanwhile, besides geiger counters, LA is spending its homeland security money on robots and portable media hubs, according to Richard Winton in the September 9 LA Times.

John Judis had an interesting piece in the the New Republic August 17 explaining why West Virginia supported Bush. In “How Political Psychology Explains Bush’s Ghastly Success. Death Grip,” he writes about research since the early 1980s by Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski (interview, article, research), who developed “terror management theory.”

Their experiments showed that the mere thought of one’s mortality can trigger a range of emotions–from disdain for other races, religions, and nations, to a preference for charismatic over pragmatic leaders, to a heightened attraction to traditional mores.

It seems that this tendency could be counteracted, if folks were asked to think as rationally as possible. (Not something the current administration espouses)


And speaking of 9-11, Tillie wrote me to say he’d mentioned my poem, “Windows on the World” on his blog entry today.

*

Coal: a poetry anthology and my poem in particular, got mentioned in this online review by West Virginia storyteller Susanna Holstein.

My discussion of the Bush manual for the handling of dissent at WV Blue got mentioned by memorandum.com.

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