A PSA from A Lady of Reason: The Conservative Movement Goes Beyond One President…

Obviously the election has gotten everyone on both sides riled up over whose side wins. For months now, we have been standing by Trump, supporting him and showing our country that despite the Left’s influence, there are still thousands of us who stand up for traditional virtues and pride in our great nation and want a president who reflects those values. Accordingly, we have fought long and hard for him to get in in 2016 and have been for 2020. However, it is also important to realize that Trump won’t last forever as our leader. Doesn’t matter if he’s out in January or is in for the next four years. Another president will eventually take his place. So the question becomes: Where will we go from that point on?

The first thing in my mind at least is to find candidates like Trump who will share his courage and vision for our future. Someone who isn’t afraid to stand up to the Left, isn’t afraid of coming off as more blunt when needed, tells it like it is and doesn’t bow down to the ever changing standards of political correctness. Someone who takes true pride in the country and wants to see it shine as a light in the world, not someone who sees our country as a great evil full of flaws. We need someone who cares more about their talent and capability to be the president over any identity they can check off for virtue signaling points. Someone who is fair but stands firm in dealing with other nations. Someone who can follow their conscience and principles even when it may not be politically favorable. Someone who is a president, not just “presidential”. Most importantly, someone who will put America first and keep America great! I hope one day one of Trump’s children may run for office. Maybe Baron in a few decades 😉 However, more realistically for the near future we most likely will have to find another equally inspired and capable person. This is where you come in: You can shine the spotlight on promising young conservatives ready to enter politics and run for office. Maybe you might be inspired to be that person. Bring to light conservative candidates for 2024 and beyond. Either way, we must pass the torch to the next great leader once Trump has done his work. They will stand on the shoulders of a giant…

Another important point is perhaps even more crucial in the coming days: What are YOU doing to better your community? As many have said before, ultimately, it is We The People are the ones who make our country what it is on the front lines. Not those in Washington. Yes, they make policy, but we make attitudes. And attitudes are harder to change. Trump ultimately represents our hopes and dreams for what our country should be like. That’s why he won in 2016. The “silent” majority no longer remained silent. So how can you “do your bit” to make this country better? Here are some ways big and small, and by no means an exhaustive list!

  • Stand up for your constitutional rights, whether it be 1st amendment, 2nd amendment or any other amendment that’s important to you!
  • Have the courage to find your voice as a conservative and express your opinion.
  • Organize community watches to protect your neighborhood, set up town meetings to address issues on the local level. Make sure conservatives, as well as liberals are represented and heard.
  • Advocate for academic freedom and intellectual diversity in schools and on campus. Teach your children about bias in education and how to think critically. Challenge bias in your child’s schools. Challenge it in your classes.
  • Run for a local office, or help someone’s campaign that holds conservative platforms. Even if you or your candidate doesn’t win, the representation it gives for conservatives speaks volumes, and may inspire even more the next time around!
  • Let other conservatives know they’re not alone. Whether it be supporting them anonymously, online, or in person, we all must support each other, especially those who feel isolated in heavily Left leaning environments where they may be suppressed.
  • Advocate for more representation of conservative voices in the media, at work, in academia, and in mainstream society at large.
  • Join or even create conservative clubs and groups to make change in your communities.
  • Don’t stand for intrusions on your freedoms. Attacks on your values. Discord and chaos in your communities. Don’t just turn a blind eye when your neighbor’s business is looted, or if it becomes unsafe for your children to play outside. Don’t wait until your town is a hotbed for crime. Do something before it gets out of hand! Raise awareness. Lobby for your rights. Rally. And yes, in some circumstances: Resist. Resist when your safety is at stake.

Lastly, put it all in perspective. We will not always get our way. We will have some losses. We certainly did for 8 years of Obama! And yet, we still remained. We persisted. We voted. We elected who we wanted as our leader. We are not snowflakes who crumble and turn into a mess when we lose in a fit or rage or panic. We are balanced people who realize that we’re in it for the long haul, and no one term in office, election or set back defines the conservative movement. We will persist as long as we have passionate people willing to stand up for traditional values, pride in our country and fair and equitable societies. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Conservatism transcends any one individual, any one leader or movement. We cannot sink into the fallacy of believing that conservative ideas and values die or cease to remain important when one person leaves an office or a movement loses some steam. Persistence and perseverance is what will ensure our values are taught and our voices continue to he heard. If we have “lost” this November, it’s actually a win in that it should make us all the more motivated to step up and do the heavy lifting of upholding our great nation and our communities. Note too how close the race was: About half of the country voted Trump! The number is not just an abstract statistic. These people are your friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers etc… They too are with you, and together, we all can make America what we want!

