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  • Political Personality Difference

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on September 7th, 2018 (All posts by )

    I listened to Grant Hill being interviewed about being chosen for the basketball Hall of Fame this year. I always admired and liked him – the honor is much deserved. The interviewer turned to discussing what Hill is doing now, and what he might do in the future. He mentioned he might like to go into politics, and I groaned inwardly. I knew where the interview was going next. Most of that was all very standard and uninteresting. I tried to notice his skill, and charm, and willingness to at least try to understand different points of view rather than focus on…well, I already hinted that I’m not going to say. Hill talked with a concerned tone about people who had hard times in their lives, and were worried about jobs and their future, and how they were easily misled in such circumstances. He said it without anger.  I have heard such things before, of conservatives being fearful of change, of clinging to their guns and religion – oops, sorry, that just slipped out – and so forth. It’s condescending without necessarily being sneering, or angry, or in-your-face accusing. It is clear that the speaker thinks of himself as trying to be understanding, empathetic, trying to see the other fellow’s point of view.

    I thought conservatives don’t talk like this. I couldn’t think of an equivalent flowing in the other direction. A conservative might sound like this when talking about their child or some person they were fond of but disappointed in. Well, she went away to college, and she wanted to fit in, and she’s always been a compassionate person so she got involved in some causes… But more usually, a conservative will be more clearly angry and condemning about people’s reasons for being a liberal or voting Democrat, whether it is because they are single women, or government employees, or black/hispanic/native – or work in a field surrounded by mostly leftists.  There isn’t a regretful sigh that it’s unfortunate but understandable. I did just think of another exception.  Conservatives will sometimes talk like that about Hispanics having been frightened by the Democrats, convinced that Trump is going to send them all back to Mexico without warning or right of appeal. The anger is not directed at the voter so much as the political operatives and journalists.

    It’s an open question which is worse. While anger can be necessary, anger can also be unnecessarily offensive, and in an angry time, people should at least be cautious. Being openly antagonistic isn’t going to win votes, though it may win applause from your friends. On the other hand, I think concern-trolling provides an inoculation against seeing oneself. In my imagination, you could tell an angry person “you are being unkind here” and you might get heard. Yet I don’t think the Grant Hill’s of the world will hear it if you tell them they are being unkind. At least, they don’t seem to have yet. (And not to pick on Hill especially.) They believe they are being kind.  Didn’t you hear them?

    I used to say “Conservatives make pronouncements. Liberals sneer.”  I would like to back down from that a bit, but I do think it remains largely true. First, sneer is too strong a word.  Condescend would be better, because it is along a continuum, and sometimes it is quite mild.  My father-in-law, a kind and gracious Roosevelt Democrat, would sometimes echo the condescension he got from reading the Boston Globe and the materials the Democrats would forever be mailing to him.  Yet he never came close to sneering.  (The liberals on my side of the family are another matter – though with exceptions.) Secondly, I think this is blurring over the last thirty years. Liberals become the status quo in the culture and start making pronouncements, conservatives take on sneering more and more.

    I relate this to another observation I have made about liberal and conservative protest and violence.  Conservatives are defensive. When getting extreme they “hole up with their guns and dare Obama and the gun-grabbers to come after them.” Liberal extremists are more attacking, burning cars, pushing over statues, breaking windows, occupying somebody else’s space (as far back as the college dean’s office in the 60’s), defacing property. They are – or were – less likely to talk about doing damage to human beings. They confined themselves to objects, or to shouting in people’s faces.  I fear that both self-limitations are breaking down. Those inclined to violence on the right are increasingly going out into public, those on the left inclined to violence are increasingly attacking humans.

    The gross oversimplification is conservatives saying “This is how things are, and how they will stay,” while liberals say “No, we’re taking that down.” It is not only a difference in tactics, it is a difference in personality. Though it may be blurring, as I noted. I don’t have the feel for such things that I used to.

    There has been some research on whether one’s personality drives politics, but as sweet as that siren song is, I have been suspicious from the start. Liberals are supposedly more open to new experiences, which fits the “conservatives fearful of change” stereotype. Yet when you look at what they measure, it’s mostly surveys that are begging the questions.  Joining the military is a much more different experience than checking out the new Thai-Cuban fusion restaurant downtown.  Becoming a missionary in a poor country is to experience more diversity than going to Reed or Oberlin. Thus, while I am offering some personality differences that I think hold for liberals and conservatives, I am also aware it could all be malarkey.

