Aug 092012

John Dean referenced Bob Altemeyer’s work extensively in his 2006 book, “Conservatives without Conscience.”

A 27-page condensed and abstracted version is available on this site at: 

To read the complete 254-page original, your link is

Also, I have found an audio CD, read by the author at:

Altemeyer explains: “This book is about what’s happened to the American government lately. It’s about the disastrous decisions that government has made. It’s about the corruption that rotted the Congress. It’s about how traditional conservatism has nearly been destroyed by authoritarianism. It’s about how the “Religious Right” teamed up with amoral authoritarian leaders to push its un-democratic agenda onto the country. It’s about the United States standing at the crossroads as the next federal election approaches.”

“The feedback I’ve gotten from those who have read The Authoritarians enables me to give you the major reason why you might want to do so too.   “It ties things together for me,” people have said, “You can see how so many things all fit together.” “It explains the things about conservatives that didn’t make any sense to me,” others have commented. And the one that always brings a smile to my face, “Now at last I understand my brother-in-law” (or grandmother, uncle, woman in my car pool, Congressman, etc.)”

Ever since John W. Dean published his Conservatives Without Conscience in 2006, much interest has been vested in the research of Dr. Bob Altemeyer that was so prominently featured in the book. In CWC, Dean set out to learn why modern conservatives seemed to think and behave in ways diametrically opposite the righteous and moral values they so publicly espoused. What he discovered was an existing body of scientific research tracing back to the cinders of the Holocaust. This research focused on the Authoritarian Personality, which social scientists believe was the enabling element within German society that was so deftly exploited by Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich.  Bob Altemeyer’s research on the Authoritarian Personality, summarized in this book, won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Prize for Behavioral Science Research.

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Jul 282012
The following list of 20 characteristics was developed by psychologist Robert Hare and have been noted as defining criteria to identify a “certain 1% of the U.S. population.”One can use this list as a quick and informal identification guide if desired. Ideally, however, it will be more accurate if the individual and his/her acquaintances are interviewed. In this case, each item would be graded as:

0 – Does not apply
1 – Partial match or mixed information
2 – Reasonably good match

Interpersonal relationships

  • Glibness / superficial charm
  • Grandiose sense of self-worth
  • Pathological lying
  • Cunning/manipulative

Observable behavior

  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Emotionally shallow
  • Callous/lack of empathy
  • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions


  • Need for stimulation / proneness to boredom
  • Parasitic lifestyle
  • Lack of realistic, long-term goals
  • Impulsiveness
  • Irresponsibility

Antisocial Behavior

  • Poor behavioral controls
  • Early behavioral problems
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Revocation of conditional release
  • Criminal versatility

Other items

  • Many short-term marital relationships
  • Promiscuous sexual behavior

Do you personally know someone in the 1% of the population who might score 25-30 out of a maximum of 40? If so, they might fit the “gold standard” PCL-R assessment for psychopathy. (They may be a “psychopath” – lacking empathy, prone to being self-serving and insensitive to the needs of others.) In other words, these are typically amoral people who lack, or are indifferent to, a concern for others.

The term “sociopath” is sometimes used interchangeably. The choice of term often depends on whether one thinks the cause is due to psychological/genetic/environmental factors or due to social factors.


_This assessment can only be considered valid if administered by a suitably qualified and experienced clinician under controlled conditions._


Now that I have taken you here and teased you with a “1%” label, can you think of any other small cluster or class of individuals who seem to lack empathy and are prone to being self-serving and insensitive to the needs of others? These people don’t need to be overtly criminal. In fact, they may be very good at staying just on the safe side of the law. They may be very skilled at finding and using loopholes. They are capable of doing everything they can to get away with serving themselves and increasing their wealth and power. But, in the last analysis, they often don’t seem to care who they hurt in the process.


