Heather Mac Donald: Trump Can End the War on CopsPosted: December 17, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, History, Law & Justice, Think Tank | Tags: Bill de Blasio, Black Lives Matter, CNN, Donald Trump, HEATHER MAC DONALD, Manhattan Institute, Mayor of New York City, New York City, New York City Police Department, Republican Party (United States), The War on Cops 1 Comment
The Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald writes: Stop treating police as racist and pushing lower hiring standards as a way to achieve ‘diversity.’
Heather Mac Donald writes: Donald Trump’s promise to restore law and order to America’s cities was one of the most powerful themes of his presidential campaign. His capacity to deliver will depend on changing destructive presidential rhetoric about law enforcement and replacing the federal policies that flowed from that rhetoric.
“Mr. Obama’s Justice Department has imposed an unprecedented number of federal consent decrees on police agencies, subjecting those agencies to years of costly federal monitoring, based on a specious methodology for teasing out alleged systemic police bias.”
The rising violence in many urban areas is driven by what candidate Trump called a “false narrative” about policing. This narrative holds that law enforcement is pervaded by racism, and that we are experiencing an epidemic of racially biased police shootings of black men.
Multiple studies have shown that those claims are untrue. If there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. Yet President Obama has repeatedly accused the police and criminal-justice system of discrimination, lethal and otherwise. During the memorial service for five Dallas police officers gunned down in July by an assassin who reportedly was inspired by Black Lives Matter, Mr. Obama announced that black parents were right to “fear that something terrible may happen when their child walks out the door”—that the child will be fatally shot by a cop.
[Order Heather Mac Donald’s book “The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe” from Amazon.com]
The consequences of such presidential rhetoric are enormous, especially when amplified by the media. Officers working in high-crime areas now encounter a dangerous level of hatred and violent resistance. Gun murders of officers are up 68% this year compared with the same period last year.
“The department assumes that police activity like stops or arrests will be evenly spread across different racial and ethnic populations unless there is police racism. So if police stops are higher among blacks, say, the police, according to this reasoning, must be motivated by bias.”
Police have cut way back on pedestrian stops and public-order enforcement in minority neighborhoods, having been told repeatedly that such discretionary activities are racially oppressive. The result in 2015 was the largest national homicide increase in nearly 50 years. That shooting spree has continued this year, ruthlessly mowing down children and senior citizens in many cities, along with the usual toll of young black men who are the primary targets of gun crime.
[Read the full story here, at WSJ]
To begin to reverse these trends, President Trump must declare that the executive branch’s ideological war on cops is over. The most fundamental necessity of any society is adherence to the rule of law, he should say. Moreover, there is no government agency today more dedicated to the proposition that black lives matter than the police.
“But this analysis ignores the large racial differences in offending and victimization rates. Policing today is data-driven: Cops go where innocent civilians are most being preyed upon—and that is in minority neighborhoods. Under a Trump administration, police activity should be evaluated against a benchmark of crime, not population ratios.”
The nationwide policing revolution that originated in New York City in 1994—based on proactive enforcement—saved thousands of minority lives over 20 years, and provided urban residents with newfound freedom. While police agencies and their local overseers must remain vigilant against officer abuses, the federal government will no longer deem cops racist for responding to community demands for public order.
Mr. Obama’s Justice Department has imposed an unprecedented number of federal consent decrees on police agencies, subjecting those agencies to years of costly federal monitoring, based on a specious methodology for teasing out alleged systemic police bias. The department assumes that police activity like stops or arrests will be evenly spread across different racial and ethnic populations unless there is police racism. So if police stops are higher among blacks, say, the police, according to this reasoning, must be motivated by bias. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] REWIND: Breitbart Hijacks Andrew Weiner’s Press ConferencePosted: October 28, 2016 Filed under: History, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Andrew Breitbart, Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, Mayor of New York City, New York City, Rep. Anthony Weiner, Twitter Leave a comment
Published on Jun 6, 2011
In Full: Andrew Breitbart came forward at Rep. Anthony Weiner‘s New York City press conference to defend himself against allegations claiming he hacked the congressman’s Twitter account.
