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Mar-24-2011 18:55printcomments

What's in it For You?

What is the reward that all you little people who support the Republican right expect?

Faceless people

(CALGARY, Alberta) - I, and many of us so-called liberals and lefties, would really like to understand what motivates conservatives, Republicans and Tea Party aficionados. The expanding Republican opposition to their fellow citizens and fellow peoples on the planet is a continuing source of negative wonderment.

French Enlightenment: from
The Pierre Conlon Collection

The ideals of the eighteenth century French Enlightenment (from which rose the new Republic of America) celebrated the virtues of individuality and self-reliance. In the context of the time such virtues made sense, but as societies became larger and more complex simplicity is just no longer a viable option.

In fact, conservative columnist David Brooks, cites a body of research suggesting that

"the French enlightenment view of human nature, which emphasized individualism and reason, was wrong. The British enlightenment, which emphasized social sentiments, was more accurate about who we are. It suggests we are not divided creatures. We don't only progress as reason dominates the passions. We also thrive as we educate our emotions ." (Read the whole column here:

In another column he wrote:

" Citizenship, after all, is built on an awareness that we are not all that special but are, instead, enmeshed in a common enterprise. Our lives are given meaning by the service we supply to the nation. I wonder if Americans are unwilling to support the sacrifices that will be required to avert fiscal catastrophe in part because they are less conscious of themselves as components of a national project." (Read the whole column here:

American Inflation

We know all about economic inflation, but a little noticed change in American society over the last half century or so (since WW2) is what I call ego inflation where many, if not most, Americans see themselves individually and as a nation, as being much more important and significant than they really are.

For example, in a recent survey, ninety-four percent of college professors believe themselves to have above-average teaching skills. In another survey of high school students, seventy percent of them believe they have above-average leadership skills with only 2 percent falling below average. In the 1950s, twelve percent of high school seniors said they were a "very important person." By the 1990s, that number had risen to eighty percent.

This, I think, is the most important factor behind the rise of the political right. There are a lot of otherwise ordinary people who perceive themselves to be special, i.e., more knowledgeable and politically important than they actually are. Tea party constituents, for example, see themselves as magically possessed of solutions to the nation’s and world’s problems that only they are able to see. (Think about that for a moment and see how real that seems as a possibility.)

Origin of Left and Right

Storming of the Bastille- July 1789

The French Revolution (1789-1799) was a period of extreme and violent political upheaval in France. The centuries old absolute monarchy collapsed, and under pressure from the mass population, society’s feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges disappeared.

New ideas from the Enlightenment proclaimed the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in August, 1789. The conservative monarchy and its supporters did everything possible to hamper or prevent significant social and political reforms.

In 1791 a new Legislative Assembly was elected and when they met, there were 264 Feuillants on the right side of the hall who supported the king and absolute monarchy; on the left side of the hall were 136 Jacobins or Cordeliers who supported the rights of the people. (In the centre were 355 delegates who declined to be labelled).

Delegates or representatives on the right were and still are those who support the monarchy or aristocracy and those on the left were and still are those who support the rights and aspirations of the people.

Is your reward in the mail?

So, I return to my opening question: What is the reward that all you little people who support the Republican right expect? (The people on the left are little people, too. In fact, we all belong to the ranks of the little people.) Do you honestly believe in your secret heart that one day you will get a phone call or letter from one of the Kochs, Waltons, Steve Ballmer or Rupert Murdoch, etc., thanking you for your support of their interests.

"Dear Mr./Ms. Republican: I read your letter to the editor/heard about your activities on the shop/office floor in resisting unionization/cooperation. By doing this, you and millions of others like you, have done me a great personal service in helping to increase my fortune which, already in the billions, can be so much more. I would share some of this money with you but I'm sure you would refuse it as we both believe in America as a land of opportunity, it won’t be long before you will be joining my financial ranks through your own individual efforts. I look forward to meeting you at Davos.

Your immediate reward, I’m happy to say, is for me to be able to continue to whipsaw the economy overall; depress the wages of ordinary workers (yours in particular--stay competitive), reduce business costs by eliminating (as much as possible) safety regulations, environmental protection and oversight, all of which hold back my profits and slow the growth of my (I'll admit it) obscene accumulation of wealth.

