Liberals built freer world

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It has been a while since I have written a letter to the editor, but Ed Payne’s April 14 letter (“Progressivism is killing us all”) prompted a response. It is the latest, and not the most egregious, of many letters indicating that liberals/progressives (L/Ps) are destroying our country, leading us toward socialism, undermining our morals, etc.

Kathryn Schultz’s book Being Wrong indicates that facts seem to have little effect on conservative’s deep-seated beliefs, so this is probably an exercise in futility, but tilting at windmills has a long and noble history.

L/Ps invented and developed science on which Dr. Payne’s profession depends. Without it, he would still be using leeches. L/Ps are responsible for the development of democracy and capitalism that many letters to the editor accuse L/Ps of trying to destroy.

The list of accomplishments and developments of L/Ps is nearly endless: the Declaration of Independence; the Constitution and its Bill of Rights; abolition of slavery; right of all citizens older than 18 to vote; public education; public hospitals; trade unions; curbs on monopolies; the Red Cross; nursing as a profession; humane care for the mentally ill; pure food and drug laws; the 40-hour work week; equal rights for minorities and women; freedom of religion; clean rivers and lakes; the right to marry a person of a different race …

Conservatives opposed, worked against and ridiculed many of these when they were first proposed.

Conservatives do seem to make better generals; however, most of the greatest or most consequential presidents were liberals, and some of the others were equivocal.

To top it all off, the most liberal states (based on voting patterns) are wealthier than the most conservative states, and have to transfer tax dollars to support them.

It would be a much poorer and less free world without the dreaded L/Ps.

Andy C. Reese

Augusta

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andyreese
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andyreese 04/22/13 - 10:57 am
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Citations

The word limits on letters preclude citing references for all the claims, so here are the most important.
First off, I did not say that liberals are smarter. Liberals and conservatives have different strengths. We would be worse off without either. It is just that the editorial pages of the Chronicle are so heavily skewed to the conservative and ultraconservative viewpoints.
Science was invented in ancient Greece, the rediscovered at the beginning of the Enlightenment. The main people involved in Greece were Aristotle, Lucretius, Hippocrates, and Pathagoras. Key Enlightenment figures include Copernicus, Galileo, Bruno, Robert Boyle, Christopher Wren, and others. They were all liberals in politics which got one burned at the stake.
The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson with major editing by Ben Franklin. The Constitution was drafted by James Madison.
The Republicans at the time of Lincoln were the liberal of their day. They became conservatives during the late 1800's when they became the tools of big business. Teddy Roosevelt was an anomy differing from those who came just before and all those after. He was the "trust buster" who put curbs on monopolies.
Horace Mann is generally credited as the founder of public education in the US. Henry Bellows was the head of the Sanitary Commission during the civil war then used that experience as a model for public hospitals.
Samuel Gompers, John L. Lewis, and many others led the union movement which served as a counterbalance to big business. It is no coincidence that middle-class wage stagnation began with the loss of union power.
The leaders of the movements that gave African-Americans and women the right to vote were well known liberals. The civil rights legislation was pushed through by Johnson (with strong support from Evert Dirkson) based on popular support that was largely the result of the work of Dr. King and his colleagues.
I based my assessment of presidents on lists of the top ten from both historians and larger surveys (Google it). Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson were all liberals. Washington, Jackson and Wilson left mixed legacies. Ninth and tenth places have more variability in their ratings. Of those mentioned most often Eisenhower and Reagan were conservatives. Polk was another that left a mixed legacy. Madison was a liberal.
I will await my winnings from the "large wager" from myfather15.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 04/22/13 - 11:04 am
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"Science was invented in
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"Science was invented in ancient Greece, the rediscovered at the beginning of the Enlightenment."

Oh wow. I can't stop laughing.

GnipGnop
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GnipGnop 04/22/13 - 11:04 am
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The Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence

Were written by men that cared for their country. Men that knew that government should never be allowed to grow so big that the common man had no say. There is not a party who's leadership reflects anything that our forefathers saw. They would be ashamed at what their vision has become. They would be embarassed that the government has become the very thing that they sought independence from.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 04/22/13 - 11:04 am
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The people you list as
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The people you list as "liberals" would be shunned and scorned by the people who call themselves liberals today, andyreese.

burninater
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burninater 04/22/13 - 11:06 am
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Well, I must issue a

Well, I must issue a retraction of my 10:22 post.

Providing clear and verifiable supporting documentation for seemingly unbacked claims, Mr. Reese has destroyed his bright future in AM radio.

