Sarah Palin Stokes The Fire Of The U.S. Culture Of Violence
America is a Culture of Violence. Assassination of our political leaders has a long
history in this nation. Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin
Luther King, Jr. are in recent memory of this history and now we must add liberal
Democratic Representative Gabrielle Gifford, 8th District, Arizona, as a potential victim.
It is of more than passing interest that the victims of these assassinations represent the
liberal wing of America political thought and action. Questions must be raised as to the
origins of political/social conservatism in the genesis of these assassinations.
world scene we have Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Emperor Hirohito and
the variety of dictators throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East—all
strove to subject “We, the People” to government tyranny.
An “agonizing reappraisal” is needed to evaluate why homo sapiens is the most violent
and destructive primate on this planet; why religious warfare has dominated the socialpolitical
landscape of home sapiens; why “liberals” are rarely assassins which is
occupied primarily by those of authoritarian/conservative social/political ideology.
In pursing the investigation of the attempted assassination of Representative Gifford we
need to ask why her and not Republican Senator Jon Kyle of Arizona, a far more
significant and powerful political conservative figure than liberal Democrat
Representative Gifford, was not targeted for assassination.
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It is matter of record that Sarah Palin has evoked many images, verbal rhetoric and
graphic visual imagery of violence in her political speeches and campaigns. Her use of
the Crosshairs against her political opponents that is represented in the following
Figure 1 that targets liberal political Districts are illustrative of this effort. Crosshairs
mean one thing—to kill- and the next step is pulling the trigger. This use of violent words
and visual imagery can only stoke the fire of violent political opposition, which we see in
the attempted assassination of Representative Gifford, one of the Districts targeted for
E. J. Dionne Jr., in a Washington Post Op-Ed piece (1.10.11), quoted Representative
Giffords: "We're on Sarah Palin's targeted list," she said, "but the thing is that the way
she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do
that, they've got to realize there's consequences to that action." That consequence was
pulling the trigger.
“Mother Grizzly” is another example of the use of violent imagery in conveying a political
message by Sarah Palin.
A Washington Post story (1.9.11) on the shooting reported: “On YouTube, Loughner's
profile listed Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's "The Communist Manifesto" and Adolf
Hitler's "Mein Kampf" among his favorite books”, which provides an obvious motivational
linkage for the shooter in Tucson, AZ, via the neocortical cognitive brain.
There are, however, other motivational factors that are rooted in early life experiences of
infancy, childhood and adolescence, which form the subcortical emotional, social,
sexual brain that is first in evolution and development, which need to be investigated.
Studies have documented that nurturing; non-violent tribal cultures are characterized by
high maternal-infant/child affectional bonding with support of sexual affectional
relationships in youth and are predominately matrilineal/matrilocal in nature. The
opposite non-nurturing relationships were found to characterize the violent, warfare
cultures that were predominately patrilineal/patrilocal cultures.
Violence and Pleasure Profiles
The reciprocal relationship of violence and pleasure holds true in modern industrial
nations as well as primitive societies. This theory was tested by means of a
questionnaire given to 96 college students (average age: 19). The results showed that
students who have relatively negative attitudes toward sexual pleasure tend to favor
harsh punishment for children and to believe that violence is necessary to solve
problems. The students rated a series of statements on a scale of 1 to 6, where 1
indicated strong agreement and 6 strong disagreement. Through a statistical technique
(factor analysis), a personality profile of the violent person was developed. Table 5
(from Prescott, J.W. (1975) Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence) shows the
degree of relationship among the various statements, which reflect social and moral
values. The figures at left, known as 'loadings,' are treated like correlation coefficients.
They indicate the strength that each variable contributes to the overall personality profile
of the respondents. Values range from -1.0 to +1.0.
It can be seen that Political Conservatism has a loading of .82, which defines this
Factor 1, and accounts for 66.6% of the common relationships in this questionnaire. If
you Agree with one statement you are likely to agree with the other statements on this
questionnaire with the probability associated with the numeric figure on the left.
Similarly, for Disagreement.
This Profile has grouped the Questions into four categories: 1) Violence Approved; 2)
Physical Pleasure Condemned; 4) Alcohol and Drugs Rated Higher Than Sex; and 4)
This Prescott Index of Conservatism can be completed by Sarah Palin and all Politicians
to determine the accuracy of this Profile of Political Conservatism and the moral
values that give it structure and function.
Political Conservatism and Liberalism is more than just a neocortical cognitive event but
whose structure and function is deeply rooted in early life experiences of Pain and
Pleasure that form the developing brain for Peace or Violence. Table 2 summarizes our
Two Cultural Brains that are formed by whether Pain or Pleasure is encoded in the
subcortical Limbic-Emotional-Social-Sexual Brain and the Neocortical Cognitive
Thinking Brain during early development—the formative periods of brain-behavioral
America has created its own “Culture of Violence”, which has its many roots that are
shared by the Cultures of the World. The time is long overdue to transform our Cultures
of Violence into Cultures of Peace. Calls for civility and Words alone cannot resolve
millennia of violence that the history of human violence and treaties affirms.
Dionne Jr, E.J. (2011). Gabby Giffords, a tragic prophet. The Washington Post.
January 10. Washington, D.C.
Fahrenthold, D.A. and Williams, C. (2011). 22-year-0ld suspect appears to have left
trail of bizarre Internet postings. The Washington Post. 9 January, Washington
Prescott, J.W. (1975) Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence. The Futurist April.
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Tribal Cultures. The Truth Seeker July/August.
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10 January 2011