I sleep much more soundly at night knowing that you and millions like you on the political right are assiduously working for my interests against the interests and welfare of your fellow citizens and the nation as a whole (including working against your own self-interest.)

Here's a bit of wealth wisdom. The old saying says that if you get a lemon, make lemonade. What I suggest is--if your mortgage is underwater, learn how to swim. Yours sincerely,

Your favorite billionaire!

If waiting for a letter/thanks/recognition is what motivates you, good luck. (BTW: Don't ignore lottery tickets as another reliable route to wealth).


Daniel Johnson was born near the midpoint of the twentieth century in Calgary, Alberta. In his teens he knew he was going to be a writer, which is why he was one of only a handful of boys in his high school typing class — a skill he knew was going to be necessary. He defines himself as a social reformer, not a left winger, the latter being an ideological label which, he says, is why he is not an ideologue. From 1975 to 1981 he was reporter, photographer, then editor of the weekly Airdrie Echo. For more than ten years after that he worked with Peter C. Newman, Canada’s top business writer (notably on a series of books, The Canadian Establishment). Through this period Daniel also did some national radio and TV broadcasting. He gave up journalism in the early 1980s because he had no interest in being a hack writer for the mainstream media and became a software developer and programmer. He retired from computers last year and is now back to doing what he loves — writing and trying to make the world a better place

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Ryan August 28, 2011 7:27 pm (Pacific time)

I'm gay. One of these days I'll tell somebody.

Greg Lawson March 28, 2011 9:57 am (Pacific time)

The general population were told that the sun revolved around Earth, that the earth was flat, and on and on with theological proclamations, which were "tyrannical" in nature if you went against them. The writer makes that point as per what happened to Copernicus, thank you. Ergo: the Dark Ages. It was people like Copernicus who stood up to this theology (the "Tyrannts"), and as time rolled on, a scientific process (methodology) came into being. I agree with some of the other posters, what is the problem understanding how the actual historical process unfolded? The poster Morgan was spot on and evidence to what he commented on is found by any objective history book. Sure there will be those who will argue differently, but America still stands (proof), and we will in the future. My proof for the latter, just observe.

John Shaw March 27, 2011 11:51 pm (Pacific time)

It was not obvious that "...the sun went around the earth..." For example see "The Heliocentric Theory" /One of a seemingly endless list that dissoloves your notion about "obvious."

If it wasn't obvious, why did the vast majority of people believe it, until not that long ago? Check out Copernicus. Galileo in the 17th century narrowly missed having his bones broken by the Inquisition for "it moves"--the earth, that is. He was still sentenced to house arrest and died thusly at home.

The most important bit of evidence is in Joshua 10:1-15 where, on Joshua's pleading, God made the Sun stand still. You'e an American. Surely you don't doubt the Bible? You can read it here:

"While Joshua’s men were fighting, Joshua prayed to God. He asked God to make the sun stand still until they had won the victory. Believe it or not, God made the sun stop in the middle of the day and delayed it going down about a full day. " 

John Shaw March 27, 2011 9:19 am (Pacific time)

My goodness, someone sure thinks Einstein created a lot of "stuff" for us. Regarding a "scientific method" as some set and ordered guideline to follow, of course not. It is a recognition of a broad orderly process that allows for testing hypotheses, to challenge and replicate theories. All the other banter on the matter is just that, banter. It is a "process." To think that Einstein singly led to the development of the laundry list of inventions made below is not credible for he simply expanded on other prevailing theories. As far as GPS, I managed to use a compass and a USGS map to deal with locational problems and create solutions to those problems decades ago. You run out of power, have an atmospheric distortion (many causes) and that GPS is a paper weight. Just ask Tesla. Anyway, Einstein provided some theories, but he was just part of a much larger process that allowed for people to follow his work via a shared scientific methodology to review his hypotheses. Without some recognized and universally accepted process, then we would be back in the dark ages watching the sun orbit our planet, for that is what the tyrants told us was happening. Kind of like global warming, it is not happening, but the tyrants tell us it is, and their water-carriers scream and threaten those who show that global warming (now called climate change, which is a dynamic process) is shown to be false via a scientific testing methodology, a slam dunk by the way. Maybe it's those who threaten and ridicule those scientific process people that are the ones who deny a scientific method exists? Why all the arguement over something so obvious?