Still, I am sure this is a selected list, and again falls into the realm of half-truth that both sides seem to love to wallow in.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 04/22/13 - 11:08 am
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Glad you added that last
Unpublished

Glad you added that last sentence, Burn. I almost had to call you out........... :-)

burninater
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burninater 04/22/13 - 11:10 am
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The people you list as

The people you list as "liberals" would be shunned and scorned by the people who call themselves liberals today, andyreese.
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HA, I think you may be confusing the propaganda version of the evil Left, perpetuated by far Right bloviators, from real citizens and voters on the left side of the aisle.

Come on out of the echo chamber, you may be surprised at what you hear.

WalterBradfordCannon
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WalterBradfordCannon 04/22/13 - 11:11 am
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Some truth in that. The

Some truth in that.

The Declaration of Independence was written primarily by Jefferson. He renounced spiritual mysticism while embracing Christian behavioral doctrine. In a very real sense, he was the only non-Christian president of the United States, and clearly thought that religion had no place in governance. (Non-christian in the sense that he rejected the orthodox trinity of Christianity, and the divinity of Jesus).

The abolition of slavery? It was opposed by the churches of the south, most notably the Southern Baptist Convention. That Lincoln was a Republican bears little issue to the Republicans of today. He argued for federal rights over state rights on slavery, whereas the GOP today typically argues the opposite.

And anyone that thinks that scientists are not dominated by liberals and progressives has not spent much time around scientists.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 04/22/13 - 11:12 am
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Actually, I was referring
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Actually, I was referring mostly to Congressmen and Senators........and MANY posters on this forum. I work with lots of really reasonable liberals.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 04/22/13 - 11:16 am
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WalterBradforCannon.....52%
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WalterBradforCannon.....52% doesn't really sound like a "dominating" number.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2011/02/18/why-are-scient...

burninater
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burninater 04/22/13 - 11:21 am
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There you go. Imagine how

There you go. Imagine how different dialogue would be if more people said they worked with lots of reasonable liberals, but that some on the left would shun and scorn liberals of the past ... rather than the blanket statement that liberals -- period -- would shun and scorn them.

The former statement opens the door to reasoned discussion, while the latter just serves to reinforce a stereotype.

burninater
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burninater 04/22/13 - 11:28 am
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WalterBradforCannon.....52%

WalterBradforCannon.....52% doesn't really sound like a "dominating" number.
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Not until you look at the number that only 20% of the population describes themselves as liberal, from your link.

Scientists are 260% more likely to describe themselves as liberal than the general public. That's a "dominating" number.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 04/22/13 - 11:42 am
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Logic

Most research is financed by the gov't. Scientist would be sucidal to vote against their funding source or to present findings that do not fit the liberal agenda.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 04/22/13 - 11:57 am
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From "WalterBradfordCannon"

"The abolition of slavery? It was opposed by the churches of the south, most notably the Southern Baptist Convention. That Lincoln was a Republican bears little issue to the Republicans of today. He argued for federal rights over state rights on slavery, whereas the GOP today typically argues the opposite."

You seem to be saying that Lincoln should not have assumed Federal powers in order to end slavery ! If anyone doesn't believe that slavery should have been forced out of this country, THIS IS GROUNDS FOR BEING LABLED UN-AMERICAN !! I have been a South Carolinian, therefore a southerner all of my life. Slavery should HAVE NEVER BEEN PART OF THIS COUNTRY ! To even suggest other-wise is an abomination !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lincoln HAD TO assume Federal powers because he knew that the red-necks of the day would not have agreed to ending slavery without a fight !

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 04/22/13 - 11:59 am
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260%More likely? Perhaps, it
Unpublished

260%

More likely? Perhaps, but it says that only 52% of scientists describe themselves as liberal. So the statement "And anyone that thinks that scientists are not dominated by liberals and progressives has not spent much time around scientists." is still far from accurate.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 04/22/13 - 12:05 pm
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t3bledsoe...I think he was
Unpublished

t3bledsoe...I think he was arguing that Lincoln was fighting a battle that he thinks modern Republicans wouldn't fight, not that they shouldn't. I tend to disagree with him, however, since based on entitlement programs, it seems to be the Democrats that are in full support of slavery today just as they were during the Civil War.

burninater
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burninater 04/22/13 - 12:16 pm
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Most research is financed by

Most research is financed by the gov't. Scientist would be sucidal to vote against their funding source or to present findings that do not fit the liberal agenda.
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Sorry, you aren't looking at the whole picture.