[VIDEO] Trump and Conservatism: Constitution Day CelebrationPosted: September 24, 2016 Filed under: History, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Donald Trump, Enrique Peña Nieto, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Hillary Clinton, Hillsdale College, Jeff Sessions, Jonah Goldberg, Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, United States Constitution Leave a comment
Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, National Review Senior Editor Jonah Goldberg, and Professor of Political Science John Marini discuss presidential candidate Donald J. Trump‘s role in conservatism in America.
Hillsdale College’s annual Constitution Day event celebrates the signing of the United States Constitution with lectures and panel discussions about the history of the Constitution and constitutional issues facing the nation today.
The 2016 event featured U.S. Senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions, Larry P. Arnn, Jonah Goldberg, John Marini, Todd Huizinga, Ronald J. Pestritto, Bradley Watson, F.H. Buckley, and Terry M. Moe.
FULL-SCALE NON-STOP GLOBAL PANIC GRIPS THE GOP, NATION, WORLDPosted: August 3, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Global, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Donald Trump, Elite media, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fox Business Network, Global Panic, Greta Van Susteren, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Khizr Khan, Mayor of New York City, Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich, Paul J. Manafort, Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee, Republican Party (United States), Rudy Giuliani Leave a comment
The Republican Party was in turmoil again Wednesday as party leaders, strategists and donors voiced increasing alarm about the flailing state of Donald Trump’s candidacy and fears that the presidential nominee was damaging the party with an extraordinary week of self-inflicted mistakes, gratuitous attacks and missed opportunities.
“A new level of panic hit the street. It’s time for a serious reset.”
— Veteran operative Scott Reed
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was described as “very frustrated” and stressed by Trump’s behavior over the past week, having run out of excuses to make on the nominee’s behalf with donors and other party leaders, according to multiple people familiar with the events.
“The current race is which of these two is the more unacceptable, because right now neither of them is acceptable. Trump is helping her to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is.”
— Newt Gingrich
Meanwhile, Trump’s top campaign advisers are failing to instill discipline on their candidate, who has spent the past days lunging from one controversy to another while seemingly skipping chances to go on the offensive against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
[ALSO SEE – Report: GOP Exploring Contingency Plan in Case Trump Drops Out]
“A new level of panic hit the street,” said veteran operative Scott Reed, chief strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It’s time for a serious reset.”
Trump allies on Wednesday publicly urged the candidate to reboot, furious that he has allowed his confrontation with the parents of dead U.S. Army captain Humayun Khan to continue for nearly a week. They also are angry with Trump over his surprising refusal in a Tuesday interview with The Washington Post to endorse House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) or Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) — two of the party’s top elected officials — in their upcoming primary campaigns.
“The current race is which of these two is the more unacceptable, because right now neither of them is acceptable,” Gingrich said in a Wednesday morning telephone interview. “Trump is helping her to win by proving he is more unacceptable than she is.”
Gingrich said Trump has only a matter of weeks to reverse course. “Anybody who is horrified by Hillary should hope that Trump will take a deep breath and learn some new skills,” he said. “He cannot win the presidency operating the way he is now. She can’t be bad enough to elect him if he’s determined to make this many mistakes.”
Reed, who managed Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign, recommended that Trump “stop doing silly interviews nine times a day that get you off message” and deliver a major address seeking to reset the campaign establishing himself as the change candidate. Read the rest of this entry »
Democrats Should Be Worried About CrimePosted: September 28, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: 2008, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Brooklyn, CNN, Democratic Party (United States), Don Lemon, Donald Trump, George H.W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Jeb Bush, Mayor of New York City, New York City, Republican Party (United States), Ronald Reagan, Rudy Giuliani, Ted Cruz Leave a comment
It’s looked unified compared to the fractious Republican presidential field, but contentious issues—like increasing crime—could tear it apart.
David Frum writes: Nobody explained the crack-up of the New Deal coalition better than New York Mayor Ed Koch at the 1980 Democratic convention:
When I ran for Mayor, I went up to a Bronx senior citizens center, and I told 200 senior citizens: “Ladies and gentlemen, a judge I helped elect was mugged recently. And do you know what that judge did, ladies and gentlemen? He called a press conference and he said to the newsmen, ‘This mugging of me will in no way affect my decision in matters of this kind.’ And an elderly lady got up in the back of the room and said, ‘Then mug him again.’”