Trump made America great again, but what we do as conservatives in our own communities and for our country is what keeps America great!

Not just this election, but every election 🙂

The Science Is In: Political Correctness Doesn’t Work!

Conservatives have known this intuitively for years: Political correctness doesn’t work! As described in great detail in my post Several Reasons Why We “Resist” Political Correctness, some major reasons for backlash against it has to do with the Left’s double standards and hypocrisy in applying it, the denial of safety issues, attacks on our identity and culture, and simply the fact that many people are fed up with the constant edicts and demands that never seem to stop! Now, scientific studies have given us yet another reason why we don’t respond to PC demands: They don’t appeal to our internal motivations to change.

Many on the Left emphasize actions they feel ought to be taken to create a less prejudiced society. Don’t say these words. Don’t say this as a compliment. Don’t ask that question. Don’t wear that outfit. Don’t listen to that music, watch that show, read that book. Shun anyone who thinks differently and declare them persona non grata. Put this sign on your yard. Vote for these candidates. Use this hashtag. Boycott this store, or that brand. Say these catchy slogans and buzzwords. Hold these ideologies and don’t deviate from their worldview. Think conservatives are backwards. You see this repeated in workplaces and schools through every class “dialogue” (which is really a Leftist monologue) sensitivity training, diversity orientation, safe space training, racism seminars promoting white guilt, among others.

Yet, does this even work? It certainly doesn’t for us conservatives! The Left declares you a racist, sexist, homophobe, etc. if you aren’t fully into their little teaching sessions as many have experienced. We’re not any of those things they accuse us of, yet we don’t embrace their narrow view of how “good” people should act. Sadly, to protect our careers, reputations and social connections, sometimes, we play along and parrot their edicts back to them while holding true to our own views privately. In essence, the Left’s indoctrination sessions in the classroom or the workplace merely foster social pressure to conform rather than internalized beliefs that they are correct, and morally superior.

This is where the science comes in. We all have intrinsic and extrinsic reasons for why we believe in and conform to certain things. Intrinsic motivators are our deeply held values. If we do something for intrinsic reasons, we want to do it. If we do something for an extrinsic reason, it is often because we want to conform out of social pressures or fear of some imposed consequence, or conversely, have an external reward to gain from it. Research shows what conservatives knew already: Appeals to extrinsic motivators to be more “woke” or PC such as intense social pressure and cancel culture does not work. Nor does giving out a laundry list of arbitrary rules make anyone more desiring to become less prejudiced.

In a paper published in 2011 called “Ironic Effects of Antiprejudice Messages: How Motivational Interventions Can Reduce (but Also Increase) Prejudice” by Lisa Legault, Jennifer Gutsell, and Michael Inzlicht, they studied the effects of more extrinsic, or “controlling” messages and more intrinsic, or “autonomy focused” messages on reducing prejudice. Controlling messages do just as expected, they are meant to control one’s actions. Autonomy focused messages also as expected, focus more on the person’s autonomy to make a choice not to be prejudiced as a personal moral value. The researchers hypothesized that autonomy focused messaging would have a greater effect at reducing prejudice than controlling messages.

To test this, Legault and her research partners designed two experiments. In the first experiment, participants read a brochure on the topic of prejudice. They assigned the participants to one of three conditions:

  1. Read an autonomy focused brochure.
  2. Read a controlling brochure.
  3. Read a neutral brochure to use as a control group.

Those assigned to read the autonomy-brochure read information emphasizing one’s choice to embrace values of non-prejudice. Those assigned to the controlling-brochure read the message that one needs to comply with social norms, (a.k.a political correctness) to fight prejudice. The control group only read about defining the concept of prejudice.

Afterward, the researchers used surveys to measure prejudice and screen for intrinsic or extrinsic motivations. Results showed those who read the autonomy-brochure had decreased prejudice, and those who read the controlling-brochure emphasizing social norms had increased prejudice. Even more shocking, those in the controlling-brochure condition had more prejudice than those in the control group!

Believe it or not, their second experiment had even more striking results! In the second experiment, they used surveys to measure participants’ agreement with statements about prejudice that were either more autonomy focused or controlling in nature. After, participants were asked to write a few sentences with prompts that emphasized an autonomy focused approach or a controlling approach depending on which condition they were assigned to. Results showed the same pattern as the first experiment, but even more dramatically, as there was a greater difference between the autonomy condition and the other two. Legault’s research clearly supports evidence that extrinsic motivators are not effective, and may actually decrease motivation to become less prejudice than having no motivation at all!