Do you know how many scientists are employed by the bread-and-butter of conservative spending? The military, intelligence, agriculture, and energy sectors employ HUGE numbers of mathematicians, engineers, technicians, and research scientists.

I posit that where a rift occurs between political conservatism and many scientists is when the emphasis on faith and tradition demands a refusal to acknowledge evidenciary data. Faith and tradition can fully exist with science -- but only to the extent that it acknowledges physical data. Liberalism has a much better institutional record of accepting physical data, and implementing policy based on that data, than political conservatism (excepting the far Left, which exists on ideology regardless of evidence -- as does the far Right).

I say "political conservatism", because philosophical conservatism is based on the premise that policy should be based on evidence: social and political change should only occur if there is an evidenciary basis for change.

burninater
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burninater 04/22/13 - 12:18 pm
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260% More likely? Perhaps,

260%

More likely? Perhaps, but it says that only 52% of scientists describe themselves as liberal. So the statement "And anyone that thinks that scientists are not dominated by liberals and progressives has not spent much time around scientists." is still far from accurate.
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We'll have to disagree on this one. If you are more than two-and-a-half times as likely to find a specific type in a subset of the population than in the general population, then that subset is dominated by that type.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 04/22/13 - 12:22 pm
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It must be nice to have

It must be nice to have within your repertory of debate a blanket indictment of anything that is of popular position.

No, no, we can't have that, why if the masses think it so, then it's beneath consideration. "They" can't possibly have considered all the nuances. Give me a frigging break.

burninater
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burninater 04/22/13 - 12:32 pm
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"They" can't possibly have

"They" can't possibly have considered all the nuances.
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Well, guess what? If you are operating without all the available evidence, then you can't possibly have considered all the nuances. It's a stark impossibility.

This doesn't mean that the evidence implies only one course of action. It is almost always the case that both a conservative and a liberal approach can come from the evidence.

But don't base the approach on an outright denial of evidence.

t3bledsoe
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t3bledsoe 04/22/13 - 12:33 pm
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Two responces to Humble Angela

"since based on entitlement programs, it seems to be the Democrats that are in full support of slavery today just as they were during the Civil War."

This statement seems to be saying that the modern slavery is to be on government assitance. I don't see this as slavery, but I agree there are too many people using it ! This idea of very little to no federal powers is assinine. There would be states abusing citizen's left and right. Again; I agree the federal government has gotten way out of control as for as spending money as well as beauagracy (spelling).This however doesn't mean that we would be better off without a federal government.

Second, I am glad you can communicate at least in this forum.

RMSHEFF
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RMSHEFF 04/22/13 - 01:07 pm
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WBC

Liberals in science primarily exist and thrive in academia. As a general rule liberals don't fare well in the real world.

Those that call themselves liberal are much more likely to gravitate to certain occupations and work environments. This is why you will find so many liberals on college campuses and in the education field in general. They usually will be found in even greater numbers in the social sciences. Many choose Government employment especially the Federal government. I assume they are repulsed by the concept of a competitive environment in which results are expected as a condition of continued employment. They seek the security of tenured profession, the Federal system or a labor union. Job for life regardless of competence.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 04/22/13 - 01:40 pm
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"They" can't possibly have

"They" can't possibly have considered all the nuances.
“Well, guess what? If you are operating without all the available evidence, then you can't possibly have considered all the nuances. It's a stark impossibility.”

No disrespect, but I do believe I've been blinded by that flash of obviousness. I would submit that most feel they've at least a rudimentry understanding of the issue(s) in which they are passionate about. How does one insure they've considered “all available evidence”? Being informed is a part, no, a full time job. And you can never really be sure, can you?

For instance, those that favor an even more powerful, bloated, centralized government, refuse the lessons of history. I would submit that even the most rabid supporters of our current leaders BELIEVE they've considered all the available evidence, but that just ain't so!

Young Fred
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Young Fred 04/22/13 - 02:00 pm
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"since based on entitlement

"since based on entitlement programs, it seems to be the Democrats that are in full support of slavery today just as they were during the Civil War."
"This statement seems to be saying that the modern slavery is to be on government assitance. I don't see this as slavery, but I agree there are too many people using it ! This idea of very little to no federal powers is assinine. There would be states abusing citizen's left and right”

If you've ever lived among those who are living off the government and not see it as slavery, then I'd like to purchase a pair of your rose-colored glasses. And how does if follow that those who see abuses, carnage, and slavery wish for “no federal powers”?