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) does not list or define “psychopathy.” However, it does diagnose “Antisocial Personality Disorder” (ASPD) – based entirely on behavioral observations. ASPD is defined as a ‘…a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.’ A diagnosis of ASPD requires only three out of the following seven specific factors to be present:

  • failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  • deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  • impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  • irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  • reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  • consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  • lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;
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Jul 252012

I got a lot of interesting reactions today, sitting with a “Christie Vilsack for Congress” sign while about ten thousand bicycle-across-Iowa folks peddled past my front yard in a small, rural town.

RAGBRAI stands for “[Des Moines] Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.” This is not a competition. It’s just thousands of people out for up to seven days in our insane summer heat, enjoying the camaraderie of “the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world.” Christie Vilsack is Iowa’s former First Lady and a Democrat running for the U.S. Congress in Iowa’s  4th District. She is opposing Republican incumbent Steve King, an “outspoken conservative who is a nationwide favorite of tea party activists.” My little town of Dayton, Iowa (population 837) is half-way through today’s 84-mile segment.

Today was a microcosm of the liberal ideals of community, fellowship, and social involvement. My 1880’s “workman’s Victorian” house was right on the route, just after the downtown events that included food concessions, a live band, and a dunking tank. As the bicyclists accelerated down a 1-block incline and past me, in my wheelchair by the curb with a political sign, I still had plenty of interactions.

Also, because my house fronts Main Street with a shade-tree-packed double lot, dozens of riders at a time stopped to take a break before heading down the long and hot road to Lehigh. My wife, Dianna, sent out a mostly-full pan of yesterday’s brownies. Everybody was so incredulous and thankful that she went back inside, cranked up her oven and made an additional five dozen large Snicker doodle cookies from scratch.

On the street, most riders smiled and waved or added a “good morning.” I figure I got a fair ration of exercise just sitting and waving back. Until the worst of the afternoon sun started taking its toll, most of these folks were having fun and were in an expansive and gregarious mood. You can’t have much of a conversation, passing by at 12 miles per hour, but you can share your good will and wave or call out a “good morning,” “hey,” “great hat,” or “thank-you” as appropriate to the moment.

Only four people in the six hours I was out were negative. It was nothing too strong – just an occasional “Obama is a socialist” or “I hope she loses.” It seemed fair enough; I was actually expecting more. Maybe this crowd was composed, more than usual, of people whose mommas had taught them that “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” You got to where you could see the people who glanced at the sign, clenched their jaw, and just starred sternly and unhappily ahead as they rolled by.

On the other hand, I got a LOT of approving finger-points, thumb-ups, smiles, “thank-yous,” and bell rings. I used to have a bell on my bike in the 1950s but this was unexpected at first. Two dings signal approval and come with a big smile. I liked to respond with a big wave, a big smile, and my own loud “thank-you.”

As the day wore on, there were even more thank-yous tossed my way. The expressions seemed more general than political. Having just enjoyed a church hospitality tent, a cold beer, and/or a dunk in a big water tank, the riders seemed to be taking me as an unexpected final representative of the city’s welcoming spirit as they headed out and onward. They seemed grateful to have someone to let know that they had been treated well and that they appreciated it.

I had a few short political conversations with the people taking a break under my trees. I wanted to stay low-key and didn’t shout out “Vote for Vilsack” or any such thing. Still, when you talk to someone in the grass, the sign suggests an obvious topic.

While I was passing out the first batch of fresh cookies and offering the last one on the pan, the fellow glanced at my sign and then asked, “I’m a Republican. Is it still okay to take it?” I just smiled and let him in on the secret, “Of course. Democrats believe that ‘we’re all in this together,’ that we’re all neighbors, and that we should all care about each other.” Maybe I shouldn’t have rubbed it in so pointedly, but he took his cookie, rolled his eyes, moaned a little, and told me to be sure to tell my wife that they were really, really good.

When the next batch of cookies came out, I took up where I’d left off. The next fellow under the tree, having had some time to think about the situation, took his snicker doodle, turned to the first fellow and said, “This is the kind of thing we’re thinking about when you call us socialists.”

As the day went on, the goodness of community just kept on as well. And, I’m not just patting myself on the back for getting out the water hose or fetching the kitchen trash can (which seemed to be particularly appreciated). People helped each other change punctured inner tubes. Someone made a detour to the first-aid station to get help for a stranger who had been weakened by the heat. People were at ease getting to know each other, telling stories, and exchanging ideas without getting cranky.

