"The directors of The Best of Enemies, a documentary about the 1968 debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, could have produced a riveting movie simply by splicing together old debate footage. This movie is about many weighty matters--politics, ideology, history, society and the media--but the delicious spectacle of watching two sexy men in their prime, with rapier wit, speaking in the accents of a gone American elite, slicing each other into fine ribbons, makes the film a guilty indulgence.
These two ghosts from a bygone era still make great television. It worked so well, in fact, that the series of debates, created by ABC to attach to the two 1968 conventions–Republicans in Miami and Democrats in Chicago–became the prototype for every television talking head show for the next half-century.
Sadly, no one has ever done it better. ...
The Buckley-Vidal debates could be the high moment in the history of the televised American political debate. But the spectacle contained within itself the seed of the end too. Extreme civility was about to explode and cool William Buckley, whose fate it was to manifest that explosion, would regret it for the rest of his life."
(Nina Burleigh, 1 February 2015, Newsweek)
"Despite their important implications for interpersonal behaviors and relations, cognitive abilities have been largely ignored as explanations of prejudice. We proposed and tested mediation models in which lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice, an effect mediated through the endorsement of right–wing ideologies (social conservatism, right–wing authoritarianism) and low levels of contact with out–groups. In an analysis of two large–scale, nationally representative United Kingdom data sets (N = 15,874), we found that lower general intelligence (g) in childhood predicts greater racism in adulthood, and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology. A secondary analysis of a U.S. data set confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract–reasoning skills on antihomosexual prejudice, a relation partially mediated by both authoritarianism and low levels of intergroup contact. All analyses controlled for education and socioeconomic status. Our results suggest that cognitive abilities play a critical, albeit underappreciated, role in prejudice. Consequently, we recommend a heightened focus on cognitive ability in research on prejudice and a better integration of cognitive ability into prejudice models."
(Gordon Hodson and Michael A. Busseri, 2012)
Hodson, G. and M. Busseri (2012). "Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right–Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact." Psychological Science 23(2): 187–195.
"Every week Tony Abbott makes another comment that reveals very concerning social views. Commentators blow them off as 'gaffes', but this isn't about gaffes. It's about values. It's about our national character if our Prime Minister labels refugees who seek our help as 'illegal', even as they exercise their legal, human right to flee danger. It's about the message we send to young gay and lesbian Australians, if our Prime Minister talks about their equality as a 'passing fashion,' and what that does to their self–esteem. It's about our values if a Prime Minister talks to 'the housewives of Australia as they're doing their ironing,' says his colleagues are 'not just a pretty face' and have 'sex appeal' and calls on his opponent to 'make an honest woman of herself'. Prime Ministers reflect our national values, and have the power to change them radically. Does what Tony Abbott says matter? Well, in 17 days he wants to be speaking for all of us. That's why GetUp members are launching this ad. Will you be part of it?"
"A 1987 video has been unearthed featuring a 25–year–old squash–playing, accountancy graduate John Key. The bright–eyed Mr Key features in an early Close–Up story called Big Dealers. The 'portrait of 80s job du jour: foreign exchange dealer', shows the now Prime Minister in 'the pit' (trading room) as a senior forex dealer. 'Forex dealing is a work hard, play hard world with an image of rich brats who wreck restaurants but always somewhere else,' says the reporter. 'I am not denying that, that has happened and I guess that will happen again in the future but I personally perform in that way,' Mr Key responded."
(Deanna Harris, 02 Sep 2010, MediaWorks TV)
"The old one–dimensional categories of 'right' and 'left', established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today's complex political landscape. For example, who are the 'conservatives' in today's Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right–wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher?
On the standard left–right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It's not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can't explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as 'right–wingers', yet that leaves left–wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook."
[Despite the usefulness of the ''Political Compass'' questionnaire the results clearly illustrate the problem with attempting to make such direct correlations.]