It was crime more than any other single issue that drove blue-collar voters in the industrial states from the party of Truman and Johnson to the party of Nixon and Reagan. In 1974—a year of energy shock, inflation, recession, Watergate, Vietnam, and other crises—Americans told pollsters they regarded crime as the single-most important issue facing the country. That year, the Department of Justice introduced a new and more accurate method of collecting crime statistics. It found that 37 million American households—one out of four—had suffered a rape, robbery, burglary, assault, larceny, or auto theft in the previous year.
“It was crime that separated New Democrats from Old in the 1980s. Bill Clinton was determined that nobody would Willie Horton him. He backed the death penalty, endorsed longer sentences, and funded local police forces, all with a view to stopping crime by punishing criminals.”
[Read the full text here, at The Atlantic]
Then the crime rate fell. It fell suddenly, it fell fast, and it fell far. By 2010, rates of crime against person and property had fallen to levels not seen since the early 1960s. In New York City, crime rates tumbled even lower. The great crime decline reshaped cities, remade the economy, and transformed American politics. Read the rest of this entry »
OH YES THEY DID: New York Post Begins Mayor de Blasio Countdown ClockPosted: August 6, 2015 Filed under: Entertainment, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Countdown, De Blasio, failure, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, New York, New York City, New York Post, Socilalist, Unpopular 3 Comments
THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Hillary Clinton’s Mysterious Hide-and-Seek EmailsPosted: July 28, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, White House | Tags: Anthony Weiner, Associated Press, Brooklyn, East Rutherford, Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, Mayor of New York City, Michael Kempner, Music Works, New Jersey, The New York Times, The Pantsuit Report, United States Department of State 1 Comment
“That two-month period also coincides with a senior Clinton aide obtaining a special exemption that allowed her to work both as a staff member to the secretary and in a private capacity for Clinton and her husband’s foundation. The Associated Press has sued to obtain emails from Clinton’s account about the aide, Huma Abedin.”
“The status of Clinton’s emails has become an explosive political issue ever since The New York Times revealed that the then-Secretary of State was using a private email server to handle her official correspondence. Cybersecurity experts believe the homebrew system opened Clinton and her colleagues to targeting from online spies.”
That two-month period also coincides with a senior Clinton aide obtaining a special exemption that allowed her to work both as a staff member to the secretary and in a private capacity for Clinton and her husband’s foundation. The Associated Press has sued to obtain emails from Clinton’s account about the aide, Huma Abedin.
The status of Clinton’s emails has become an explosive political issue ever since The New York Times revealed that the then-Secretary of State was using a private email server to handle her official correspondence. Cybersecurity experts believe the homebrew system opened Clinton and her colleagues to targeting from online spies. The State Department and Intelligence Community Inspector Generals have asked the Justice Department to look into possible disclosure of classified information.
[Read the full story here, at The Daily Beast]
Regarding the security situation in Libya, there was plenty for Clinton and her team to discuss via email. On May 22, 2012, the International Red Cross’s Benghazi office was hit by rocket-propelled grenades.
Jillian Kay Melchior: Why Do Suspicious Fires Keep Destroying Key Al Sharpton Records?Posted: March 11, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Abner Louima, Amadou Diallo shooting, Barack Obama, Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, New York, New York City, New York City Police Department, Patrick Dorismond, Rudy Giuliani, United States 1 Comment
And why didn’t Sharpton comply with tax and campaign filing requirements?
Jillian Kay Melchior writes: As Al Sharpton ran for mayor of New York City in 1997 and for president in 2003, fires at his offices reportedly destroyed critical financial records, and he subsequently failed to comply with tax and campaign filing requirements.
The first fire began in the early hours of April 10, 1997, in a hair-and-nail salon one floor below Sharpton’s campaign headquarters at 70 West 125th Street. From the start, investigators deemed the fire “suspicious” because of “a heavy volume of fire on arrival” and because many of the doors remained unlocked after hours, according to the New York Fire Department’s fire-and-incident report.