    Cross-posted at Assistant Village Idiot.

     

    32 Responses to “Political Personality Difference”

    1. Brian Says:

      Liberals think conservatives are stupid sheep. They think that conservatives think whatever Rush Limbaugh and Fox News tell them to think. It is quite insulting. That’s why liberals want to shut down talk radio and conservative media, and why they want to suppress conservative/rightist access to the internet now. They think that if they cut off these voices, then the sheep won’t know what to do. They have no concept that Rush, Fox, etc., are popular BECAUSE they say what people want to hear. If Rush had been a big Jeb! backer, he’d be off the air at this point because his ratings would be completely gone. If they shut down Fox, people will have no choice but to listen to the MSM, and we’ll go back to thinking correct and good things. They get cause and effect completely reversed.

      Recall that Obama & team said over and over that their primary failure was in not finding the proper messaging for their policies. Liberals don’t think it is possible to honestly disagree with their policy prescriptions. If you do, you’re either stupid or evil. They don’t believe that everyone is evil, so they concede that most of us are just stupid. Isn’t that generous of them?

    2. Grurray Says:

      Leftists don’t believe in God, but they have unlimited faith in advertising. Gotta serve somebody, as Bob Dylan once sang.

    3. David Foster Says:

      “Liberals think conservatives are stupid sheep. They think that conservatives think whatever Rush Limbaugh and Fox News tell them to think. It is quite insulting. That’s why liberals want to shut down talk radio and conservative media, and why they want to suppress conservative/rightist access to the internet now.”

      Also, they tend to have a very cookie-cutter view of what conservatives believe….for example, I’ve seen our friend Bookworm (who is Jewish) slammed for what they assume are her Evangelical Christian views.

    4. David Foster Says:

      “There has been some research on whether one’s personality drives politics, but as sweet as that siren song is, I have been suspicious from the start”….I have been and am highly suspicious: the terms Liberal and Conservative are not Platonic Forms with invariant meaning over time. A ‘Liberal” Democratic Party voter in 2018 will almost certainly hold very different views from his equivalent in 1988, not to mention 1968.

      Also, there are many stories of political change: did David Horowitz and Bookworm and other changers have their personalities totally swapped out prior to their political viewpoint changes?

    5. Grurray Says:

      The Left and Right dichotomy originated from the factions in the French Revolution, and it doesn’t do a very good job of describing America’s more complicated political climate. A better explanation is Walter Russell Mead’s four archetypes which also roughly correspond to the four tribes outlined in Albion’s Seed.

    6. PenGun Says:

      Conservatives: “The devil take the hindmost.”

      Liberals: “We ain’t leaving no one behind.”

      It may be to some extent the natural variety among humans. Some are into community and tribal solidarity, some hate all the fuss and move away to be more by themselves.

      WE NEED BOTH!

    7. Mike K Says:

      The Left and Right dichotomy originated from the factions in the French Revolution, and it doesn’t do a very good job of describing America’s more complicated political climate.

      I disagree. We are seeing the two parties, especially the left, trending into the “Mountain” and the “Plain.”

      The Mountain was a radical group in the Estates General, who were mostly members of the Cordeliers club including Robespierre and Danton.

      The Plain was mostly the the conservatives and Bourgeoise and included The Girondins from Bordeaux and the Department of the Gironde.

      Unfortunately, the Girondins got Guillotined and I suspect the far left Democrats would be in favor of the same fate for Republicans.

      We are still living with the consequences of the French Revolution, as Zhou en Lai pointed out in 1972.

      One manifestation is the “Blank Slate” ideology that is behaviorism.

    8. Gringo Says:

      Liberals are supposedly more open to new experiences, which fits the “conservatives fearful of change” stereotype.

      My working in Latin America helped change me from progressive of the left into an “evil” right winger, as I increasingly saw that what I observed on the ground in Latin America did not fit the progressive catechism on Latin America that I learned at university. Neither “gorilas” (military ) nor guerrillas, I concluded.

      There does tend to be a temperamental difference between liberals and conservatives regarding change. Liberals tend to believe that all change is good- at least all change that liberals dictate is good. Conservatives, on the other hand, are quite aware that change can also mean things turning for the worse. I grew up among Iron Curtain refugees who had quite definitely experienced change for the worse, when the Reds took over.