Obvious? It used to be obvious that the sun went around the earth. Nothing to do with tyrants. 

Bill Griffith March 26, 2011 6:23 pm (Pacific time)

Daniel have you ever been involved in formerly analyzing experiments? Writing up peer reviews? If so, then the Scientific Method is simply a procedural outline that allows one to replicate. Those who argue against that reality have no concept of scientific procedures, obviously. Certainly Einstein made some wonderful discoveries, though some feel that he stole others' works. Regarding his discoveries, he really had no impact on improving lives, as so many other scientists and inventors did. Thus his benefit to mankind was quite minimal, and then we have his unwavering support for Israel, in which he held a joint citizenship. Was he a Zionist? What were his views on the Palestinians and the land that was stolen from them by incredibly brutal methods? Yes, I agree, he was simpatico with leftist views, but his opinion in politics was a wash, as were his "actual" contributions to improving lives as say Thomas Edison or the inventor of the thermos.

Without both of Einstein's theories of relativity, there would be no GPS, for example. How's that for a contribution to everyday life?

Although he came to deny quantum mechanics, one of his early papers founded the field although others developed it. Electronics is our dominant technology and is the single largest sector of our economy. Without quantum technology, we would have none of the gadgets we use daily--from computers to cell phones, radios, CD players and TVs. Transistors, integrated circuits, processors and memory chips all rely on quantum mechanics.

Scientific method? Biologist Lewis Wolpert: “No one method, no paradigm, will capture the process of science. There is no such thing as the scientific method.”

Genetics Nobelist Barbara McClintock says: “It gives us relationships which are useful, valid and technically marvellous; however, they are not the truth.”

Nobel physicist Percy Bridgeman: “The scientific method, as far as it is a method, is nothing more than doing one’s damnedest with one’s mind, no holds barred.”


Bill Griffith March 26, 2011 9:33 am (Pacific time)

Anna I get it. Some people fail to see the humor in subjective analysis. We all have opinions and sometimes there is no right or wrong answer, especially when it comes to subjective evaluations. To attach a political ideology and at the same time say who historically is the most outstanding scientist is a fool's errand, but it's opinion based, therefore cannot be objectively measured. Afterall who can make an objective listing of criteria in which to judge who is the best. I prefer to see who caused the significant scientific paradigm shifts during their specific time of living. A book by Thomas Kuhn, Scientific Revolutions (Note: Actually reading his works is a lot different than some wikipedia brief), is a wonderful read in this paradigm shift orientation, but still is just based on opinions. As far as a scientist being left or right, well, that's a pretty easy call. If they incorporate the scientific method, then they are conservatives, and that's an objective call. Prima facie. By the way, the most significant invention: the wheel, then the ball bearing, in my opinion. The inventor? Stay tuned...

Interesting conclusion considering that scientists themselves cannot agree on what the scientific method is and some declare outright  that there is no scientific method. Einstein certainly didn't follow any alleged scientific method. 

Anna Bosley March 25, 2011 7:04 pm (Pacific time)

Ummmm..."The greatest "leftist" in science of all time was Albert Einstein. Look it up."
Einstein is certainly on the top of the list, which is rather subjective, just like that panel who gives out the Nobel Peace Prize. Look up it's recipients. My vote goes to the inventor of the Thermos Bottle. It keeps things hot in the winter, and cold in the summer. How do it know?

"How do it know?" High school English: Fail

Thermos bottle? Junior high school science: Fail

The bottle is insulated with a vacuum chamber so that heat is not transferred. So no matter what the contents are: Cold drink--heat does not get transferred from the outside; Hot drink--heat from that drink is not dissipated to the outside. 

Anna Bosley March 25, 2011 3:07 pm (Pacific time)

