Big Idea: The Diversity of Conservative Opinion
Ross Douthat—the only really conservative columnist for the NYT—has been endlessly patient in trying to explain to his basically hostile audience that conservative opinion is both reasonable and diverse.
The effort he makes here is to introduce liberals to the diverse sources of conservative opinion in journals easily accessible on the web.
For a democratic audience distrustful (often for good reason) of personal authority, it's often annoying to be told what to read. Today's students and engaged intellectual web-surfers tend to be all about designing their own curricula.
One problem, of course, is that the huge and constantly expanding menu of intellectual choice that is the internet tends to create intellectual niches. It's easy for each of us to find plenty of stuff that reinforces the opinions we already have. The "net" has the capacity to make me more open and informed that ever. But its most powefrul effect is to make many of us more insulated and dogmatic than ever. So conservatives, to speak loosely, find out what liberals think from other conservatives, and liberals find out from liberals about conservatives. So we tend to think, usually without sufficient reasons, that our ideological adversaries are more stupid and evil than ever.
If liberals take Douthat's advice, they can be enlightened not only about conservative erudition, but about conservative diversity. The articles in the "neocon" Weekly Standard are way different from those in the isolationist and traditionalist American Conservative. For a 10-minute tutorial, GOOGLE what each journal is saying about the possible appointment of Hagel as Secretary of Defense. You will find out immediately that the AC is much more concerned about what "neocons" think about Hagel than what liberals think about him.
GOOGLE a bit more and you discover that the smart, learned, and well-intentioned authors at the AC and The Front Porch Republic rarely voted for Romney. Not only that, they're often as hostile to "capitalism" and globalization as the authors who write for the proudly leftist Nation.
What's the big difference between American conservatives and leftist nationalists? They have different views on how much big government can remedy the excesses of big business. Another difference concerns their view of the goodness and enduring viability of local institutions and traditional morality. They actually tend to agree that Marx's description of capitalism as reducing our freedom to "nothing left to lose" is largely true. They differ a lot on the goodness and efficacy of some socialist antidote. From a socialist view, the Front Porchers are agrarian reactionaries. From a Porcher view, the Marxists are irresponsibly "Gnostic" utopians.
Sometimes, though, it easy to see how the AC and Nation authors could forge an alliance in favor of liberal education and against subordinating all of our educational efforts to the imperatives of productivity.
The authors in the AC often vote libertarian and certainly see a lot more realism in Ron Paul than I do. But they tend to be for the use of libertarian means for non-libertarian ends. They want to get big, impersonal government "off the backs" of our churches, local communities, and families. For them, a model form of libertarian activism in our time is the homeschooling movement. The authors in the Nation tend to regard localism, homeschooling, and traditional religion as barriers to egalitarian justice.
So this is enough for an introduction to conservative diversity this Sunday. I'm not saying I agree all that much with the American conservatives. I find what they say interesting and instructive, although not as reliable guidance for public policy and especially foreign policy.
Not only have I said something about the diversity among conservatives, I've suggested a lot about the diversity in motivations for voting libertarian. The American conservatives don't have much in common with the "lifestyle libertarians" and "nudge libertarians" who are sometimes featured on BIG THINK. But the various kinds of libertarians obviously have some concerns in common, and maybe they have at least a few things to learn from each other.
My next post, I hope, will about conservative places on the internet that I like but Douthat didn't mention.
Researchers have just discovered the remains of a hybrid human.
90,000 years ago, a young girl lived in a cave in the Altai mountains in southern Siberia. Her life was short; she died in her early teens, but she stands at a unique point in human evolution. She is the first known hybrid of two different kinds of ancient humans: the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.
These thought leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs are propelling the kind of future we want to be a part of.
- The tech industry may be dominated by men in terms of numbers, but there are lots of brilliant women in leadership positions that are changing the landscape.
- The women on this list are founders of companies dedicated to teaching girls to code, innovators in the fields of AI, VR, and machine learning, leading tech writers and podcasters, and CEOs of companies like YouTube and Project Include.
- This list is by no means all-encompassing. There are many more influential women in tech that you should seek out and follow.
Most said they want to act on their desire someday. But do open relationships actually work?
- The study involved 822 Americans who were in monogamous relationships at the time.
- Participants answered questions about their personalities, sexual fantasies, and intentions to act on those fantasies.
- Research suggests practicing consent, comfort, and communication makes open relationships more likely to succeed.
Consensual non-monogamy fantasies<p>For the new study, published in <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-020-01788-7" target="_blank">Archives of Sexual Behavior</a>, researchers asked 822 people in monogamous relationships to:</p><ul><li>Describe their favorite sexual fantasy, defined as "mental images you have while you are awake that you find to be sexually arousing or erotic."</li><li>Select which themes apply to that fantasy, such as having sex with multiple people at the same time, experimenting with taboos, or engaging in a sexually open relationship.</li><li>Answer whether they intended to carry out these fantasies, and discuss them with their partner.</li><li>Complete assessments on relationship satisfaction, erotophilia and personality, as measured by the Big Five Personality inventory.</li></ul><p>The results showed that 32.6 percent of participants said being part of a sexually open relationship was "part of their favorite sexual fantasy of all time." More surprising is that, of that one-third, 80 percent said they want to act on this fantasy in the future.</p>
Pretzelpaws via Wikipedia Commons<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The present research confirms the important distinction between sexual fantasy and sexual desire in that not everyone wanted to act on their favorite sexual fantasy of all time," study author Justin J. Lehmiller told <a href="https://www.psypost.org/2020/09/one-third-of-people-in-monogamous-relationships-fantasize-about-being-in-some-type-of-open-relationship-study-suggests-58102" target="_blank">PsyPost</a>. "This suggests that fantasies may serve different functions for different people."</p><p>Even though most participants said they want to act out their fantasy in the future, far fewer reported acting out sexual fantasies in the past. Other findings included:</p><ul><li>Men were more likely to fantasize about CNMRs.</li><li>So were people who scored high in <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotophilia#:~:text=Erotophilia%20is%20a%20personality%20trait,ranging%20from%20erotophobia%20to%20erotophilia." target="_blank">erotophilia</a> and sociosexual orientation.</li><li>The psychological predictors of fantasizing about CNMRs differed from predictors about infidelity fantasies.</li></ul>
Do open relationships work?<p>A <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00224499.2019.1669133" target="_blank">2019 study</a> from psychologists at the University of Rochester suggests it <em>is </em>possible<em>, </em>but especially when both partners practice a trio of behaviors: consent, communication, and comfort — or, the Triple-C Model.<br></p>But the study also suggests not all forms of open relationships are equally viable. For example, people in one-sided CNMRs — where one partner stays monogamous, the other seeks outside sexual relationships — were nearly three times more dissatisfied in their relationships than the monogamous group <em>and </em>the consensual non-monogamous group.
The results of this study showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence, declining in early adulthood and then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.