    9. Mike K Says:

      Liberals tend to believe that all change is good

      It’s amusing to see their reaction to change they did not create.

      Hysteria.

    10. David Foster Says:

      “Liberals tend to believe that all change is good”

      I don’t really think that is correct. For example, they almost universally reject the idea that education might be accomplished better in some way other than with the current public school system.

    11. Jimbo Says:

      Many years ago I read a novel* that explored the roots behind the modern split between two different ways of seeing the world. Often referred to as a contrast between science/religion or emotion/reason or even head vs heart.

      I sense an echo of this dichotomy in our current culture clash, often referred to as the liberal/conservative split.

      On the one hand we have the ‘liberal’ mindset – concerned with surface appearances, feelings, esthetics and a general preoccupation with “appearance.” Hence the preponderance of entertainers/celebrities and others focused on how other people view them. Whether things actually work is quite secondary.

      On the other hand, there are those primarily concerned with making things work, dealing with the underlying functionality of life and much less concerned about appearances. Engineers, builders, soldiers, and ordinary people trying to raise responsible families in an often hostile world.

      In that sense, I think that much of the ideology behind both sides is more of an after-the-fact rationalization of our innate leanings toward the esthetic/appearance or the functional/practical side. And all of us have some mixture of the two.

      *the book is Robert Persig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” – a new-agey title for what I found a rather thought-provoking tome.

    12. Gringo Says:

      David Foster quotes Gringo and replies:

      “Liberals tend to believe that all change is good”

      I don’t really think that is correct. For example, they almost universally reject the idea that education might be accomplished better in some way other than with the current public school system.

      But you cut off the second part of my sentence:

      Liberals tend to believe that all change is good- at least all change that liberals dictate is good.

    13. Mike K Says:

      “Whether things actually work is quite secondary.”

      I think we are seeing this in multiple sites. Purdue has a new school of Engineering Education.

      Purdue established the School of Engineering Education (ENE)—the world’s first such academic unit—in 2004, and along with it, the world’s first engineering education doctoral program, for students who wish to pursue rigorous research in how engineering is best taught, learned, and practiced.

      That means no math is required.

      A new study on male and female intelligence, was just cancelled.

      “Our concern,” they explained, “is that [this] paper appears to promote pseudoscientific ideas that are detrimental to the advancement of women in science, and at odds with the values of the NSF.” Unaware of this at the time, and eager to err on the side of compromise, Sergei and I agreed to remove the acknowledgement as requested. At least, we thought, the paper was still on track to be published.

      But, that same day, the Mathematical Intelligencer’s editor-in-chief Marjorie Senechal notified us that, with “deep regret,” she was rescinding her previous acceptance of our paper. “Several colleagues,” she wrote, had warned her that publication would provoke “extremely strong reactions” and there existed a “very real possibility that the right-wing media may pick this up and hype it internationally.”

      There you go. “Right wing media.”

      It’s not that much fun to be old but there are compensations, such as knowing I will not have to deal with this much longer.

    14. David Foster Says:

      Gringo….”But you cut off the second part of my sentence:

      Liberals tend to believe that all change is good- at least all change that liberals dictate is good.”

      But isn’t this true of everyone–any change they are in favor of must by definition be good?

      If we are trying to distinguish between Liberals and Conservatives, then what I’m questioning is whether Liberals, as the term is known today, really tend to be more accepting of change in general.

    15. Brian Says:

      The left can be defined as a philosophy that believes that human individual potential has always been hindered by institutions larger than the self. All of them. So their mission for the last 2+ centuries has been to use the state to destroy all other societal institutions, starting of course with the Church and working all the way down to the family. Then, when nothing outside the self exists, nothing will constrain us from achieving our ultimate potential, the state will then (and only then) be unnecessary and will wither away, and we will have achieved paradise here on earth.

      So, until very recently, any “change” from standard societal organization towards their goal was good, because it was in their desired direction. Now that they have amassed so much power, there is plenty of change that will be in the wrong direction, which they will of course fight. They have no more openness to “change” than they do to “free speech”, the promotion of which was until a decade or two ago one of their main foundational claims, but now they feel strong enough to openly work to suppress even in the West when it comes from their opponents.