I’ve heard Christy Vilsack speak. She likes to tell a story about a small town where she lived. There was a well-used intersection that didn’t have stop or yield signs in any direction. She appreciated that neighbors just slowed down, took in the situation, and waved one or the other on through. Like most stories, it holds meaning and recommends future behavior. Such a story reflects on where her heart is and how she would govern.

I grieve for those who only care to look out for just themselves and for those they see as part of a limited “us.” However, I take heart on days like this, where so many people open an inclusive heart, accepting that we are all neighbors worthy of respect, concern, and support. What kind of candidate do you want representing you? What kind of representative will you vote for?

© 2012, David Satterlee

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May 212012

My sweet wife and I were sitting on the front porch swing, reading the Sunday paper and enjoying the cool breeze of the early morning. It still amazes me how many things we don’t know about each other, even after all these years. She was reading the obituaries. I knew something was up when she lowered the paper into her lap and just stared off into the distance. Eventually she explained, “I almost married a Republican lawyer.”

Being my usual smart-ass self, I quipped, “Yeah, that would have been tough. Lawyers like to argue, and they especially like to win arguments. And, you can’t argue rationally with a Republican.” Fortunately, my beloved knows that, once I get the smart-ass out of my system, it’s safe to move on as if nothing had happened. She finished her story.

“Someone I dated in high school died. I might have married him. It turns out he became a lawyer.” I put my arm across her shoulder. She likes to lean her head back and rest that way. “We were actually pretty serious for a while, and then I called it off.” She leaned her head back and rolled it toward my shoulder. “You know what a liberal hippie chick I was back then, with protest marches and folk songs. Well, he invited me to go with him to a Young Republicans Club meeting. So, we started comparing ideas and, pretty soon that was it.”

Well, that’s about it here too. When you’re been married for a long time, some of the best things are the quiet, delicate, unexpected joys that land on you, like the cool flutter of a butterfly, for just a moment. I kissed her gently on the head and told her that I loved her. And then I just stared off into the distance for a while, surprised that I would find myself so suddenly grateful to a Republican lawyer.

©2012, David Satterlee

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Feb 172012

By David Satterlee

This morning, I opened the Fort Dodge, Iowa Messenger News. I’ve been skipping past the editorial section because it tends to feature mostly conservative columnists beating the same old drums. Today, feeling the sap rising in the grass-roots democratic arm of the Democratic Party, I decided to start reading that page regularly.

The publisher’s editorial was featured in a top outside corner. It was an uninformed rant about President Barack Obama, and how “his EPA” should be stopped by a furious Congress. As I started to turn the page, yet again, I felt a flush of heat that so many readers were being led down the wrong path; that an authority figure was citing an authority to echo the rants of conservative pseudo-authorities to lie to people who have been primed to accept the word of their authorities.

As an aging hippie, I was raised to “question authority,” so I decided to get back in the game. Here it is. Please read on. We’ll start with the full text of the editorial:

Have we been misled? [Publisher’s Editorial]

February 17, 2012
Messenger News [Fort Dodge, Iowa, USA]

“The science is settled,” President Barack Obama insists in defense of his scheme to wreck the coal industry.

Well, no. It is not.

Obama insists the threat of global warming requires drastic new curbs on industrial emissions. Coal-burning power plants have been a primary target of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Unless discharges of carbon dioxide into the air are reduced dramatically, the planet faces severe changes in climate, Obama, the EPA and supportive liberals have maintained.

A new study on the issue is out. It has been published in the online journal “Science.”

And guess what?

The international team of scientists involved in the study concludes cutting emissions of soot and methane – not CO2 – is the key to slowing global warming.

That is hardly settled science.

Members of Congress, who have the power to stop Obama and his EPA, should be furious. Clearly, they and the American people have been misled.

Okay, so here’s where I’m planning to go with my argument.