“The 1997 fire occurred five days before Tax Day and, the New York Post reported, ‘just after Sharpton announced that he would open his financial records.’ After the fire, Sharpton said he would seek an extension because crucial financial records had been destroyed.”
[read the full text here, at National Review]
As the fire crept upward into Sharpton’s headquarters, it destroyed nearly everything, including computers, files, and campaign records, the Reverend’s spokesperson at the time told Newsday, adding that “we have lost our entire Manhattan operation.” But a source knowledgeable about the investigation tells National Review Online that Sharpton’s office was mostly empty, and that the damage was not extensive.
[View slideshow of FDNY fire investigations]
Top city officials, including then-mayor Rudy Giuliani, said initial suspicions centered on the hair-and-nail salon, not on Sharpton’s campaign, Newsday reported. The fire department sent the case as an arson/explosion investigation to the New York Police Department. By the time of publication of this report, the NYPD had not provided the records requested by National Review Online on December 16, 2014, but it confirmed that the investigation had been closed without an arrest.
FDNY’s report references a “flammable liquid,” and firefighters’ photos of the scene show traces of an incendiary puddle. Another photo captures what appears to be a singed rag that someone is holding next to a fuse box, perhaps because that is where it was found. But a 2003 Newsday article says “the 1997 fire started when a curling iron overheated in an adjoining beauty parlor.” NRO could find no other sources referencing a curling iron as the cause, and the fire department’s reports make no mention of it, either.
As the mayoral campaign continued, Sharpton missed tax and campaign disclosure deadlines.
The 1997 fire occurred five days before Tax Day and, the New York Post reported, “just after Sharpton announced that he would open his financial records.” After the fire, Sharpton said he would seek an extension because crucial financial records had been destroyed. It’s unclear whether that extension was granted.
“During the campaign, Sharpton criticized his opponents for having a ‘penthouse mentality,’ calling one a ‘limousine liberal.’ But while his competitors had voluntarily released their income-tax returns to the media, Sharpton had not even filed his yet, much less publicly disclosed them.”
In July 1997, Sharpton also missed the deadline to file his personal financial-disclosure forms with the New York City Conflict of Interests Board, violating a legal requirement and risking a fine of up to $10,000. He said the destruction of records in the fire had prevented him from filing. When Sharpton finally filed a year later, in July 1998 — months after the November 4, 1997 elections — he paid a $100 late fee. It’s unclear what information his filing did or did not contain; in accordance with Section 12-110(f) of the administrative code, the board shredded Sharpton’s financial-disclosure forms more than a decade ago.
[More on Al Sharpton here, at punditfromanotherplanet]
During the campaign, Sharpton criticized his opponents for having a “penthouse mentality,” calling one a “limousine liberal.” But while his competitors had voluntarily released their income-tax returns to the media, Sharpton had not even filed his yet, much less publicly disclosed them, Newsday noted. Read the rest of this entry »
Farrakhan: Giuliani a ‘Privileged Cracker Devil’Posted: February 24, 2015 Filed under: Humor, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Associated Press, Barack Obama, Black people, Chicago, Foreign Policy, Louis Farrakhan, Mayor of New York City, Nation of Islam, Rudy Giuliani, United States 1 Comment
Pam Key writes: Sunday at Christ Universal Temple in Chicago during his annual Saviours’ Day speech, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan attacked former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for his controversial comments saying Obama doesn’t love America.
Farrakhan said, “How did you grow up, Giuliani? A privileged cracker? Or I should say, a privileged devil….(read more)
[VIDEO] REWIND: Liberals Cheered Obama When He Questioned George Bush’s PatriotismPosted: February 22, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Andrea Mitchell, Barack Obama, CNN, Death threat, Mayor of New York City, Republican Party (United States), Rudy Giuliani, Scott Walker (singer), United States, White House 3 Comments
You certainly didn’t hear any reporters lecturing Obama for his uncivil rhetoric after that outrageous attack.
