Well, that didn't work — i.e., those last two posts, the Part I post about whither TIMN, and the Part I post about ideological boundary perceptions à la STA:C. They were supposed to enable me to generate new momentum. Instead, they left me feeling required to do their Parts II and III before moving on to other topics. Which left me stalled when I couldn’t readily complete them.
So, I’ve drastically trimmed August’s whither-TIMN post. If interested, see the explanation I added at the end as an update there.
I’m leaving September’s STA:C boundary post alone for now, but I may well rewrite and move it later, if/when I complete Parts II and III. Meanwhile, a recent derivative comment for a Zenpundit post (here) offers a few new points, and generated interesting follow-up remarks. Here’s the text:
Regarding gun matters: My theoretical interests in people’s space-time-action orientations has led me to observe that sensitivities about boundaries — about identifying, respecting, and protecting them — characterizes conservative more than liberal / progressive mentalities.
For example, it is far more likely a sign of conservatism to tell someone they should not marry (nor even make friends) outside their clan, tribe, race, nationality, religion, or culture, not to mention gender. Conservatives often seem more intent on marking differences between sexes, races, religions, and nations, etc. And these sensitivities often extend to sectorial differences: e.g., boundaries between church and state, government and market, public and private, foreign and domestic, legal and illegal, right and wrong — and even between life and death (not to mention between liberal and conservative).
It’s easy to find instances: Conservative Republicans criticizing President Obama for drawing a “red line” about Syria’s use of chemical weapons, then not enforcing it. Social conservatives upset about same-sex marriage. Conservative politicians advocating walls to halt immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border. Exclusionary conservatives who want to limit who can vote. Conservative “warriors” who claim that conservatives are for individualism, progressives for collectivism — as though a dichotomous separation exists (it doesn’t). Plus, conservatives who constantly carp about government exceeding its boundaries.
This cogni-cultural sensitivity to boundaries appears to reinforce (or at least be associated with) some key conservative philosophical values and political strategies. It may help explain why conservatives value order and tradition so highly, compared to liberals who value progress and innovation more highly (particularly if it’s a disruptive innovation that crosses and redefines prior boundaries). A predilection for boundaries also seems to undergird the high value that conservatives place on individualism, and perhaps related to that, their tendencies to be exclusive rather than inclusive, and to be less in favor of social diversity and multiculturalism — again, compared to the predilections of liberals / progressives (though I can think of important exceptions, especially among libertarians).
Yet, there are a few issue areas — e.g., gun ownership, free trade, campaign financing — where my observation may seem at odds with the fact that, in those areas, conservatives today pursue more unbounded policies than do liberals. These may look like exceptions or contradictions that weaken my observation. But there is another possibility: that Republican policies in those area are not truly conservative — they’re liberal, even libertine.
Republicans seem to lack a sense of boundaries particularly regarding gun ownership — the fewer the boundaries in this area, the better. So, I suggest, that means their views and policies in this area are not truly conservative. Indeed, on this issue, their disposition is more than liberal; it is libertine. True conservatives always have a sense of boundaries.