A second study published more recently in 2017 called “Training away bias: The differential effects of counter stereotype training and self-regulation on stereotype activation and application” by Mason D. Burns, Margo J. Monteith and Laura R.Parker reinforced Legault’s findings about intrinsic motivation being a stronger force for less prejudice. Burns and his team researched whether conscious means to retrain the mind to associate counter-stereotypical words with certain groups instead of associating them with negative words would reduce implicit bias. Counter stereotype training consists of learning to pair positive words such as “intelligent” or “competent”, with various races that are often negatively stereotyped with negative words such as “unintelligent” or “incompetent”. The goal is to eventually out compete the negative implicit associations by retraining one’s mind to associate new positive words with various racial groups. Burns hypothesized that counter stereotype training would reduce implicit bias more than having received no training.

The experiment was to have participants look at a computer screen with pictures of either white or black people and click on words that were counter stereotypical for them as fast as possible. Participants were assigned to three conditions:

  1. A group who read a list of counter stereotypes before doing the task.
  2. A group who was only warned to be aware of stereotypes but received no counter stereotype list.
  3. A control group who just did the online task with no further instructions.

Results showed that despite some positive effects of counter stereotype training, it was not effective overall contrary to Burns and colleagues’ initial hypothesis. Those who were given the warning not to think stereotypically but not trained had less biased responses than the counter stereotype condition. The researchers theorized this was because the warning was a prompt to activate participants’ intrinsic motivation not to be biased through increasing their awareness of how bias conflicts with their values. The implications of Burns’ research is that those mind-control training seminars at work or in the classroom the Left likes impose on us don’t work!

The findings of these two studies easily highlight yet another reason we resist political correctness and the Left’s agenda. In addition to being hypocritical, a threat to safety in some cases, an attack on our culture and values, and simply annoying, scientific evidence shows the Left has gone about it all wrong. If they truly wanted to make change, they would have more luck appealing to our values over dictating what we must do to appease the Left. Then again, what values do they really have? From what I’ve seen, it definitely is not about equality for all, just who they pick and choose.

This is just my own theory, but perhaps they don’t appeal to our values because we’d discover theirs and ours are not alike at all! The evidence the Left gives for their arbitrary pronouncements points to a different motive: Power and control.

So when do we decide it’s time to act on our internal values, and not their external pressures?

Editorial cartoons for Saturday, June 20 | HeraldNet.com

Unpacking Our Cultural Knapsack: Taking A Closer Look at the Attack on Western Culture

If you have ever taken a college course in recent years, or even have been through the public school system, you may have come across terms like “political correctness”, “social justice”, “diversity”, “systematic racism”, “decolonization”, “white privilege” and others like it. These terms while describing different things, all have an interconnecting thread: The argument that US society, politics and culture, and more broadly Western culture in general are deeply flawed and immoral at the core. In this worldview, we live in a society surrounded by systematic racism, white supremacy, colonialism, and every other negative word in the book! It’s a society where “black and brown people” are oppressed, subjugated, dehumanized and cannot succeed in a system stacked against them at every turn, and where some lives don’t seem to matter. Indigenous peoples were subjugated through colonialist forces, and the country was built on the backs of those we enslaved. In this cultural dystopia, the only winners are (gasp!) white people, and more specifically white males. For the privileged class, our stolen privilege permeates every fiber of our being and while the underclass feels its sting everyday, the lucky few go about completely unaware of how simply being born into this country makes them complicit in this horrendous affair. Or so we are told to think. 

But to use a metaphor from the Left, let’s “unpack” some of these assertions. For those unfamiliar with the metaphor, it comes from an article written by Peggy McIntosh called “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” where she compares one’s unearned privileges with handy items in a knapsack to help you get through life easier such as money, maps, extra snacks etc… She argues that white people have more items in their knapsacks than others, and made an extensive list of so called privileges only whites enjoy. That metaphor has now been extended to mean closely analyzing and critiquing what is seen to be taken for granted or is problematic. The Left says we need to unpack our cultural biases, but has anyone unpacked their assertions about our society? I want to help unpack a few major criticisms of our society and the West, (as in Western Culture) at large.

A common one heard echoed throughout the halls of academia and even at protests, is that we need to “dismantle” and “decolonize” the country and the Western World. They argue that the US was founded on stolen land, taken away by genocide from Native American peoples. In other places, they evoke the imperialism of many European countries. Because we conquered various peoples around the globe, and often treated them harshly, those who argue for decolonizing say we’re still oppressing them to this day and need to back off big time! Now, on its face it seems right, and many Western powers have let got of the vast majority of these formerly colonized territories. However, this decolonization movement has gone far beyond simply giving back certain places their independence.