I would be more that satisfied if the federal government simply followed the law as enumerated in article one of the constitution.

burninater
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burninater 04/22/13 - 02:37 pm
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YF, excellent points. What I

YF, excellent points (1:40 post). What I had in mind was not allowing skepticism to become dogmatism that ignores further points of evidence.

For example, a regular poster and I were discussing anthropogenic global warming (AGW). He raised three counter points: 1) statistical error in methodology of the "hockey stick" graph; 2) misrepresented data in Climategate; 3) Georgia Tech climatologist's disavowal of model predictions by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project.

I showed him how, in all three cases, the critics agreed that despite the errors, AGW was fully supported by the data.

The hockey stick graph is more correctly a field hockey stick graph. The Climategate data had no impact on actual heat increase data. The Georgia Tech scientist agreed AGW was real, but disagreed with projected rates of change of surface temps.

Even with stark evidence that his counter points did the opposite if what he thought, that they further SUPPORTED AGW data, he refused to accept the evidence. His skepticism has become dogma.

I won't go longer, but I can give examples on the flip side of how people on the far Left continue to vilify specific corporations despite all evidence that they are successfully creating the types of social changes that the far Left claims to espouse. For them, anti-corporatism is a skepticism that has become dogmatism.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 04/22/13 - 02:31 pm
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When you have generation
Unpublished

When you have generation after generation who live off of the government teat, and have no idea or incentive to work for themselves, THAT is slavery. The see that they have no choice but to vote for the ones who proved for their very sustenance.

"This idea of very little to no federal powers is assinine. There would be states abusing citizen's left and right."

So what is to stop the federal government from doing the very same thing, but to a larger group of people.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 04/22/13 - 03:08 pm
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Burn, I appreciate your

Burn, I appreciate your measured response.

I can see that AGW is an issue you've spent much time on. I myself have spent a little time on the subject. I wouldn't be quite so quick to label my opposition as steeped in dogma just because they didn't agree with my “informed opinion”. I can say that I've watched the “green” movement for a long time, and can also say that I've observed crimes against humanity that can be laid squarely on their doorstep.

Good intentions – you know what they say.

After hearing chicken little alarmist (ok, I couldn't resist that) for years warn of famine, global cooling, water shortages, etc. I have to ask one question.

In all seriousness, how do you reconcile your belief with the FACT that the last fifteen years has seen little if any significant warming? By all models we should be streaking about town slathered in sun screen by now.

A statistical anomaly perhaps?

burninater
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burninater 04/22/13 - 03:25 pm
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YF, you are confusing surface

YF, you are confusing surface temperature with heat. Surface temperature is a measure of how much heat is present at the earth's surface. Heat is the energy that contributes to surface temperature, but it is also stored elsewhere. Water and ice are huge heat reservoirs -- water has some of the highest heat storage capacity of any non-rock substance at or near the earth's surface.

AGW refers to the heat balance of the earth -- the increased atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations related to human activity have caused an increase in the amount of heat stored by the earth system. This data is accepted by over 90% of climatologists. Where will the heat go? That's where the debate and controversy lies. Many thought surface temps would show a faster increase in response to the increased heat. Those models need to be reconsidered, becase they have shown to be incorrect.

So where's the heat going? Water and ice are two obvious and dramatic points of evidence. Geologically significant reductions in both continental and sea ice mass around the globe indicate a massive amount of heat absorption. When the ice heat reservoir is exhausted, the surface temp increases may become far more noticeable.

That's the crux of the real debate. Increased heat in the earth system is accepted fact by almost every scientist collecting data. How that heat will manifest is the great unknown.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 04/22/13 - 03:28 pm
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I wonder if those 4 cars we
Unpublished

I wonder if those 4 cars we sent to Mars are causing the ice caps there to melt? Couldn't be....3 were solar power and one was nuclear.

burninater
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burninater 04/22/13 - 03:45 pm
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Yes HA, there are natural

Yes HA, there are natural cycles as well.

Heat storage as a function of greenhouse gas contributions is part of what AGW research focuses on. This is independent of natural warming contributors.

Keep in mind that Mars has an entirely different atmosphere, an entirely different orbit, and is an entirely different distance from the sun, than Earth.

In addition, we have zero longterm climate data from Mars.

Drawing a parallel between the Martian ice cap and ice on Earth is something that really has no basis at this point.

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