This week former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani accused President Obama of not loving America. He promptly received death threats. The Obama White House said Giuliani’s comments were “horrible.”
Source: The Gateway Pundit
STORM: DRUDGE GOES CODE BLUEPosted: January 26, 2015 Filed under: Breaking News, U.S. News | Tags: Bill de Blasio, Blizzard Warning, Boston, Drudge Report, Headline, Matt Drudge, Mayor of New York City, media, National Weather Service, New Jersey, news, Philadelphia, Snow, Storm Leave a comment
NEW YORK (CBS Connecticut/AP) — Tens of millions of people along the Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor rushed to get home and settle in Monday as a fearsome storm swirled in with the potential for hurricane-force winds and 1 to 3 feet of snow that could paralyze the Northeast for days.
Snow was coating cars and building up on sidewalks and roadways in New York City by evening, and flurries were flying in Boston. Forecasters said the storm would build into a blizzard, and the brunt of it would hit late Monday and into Tuesday.
As the snow got heavier, much of the region rushed to shut down. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Unpopular NY Mayor Bill De Blasio Booed at Police Graduation CeremonyPosted: December 29, 2014 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: Bill de Blasio, Graduation, Mayor of New York City, New York City Police Department, Police officer, Rafael Ramos 5 Comments
The New York Post reports that some in the crowd shouted “traitor” at de Blasio.
Andrew Johnson writes: The rift between New York Police Department and Bill de Blasio continued on Monday as the mayor faced a series of boos and heckles as he took the stage at a graduation ceremony for new officers at Madison Square Garden. The recent episode is the latest in the feud between de Blasio and the NYPD, in which officers have turned their back to the mayor at a number of public appearances. Read the rest of this entry »
Self-Serving Lawmakers and Unions Get a Boost From Aggravating Racial TensionsPosted: December 28, 2014 Filed under: Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Al Sharpton, Bill de Blasio, Execution-style murder, Ferguson, Fox News Channel, Grand jury, Mayor of New York City, Missouri, New York City, New York City Police Department, Protest, William J. Bratton 1 Comment
Politicians benefit from American Tribal Warfare
Glen Reynolds writes: “What if I told you,” asks a Matrix-themed photo-meme that has been circulating on Facebook, “that you can be against cops murdering citizens and citizens murdering cops at the same time?”
“Tribalism is the default state of humanity: The tendency to defend our own tribe even when we think it’s wrong, and to attack other tribes even when they’re right, just because they’re other.”
Judging by the past few weeks, this really is a Matrix-level revelation, obvious as it may seem. We have Americans protesting because of police shootings, and we have police turning their backs on New York City’s Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio over lack of support after two police were assassinated by Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, a gunman from Baltimore who said he was seeking revenge for the choking death of cigarette-tax evader Eric Garner.
“In a healthy civil society, people can deal with others without worrying about tribalism, confident that disputes will be settled by neutral and reasonably fair procedures overseen by neutral and fair people.”
And, as blogger Eric Raymond notes, the response has been divided: “Because humans are excessively tribal, it’s difficult now to call for justice against Eric Garner’s murderers without being lumped in with the ‘wrong side.’ Nor will Garner’s partisans, on the whole, have any truck with people who aren’t interested in poisonously racializing the circumstances of his death.”
“In a tribalized society, what matters is what tribe you belong to, and who is on top at the moment.”
This is a tragedy, but not a surprise. Tribalism is the default state of humanity: The tendency to defend our own tribe even when we think it’s wrong, and to attack other tribes even when they’re right, just because they’re other.
[Glenn Reynolds‘ book “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself“ is available at Amazon]
Societies that give in to the temptations of tribalism — which are always present — wind up spending a lot of their energy on internal strife, and are prone to disintegrate into spectacular factionalism and infighting, often to the point of self-destruction. Read the rest of this entry »
‘If you visited from Mars in the last few months, you would think police do no good in society at all”Posted: December 21, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: Ambush, Attorney general, Bedford–Stuyvesant, Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn, Eric Holder, Mayor of New York City, Metro station, Myrtle Avenue, New York, New York City, New York City Police Department, Police car, Police officer, Suicide methods 1 Comment
There have been at least three ambushes this year of law-enforcement officials that garnered national attention. In June Las Vegas police officers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31 were ambushed as they sat in a restaurant. One of the suspects in that shooting died in a gunbattle with authorities, and his wife committed suicide.