  1. Ha! By highlighting some gasses that contribute to global warming over another, the editor may have accidently conceded that there is an issue of global warming.
  2. The scientific study does NOT actually discount CO2 as a major greenhouse gas.
  3. The science on methane and soot is hardly new.
  4. Coal fired power plants are, themselves, major contributors to methane and soot.
  5. The EPA is also already concerned about methane and soot.
  6. President Obama is not pursuing a scheme to “wreck the coal industry” so much as to increase our energy resources, make our air and water cleaner, and, you know, help save the world.
  7. This kind of misinformation is bad for America. The editor should be ashamed and we should work to improve the functions of government in areas where government is best suited to helping make our lives better.
  8. We should each work to become better informed, more involved in civic discourse, and supportive of leaders who are committed to the goal of making the lives of individual citizens better.
  9. The argument that the United States should fight to keep up with developing countries in the emission of pollutants because it is more profitable, is simply less honorable.

1 Many conservative commentators continue to use words such as myth, swindle, and hoax to describe the results of climate science research. I am afraid that these simple negative messages, repeated frequently, are taken by many people as persuasive and factual. Not wanting to be carried along blindly by that agenda, I looked up the study.

2 The editorial alludes to, but does not cite, the article “Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security” on pages 183-189 of the January 13, 2012 issue of Science.

The researchers took advantage of continuing research to create a detailed computer model of our atmosphere’s response to pollutants and, for the first time, possible economic, energy generation, social, political and developmental influences. However, it does not yet make predictions for major societal shifts such as switching to electric vehicles or increased levels of public transportation. The research is available online at It is designed to support international negotiations and strategy coordination.

The study points out that CO2 emissions produce “long-term inertial responses” but that reducing soot and methane emissions is more likely to produce short-term benefits. This does not affect the understanding of the effect of CO2 on global warming; it just adds more urgency to our priorities in also addressing soot and methane reductions.

5 Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is already on top of this with projects such as those to reduce methane released by coal mining and soot released by burning coal in electrical power generating plants. Dang, the editor must have overlooked these pollutants as additional results of burning coal.

3 Our understanding of the influences on global climate change has included soot and methane for quite a while. The same Science journal has already published articles such as, “Soot takes center stage” (Sept. 27, 2002), and “Study Fingers soot as a Major Player in Global Warming” (Mar. 28, 2008). The Nov. 10, 2000 article “A New Route Toward Limiting Climate Change?” explored short-term pollutants such as soot.

4 Coal fired power plants do more than emit CO2. It seems they are a major source of other greenhouse gasses as well. They also emit more arsenic, mercury, and lead than any other U.S. industrial pollution source. According to a Chesapeake Bay Foundation report, “A Coal Plant’s Drain on Health and Wealth,” The health costs of coal power plants are estimated to be equal to the price of the electricity they produce. (This sucker is already getting too long, so let’s move on.)

6 Yeah. So there. Take that. The balanced liberal approach is to gradually retire the worst of the coal power plants, add pollution controls to the rest, and promote research and development of alternatives. This is because it is in the public benefit but companies in the energy generation business have little incentive to make changes until the costs of a crisis exceed the costs of a new technology. And by then, everybody will be wringing their hands and wondering why nobody thought to start looking into making alternatives more price competitive.

And, by the way, while our use of coal can be improved, why do I keep hearing the term “clean coal” like someone has discovered a whole new thing, blessed it with holy water, and invested in infomercials? Okay, now I’m just getting cranky.

7 This kind of misinformation is bad for America, the editor should be ashamed, and we should work to improve the functions of government in areas where government is best suited to helping make our lives better.

8 We should each work to become better informed, more involved in civic discourse, and support leaders who are committed to the goal of making the lives of individual citizens better.

9 The United States of American was born with the blessing of a vast, resource-laden, productive, unexploited continent at its disposal. Much of America’s success in the era of industrialization can be attributed to an “aggressive pioneer spirit” that moved us inexorably west, killing wantonly, cutting trees, setting fences, building roads, plowing fields, and leveling mountains as we went. Our fertile fields, open waterways, and abundant minerals rewarded our hard work and indomitable spirit with relatively easy wealth, and even more so for the robber barons, industrialists, and financiers among us.