    16. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      Grurray, you always have my attention when you reference Albion’s Seed. While there are some bits I would now criticise, it provided the framework for a completely new understanding of American history, and British as well. A magnificent book. (I will mention that I get itchy whenever someone divides personalities into four types, however. The third-to-last paragraph of something I wrote ten years ago expands on this slightly. https://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2010/01/lord-is-it-i.html)

      The discussion starting up between Gringo and David Foster is fascinating, yet shows the limitations of comment thread discussions, in that no one has a chance to fully develop an idea. My own contribution is that the liberal embrace of change has itself changed over my lifetime, perhaps because they have fully infiltrated so many areas where they are now the status quo. 1960 liberals of the Kennedy-Humphrey type were gradually replaced by two 1968 types, which have coexisted for the sake of taking power. They now have enough power that the Dukakis-Clinton-Gore type are being challenged by the new Weather Underground. Obama has elements of both. As we can see in the Quillette article Mike K referenced, the upper reaches of education are changing to the latter, more oppressive style. We can expect that to press down into secondary and elementary schools increasingly.

      I may have a go at a longer treatment of this, but if someone beats me to it I won’t mind. There’s something valuable in there.

    17. David Foster Says:

      One thing I observe about may of the Progs: a challenge to their beliefs really seems to feel to them like a threat to their very existence, to actually be life-threatening. In this way they are similar to those fundamentalist Muslims who feel they are under attack if someone in a country 5000 miles away commits ‘blasphemy.’ Perhaps many medieval Christians would have had a similar reaction to having their religion challenged.

    18. David Foster Says:

      Ran across a very relevant old article from Roger Simon, in which he suggests that John Kerry is the Ultimate Conservative:

      ..the Ultimate Conservative – not in politics, mind you, but in temperament. He is the man of the status quo par excellence. Nothing changes or should change in the World According to Kerry. All this talk of nuance is simply a mask for stasis. These “subtleties” of thought are almost never original, merely idea rotation for its own sake, going nowhere and deliberately so. The real(motivating) idea is not to move. No wonder he is so appealing to the solons of the Mainstream Media who benefit so greatly by this status quo..

      https://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2004/10/10/the-ultimate-conservative

      I’d go further: Kerry and those like him are not just extreme conservatives…they are Tories. These are people who want everything in its place and, more importantly, everyone in their place. They are uncomfortable with the idea of people gaining wealth they didn’t inherit, marry, or obtain through political connections. They are uncomfortable with the idea of uncredentialled people challenging the expertise of tenured professors or of major media figures. They are flat-out appalled with the idea of people starting schools outside of the established bureaucracies.

      To people who think like this, the aura of aristocratic arrogance that clings to someone like a Kerry is probably a positive rather than a negative.

    19. raymondshaw Says:

      Conservatives: “The devil take the hindmost.”

      Liberals: “We ain’t leaving no one behind.”

      Apparently Penny never heard of Margaret Sanger.

    20. Kirk Says:

      The fundamental difference between the capital-letter Left and the rest of us is this: The Left believes in their ideas in the same way and to the same degree that the most vociferous Christian or Mohammedan believes in their faith, and will brook no discussion of their ideas or any contradiction. You can argue an issue with a person of conservative bent, present your facts to them, and you may get them to change their minds on an issue.

      Instapundit has a link to a near-perfect example of this, today:

      https://quillette.com/2018/09/07/academic-activists-send-a-published-paper-down-the-memory-hole/

      Read that post, and examine it, considering what I’m saying here: The “professors” who blacklisted this author and silenced him are true believers; they cannot allow dissent, or even any evidence to be presented that might tend to refute their worldview or even threaten it. They’re just as unquestioningly faithful in their worldview as the most religious are, and with similar lack of real thought put into it.

      The Left is fundamentally a religion; the positions espoused by most of its adherents are neither provable nor workable–Instead, they are matters of faith. Which is why any Left-oriented regime becomes so deadly: They are actually conducting a religious war against reality. Socialist economics don’t work with real people? Why, then, we must kill the wreckers and hoarders, destroying them much as the Catholics went after the Cathars.

      Leftism is a secular religion. And, the reason so many of the rest of us become enraged when dealing with its adherents has to do with the essential unreality of their views, which they cannot and will not examine or discuss. The Left and its elites have turned our nation (and, sadly, most of the rest of the world…) into a vast open-air experiment with failure and insanity. All the while denying the reality of the effects their policies actually have. Compassion for the homeless? Oh, how can we ever argue against that…?