I find it entertaining to see how the left and the right approach the empirical. It says a lot about the misapplication of reality by the left, and why their analsis of most anything is incorrect. For example the left's idea of the scientific method, whether political, social or physical, is to cling to their fears while hurling invective at anyone who proposes alternatives or even a novel thesis that is reinforced by practical evidence. The fact that liberals are so terrified of science and conservatives that they chronically wet themselves wouldn't be half as annoying if they didn't go around boasting about their deep respect for science, especially compared to conservatives.
Apparently this criticism is based on conservatives' skepticism about global warming -- despite the studies of distinguished research scientists Dr. Alicia Silverstone and Dr. Woody Harrelson. (In my case, it's only because I'm still waiting for liberals' global cooling theory from the '60s/'70s to come true.) The left's idea of "science" is that we should all be riding bicycles and using the Clivus Multrum composting latrines instead of flush toilets. Anyone who dissents, they say -- while adjusting their healing crystals for emphasis -- is "afraid of science."
A review of the record, however, shows that time and again liberals have been willing to corrupt public policy and allow people to die in order to enforce the Luddite views of groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists (original name, "Union of Concerned Activist Lawyers Who Took a Science Course in High School").Some of the other scientific studies and innovations that make liberals cry are: vaccines, IQ studies, breast implants and DDT.

After decades of this nonsense, The New York Times' Paul Krugman has the audacity to brag that liberals believe the "truth should be determined by research, not revelation." Yes -- provided the "research" is conducted by trial lawyers and Hollywood actresses rather than actual scientists

The greatest "leftist" in science of all time was Albert Einstein. Look it up. 

You accuse the "left" of demonizing the "right", but you're doing the same thing in demonizing the "left".  

Morgan March 25, 2011 9:43 am (Pacific time)

Since the founding of America we have had many "ups and downs" in all aspects of our society from economic stresses, wars, political upheavals, natural catastrophes, etc. , but our system of government has provided a guide, a solution methodology, to address those "ups and downs." I expect that this "guide" will continue to allow us to create practical methods in resolving current and future national difficulties. It seems that since our founding we have had our detractors, foreign and domestic, who have predicted our collapse, and they have all no doubt withered away in their frustration of not seeing our demise. I guess for them, hope springs eternal that we fade away, but it is them that has, and always will be, doing the fading. They would best be characterized as the "little people" in my opinion. My definition of "frustration" is when you have no one else to blame but yourself. The "little people" will never know frustration using the above definition. It is frustration that allows one to grow as you pursue a solution to resolving that frustration. It is truely an exceptional population that continues to do what America has done since our founding. As my favorite capitalist commercial asserts: Sorry Charlie!"

The past does not equal the future.  Do you actually have any facts? 

Colli March 25, 2011 5:10 am (Pacific time)

As usual, an excellent well researched article but somewhat single-sighted. The right (as you refer to them) has some concerns that are valid just as the left does. I believe that the U.S. suffers far more from a sickness called greed and the march toward enrolling everyone in that sickness is happily led by those elevated few who populate the Whitehouse and the halls of Congress. Neither Democrat nor Republican politicians truly give a rat's ass about the average U.S. citizen much less our brothers and sisters around the world. The only thing they care about is getting re-elected and continuing their ride on the government gravy-train ans seeking to raise their power and status ever higher. Left or right Dan, corruption and greed rule the universe and our politicians are bould and determined to show the world that the U.S. intends to set the pace in the race to the top of Mt. Averice! I wish it were as simple as chosing one political party over the other - sadly, it just isn't.

Thanks for your comment.

Yes, it is a single-focussed piece and your observations are right on. My purpose is to attempt to  wake up those people (primarily, but not entirely, on the right) who act as puppets to the corporate interests instead of the larger interests of society and of themselves. 

Anonymous March 25, 2011 4:01 am (Pacific time)

By the way, if person was to actually step out of the little prison box of the left/right hoax, and realize that both parties are actually a single entity, its amazing what ya see. Sure, they squabble over small things, but the main agenda? Wars, banks, fiscal policy (fed res bank scam), immigration, world domination, empire building, etc. Never changes, no matter which party is in office. The agenda of the elite continues on. And when the public gets upset with one side, they just switch. Over the last one hundred years, for the most part, every 4 years, they just switch, but the agenda continues on. I have a million examples, but I wont bore ya. So basically, what your article states about the right? I agree, but to make it fully correct, I would say right/left, because they both do, and expect, the same thing. Change. Which they will not get, until they realize we have been taken for fools by the elite.

Anonymous March 25, 2011 3:45 am (Pacific time)

an update on your previous article in regards to NYT.

Amanda March 24, 2011 8:27 pm (Pacific time)

Daniel's articles are not only enlightening, but truly educational. It removes the haze of superficial contentment, and clears the sight for true realism - not to be ignored.

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