Using the US as a case study, they talk about decolonizing school curriculum to tell a narrative of how evil and oppressive we were, assert that all white people are guilty of oppressing Native Americans to this day, that all of our country’s innovations are fruits of a poison tree, and academia being impartial or daring to undergo the anthropological and archaeological study of indigenous peoples, is forcing colonialism among other charges. Also, our founding fathers, the pioneers who settled the West, and pretty much every non-native American are actually immoral oppressors. Now to unpack this, no one denies we did some pretty brutal stuff in our history. The slavery of the past was wrong, and many even at the time thought so. The physical and cultural subjugation of Native peoples is also not our shining moment either.

No one is arguing we glorify these blights on our history. However, for as much as we were wrong in doing these things, have people honestly forgotten literally every human group partook in conquest and the subsequent domination over the conquered? From the great Roman Empire, to the Comanches taking over part of the Great Plains, humans can be tribal and territorial with a thirst for better resources, and power. Also, many human societies including many Native American tribes had some form of slavery. Why are these more easily overlooked? Hard to talk of “stolen land” when your group stole it from someone else. Also, calls to decolonize and reaffirm indigenous groups sound nice, but what substantive things would we do to dismantle our society for them yet still have room for us? Must we go so far as to have a self imposed exile over the lands we too now, have been on for generations? If not that far, then how far exactly must we go to atone? How much moral culpability do we have for the sins of our forefathers? Why does the West get double condemnation for what should be considered equally immoral for all who partake in it?

Changing gears a bit, one assertion a little closer to home for many is the argument that society is systematically stacked against people of color, and in favor of white people. Which means that people of color cannot achieve as much due to societal constraints while conversely, white people benefit from society’s inherent power structures so they cannot claim they “worked hard” to earn what they achieved.  I’ve touched on this one more in depth before, but I’ll summarize what I argued. Many of these claims of systematic disadvantage are rooted in historical oppression, much of which has been overturned legally and socially. For example in the past, black people were discriminated against in the job market and housing. However, there are laws now explicitly prohibiting such discrimination and programs like affirmative action and immense social pressure to hire a more “diverse” workforce and have more integrated neighborhoods. Getting denied a loan might be because you have credit card debt like the majority of America, not simply because they looked and saw you were a person of color, or someone was hired instead of you despite your stellar credentials because they were the manager’s cousin and you just didn’t know that and you concluded it was because they were white. You can’t blame every setback on “the system”.

To bring up a newer insight, many argue that white people are systematically privileged and do not deserve full credit for what they do achieve and that hard work as a way to success is a myth. The social system is the true controller of our destiny no matter what our race they argue. However, what happens when people of color do find success? They often say it was their determination and double hard work despite the oppressive forces, but wait! Isn’t that also the myth of meritocracy? That they achieved because of their individual effort, not that society allowed them to achieve success?

To highlight the absurdity and contradictory nature of this, I recently read an article written by a former minimum wage black security guard who was able to become a doctor at the hospital he worked for. Med school is super competitive, and there are countless white people for whom medical school is only a pipe dream. Yet, this lowly security guard had what it takes to climb that social ladder to a place of privilege and prestige in this country. What other countries could he have done so outside the West? And yet, the focus of his article was not on how he achieved his dream, his determination, or one iota of gratitude for the society that enabled this success, but on how he is still the victim in a society who thinks his life doesn’t matter. If social systems determine where we will end up more than our own free will, then couldn’t one argue it had to have enabled his climb up the social ladder?

On a related note, the last but definitely not the last thing to unpack is the assertion that Western Culture is built on white supremacy. The Left says that the White race built Western Civilization, and even invented the concept of race solely to oppress others, so they could twist my whole article saying I’m blowing some “white supremacist dog whistle” or something. Defending the West to them becomes about defending white supremacy. However, in that assertion, it is they who hold the racist assumptions. Ever heard phrases like the “Great American Melting Pot”? Or that historically, the vast Roman Empire was very cosmopolitan stretching from Britain to North Africa to the Middle East and of course contained people who looked vastly different from one another. My point in bringing up these examples is can you think of another non-Western culture that has such immense ethnic and racial diversity? Since the West has been so influential around the globe, people of all races and many ethnicities have been touched by it in some way, and many live in the cosmopolitan countries of today that make up Western civilization. Their stories too have helped influence and shape the West. Western does not equal White necessarily.

I’ll conclude by saying that in focusing so much on what makes our culture bad, we ignore what makes it good. Such as advanced technology and medicine. Scientific innovations. Lower mortality rates. Higher standards of living. A utopia compared to where some live and many risk everything to get here. Somewhere where hard work and determination get you further in life. Somewhere where everyone can belong regardless of class, race or any other label. No culture is all good, a perfect utopia where zero inequalities and disparities exist, but certainly no culture is 100% bad. Certainly not ours.

So why can’t some of us see it that way? Let’s unpack that… 

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