Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Study finds link between being easily grossed out, shunning immigrants

This is all based on a lie.  The GSR does not indicate being "grossed out".  It is just an alerting response triggered by all sorts of stimuli.  The most it could tell you about conservatives is that they are more alert to danger -- which could be highly adaptive.  And caution is the essence of conservatism any way

If you have trouble understanding people you disagree with about immigration, perhaps you can blame it on a weak stomach.

In a study that adds to a growing body of research about the influence that unconscious emotions exert on political thought, researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark found a link between heightened sensitivity to disgust and an aversion to interacting with immigrants.

The study highlights the challenges faced by political opponents in using facts and reason to find a common ground on social issues. The scientists show how a primeval fear of infection, forged long ago in humanity's evolutionary past, can give rise to a modern-day aversion to interacting with immigrants. This is by no means true for everybody, but that fear can make it more difficult, but by no means impossible, for some people to willingly interact with immigrants.

"Individuals with high disgust sensitivity are especially motivated to avoid contact with immigrants," says lead author Lene Aarøe, a professor of political science at Aarhus University in Denmark. "This is important because avoiding contact potentially prevents the kind experiences that typically stimulate tolerance."

Professor Aarøe and her colleagues showed participants images related to infection and disease and measured their the flight-or-flight responses via skin conductance, as reported in a paper published Monday in the American Political Science Review.

The researchers found that subjects with the strongest response to the images were also those most likely to say that they would disapprove if someone in their immediate family were to marry an immigrant or if immigrant families moved into their neighborhoods. Overall, they were less willing to eat food prepared by immigrants or to share public spaces with immigrants.

Surprisingly, the heightened disgust response was far more likely to predict such aversion to interacting with immigrants than did income, education, or even political ideology.

"When we saw these data patterns we knew that we were onto something," says Aarhus University political scientist Michael Bang Petersen, who co-authored the paper. And not just something that was academically interesting but something with real-world consequences for the integration of immigrants into society."

Researchers have found similar correlations between heightened disgust responses to conservative political views, including opposition to same-sex marriage and prejudicial attitudes toward gays and lesbians.

In some cases, these variations can translate into drastic policy prescriptions, particularly when it comes to people from foreign places. "People with sensitive behavioral immune systems shun any situation that brings them closer to immigrants and favor situations that limits contact, such as the creation of ghettos," Dr. Petersen says. "In fact, it seems like people with sensitive behavioral immune systems prefer something that could be construed as apartheid-like arrangements."

Politicians and pundits are adept at leveraging disgust responsiveness to sway people to support their policies. Donald Trump – who describes himself as a "germaphobe" and has called the practice of shaking hands "barbaric" – said in 2015 that "tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border" from Mexico to the United States, a claim that the fact-checking website Politifact, after checking with health experts, deemed "unlikely."

His words echoed those of television personality Lou Dobbs, who in 2007 drew criticism for falsely claiming that undocumented immigrants were importing an epidemic of leprosy.

"Immigrants are not a source of infection," says Aarøe. "It is on the subconscious level that the immune system misinterprets differences as a potential sign of infection."

The tendency for disgust and associated emotions to operate outside of our conscious awareness can make our political positions, particularly on social issues, more resistant to facts.

"Politics is at least as much about emotionality as it is about rationality," says Kevin Smith, a political scientist at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. "It clearly seems to be that people literally – not metaphorically, literally – experience the world differently because they have these variations in these systems that gather and translate information about the environment they're in."

Knowing that different people are born with different emotional systems might even foster patience for political differences. "There is a divide between conservatives and liberals," says Patrick Stewart, a political scientist at the University of Arkansas who has also tested disgust responses and their relationship with political ideology. "It's not because one or the other is bad. It just might be that they're adapted to deal with different environments."

The researchers hope that their work can help free us of the influence that unexamined emotions can exert on our political attitudes. "One way to enable people to correct for their psychological biases is to inform them about them," says Aarøe.

And while different people may have different levels of disgust sensitivity, scientists agree that we are always capable of changing our own minds.

"If you actually put a little bit of mental work and examine why you don't like immigration policy, and you weigh the pros and cons rationally you can certainly think your way to a different position," says Smith. "We're not talking about predestination, we're really talking about predisposition."


Freedom of speech, even in therapy

by Jeff Jacoby

IN CALIFORNIA and five other states, it is illegal for psychologists and mental-health counselors to engage in "conversion therapy" meant to change the sexual orientation of minors. The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a challenge to the California ban, leaving in place a lower-court ruling that upheld the law last year. A few days earlier, US Senator Patty Murray of Washington introduced legislation that would make conversion therapy illegal nationwide. Murray's bill, which was cosponsored by half of the Senate's Democrats, would ban anyone from offering such treatment or counseling to anyone, including adults. A companion bill was introduced in the House by California Democrat Ted Lieu and 68 cosponsors.

There is little reason to think that sexual orientation can be changed through therapeutic counseling. Most professional medical and mental health organizations oppose such efforts. The American Psychological Association sharply discourages conversion therapy; it concluded in 2009 that "there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation."