Unbridled exploitation and consumption worked well for several hundred years and I can understand why some people want to be allowed to keep doing whatever they want just like we have been doing so far. But, we are reaching the limits of our clear vistas, standing timber, open prairies, and clean rivers bounding from unexplored wilderness. It is time to protect, defend, and wisely use what remains of our resources.

And, by the way, if it is primarily liberals petitioning for moderation, caution, and conservation what has happened to the meaning of the word “conserve”ative?

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Feb 092012

By David Satterlee

All politicians are aware that they need to be careful of their words. Words have the power to invoke strong emotions, which can distract from rational debate. These words, repeated over and over, confer the conviction of certainty and authority, even when they lack any basis in fact.

But, Republicans seem to have made the cynical use of emotional words (instead of the discussion of ideas and consequences) a primary focus of their message for many years. Do not misunderstand me. I will say again that all politicians use influential words. However, my premise is that Republicans seem to operate on the unabashed theory that they can make anything true by saying it often enough to the uninformed. Let’s compare some early Newt Gingrich to some contemporary Frank Luntz.

In 1994, Newt Gingrich described his goal as “reshaping the entire nation through the news media.” (New York Times, 12/14/94) His aggressive negativity fits with his philosophy that, “fights make news.” (Boston Globe, 11/20/94). In a GOPAC training tape of that era, he advised creating ‘shield issues’ to deflect criticism: “You better find a good compassion issue where, you know, you show up in the local paper holding a baby in the neonatal center, and all you’re trying to do is shield yourself from the inevitable attack.”
The 1996 GOPAC memo, “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control” went further by listing words to use to accuse Democrats and defend Republicans. It’s cover letter from Newt Gingrich explained that, “The words in that paper are tested language from a recent series of focus groups where we actually tested ideas and language.” The memo said:

As you know, one of the key points in the GOPAC tapes is that “language matters.” In the video “We Are a Majority,” language is listed as a key mechanism of control used by a majority party… As the tapes have been used in training sessions across the country and mailed to candidates, we have heard a plaintive plea: “I wish I could speak like Newt.”
That takes years of practice. But we believe that you could have a significant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little. That is why we have created this list of words and phrases.
This list is prepared so that you might have a directory of words to use in writing literature and mail, in preparing speeches, and in producing electronic media. The words and phrases are powerful. Read them. Memorize as many as possible. And remember that, like any tool, these words will not help if they are not used.
Contrasting Words
Often we search hard for words to help us define our opponents. Sometimes we are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.
decay… failure (fail)… collapse(ing)… deeper… crisis… urgent(cy)… destructive… destroy… sick… pathetic… lie… liberal… they/them… unionized bureaucracy… “compassion” is not enough… betray… consequences… limit(s)… shallow… traitors… sensationalists… endanger… coercion… hypocrisy… radical… threaten… devour… waste… corruption… incompetent… permissive attitudes… destructive… impose… self-serving… greed… ideological… insecure… anti-(issue): flag, family, child, jobs… pessimistic… excuses… intolerant… stagnation… welfare… corrupt… selfish… insensitive… status quo… mandate(s)… taxes… spend(ing)… shame… disgrace… punish (poor…)… bizarre… cynicism… cheat… steal… abuse of power… machine… bosses… obsolete… criminal rights… red tape… patronage
Optimistic Positive Governing Words
Use the list below to help define your campaign and your vision of public service. These words can help give extra power to your message. In addition, these words help develop the positive side of the contrast you should create with your opponent, giving your community something to vote for!
share… change… opportunity… legacy… challenge… control… truth… moral… courage… reform… prosperity… crusade… movement… children… family… debate… compete… active(ly)… we/us/our… candid(ly)… humane… pristine… provide… liberty… commitment… principle(d)… unique… duty… precious… premise… care(ing)… tough… listen… learn… help… lead… vision… success… empower(ment)… citizen… activist… mobilize… conflict… light… dream… freedom… peace… rights… pioneer… proud/pride… building… preserve… pro-(issue): flag, children, environment… reform… workfare… eliminate good-time in prison… strength… choice/choose… fair… protect… confident… incentive… hard work… initiative… common sense… passionate

