The values of the British political elite
There is a rather naive article from the LSE here which purports to present scientific evidence about the personal values of British politicians. In its way, it is a careful piece of research and its conclusions are anodyne. Author James Weinberg tells us:
"Focusing on the two main parties in British politics, Labour and Conservative, we can observe significant differences on two higher order values (Self-Transcendence and Conservation) and three lower order values (Conformity, Tradition, Universalism), suggesting that Labour MPs are far more driven by a desire for justice and equality but also less motivated than Conservatives to sustain traditional ways of life."
These conclusions will surprise no-one with any knowledge of politics but they may be false. They are all based on self-reports. The data behind the findings comes from asking politicians how much they value certain things. In psychometric jargon it is a type of Likert scale. But self-reports from Leftists cannot be trusted. As psychopaths do, they say whatever they think suits the moment.
One of the most amusing examples of that was during John Kerry's presidential campaign. He was critical of George Bush invading Iraq. And he justified that by an appeal to the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. Talk about desperation! Appealing to a centuries-old European treaty -- America didn't exist as a nation then -- would have to be one of the most unlikely things ever for a Leftist to do in justifying his policies. But he obviously felt that it might get him some kudos. The treaty said that nations should not interfere in the internal politics of other nations.
America has of course never stuck by the Treaty of Westphalia. Theodore Roosevelt's invasion of Cuba in 1898 set the ball rolling on a whole series of conquests of the old Spanish empire by American Progressives: The Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico. And in more recent times one thinks of Reagan's invasion of Grenada and Bill Clinton's bombing of Serbia -- etc.
But to me the most stark Leftist "flexibility" arose during my extensive survey research into authoritarianism. Given their love of telling other people what to do, Leftists would have to be the quintessential authoritarians, starting from Napoleon with his police State and foreign wars. And nothing could be more authoritarian than the various Communist regimes that besmirched the 20th century. So when I asked Leftists in my surveys what they thought about various instances of authoritarianism, I was surprised to find great caution in the answers. According to what they said of themselves, they were usually no more authoritarian than anyone else.
And perhaps most revealing of all, I made great efforts to get Communists to answer my questionnaires. On a couple of occasions, their leadership authorized it but the comrades just would not do the task. They knew how dismal their motivations were and did not want to reveal it.
So, in summary Leftists lie systematically and their responses to surveys tell you nothing real. James Weinberg's hard work was for naught. You can guess the real motives of Leftists only from what they actually do. And their policies uniformly have "unexpected" destructive effects. Obamacare has destroyed or degraded health insurance for many Americans, for instance. And the uniform destructiveness of Leftist policy outcomes can surely only be intended. They want to destroy anything they can in the world around them.
More on Leftist dissimulation here -- JR