      Meanwhile, many of our larger cities are turning into open sewers under the onslaught of these creatures, created by the policies and mentalities of those on the Left. First, we had to put all of the insane into institutions, and sterilize them to “cleanse the species”. After that produced horrors, the same bunch of do-gooders insisted on shutting the institutions down, and putting the crazies back on the streets for the rest of us to deal with, and made it virtually impossible to institutionalize those who were truly dangerous. Final outcome of all this “belief” in their ideology? See San Francisco and Seattle; never will you hear an admission that what they are doing isn’t working, or that perhaps, just perhaps, some of their BS didn’t work out. Instead, they keep taking more and more of our money, and using it to degrade the very cities we live in.

      The wonder isn’t that the rest of us are enraged, dealing with these people, but that we haven’t started killing them out of hand, in self-defense. I fear that day is coming, however.

    21. David Foster Says:

      This discussion reminds me of something written by Arthur Koestler, himself a former Communist:

      A closed sysem has three peculiarities. Firstly, it claims to represent a truth of universal validity, capable of explaining all phenomena, and to have a cure for all that ails man. In the second place, it is a system which cannot be refuted by evidence, because all potentially damaging data are automatically processed and reinterpreted to make them fit the expected pattern. The processing is done by sophisticated methods of causistry, centered on axioms of great emotive power, and indifferent to the rules of common logic; it is a kind of Wonderland croquet, played with mobile hoops. In the third place, it is a system which invalidates criticism by shifting the argument to the subjective motivation of the critic, and deducing his motivation from the axioms of the system itself. The orthodox Freudian school in its early stages approximated a closed system; if you argued that for such and such reasons you doubted the existence of the so-called castration complex, the Freudian’s prompt answer was that your argument betrayed an unconscious resistance indicating that you ourself have a castration complex; you were caught in a vicious circle. Similarly, if you argued with a Stalinist that to make a pact with Hitler was not a nice thing to do he would explain that your bourgeois class-consciousness made you unable to understand the dialectics of history…In short, the closed system excludes the possibility of objective argument by two related proceedings: (a) facts are deprived of their value as evidence by scholastic processing; (b) objections are invalidated by shifting the argument to the personal motive behind the objection. This procedure is legitimate according to the closed system’s rules of the game which, however absurd they seem to the outsider, have a great coherence and inner consistency.

      The atmosphere inside the closed system is highly charged; it is an emoional hothouse…The trained, “closed-minded” theologian, psychoanalyst, or Marxist can at any time make mincemeat of his “open-minded” adversary and thus prove the superiority of his system to the world and to himself.

      Today’s Progs show much of the pattern that Koestler described, yet, to my mind. their worldview does not really approximate a faux-coherent theoretical system in way that Marxism or Freudianism did. See post and discussion here: What are the Fundamental Axioms of ‘Progressivism’?

    22. Anonymous Says:

      This is a very interesting discussion. To come at it from a different angle, we might observe that the Allies won World War II — but Fascism has won the peace (where Fascism is understood to mean a system where private ownership is permitted, but under stringent political control). In the West, free markets & private ownership have increasingly been subjected to political regulation; in the countries of the Former Soviet Union and China, the political class has come to see the material benefits of allowing some elements of free markets and private ownership, but under strict political control.

      Why has Fascism won in the West? The answer may lie in the “Tyranny of the Minority”. The democratic system has failed, and small numbers of activists are able to set the agenda. The disproportionate attention focused on “transgendered” and homosexuals is a clear example — although far from the most damaging.

      Most likely forecast is that the pretense of democracy will gradually slip away in the West, and we will return to a system of hereditary rulers. It is not just the Clintons and the Bushes — look at what is happening in US Senate & Congressional seats. And history tells us that a system of hereditary rulers will inevitably lead to collapse in one form or another.

      A more hopeful alternative would be an extension of the “Starship Troopers” scenario, where universal suffrage is eliminated and the right to vote has to be earned individually. But that kind of positive outcome cannot come peacefully, since it breaks the iron (or more accurately, solid gold) rice bowls of today’s Political Class. If memory serves me, the process in Heinlein’s book started with Aberdonians hanging elected politicians. Come on, good people of Aberdeen: What are you waiting for?