The assassination of two New York City police officers this weekend has emboldened police and their supporters to lash out at weeks of nationwide protest and criticism that they say have left police more vulnerable.
“This senseless murder of two of New York’s finest further exemplifies the dangerous political climate in which all members of law enforcement, nationwide, now find themselves. Not since the political unrest of the 1960s have police officers been so targeted.”
— Baltimore police union President Gene Ryan, in a posting on the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police website
Police are investigating social-media posts by the apparent assailant in the point-blank fatal shootings Saturday of the two officers who were sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn. In them, he allegedly talked about killing officers in retaliation for the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island, N.Y., and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., this summer in confrontations with police.
Experts on law enforcement said the demonstrations that followed grand jury decisions not to charge the officers in those cases have strained police morale across the U.S. as officers have been forced to defend their tactics, then deploy in big numbers to demonstrations against those tactics.
“This senseless murder of two of New York’s finest further exemplifies the dangerous political climate in which all members of law enforcement, nationwide, now find themselves,” Baltimore police union President Gene Ryan said in a posting on the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police website. “Not since the political unrest of the 1960s have police officers been so targeted.”
“If you visited from Mars in the last few months, you would think police do no good in society at all”
— Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of law and police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City
On Sunday, a somber-faced New York Mayor Bill de Blasio , who has come under withering criticism from the city’s police union after the killings, attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, flanked in a pew by his wife and Police Commissioner William Bratton . “We are in solidarity with you,” New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan told the public officials. Read the rest of this entry »
Glenn Harlan Reynolds Kicks It Up A Notch: Unpatriotic Voters Elect Unpatriotic LeadersPosted: February 22, 2015 | Author: Pundit Planet | Filed under: Politics, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Bill O'Reilly (political commentator), Ed Henry, Fox News Channel, George W. Bush, Josh Earnest, Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, United States, White House, White House Press Secretary | 1 Comment
Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes: Last week, Rudy Giuliani mused about whether President Obama loves America, musings that produced immediate media backlash as beyond the pale. Some thought this was proof of Republican racism. (Never mind that Obama had accused President Bush of being “unpatriotic” back in 2008). Others gloated that Giuliani had “trolled” the media into spending five days debating Obama’s patriotism.
My own take: Of course Obama loves America. After all, you always hurt the one you love.
But, seriously, why do we care? That is, why do we spend time looking at presidents — and others — based on irrational emotional attachments that are hard to assess, rather than looking at things like credentials that are easy to assess, and arguably more directly related to the job, than things like patriotism, or loyalty, or honesty? Why can’t we just be rational about these things?
“Of course Obama loves America. After all, you always hurt the one you love.”
Maybe because, as Robert Frank suggested in an underappreciated book some years ago, Passions Within Reason: The Strategic Role Of The Emotions, we don’t want to be totally rational about things because, ironically, it’s not rational to be too rational.
Imagine that you’re thinking of getting married. Would you want a spouse who sticks with you for purely rational reasons, or one who forms an irrational attachment — let’s call it “love” — that doesn’t depend on rational factors?
Most people would say the latter. A purely rational attachment is nice, but if things change — say, if you become sick, or unattractive, or broke — a rationally attached person might rationally choose to leave. A person who loves you, on the other hand, might stick around anyway, because being parted from you, even if some of your charms have vanished, would cause emotional pain, while helping you feels good.
Likewise, you’d like to hire an honest employee, one who will feel guilty about stealing from you. A rational employee won’t steal if there’s a danger of being caught, but an honest one won’t steal even when he can get away with it, because if he does he will feel guilty, while if he resists temptation he will feel virtuous.
A person who is perfectly rational about costs and benefits, with no irrational constraints like loyalty or honesty (or patriotism), is a person who will lie, cheat and steal whenever he or she can get away with it. A sociopath, basically. Read the rest of this entry »