Frank Luntz recently wrote, “Words matter. The most powerful words have helped launch social movements and cultural revolutions. The most effective words have instigated great change in public policy. The right words at the right time can literally change history.” (Huffington Post, 3/1/11)

In “The 11 Words for 2011” he comments:

  • “Uncompromising integrity.” Of all the truthiness words, none is as powerful as “integrity,” but in today’s cynical environment, even that’s not enough. People also need to feel that your integrity is absolute.
  • “The simple truth” comes straight from billionaire businessman Steve Wynn, and it sets the context for a straightforward discussion that might otherwise be confusing or contentious. It’s the perfect phrase to begin and end the budget-deficit-debt debate.
  • “You decide.” No, this is not paying homage to Fox News. The lesson of 2010 is that Americans want control of their lives back, and they don’t want Washington or Wall Street making their decisions for them. So add the phrase “you’re in control” and you’ve said exactly what Americans want to hear.
  • “You deserve.” This comes from DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and it was first employed by him in his highly praised 2006 SOTU response. It tells voters precisely what they should expect from their politicians and their government.

Notice that his focus is not on integrity, truth, or reason (although these words are used), but on the ability of these words to manipulate and persuade. Spend some time with this point; savor it and use it as an illumination in a dark corner. Is a product really better because a different color makes it “new and improved?” Can you really believe that the new automated customer service phone system was installed “to serve you better?” Do you really believe all the accusations that Republican candidates threw at each other (or at our President) during the 2011/2012 GOP primary debates?

Do not misunderstand me. I will say again that all politicians use influential words. My objection is to the use of falsehoods and unsubstantiated accusations wrapped in phrases designed to trigger emotional responses IN PLACE OF persuasive rhetorical reason. This is especially onerous when the audience is predisposed to respond to calls for loyalty and obedience to authority more than to understanding and reason.

What was that? Did I just say that there is something wrong with conservative audiences? Yes and no. Research into individual and cultural development shows that all individuals and social groups mature through a predictable series of worldviews. Each worldview in this progressive dynamic of maturity embraces all previous worldviews. And each new worldview transcends and supersedes previous ones as they no longer succeed in explaining, making meaning of, and guiding decisions about life circumstances.

Earlier worldviews respond predominantly to emotions, power, and authority while later worldviews respond more to evidence, empathy, and the dynamic nuances of collective benefit. This makes it easier to recruit holders of earlier worldviews using simpler assertions that appeal to their predispositions.

In brief, individuals and cultures move through a predictable path in areas such as cognition, morality, emotions, and faith. There have been many researchers in these developmental areas. Although they may assign different stage names, they all identify systems of developmental levels. Let’s take an example:

Don Beck, in his book Spiral Dynamics, based on the research of psychologist Clare Graves, identified and described:

  • SurvivalSense – Instinctive – “Express self to meet imperative physiological needs through instincts of Homo sapiens.”
  • KinSpirits – Tribal – “Sacrifice to the ways of the elders and customs as one subsumed in group.” This is the level of traditional cultures.
  • PowerGods – Preconventional/Egocentric – “Express self (impulsively) for what self desires without guilt and to avoid shame.” Expressed by the mentality of street gangs, Vikings, etc.
  • TruthForce – Pre-Modern/Traditional – “Sacrifice self for reward to come through obedience to rightful authority in purposeful Way.” Embodied by fundamentalist religions.
  • StriveDrive – Modernism – “Express self (calculatedly) to reach goals and objectives without rousing the ire of important others.” Expressed in the Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution.
  • HumanBond – Postmodernism – “Sacrifice self-interest now in order to gain acceptance and group harmony.” Expressed in 1960s pluralism and systems theory.
  • FlexFlow – Integral – “Express self for what self desires, but avoid harm to others so that all life, not just own life, will benefit.”
  • GlobalView – Holistic – Sacrifice self-interest purely out of principal to achieve greater good.

