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I am old enough to remember when liberal meant fighting for civil rights and helping the disadvantaged, having a just society, and progress in every field.

It stands to reason that in the age of Obama when most “liberals” are silent on torture, gay marriage and right to chose, alternative definitions would be sought.

We have already seen Generation Jones invented by a political strategist – idealist but pragmatic, no longer wanting to change the world

Jonesers are idealistic, Pontell says, but not ideological like boomers. “Boomers were flower children out changing the world. We Jonesers were wide-eyed, not tie-dyed.”

Nicholas Kristoff comes with a sillier, symbolically more accurate definition: nothing can disgust a liberal. And predictably, ends this with how brilliant Obama is…

Not  coincidentally, Kristoff starts with the attitude towards authority – the slapping your father experiment which holds the title of this. And the anonymous studies (reminding me of the Family Feud surveys) say:

Studies suggest that conservatives are more often distressed by actions that seem disrespectful of authority, such as slapping Dad. Liberals don’t worry as long as Dad has given permission.

And I think this is the subliminal point Kristoff is driving. Liberals need to check for permission before slapping “Dad”.

Just like the many IQ “studies” we’ve seen before, Kristoff provides fodder for the nature vs nurture political differences

The upshot is that liberals and conservatives don’t just think differently, they also feel differently. This may even be a result, in part, of divergent neural responses.

So, you see boys and girls? Obama would have all his children agree with him, but some are just born differently…

Meanwhile, those born well, are harder to be disgusted

Likewise, conservatives are more likely than liberals to sense contamination or perceive disgust. People who would be disgusted to find that they had accidentally sipped from an acquaintance’s drink are more likely to identify as conservatives.

Liberals can live with military tribunals, torture and discrimination against gay and women – they won’t object especially as “Dad” didn’t give permission to be slapped.

“Obama did not like it and stated it was not helpful to equate me with President Bush”.

What does this mean for activists? Just stop!

Those of you unhappy about gay rights – calm down, Kristoff says

Thus persuasion may be most effective when built on human interactions. Gay rights were probably advanced largely by the public’s growing awareness of friends and family members who were gay.

All you have to do is wait for enough gay people  to be born in conservative families and voila!

So, now that we  know the answer to “who’s your Daddy”, how will he deal with those children with the wrong neural responses?

Kristoff, who exposed his daddy issues by writing a long admiring piece about W entitled “Reagan’s Son”, is now ‘splaining this one as well:

He’ll use persuasion! he’ll make the “special kids” believe he thinks they are “normal”

A corollary is that the most potent way to win over opponents is to accept that they have legitimate concerns, for that triggers an instinct to reciprocate. As it happens, we have a brilliant exemplar of this style of rhetoric in politics right now — Barack Obama.

So, you see kids? Obama only threw women under the bus so conservatives would reciprocate. Just wait for the respect they’ll show to the woman nominated for SCOTUS (without asking her views on the women’s right to choose). It’ll all work out.

Nothing is disgusting to the good children, the “special” ones will come around. And be sure to ask permission from Dad before doing anything untoward.

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