    23. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      My apologies. I am the Anonymous person above. But I vehemently deny ever writing anything for the New York Times.

    24. Grurray Says:

      I’m currently reading The Virtue of Nationalism by Yoram Hazony. It’s very good. All the Chicago boyz and girlz should check it out. Hazony has a slightly different take on this matter. He believes the western world is now split up between Nationalists organizing themselves according to some shared affinities within fixed borders; and Internationalists who are organized based on a universalist belief that a liberal political order is the natural destination of humanity with the only question being how to impose it on the world.

      He also thinks these two camps are reincarnations of 16th – 17th century Reformation Protestants vs medieval imperial Catholics. In that way, it somewhat reminds me of Claudio Veliz seeing modern divisions in terms of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

    25. Kirk Says:

      @Grurray,

      The way I’ve always seen it is as a continuing division between those that made up the controller class of yore, the aristocracy, and those who opposed it. It’s a continuing theme in the history of the UK, which led directly into the early history of the US, where most of the defeated opposition to the controllers fled to, and eventually managed to build enough of a power base to defeat the controllers and drive them out temporarily.

      Unfortunately, that was only temporary, and the control freaks managed to worm their way into power here in the US, as well. Dealing with them is going to be interesting, because where we once had the frontier to serve as an escape valve, now there is nowhere to go for those who oppose the controllers. This is either going to lead to a civil war, or we’re going to have to develop a means of living together.

      The root problem for most of this is that the people who imagine themselves in control and who think they have power…? They’re actually more than a little delusional, in that while they’ve been listened to and granted a limited amount of actual power, that power and influence has been predicated upon a belief that they were worthy of it.

      Unfortunately, they’ve proven to be mostly incompetent and ineffective, so the majority is now beginning to route around them–The current deal with Trump is their pique at this happening to them, when they so obviously deserve to be in power and running things. Where that ends, I don’t know, but the fact is that we have the worst set of “elites” running things in this country that we’ve ever had. They’re morally corrupt, and entirely unable to recognize when they’ve made a mistake, or correct for that. Because of this, they are losing power, and will eventually be simply ignored, along with most of their institutions. The “Big Media” types are going to be hardest hit, and I don’t give the New Media much time, either–The loss of trust in things is going to foster a much swifter dwell time between gaining control and discrediting themselves than they’re counting on. FaceBook and Google are going to expend their credit line of public trust much more quickly than the old media did, and it may happen within the decade. What comes after? Wouldn’t dare guess, but the credibility gap between what is told and what is believed is getting wider by the day, even for those who don’t pay attention.

    26. David Foster Says:

      Jimbo…”On the one hand we have the ‘liberal’ mindset – concerned with surface appearances, feelings, esthetics and a general preoccupation with “appearance.” Hence the preponderance of entertainers/celebrities and others focused on how other people view them. Whether things actually work is quite secondary.

      On the other hand, there are those primarily concerned with making things work, dealing with the underlying functionality of life and much less concerned about appearances. Engineers, builders, soldiers, and ordinary people trying to raise responsible families in an often hostile world.”

      I think there is much truth to this…I have used the term “the word people” in describing the first category, and Michael Barone has spoken of Hard America vs Soft America…but there seems to be something missing from these formulations…

      There are few things where ‘work’ and ‘doesn’t work’ are more absolute than computer code; yet a considerable % of the professional programmers are now on the Left. And also, running a company is very much Hard America, it may involve appearances but also requires making things work. Yet people who *have* been programmers and are *now* company founders are often found on the Left.

    27. Mike K Says:

      the fact is that we have the worst set of “elites” running things in this country that we’ve ever had. They’re morally corrupt, and entirely unable to recognize when they’ve made a mistake, or correct for that. Because of this, they are losing power, and will eventually be simply ignored, along with most of their institutions.

      A micro example of this is in the currently notorious “EHR” or “Electronic Health Record.”

      First, it used to be called Electronic Medical Record when many of us were enthusiastic about it. “Medical,” however, implies professional and there is nothing professional about the EHR. It’s like calling doctors “Providers.”

      I used to be a member of this society and read this journal.
      I went to annual meetings and thought we were going to solve a lot of problems with electronic records and decision making.