Each new worldview allows individuals or communities to deal successfully with an increasingly complex world. On the other hand, each worldview is a necessary and universal, if temporary, stage in development. Each worldview serves its purpose at a particular stage, and is retained and still available to those who have acquired the ability to deal with more complex issues.

Unfortunately, people holding earlier worldviews have difficulty in understanding the reasoning and motives of those who have moved on to more-comprehensive systems of thought. Because of this, it is easy to persuasively misrepresent scientific thought to a tribal culture, or lie about the motives of someone holding a global view to someone pledging obedience to a specific leader or religion. No amount of explaining would have convinced the Victorian English colonial empire that they should “make love, not war” or organize meetings so as to be sure that everyone had a chance to express their feelings.

This same dynamic makes it easy to misrepresent liberals to conservatives. Whoops! You may be thinking that I did it again. I DID NOT SAY, “liberals good, conservatives bad.” If your worldview is working for you and you have values that move you to behave virtuously, that is a wonderful thing. In fact, you can’t become liberal without passing through a conservative phase. Been there, done that, moved on. However, there is no reason to think that this makes you better than your neighbor. Some of your neighbors are also moving on. This is all good.

At some point, some people begin to discover that their current way of thinking isn’t working for them anymore. If they struggle hard enough, it is possible to break through to a new way of thinking. When this happens, events take on new meaning, uncomfortable ideas begin to make sense, and you feel like you can see more clearly. But, you will be tempted, after several frustrating attempts to explain yourself to your old friends, to just say, “It’s complex.” They may accuse you of being a superior son-of-a-bitch and stop spending time with you. Then they will tell each other how much you hate them now. ‘sorry ‘bout that. Been there, done that, moved on.

My point is simply this: when the time comes to take a larger view…

  • Be willing to give up emotional reflexes for rational evidence.
  • Be willing to give up small-group loyalty for large-group tolerance.
  • Be willing to defer gratification now for more important gains later.
  • Be willing to give up selfishness to care about the welfare of others.
  • Be willing to balance individual liberties with the common good.
  • Be willing to come together in middle ground to work together to make life better for everyone.

And, don’t let dishonorable people lie to you and use you to achieve their own selfish advantage.

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Oct 282011

By David Satterlee

Published in the Dayton Review, September 28, 2011 – Front page, above the fold, with picture

Community news

Read the entire article at:

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Oct 282011

By David Satterlee

Published in the Dayton Review, September 28, 2011 – Front page, above the fold, with pictures

[Larry and Jerry Sharer in picture at right]

The weather was dreary but the spirits were high. “This was what they wanted to do and where they wanted to be. They seemed completely at ease. They were comfortable with the weather. They were comfortable with each other and their mounts. They were comfortable with the mud and manure.”

Read the entire article at:

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Oct 282011

By David Satterlee

Published in the Dayton Review on October 5, 2011 – Front page, color picture, above the fold

Local Girl Scouts “Troop 9” welcome large number of new members, start a food and clothing drive

Thank you for the organizing by troop leaders and enthusiasm of all the girls. Look at their faces!

Read the complete article at:

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Oct 282011

By David Satterlee

Published in the Dayton Review on October 19, 2011 – Front page, above the fold

It was a privilege to be “embedded” with the emergency first responders in this drill. Special thanks to the K-9 dog team who agreed to let me accompany them.

Read the complete article at:

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Oct 282011

By David Satterlee

Based on original interviews

Science teacher Jennifer Axness brings biology unit to life for 1st grade students.
Comments by students about their pets are nothing less than “precious.”
Thank you to the kids who talked to the large man with a tape recorder. I wish I could have printed everything that all of you told me.

Read the complete article at:

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Oct 282011

Article by David Satterlee

Published in the Dayton Review on October 26, 2011

Based on a personal interview

Allen Porter was born in 1918. Early practice at rope tricks with brothers and friends led to a lifetime of entertaining and cowboying as an avid horseman.

Please go to the link below to read the entire article online.

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