The idea that gays and lesbians can be "converted" into heterosexuals — or vice versa — seems hopelessly misguided, if not downright delusional. But when did it become the business of lawmakers, in a nation governed by the First Amendment, to criminalize misguided and delusional ideas?

Murray and Lieu, who call their bill the "Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act," maintain that they are targeting not the expression of an idea but the cheating of consumers by means of deceptive advertising and sham services. "It is fraud if you treat someone for a condition that doesn't exist," Lieu told The Washington Post. "There's no medical condition known as being gay. LGBTQ people were born perfect; there is nothing to treat them for. And by calling this what it should be, which is fraud, it would effectively shut down most of the organizations."

But the "fraud" here is just — speech. What Murray and Lieu want Congress to ban is not a dangerous drug or a risky surgical technique; this isn't about protecting unwitting victims from being strapped down and lobotomized, or browbeaten into undergoing chemical castration. There is nothing in their bill about coercion or trickery. The law is written to prevent discussion between therapist and patient, no matter how sincere and well-intentioned.

Legislators and activists may regard the very notion of sexual-orientation conversion as pernicious, archaic, and unhealthy. Millions of Americans, gay and straight alike, would deem it offensive and insulting, even hateful.

But the First Amendment would be worth little if it only shielded only non-offensive ideas. Congress and the states cannot censor private discussions about topics they consider odious. Nor can they circumvent the Constitution by labeling speech "therapeutic fraud."

Conversion therapy may not be good psychology, but that isn't what underlies the campaign to outlaw it. As Lieu's words ("LGBTQ people were born perfect") suggest, the conversion-therapy ban has more to do with gay-rights politics and polemics than with regulating mental-health services. After all, the list of dubious therapeutic techniques is a long one, and virtually none of those techniques has ever been banned by law. Legislators have not been moved to prohibit primal scream therapy as a form of fraud. Nor have they proscribed orgone therapy, chromotherapy, or past-life regression therapy. And if sexual-orientation conversion therapy is fraudulent, then surely astrology and palm-reading — for which plenty of people pay good money — should have been stifled long ago.

It cannot be repeated often enough: You don't have to respect an idea to respect the right of others to espouse it. In a free society, the temptation to censor an unpopular belief or practice should always be resisted — not just because liberty of conscience is valuable in itself, but because tables turn. It wasn't so long ago that legislators in some states were trying to pass "don't say gay" laws — measures forbidding educators from discussing "non-heterosexual" relationships with students or requiring schools to notify the parents of any students identifying themselves as gay or lesbian.

Those who trespass on the First Amendment to ban speech they disapprove of set an example they may come to regret. If therapy to "cure" same-sex attraction is subject to legislative whim, why not therapy to "cure" atheism? If states can order doctors not to talk with their patients about changing sexual orientation, can they order them not to talk about race or politics? Florida's legislature in 2011 passed a law barring doctors from discussing firearms and gun safety with their patients; violators were threatened with losing their license. Happily, the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit struck down the law last February. But that such a law could be enacted in the first place is a reminder that the lure of censorship is ever-present — and it comes in every shade of opinion.

It is no business of lawmakers whether people seek therapy to help them come out as lesbian or gay — or to help them overcome same-sex attraction. Few personal issues are more fraught and sensitive than sexuality; and an individual suffering from anxiety or distress has every right to seek therapeutic counseling without being second-guessed by Congress or the state legislature.

"Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech," commands the Constitution. That applies to speech that isn't fashionable or politically correct, to speech that powerful interests vehemently condemn, to speech that we find rude and unenlightened. It applies to speech between therapists and patients, too. Even if what they're talking about makes you want to scream.


Internet outrage after Canadian primary school cancels Mother's Day

PARENTS of primary school students at one Canadian school will go without this Mother's and Father's Day.

An image circulating on social media has outraged people across the world after it claimed the school would not facilitate time for students to make gifts for their parents on Mother's Day or Father's Day.

"In an effort to celebrate diversity, inclusivity and also nurture our students who are part of non-traditional families, we have decided to encourage those celebrations to take place at home," the letter reads.

"Due to this, the children will not be making gifts at school."

The letter has enraged people across the globe after being shared by Canadian Roy Glebe.

Many comments agree with Mr Glebe, with one woman saying "there are ways to compromise without eliminating completely."


Germany reviews asylum cases

The German government body responsible for asylum seekers is reviewing some 2,000 cases after revelations that a suspected right-wing extremist army officer posing as a refugee had been granted asylum in the country.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees is reviewing the cases to find out whether there are systemic problems such as inadequate background checks and screening, the Interior Ministry said.

The decision to grant asylum to Franco A - a lieutenant stationed in France who successfully registered as a refugee in Germany despite speaking no Arabic - was a "flagrant error that is not allowed to happen," spokesman Johannes Dimroth told the FAZ newspaper.

The asylum cases that are being reviewed include 1,000 Afghans and 1,000 Syrians who were granted permission to stay in Germany between January 1 and April 27, 2016, the ministry said.

The controversy started a week ago with the arrest of Franco A, a 28-year-old army lieutenant who created a fake identity as Syrian refugee named "David Benjamin," allegedly in order to plan terrorist attacks.

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has come under fire after it emerged that information about far-right sentiment in the Bundeswehr's ranks had not reached her ministry.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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