      The Obama administration, in contrast, decided to use the EHR to monitor and control doctors and used Medicare payment penalties to force adoption of a very flawed system that focuses on data collection for who knows what purpose?

      As a result, the demands of data entry when no clinical benefit is seen is threatening physician cooperation.

      January 16, 2018 – In response to a new study about high levels of physician burnout among family physicians, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center family physician Donald O. Mack, MD, suggested the recent transition to a value-based care system and increased EHR use may have augmented the problem.

      “Burnout is associated with lower patient satisfaction and care quality, higher medical error rates and malpractice risk, higher physician and staff turnover, physician substance abuse/addiction, and physician suicide,” he wrote.

      “The causes are numerous, and in many cases physicians point to the increasing demands of electronic medical records, quality metrics, administrative tasks such as prior authorization, and value-based payment requirements, which take time away from direct clinical care,” Mack continued.

      In the days when I was an enthusiast, I visualized the EHR adding decision support in ICU cases. A default list of orders, based on patient data in the system, like weight, renal function, allergies, other medications, and the like could simplify care of sick patients.

      Instead what we have is doctors typing and not looking at patients who notice they are being ignored.

      The “Electronic Health Record (EHR)” has little to do with health. It’s a billing and compliance platform designed to serve the walled gardens of health systems, not to provide amazing seamless care, open portable records, and usability for both medical professionals and patients. So every doctor you visit is going to ask you the exact same questions: what medications do you take, what chronic medical conditions do you have, what are your allergies, have you had a mammogram?

      So who suffers?
      You do (of course), but so does that clickity-clacking doctor. Handwritten notes are mostly a thing of the past, and our new physicians have only been trained using electronic medical records. While we’ve eliminated some errors, we’ve introduced new ones. And in the process, we’ve inadvertently sucked the art and joy and humanity out of the equation. Doctors can’t even look their patients in the eye in their most vulnerable moments.

      You may wonder why we all use electronic medical records if they suck so much? Well, we pretty much have to (according to the government’s “Meaningful Use” campaign). When the rest of the world gets an iPhone (from a usability standpoint), we’re given a 1990’s car phone and told, “Make it work, you Luddite.”

      When I was still teaching, the other instructors who were still in practice told me they lost 25% of their time typing. A friend, who soon retired, told me he spent two hours entering data after he had seen his last patient of the day (one of whom was me).

    28. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      @ Mike K – If you haven’t seen this…https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/09/09/645629133/infectious-theory-of-alzheimers-disease-draws-fresh-interest?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    29. James the lesser Says:

      David wrote “There are few things where ‘work’ and ‘doesn’t work’ are more absolute than computer code; yet a considerable % of the professional programmers are now on the Left.”

      I see this also. Most are social leftists, and largely political leftists as well with a strong admixture of libertarian.

      I suspect part of the reason has been mentioned here before: GellMann amnesia effect. AVI’s “arts and humanities tribe” has succeeded in establishing itself in the position of authority the way the newspapers did in the GellMann anecdote. Even when someone catches the tribe saying something foolish, they immediately forget and accept the next social pronouncement without hesitation.

    30. David Foster Says:

      James the Lesser….my perception, based on anecdotal evidence only, is that many of those who considered themselves Libertarian…and still use the term in some cases…are actually pretty much aligned with the Left on most issues today.

      Also, I wonder if the more hardware-y tech fields are less prone to Leftism….mechanical engineers less Left than programmers, I bet…electrical engineers, not so sure.

    31. James the lesser Says:

      The libertarian I know best is pretty solidly pro-abortion, and believes that unlimited immigration will inevitably bring economic growth–and that a small government is best. I suspect the calculation is that 2 out of three isn’t bad.

      I try to steer conversations away from who voted for who, on the grounds that employers have no right to that information.

    32. Mike K Says:

      AVI, I saw that and think it is very interesting. The concept of infectious cause of Alzheimers is nothing new. Toxoplasmosis has been suspected as a cause of psychosis for years.

      Anti-NMDA receptor (NMDAR) autoantibodies have been postulated to play a role in the pathogenesis of NMDAR hypofunction, which contributes to the etiology of psychotic symptoms. Toxoplasma gondii is a pathogen implicated in psychiatric disorders and associated with elevation of NMDAR autoantibodies. However, it remains unclear whether parasite infection is the cause of NMDAR autoantibodies.

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